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On a path to optimal health

Christine Gingerich used to comb the shelves of her aunt and uncle’s health food store, feeling inspired to lead a healthy life. An active athlete, she had always stayed fit in school. It was after graduation that she dropped the ball, trading in her sports and health enthusiasm for irresistible sugary treats.

Gingerich looks back at that point in her life as a welcome wake-up call that eventually led to a career in lifestyle coaching and a recent book on the subject of optimal nutrition: a collection of recipes, lifestyle suggestions and grocery shopping advice for children and adults acquired in what she describes as a 30-year journey.

“I knew what it was like to work hard and eat off of the land and eat whole food, but I also ate a lot of sugary sweets so that really groomed a sweet tooth,” she said, adding that her love of sweets took a wrong turn after high school ended.

Gingerich took her health back in Wilfrid Laurier University, studying physical education. She got to work on getting healthy by mapping out a one-hour daily walking route around Waterloo and creating recipes that were both healthy and satisfied her love of rich, whole foods. Over the course of six months the weight melted away, her skin began to glow and others started asking for her advice. As a result, Gingerich’s business as a lifestyle coach began.

Diets made up of whole foods consist of unprocessed, unrefined products. Feeling wholeheartedly confident in her take on food and wellness and its results, Gingerich is approaching a wider public forum through a recently published book on eating whole and organic foods while following her health and wellness program.

Christine Gingerich is the author of Optimal You, a book on nutrition and whole foods she created with the help of a team of women from the region. [elena maystruk / the observer]
As a teacher at various schools in Waterloo Region, she has always felt a pang of frustration when she saw children making unhealthy food choices. She became increasingly concerned about students’ energy levels and ability to concentrate on tasks in the classroom.

“I saw this increasing difficulty over the 15 years of teaching and I knew there was a fuel connection. I knew that what they were eating was affecting their learning,” she said.

“I had a light bulb go off in my head. I can talk and talk until I’m blue in the face to these children but they’re not purchasing the groceries, moms and dads are. I knew I had to start talking to moms and dads.”

A few years ago her research for the book culminated in an informal case study consisting of seven women of varying ages who agreed to help Gingerich put her findings to the test and to provide input.

“Those women lived off of this food and this lifestyle for about a year. I had great feedback from them and they inspired me with lots of wonderful ideas,” she explained.

The book was completed in collaboration with a team of women from Heidelberg, New Hamburg, Baden and Stratford who handled photography and editorial work.

The book features a collection of recipes that use whole foods such as eggs, milk, butter, extra virgin olive oil and organic foods when possible. Switching out what she calls the “low-fat myth” for full-fat, organic products is all about portion control, she maintains.

One of the focuses in the book are ways to make room for organic produce on a budget and Gingerich outlines budgeting and grocery shopping tips in her latest work.

The book Optimal You will soon be on the shelves of local, independent book and health stores throughout the region including three confirmed locations: the Town Pantry Health Food Store and Health Coach in New Hamburg as well as Oak Manor Farms in Tavistock. For now those interested in purchasing a book can call Christine Gingerich at (519) 662-3548.

“I took all of the recipes I had collected throughout the years; I tweaked them to be as healthy as possible and as delicious as possible.”


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