I have pondered on the word “resilient” this year, never thinking how it would become a word with so much meaning and power. We have all witnessed an unprecedented year with the highest concern for our health. We fear shaking hands, touching counters, encountering sick people, and covering with masks; all in an attempt to protect our health. As the virus grew across the world in early 2020 my hunger to learn more about our true protection also grew. Our bodies are designed to fight off viruses and heal health issues, but the problem lies in our own health insufficiencies, deficiencies, toxicities, and inability to know how to adapt our lifestyle to build a true resiliency within our immune system, our true first line of defense.
I have been a registered dietitian (RD) for over 20 years and became an advocate for healthy eating in my teens, slowly evolving my diet and lifestyle into one of preservation, anti-inflammation, optimization, rejuvenation, and vibrancy. I believe we should never feel the ills of aging and dis-ease and should all have the ability to live at optimal levels of health, well into our later years. My interest is not a so called “quest” for the fountain of youth, but rather a better understanding of our complex body and the unique requirements it needs in order to function at enhanced levels.
The Issue is in Your Tissue
As an Integrative & Functional Medical Nutrition Therapist, I know there are root issues to every problem in our body. Years of stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, toxins, poor gut health, lack of sufficient sleep, nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalances, genetics, among other things, can take a toll on our health and suppress our ability to heal and be resilient. Around 88% of the American population is metabolically compromised and this is a clear connection to the concern we are all facing with our health. I like to say, “the issue is in your tissue” and you have to get under the layers to better understand true health. It is not just what you eat; but how you live, manage stress, detox your body, and understand your true DNA to determine how you should live your life.
Your Cells are Talking to Each Other
What I have uncovered in my own quest for health is a better understanding of the cellular level. It all boils down to our blueprint, our DNA. Our genes don’t work in isolation, they work with each other and the body’s environment. Coupling our diet, our movement, stress levels, emotional lives, toxic exposures, inflammation, and so many other factors can influence gene expression. Part of understanding our unique DNA is understanding that the role of epigenetics and the ability to turn on and off gene expression, is key. That is the new and fascinating research that is being uncovered in nutrigenomics, it unveils the bigger role on how our lifestyle habits influence our ability to be resilient.
What if I were to tell you that exercise actually inflames your body and makes you gain weight, or that the second cup of coffee will not metabolize out of your body in time to go to bed and is interrupting your sleep. What if I told you your body does not produce enough of the hormone leptin, so you will never feel satisfied after eating a meal. Once you understand how your body is designed, or pathways that may be compromised, it provides me with valuable information to start looking for root issues.
This is one example of how I look at an individual for health dis-ease causes. I look at gut integrity, hormone imbalance, stress, toxic exposure, exercise, sleep, hydration, and emotional wellbeing. I ask the questions people don’t think to ask themselves because they may not see the connection. I have been trained to hunt for these answers because I have been seeking these answers for myself most of my life. I want people to lose weight, and more importantly, I want them to feel great, optimize their health, and live their best life in the most resilient way.
Betsy Opyt is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator, Integrative and Functional Medicine Nutrition Therapist, and RYT200 yoga teacher. She specializes in nutrigenomics, gut health, food sensitivities, detoxing, inflammatory diseases, and longevity living. She understands the importance of living a mindful life and incorporates her background of mindfulness and yoga teaching to her practice. Betsy is a professional speaker and advocate for healthy living and is available for individual consultations, group programs, and speaking engagements.