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In today's wellness collab we have Sanam Tahan, founder of The Well Society and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
Share your story and how you became a registered dietitian
My journey to becoming a registered dietitian was much different than the traditional route many take. When I was younger, I loved to bake and I loved science, so initially I just thought to combine the two and get my Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Dietetics. It seems like such a simple choice but making the choice at the outset to combine things that I love and follow that turned out to be the best choice I ever made. Once I started studying nutrition, I truly realized the passion I had for it and for helping others feel their best. During that time, I even thought I wanted to go to medical school and completed all the coursework for that as well, only to realize that my true passion was using food as medicine. So, after changing course again I decided to get my Master’s in Nutrition for Wellness. This degree was significant in my journey because it focused on more natural and holistic education which really helped to provide me with a well-rounded perspective of wellness. Throughout all my schooling I also faced my own personal medical issues which really helped solidify my decision to pursue wellness to the extent possible. Everything that has happened and all the obstacles I faced on my journey seemed to propel me further into my purpose and my career. The last step in that journey was completing the internship and exam to become a Registered Dietitian and subsequently opening my own business where I can truly use the education I have to help others understand their bodies and take charge of their wellness in a way that is meant for them and best for them.
Why is it important to understand our body type?
The concept of body types is an Eastern Medicine practice and one that I find to be crucial when aiming to use a more holistic route. Essentially, your body type is your dynamic order of organs in your body and how they work, once we identify which are dominant, we can than choose the right foods to help our bodies balance the rest of our organs so that our body can work in harmony. The reason it is important to understand this is because we have to understand that each food, we eat has a certain property and affect on our body, and if we use that in the right way then we can be at our optimal health. We are all unique and how we eat needs to reflect that. That is why there is no single diet that is beneficial for everyone. Understanding your uniqueness is the key to mastering your wellness.
Are supplements necessary or can we find all the vitamins and minerals we need in food?
Supplements are an amazing invention, and I am so glad we have access to options like this when we need them. That does not mean they are always necessary though. In my practice, food is always my first line of defense. I always strive to help my clients get what they can from food, and if there are gaps in their diet or specific issues that I want to fix I will absolutely use supplements and herbs to achieve that. It is important to thoroughly assess yourself and your diet and identify what you need and what works best for you. If you are taking something because it seems trendy or because someone on social media was promoting it, then I urge you to do your research and identify if you truly need it.
Do collagen powders actually work?
Collagen is one addition to the diet that I love. It is not something that I believe needs to be taken every day but adding it to your weekly routine is a great idea. There are a lot of studies that show the benefits of collagen for both skin and joints and if you choose a good brand/source with minimal ingredients than I do think they will have a positive effect.
What are your thoughts on dairy? Does dairy affect our hormones?
Dairy is something that conflicts even me. I do not believe dairy itself is harmful, however I am not an expert on our dairy production in the US and believe that is what is causing some of the issues that dairy can present. It also depends on the type of dairy, which can be a whole paper by itself, but milk has been shown to increase insulin-like growth factor 1 which may increase androgens and cause some hormonal changes. But again, this is not the case for every individual. The bottom line with dairy right now is that there is a lot of conflicting information, and it comes back down to the individual again, if you are choosing high quality sources of dairy and seeing no adverse effects then there is not really any reason to avoid it. If you are having specific issues like hormonal breakouts or high androgens, then you can try limiting dairy and seeing if it improves.
Are there specific foods that help with our skin’s health? Are there specific foods that trigger acne?
My top recommendations for skin health when it comes to food are: choose real, whole food sources, if possible aim to buy high quality products with minimal ingredients, and most importantly hydrate properly. Foods that I think can be the most problematic for skin health are highly processed foods, over consumption of vegetable oils, and increased amounts highly refined sugar.
My non-negotiable daily habits:
Always wake up 2 hours before my workday starts
Warm water first thing in the morning
15 minutes during the day of undistracted relaxing
Night time skin care routine
Ways to connect
You can find more about Sanam and her services on her website https://thewell-society.com.
You can find her on Instagram @sanam.tahan and TIKTOK @sam.tahan