Create time to relax and play: Our adrenal glands are our stress modulators and if they are working too hard an imbalance will occur. In addition to weight gain or lack of weight loss other systems will become imbalanced like thyroid and blood sugars and can greatly affect sleep. Exercise is instrumental in balancing cortisol, our main stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Epsom salt baths are also helpful for cortisol production.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Risa Groux.
Risa Groux, CN is a Functional Nutritionist in private practice in Newport Beach, California. She looks at root causes using functional nutrition guidelines and knows that weight loss is a side effect of wellness. In addition to her private practice, Risa has a line of non-GMO, gluten, dairy, and soy free products including the RGN 14-day Detox, collagen proteins, chocolate bars, and supplements. You can also find Risa on CBS’s channels 2 & 9 in LA Metro, Good Day LA for many Wellness Wednesdays and Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family. FoodFrame, Risa’s first book will be out early 2021.
Company Name: Risa Groux Nutrition, Inc
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I have always had a passion for nutrition for as long as I can remember. I have a degree in business and enjoyed a career in radio along with professional sports teams finishing as the Director of Sports Marketing for The Mighty Ducks hockey team. While I loved working within the sports and radio industries, I read every book on nutrition in my spare time. I finally decided to go back to school to become a clinical nutritionist and loved every second! While going to school, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid. That accelerated my knowledge and inspired me to become a Certified Autoimmune Coach in addition to a Clinical Nutritionist. Once working for a few years I was introduced to functional medicine and functional nutrition and it just clicked for me. It gave me the tools to provide the blueprint for each person I worked with as we are all different. It has been hugely successful for me and my clients and makes wellness attainable for all. I believe that weight loss is a side effect of wellness and it’s proven to me every day. I absolutely love watching people heal!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
I was asked to work with the season 4 champion of The Biggest Loser TV show. Jim Germanakos is a great guy and had lost 186 pounds on the show and gained every pound back within a couple of years. It became apparent quite quickly that he was not taught about nutrition but rather was put on a calorie restrictive program paired with consistent high impact exercise. It was clear this method was unsustainable and we needed to start with the basics. He thrived on the Risa Groux Nutrition Detox then followed with an eating lifestyle filled with anti-inflammatory foods that he enjoyed. Yes, he lost weight but more importantly, he achieved wellness and gained an understanding of how to maintain it.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I manufactured my first whole food cleanse when I was fairly new to the nutrition business. It was a success in terms of effectiveness but I discontinued manufacturing as it was cost intensive and came with many operating challenges. I have since made a new detox with all the knowledge I gained from the first attempt and am much wiser for the initial experience!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have been very fortunate to have two particular doctors as mentors who taught me everything about blood testing. They shared their vast array of knowledge, taught me how everything is connected all with great patience and grace! I am forever grateful to them and will pass it along to those who need it.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I focus on root causes of health concerns. I order blood and stool tests for every client I work with so I can get the blueprint for each individual. As a result, I can focus on what is the underlying health issue such as blood sugar dysregulation, systemic inflammation, gut issues or something else. Once I know the roots, we can address them naturally with food and supplements and begin the healing process. The greater impact is seen when those clients change how they eat which inevitably affects those around them. I see it all the time with client’s spouses, children, coworkers and friends and it’s one of my favorite things about what I do. In addition, I commonly see people gain great confidence as I believe eating clean is the highest form of self-respect so it bleeds into other aspects of their lives in an amazingly positive way.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Remove inflammatory foods from the diet: Systemic inflammation is a driver of disease therefore it is crucial to remove inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, and sugar so the body can create optimal wellness.
- Stabilize blood sugar: When blood sugar is dysregulated and insulin resistance or pre-diabetes or diabetes exists, the body is in a state of inflammation. In addition, blood sugar dysregulation can be the catalyst to many imbalances throughout the body such as adrenals, uric acid (that leads to gout) and thyroid function.
- Decrease or eliminate alcohol: The liver is the king of the castle and it is imperative to maintain its optimal function. Alcohol can be the source of fatty liver and cause blood sugar dysregulation among other things. Most wine contains sulfites and sulfates along with chemicals in addition to being higher in sugar than other alcohol choices. Tequila, vodka and gin are lower sugar choices and best enjoyed in moderation.
- Detox regularly: The average American comes in contact with over 200 toxins just before she’s left the bathroom each morning. Chemicals are in shampoos, conditioners, soaps, make-up, nail polish, deodorant, and perfumes along with chemicals in our food, and toxins we breathe in on a daily basis. Ridding the body of these toxins is critical for optimal functioning of the organs. Weight loss is a side effect of wellness so most people lose weight but it’s a wellness program I recommend 2–4 times a year.
- Create time to relax and play: Our adrenal glands are our stress modulators and if they are working too hard an imbalance will occur. In addition to weight gain or lack of weight loss other systems will become imbalanced like thyroid and blood sugars and can greatly affect sleep. Exercise is instrumental in balancing cortisol, our main stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Epsom salt baths are also helpful for cortisol production.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would make it mandatory for every person to get regular blood and stool tests to determine a person’s health. This would provide a blueprint for prevention rather than treating illness when it’s already prevalent. In addition, I would mandate trying natural remedies and modalities before a drug prescription is given. Modern medicine has its place but I would love to change the “pill for an ill” method that we have and go to more of a natural or integrative approach before we reach for the drugs.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Not everyone is as committed to their health as I am. I learned that everyone has a different value and timeline regarding their health. People have different levels of what they will do to earn their health.
- People have a lot of emotion tied to their food. Everyone has a different background with food stemmed from their culture, childhood, how they were rewarded, celebrated, or punished.
- I would make profound life changes for many. I am amazed and humbled by the wide net of affect my work has made for so many. It deeply pleases me that lives has been improved that will likely be passed down to further generations.
- I would be working with professional athletes. I have been so fortunate to work with a multitude of amazing people among them professional athletes and some celebrities. I treat everyone the same but it’s fun to see the improved performance of professional athletes as it’s so concrete and visible to many.
- The impact I make can be accessible to people worldwide. In addition to working with people via zoom around the world, my book FoodFrame (coming early 2021) will achieve a greater reach for those who cannot work with me one on one.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
The environment is a huge passion of mine because it greatly impacts the food we eat! We only have one planet and it needs protection with all the chemicals and technology it wasn’t built for. I am hoping that soon the United States comes to the conclusion that we have everything we need with clean and nutrient rich soil and animals that are fed what they were born to eat. If we can decrease our chemicals, clean up the environment and go back to basics, we will see an improved impact in our health and healthcare system.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Facebook: Risa Groux Nutrition
Podcast: The Diet Dilemma
Thank you for these fantastic insights!