Get enough sleep: sleep is key to helping your body rebuild and is when your liver is most actively detoxifying your system. Not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain, irritability, decreased immune function and increased stress. Just plan to go to bed 30min earlier than you are now and it will add up over time
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alicia Galvin MEd, RD, LD, CLT, IFNCP
Alicia is a functionally trained registered dietitian and owner of Alicia Galvin LLC, who has practiced in the Dallas/Fort Worth area since 2008. She has a keen interest in gastrointestinal diseases, such as IBS, IBD, and SIBO, as well as has focus infertility, autoimmunity, and chronic inflammatory conditions. In addition to owning her own practice, she also practices as an integrative and functional dietitian at Carpathia Collaborative, a premier functional medicine clinic helping patients develop customized solutions that empower them to take control of their health challenges. She earned a Masters of Education in Counseling from the University of North Texas and completed her Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner (IFNCP) certification with the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy. She has also served on the Executive Committees for the Dietetic Practice Groups Nutrition Entrepreneurs and Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Nutrition of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
Iwas an avid athlete when in grade school, high school and in college. I am a runner and have run several marathons, Ragnar races, and half marathons. So from a young age, I realized the importance of nutrition and wellness in physical performance. One year, in my junior year of high school, I had been in the top 5 runners all year for cross country, so a slot at State was assumed. But in the last race of the regular season, I had not hydrated and fueled properly that week due to academic stressors, so my run that Saturday was awful. So I dropped a slot and wasn’t able to run State that year. I will never forget how angry I was at myself for not taking better care of my body, but it taught me the power of lifestyle and diet. This is also why I became a dietitian in the first place!
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
I have been a registered dietitian for 10 years. TO become an RD, you have to first go through 4 years of a Nutritional Sciences degree which includes all the nutrition courses plus anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, and genetics. Then you have to do a 1–2-year postgraduate internship which rotates you through all the different settings of nutrition. Then you have to sit for a national registration exam, and then become licensed if your state has RD licensure. So I have completed that training as well as additional training in functional nutrition with the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy and Next Level Functional Nutrition, which not every dietitian does. A functionally nutrition trained dietitian always has additional training to look at clients with a different perspective.
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?
There are so many people I need to thank for helping me get here. I have had so many amazing mentors, role models, and dietitians who have served a vital role in shaping me into who I am today. But the first person who comes to mind is my mom. When I first decided to start my own practice, there was a lot of fear and uncertainty about stepping out as a business owner, leaving a salaried job, and having to build a career from scratch. But, she assured me and reassured me every step of the way that this was something I was made for and could succeed. Had it not been for her encouragement, I probably would have not been as confident as I was to push through the tough parts and get my practice going.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
From working with clients over the years, I see several things that get in the way of implementing what we know to be best for us.
- Perceived lack of time: everyone always says that they don’t have enough time for cooking, or thinking about meals, or working out, or eating more veggies, etc. But really this is a perception because everyone starts their day with the same number of hours as everyone else. We only get 24hrs in a day no matter who you are, and every day we wake up with those hours empty until we will them with what is of a priority for us. So it is more about the priority of what we think is most important, and once you make wellness and self care a priority, you find the time
- Conflicting information: I also see people who come in completely confused about what they should do to be healthy- eat fat, don’t eat too much fat, carbs are good, but carbs are bad, you should fast in the morning, no you should eat breakfast. The list goes on. It ends up being overwhelming and so people get stuck
- Not making self a priority: How can you take care of everyone else if you are unhealthy of feel bad? You take care of yourself first so you can be a better parent, caregiver, teacher, business owner, etc because if you are firing at 100%, you are going to be better for those you care for or serve as well.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
1) Incorporate bovine colostrum powder into your daily routine by mixing into coconut or almond milk. Colostrum is an excellent immune-boosting powder that will help balance the immune system, helps with allergies, digestive function, skin irritation, and positively impacts intestinal health. Colostrum is the first milk that all mammals make after giving birth, so it is extra high in immune properties and healing support. I love having clients use this regularly to improve their health and well being.
2) Get enough sleep: sleep is key to helping your body rebuild and is when your liver is most actively detoxifying your system. Not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain, irritability, decreased immune function and increased stress. Just plan to go to bed 30min earlier than you are now and it will add up over time
3) Eat as much organic as possible, but prioritize meats, dairy, eggs and produce as being organic. This will minimize your exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and toxins which can interfere with your metabolism, digestive health, and detox pathways of the body
4) Move every day. Even if it is 5–10 min of high-intensity exercise, that will go further for your health than 1 hr 2–3 days a week. It moved your blood, which carries oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and helps decrease inflammation
5) Reduce the amount of sugar you consume. Removing as much added sugar as possible will help reduce inflammation, body fat, and can improve blood sugar balance which will help with sleep.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
Yes, there are so many! Exercise helps to move blood throughout the body, and when blood moves, so does oxygen and nutrients. So you get more oxygenation to the tissues and organs of the body so they can function more efficiently. Exercise also releases endorphins, or “feel good” hormones so it helps to relieve stress and lifts mood, and increases something called BDNF or Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor which encourages the growth of new neurons in the brain. It also helps with digestion which is a critical step of your detoxification pathway!
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical? A 7 min Tabata HIIT type workout because it helps improve insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular markers. Walking, because the body has just been made to walk. And yoga, because stretching and breathwork has been shown to improve memory, reduce stress, and improve balance which is important as people age.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
My favorite way to help prevent soreness is to use liposomal bovine colostrum. I find this really shortens recovery time for athletes and those starting a workout regimen. Colostrum has been shown to improve immune function and recovery for athletes. The growth factors in colostrum are now known to enhance muscle tone, stimulate protein synthesis and slow protein breakdown, and shift metabolism from burning carbs to burning fats.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life? My favorite is Ralph Waldo Emerson, so much so that part of it is tattooed on my rib cage:
What is success?
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate the beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch Or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Twitter: @Alicia GS_RD
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!