In early January, I had the opportunity to work with Cassie Mendoza-Jones, a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist, and the founder of Elevate Vitality. She is also the author or two eBooks, Cleansed and the Cleansed Kitchen Companion, as well as the creator of an online group coaching program, Cleansed. I tried out her 1-week paleo diet, which was definitely an interesting experience. Although I don’t think a strict paleo diet is quite the right fit for my life, I definitely appreciated many aspects of it and have been making small adjustments to my everyday food choices based upon the things that worked well for me. I’m actually looking to try one or two more of her fabulous plans in the very near future!
I had a few questions for Cassie regarding her work as a holistic nutritionist and her general thoughts about a few “food issues”. She’s so passionate about her work and extremely dedicated to helping others live a healthy, well-balanced life. I wish I could sit down with her over a cup of tea to get her advice, but this will have to do for now! I always love hearing what the pros have to say, and thought you guys would too. Enjoy!
What is your favourite part of your job in holistic nutrition and naturopathy?
I love helping patients find solutions to health issues they thought they couldn’t resolve.
Have you always “eaten clean”? If not, what made you decide to change?
I’ve always eaten a pretty clean diet but learning how food really affects us all so differently has changed the way I view my own diet. I am really aware of how food affects my mood and energy levels, so I always aim to eat foods which elevate my vitality (hence the name of my business) as our diets form the basis of our overall health.
What is the most common complaint or concern that people have who come to you for nutrition advice?
I mostly help women with anxiety, depression, fatigue and adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalances and digestive issues.
What’s your go-to snack?
A homemade bliss ball and green juice or almond butter on a couple of corn thins.
Why is it advised that people limit their dairy and wheat amounts even if they do not display intolerances?
Dairy can be difficult to digest – especially if you purchase a poor quality product – and gluten can cause damage to the lining of the digestive system and affect mood as well, but if you show absolutely no signs of intolerance then a small amount of organic dairy and sourdough bread is ok. Sourdough bread has 50% less gluten than other breads.
Which of our 6 meal plans is the most popular?
The weight loss meal plan and the hormone balancing meal plan.
If you were trapped on a deserted island, which 3 food items would you hope grew there and why?
Coconuts! Which would be likely. Chickens (then you get chicken and eggs) and dark leafy green veggies.
What is one of the biggest misconceptions about food and eating that you see?
That what works for one person will work for another. Everyone is different and all of our actions around improving our health should take note of this.
I liked many components of the paleo diet, but I’m not much of a meat eater. I also missed a few of my staples like yogurt, oatmeal, sweet potato, etc. I did feel much more alert and less bloated during my paleo week, though. Can you suggest anything for a happy medium?
Exactly what you said you missed, you can include in your diet. You have to always make your diet work for you, so it feels good to you.
Cassie Mendoza-Jones is a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and entrepreneur who believes in the healing power of nature (and a good dark chocolate).
Cassie founded Elevate Vitality, a boutique naturopathic clinic in the heart of Bondi Beach which specialises in healing digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, anxiety, stress and depression. She is the author of the Cleansed eBook and Cleansed eCourse. Cassie has a wall of qualifications in Naturopathy, Nutritional Medicine, and Western Herbal Medicine. She’s constantly delving deeper into the wonderfully fascinating world of health, and has studied Kinesiology and completed post-grad studies in Human Nutrition.