This month, we have our mind on all things nutrition and gut health which is why we've invited three of our favourite nutritionists in town and are throwing a picnic party-slash-workshop on our rooftop. To lead up to it, we are highlighting each of the nutritionists, each week. Read up on Emma Andrews today and sign up for the picnic here.
Why nutrition/ How did you fall into this line of work?
I grew up in one of the most beautiful parts of the world (totally unbiased), Canada’s ranching heartland – the foothills of Alberta - yet I struggled with pervasive allergies and asthma triggered by the very environment I loved being in (pollen, hay, grass, animal hair…)
My symptoms peaked in university with the onset of chronic bronchitis. I was taking multiple inhalers (which had terrible side effects, like voice alteration from the cortisone), was often absent from class, and despite a love of running was unable to exercise at high intensity. For a girl in her early 20’s, I was not thriving. But I was determined this wasn’t my “fate”.
Motivated by a desire to be active without limitations and live prescription free, I became obsessively interested in learning about, and exploring alternative approaches to healing. I was lucky enough that my Mum, a Registered Nurse, first encouraged me to see a Naturopathic Doctor. Together we identify food triggers, utilized Bowen therapy (addressing central nervous system imbalances), and through my own insatiable research, I soon became immersed in the world of holistic health.
Through various (positive!) life choices I moved to Vancouver in 2008, and I decided to take my enthusiasm for natural health to the next level. I made a career pivot (from the non-profit sector) and enrolled in the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition to obtain my Registered Holistic Nutritionist designation. Mid way through the program, life took an unexpected turn.
In December 2009 we lost my Dad to a sudden heart attack. While there was a family history of (non-fatal) heart disease, my Dad’s scenario did not fit the majority of “standard criteria”. My family was always highly active (in large part due to my Dad’s example), he didn’t smoke, wasn’t obese, and was only 53 years’ old. This experience solidified for me the importance of a holistic approach to health, and that it would be impossible to do anything but this line of work.
Today I believe and advocate that lasting health is a combination of dietary strategies, lifestyle modifications, and natural supplementation when needed. My mission is to help educate and empower others to take a proactive approach towards their longevity. We’re in this together. For the long run.
If you could be anything else/ do anything else in this lifetime, what would that be?
I’ve always known I would be a teacher/educator of some kind…so I have absolutely no regrets about where I’m at right now. The work I do at Pineapple Collective, helping natural health and wellness brands tell their story, is rewarding and stimulating.
However, Emma in the early 2000’s was wild about horses, so I had a fantasy of becoming a park warden! I’d imagine having a rugged horse, a loyal dog, bathe in fresh glacial water in the mountains, write poetry by the fire at night. Ahhh bliss.
What are you currently obsessed with?
Based on my belief that lasting health is a combination of diet, lifestyle and smart supplementation choices…here’s a current obsession from each category
Dietary: Turmeric! It took me quite a long time to really get in the habit of embracing this superfood, but now I have it in my coffee (Nuez turmeric almond milk), add the spice to dips and salad dressing, and take a capsule as a nightly supplement.
Lifestyle: Applying the principle of: “if it’s not a heck yes, it’s a hard no”. I used to think being busy was motivating, but after struggling with burnout and adrenal fatigue in recent years, I realized streamlining my commitments down to the things that truly add joy and value to my life (and then releasing feelings of guilt about all the rest) was important for both my mental and physical health.
Supplementation: The Purefood vitamins from Pranin Organics. Their powders are made from 100% real food, and I have personally seen a huge improvement in my iron levels (bouncing back from anemia), my immune function, and overall moods and energy. And they are a local company!
Who is your hero?
My Momma bear. For her compassionate and intelligent approach to nursing vulnerable people, as well as for the transformation she’s had over the past (near) decade since my Dad’s passing. She had to sell the family farm, all my Dad’s beloved animals – save for his horse - and the 100’s of acres they worked so hard for. She’s ‘surthrived’, and is smiling with glee at life again. To me, that is heroic.
What does health look like to you?
Being able to answer “YES” to these three questions:
1. Is your heart happy?
2. Is your mind calm?
3. Is your body resilient?
Notice how these three things have nothing to do with the size of your pants, how fast you can run, or how much you can lift. Being healthy is about a quality of life, not a comparative measurement.