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Nutrition, and Mental Wellness: A Conversation with Dr. Nancy Lin

Last Updated on 2023/03/18

Nutrition Expert who Specializes in Coaching for Practical Lifestyle Changes

Dr. Nancy Lin, Ph.D. is an author, holistic nutritionist, health researcher, wellness coach, and international health educator. She holds a PhD in Nutrition, a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Therapy from the University of Florida, and is a certified 600-RYT Yoga instructor. Her educational and videos cover various topics from dealing with chronic pain to practical tips for improving mental and emotional health. Her focus on preventative medicine and rehabilitation therapies has always been at the forefront. Dr. Nancy teaches virtual classes to corporations, community groups, senior centers, and elementary and high schools. She is extremely passionate about promoting the benefits of maintaining a mindfulness/mental wellness practice. Her YouTube channel’s content focuses on providing short, digestible lifestyle videos to boost immune, physical, and psychological health. Dr. Nancy is also an avid runner and athlete, and has completed over 30 distance races, including 25 marathons in California. She is the lead health coach in her own body transformation programs.

This interview first appeared in Planet China Vol 15, March 2023
Youtube channel | Instagram

What are the reasons that persuaded you to choose a career in nutrition?

I really believe we are what we eat and consume, but we also are how we live. I have been in allopathic and conventional medicine since the age of 14, and I have seen firsthand how important what we consume is. Nutrition fuels our bodies, and becomes a part of how we function, sync, and move. it is something also controllable that is why I love nutrition so much. And we all also eat …. So that’s why I enjoy my job in nutrition sciences so much.

What are the main challenges in your profession? What aspect of your job brings you the most satisfaction?

I believe one of the challenges in my profession is that the majority of people are operating and living off of their awareness, available resources, cultural and traditions of their environments and education when it comes to nutrition and body/mind healthcare. Depending on where you are living, and the many different varieties of marketing, people are fed miss information about what is healthy, and most times our current lifestyle perpetuates what is convenient. Re-learning and rewiring our current lifestyle habits is perhaps one of the most satisfying aspects of my job. Because each and every person is so individual and unique, I truly enjoy the ability to curate and serve each one of my patients so I can help navigate him or her to their desired health and wellness goal(s).

What is the most common false myth that should be debunked in thenutritional field?

For me, I believe that most people think that I like to make, and cook different dishes, and provide recipes … like a cooking show. People ask me for my cookbooks. My favorite part of my job is teaching people how to reverse, chronic ailments, and keep us from feeling “stuck, sick and tired.” Other common false myths include anything most marketing, food and big Pharma companies try to hard sell consumers that are not science backed, but rather just feeds misinformation to sell their products.

The Role of Nutrition in Preventative Medicine

Dr. Nancy Lin, nutritionist expert running

Many people turn to a nutrition professional only after discovering they have a specific disease. How can we rather prevent the onset of these conditions thanks to nutrition?

That is true. A lot of my clients come to me only after they have tried so many other “specialists” and have seen that potions, pills and lotions have failed to give them quick relief. Prevention is rather the longer route. It takes patience, and the belief that it will happen. It also is a lifestyle, not a Band-Aid to slap on.

Supplements and complements: are they really effective for achieving optimal nutritional values?

I have sat on many nutraceutical boards, and formulated over a dozen products. I can safely and confidently say that because of the low accountability and oversight on supplements and nutraceuticals, especially in America, what you see on the label is not what you are getting, necessarily. if you are looking for effective formulas and products, you must go with a brand that you trust, that has transparency, and it’s sourcing and efficacy, and one that is science fact with clinical studies to prove it.

Dr. Nancy Lin, nutritionist expert yoga

Can you tell us if and how eating habits are changing? Do you think food awareness has changed during the pandemic?

I believe eating habits has become much more catastrophic across most countries. This is evident in the rise and gastrointestinal issues, immune issues, and mental health issues. The majority of the feel good hormone, serotonin, it’s produced in the gut, and about 60% of our immune system is also produced there. Gut problems are at an epidemic high and correlates positively to the rise in mental health issues and immune compromise bodies as well. Food awareness has definitely changed due to the way the world has had to adapt to the mercurial aftermath of Covid. From the way, people shop for their food, to the way it is transported and sourced from the farms, the element of fear has played a role in just how we “consume”, “trust” and “enjoy” our meals.

What are the main problems related to nutrition education? How difficult is it to make people understand that eating healthy is a choice for health that makes people feel good and not a punishment?

One of the main problems related to nutrition, education is that there just isn’t enough of it. Medical doctors are not required to take more than one class of nutrition. Because food is in and around the way we live, celebrate, socialize, emotionally process, and fuel our every day, and each person is so different, it’s hard to generalize and prescribe the “cure all” protocol that will heal and optimize healthy nutrition for everyone.

How much does healthy eating also affect emotional and mental health?

Like I said, before, we are what we consume, and live. Most societies use food in emotional milestones and everything in-between, so it is hard to disassociate the mental with the physical well-being of nutrition and consumption. This is why often, we end up turning to food when we are emotionally driven, and it is hard to break that habit and cycle.

Transforming Your Health
with Mindful Eating

Dr. Nancy Lin, nutritionist expert interview

Human health and well-being are intimately linked to the state of the environment. Can you share with us your opinion on this topic?

In my book, breaking the bad with Dr. Nancy Lin, I talk about the five pillars of health that make up our total wellness. The environmental pillar is extremely important, just like the nutritional pillar is (and the three other pillars, physical, mental/emotional and spiritual). The environmental pillar illustrates how we are the combination of our environment, including our social circles, the products we use on a daily basis, and, living environment. If someone, for example, eats extremely clean and healthy, exercises every day, meditate, and practice his yoga, but lives in a home that is filled with black mold, and housemates that smoke perpetually, that person will experience adverse health effects, despite all the good efforts he, or she has put in to be healthy. We must be able to analyze our environment and remove/disassociate the toxic products and people that are not pushing us to be our best. That is the environmental pillar.

In the Blue Areas of the world where people live the longest lives, the benefits of healthy eating and daily physical activity are also listed. Do you think that even those who don’t live in Blue Areas could obtain significant benefits by improving their eating and motor habits? What would you recommend?

In my book, I also talk about the blue zones. I discuss the common habits and traits that these blue zones has, so people who do not live in these blue zones can adopt the habits and level up their life. I do believe that, even if you do not live in these blue zones, Good habits will fortify health and wellness from the inside out. I would recommend people to look into, and practice my Medi- American Diet, which is a level up from the popular Mediterranean diet that is discussed in the blue zones. Check out my book to learn more!

My book is available here.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Lin

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