We met with Krystal Hammett, owner of Alternative Wellness Solutions and certified nutritionist to discuss what it takes to make a healthy diet. Krystal has helped clients with a variety of health and nutritional issues improve their health and lifestyles. When it comes to food, Krystal helps her clients tailor their diet to meet their nutritional needs.
One of Krystal’s passions is treating those with PCOS, a hormone imbalance common to women of reproductive age. Learn more about PCOS below.
Owner of Alternative Wellness Solutions
Certified Holistic Specialist
Krystal Hammett: Hi I’m Krystal Hammett and I own Alternative Wellness Solutions and I am a certified nutritionist and my goal is to help people achieve health and wellness naturally through proper diet, exercise, and supplementation.
HG: What is your favorite meal?
Krystal Hammett: I like to do a lot of salmon, so good lean proteins for sure but if I had to choose a favorite meal… ooh I’m a big fan of like salad and hummus and lots of veggies.
HG: Do you have a diet philosophy?
Krystal Hammett: It’s all about a whole food diet, so really focusing on low-to-no sugar, no gluten, no dairy, focusing on good healthy fats, good proteins and lots of nuts and seeds, and fruits and vegetables.
HG: What are the most common obstacles to leading a healthy lifestyle?
Krystal Hammett: Because it does take conscious effort to be healthy, so having ready-made meals, having the right snacks on hand, having the right choices handy is so important, I would say time is the biggest challenge.
HG: How do you approach helping clients with pre-existing health conditions?
Krystal Hammett: Tailor it to their exact needs. If somebody has specific ailments if it is of course like diabetes or some type of insulin resistant condition like PCOS, which I’m passionate about, I’ll make sure to make a very good low glycemic diet plan for them.
HG: What makes your approach to achieving a healthy diet different?
Krystal Hammett: I like to make it very attainable as far as giving them food list to choose from rather than, “you have to eat this, this and this,” so I want it to be a long-term lifestyle change rather than oh I have to do this diet for a month. So it’s giving them approved foods… foods they can eat in moderation and then foods that they need to avoid. So it’s really handy having services that can put the meals together based off of my recommendations.
HG: What are some crazy diet myths that your clients have brought to you?
Krystal Hammett: Cancer patients thinking that protein grows cancer cells or you know people of course plagued by carbohydrates and oh the worst one is the no fat diet… like people are so intense and it’s usually like a certain age group that cannot get over the fact that they need to eat fat to actually lose fat and to be healthy that is so important for the brain and for your hormones to function properly and the list goes on so that I think has been the most difficult myth to debunk.
HG: Any general diet advice for the viewers?
Krystal Hammett: Eat great fats and to make it easy to include a fat in each meal and even a snack. So olives, of course, hard-boiled eggs or eggs for breakfast, salmon… whether it’s a wild Alaskan canned salmon or a nice piece of wild salmon, doing nuts and seeds for snacks, so nut butter like an almond butter with an apple. There’s always a way to incorporate a good fat in with pretty much anything that you’re eating, sprinkling some Parmesan cheese on your salad, so just make it easy but do incorporate it.
Krystal mentioned PCOS, what is that?
PCOS, aka polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a somewhat common disorder among women of reproductive age. Simply put, it is an imbalance of reproductive hormones, specifically androgens. Women with PCOS have more androgens, a male sex hormone, which makes it difficult to get pregnant, cause cysts on ovaries, cause weight gain, unwanted hair growth, hair loss, and cause unusual menstrual cycles (too often or infrequent). It can also lead to a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and more.
PCOS is affected by one’s diet because of androgen’s relationship with insulin. The hormones are linked with response to blood glucose levels. If there is a spike in blood glucose levels, insulin and androgen react simultaneously… and its bad news for people suffering from PCOS.
Fortunately, if you have PCOS there are many ways to treat it, number one is diet. Krystal Hammett would agree that it takes a holistic approach to truly combat the disorder.
With PCOS, eat high-fiber foods and lean protein
Since it is a hormonal disorder, and insulin and androgen are tied together so to speak, you can fight PCOS be eating healthy food and avoiding high foods with a high glycemic load. Put plainly, drop processed foods from your diet. It’s also been suggested to eat a large breakfast and a smaller dinner to reduce testosterone levels.
High-fiber and complex carbs should replace processed foods and grains.
- Kale, Spinach
- Broccoli, cauliflower
- Sweet potatoes
- Chicken, Salmon, Sardines
- Almonds and nut butter
- Quinoa, Chia seeds
- Gluten-free grains
Olive oil is your friend, as always.
Almond Crusted Chicken Nuggets from Healthy Gourmet. Replace traditional fried batter with this healthier, PCOS-diet friendly alternative. Add broccoli for a high-fiber side packed full of vitamins.
Avoid these foods if you have PCOS
- White flour
- White bread
- Sugary foods
- Potatoes (white)
- Processed grains
- White pastas
Similar to a diabetic diet, people with PCOS should avoid these foods that have a high Glycemic Index, or high Glycemic Load. Sugary, processed foods cause spikes in blood glucose levels that insulin reacts to… which leads to PCOS symptoms.
As Krystal said, it’s important to tailor your diet to meet your specific nutritional needs. Different genetics, lifestyles, and diets mean there is a different answer for everyone seeking a healthy life. There is, however, one common thread among healthy diets… processed foods rarely make the cut.