Oola had the opportunity to chat with Gisela Bouvier, a registered dietitian, and ask her questions about nutrition and dietitians. She touches on how the line between healthy foods and unhealthy foods is blurrier than we think, how we can learn from one another’s diets and journeys towards better health, and how technology can get in the way of eating properly. Read on to learn more from this nutrition expert!
Who Is Gisela Bouvier?
Gisela: I am a bilingual wife, mom, and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist from Miami FL, now living in Southwest FL. I received my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University in 2008 and my Master’s of Business Administration degree from Saint Leo University in 2014. Over the past 10 years, I have been fortunate enough to have worked in a variety of Nutrition fields, including Acute Care, Long Term Care, Food Service, and Bariatrics.
Since September 2016, I have been the owner of Mindfully Intuitive Nutrition, a Nutrition Consulting company. The majority of my business is dedicated to Corporate Wellness programs, focusing on Mindful and Intuitive Eating. My approach in Corporate Wellness is an all-foods inclusive approach, focused on taking diets out of the office, and nourishment back in. I also host Mindful and Intuitive Eating workshops at local Universities and businesses and host Virtual Small Group Counseling seminars for women.
My passion is to help my clients find the tools that will work for them, without stress, rigid structure, or it only being short-term. Food and nutrition create memories, traditions, experiences, and moments, and my mission is for food to be enjoyed once again. I am also a Certified Spanish Interpreter and Certified Barre Instructor.
Oola: What inspired you to focus on the field of diet and nutrition?
Gisela: Since high school, I suffered from an Eating Disorder (ED). I sought help, but no one could help cure me from ED. Senior year, I took a fitness and wellness class and thought it was my cure-all and thought: “I can help other women eat healthy and not struggle like I did. I am going to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.” However, as college began and so did other life circumstances, my Eating Disorder worsened. It was 2 years after I started working as a Dietitian that I sought help – this time for good. It was in inpatient treatment that I discovered Mindful and Intuitive Eating. The journey and healing were long, but lead me to where I am today.
When individuals are all seeking better health, but are all on different journeys and have different experiences, they learn from one another.
Oola: You specialize in Corporate Wellness and Group Programs. Can you elaborate on what that entails?
Gisela: I specialize in Corporate Wellness and Group Programs because I absolutely love the community that is created amongst groups. When individuals are all seeking better health, but are all on different journeys and have different experiences, they learn from one another. They share tools, resources, are relatable to one another, and hold themselves accountable. I guide and host my group programs, but the attendees are the ones who truly create it by vocalizing their needs and sharing their stories.
One of my favorite experiences was in my Corporate Wellness group. Three co-workers used the Hunger Scale to check in on their hunger levels every day before lunch. Then they checked in on their fullness at the end of their meal to ensure they had eaten adequately, without feeling overly full. The relied on each other to practice the tools they were learning in the program workshops.
Oola: What’s a common misconception people have about working with a Dietitian?
Gisela: One of the greatest misconceptions people make is that they believe Dietitians are all going to put them on a diet or that we eat very rigidly.
I do not believe in “good” foods vs “bad” foods. No single food item is going to provide you with your most optimal health and no single food item is going to be detrimental to your health.
Oola: One day we read in the news that something is bad for us, the next day we read it’s good. Is there a rule of thumb or method to use to figure out which to believe?
Gisela: I do not believe in “good” foods vs “bad” foods (or “whole” vs “processed,” “natural” vs “junk”). No single food item is going to provide you with your most optimal health and no single food item is going to be detrimental to your health – it is all about overall lifestyle and balance. Further, the moment a food item is labeled as “bad,” it becomes prohibited or restricted, which may hinder someone’s experience around food.
Oola: What’s a food that a lot of people consider healthy that is actually pretty unhealthy?
Gisela: “Healthy” vs “Unhealthy” is very vague. What one may perceive as healthy, may not be healthy for someone else. For example: Red meat may be part of a healthy diet for someone who eats meat, while it may be considered very unhealthy for someone who follows a Vegan lifestyle.
Oola: Eating healthy while traveling can be a real challenge. Any tips for making it more manageable?
Gisela: It is important to always pack snacks or a meal with you if you are traveling. If I am traveling on the plane and long-distance, I like to bring a fiber-rich and high protein meal with me to keep me fuller longer. If a full meal isn’t for you, then snacks are always key to prevent over-hunger while traveling. Fruit, trail mix/nuts, granola/protein bars, and nut butter sandwiches can be great snacks to keep handy.
Oola: What’s a big trend in American diets that you think is really positive or negative?
Gisela: The use of supplements has always been a big trend in American diets. The latest supplement craze is Collagen or Collagen Peptides, which is derived from animal sources and is said to improve skin, nails, and joint pain. Unfortunately, the research is still inconclusive of its long-term benefits or effects.
Oola: If you could only keep one of the following items in your diet for the rest of time, which would it be: Coffee, Ice Cream, or Bacon?
Gisela: I would keep Coffee in my diet but only because I prefer Cookies over Ice Cream any day, and I do not eat Bacon (due to preference, not restriction).
Any time you have the opportunity to disconnect from technology, sit at a table, and integrate all of your senses into your meal, do so.
Oola: What advice do you have to give to our readers for living life to their tastes while maintaining a healthy diet?
Gisela: My greatest advice is to try to make mealtime as sacred and important as possible. Any time you have the opportunity to disconnect from technology, sit at a table, and integrate all of your senses into your meal, do so. This allows you to connect with your body’s internal cues and recognize your hunger and fullness and what flavors and tastes you enjoy most.
If you do not like a certain food, do not eat it. Further, if you like something, do not restrict it. If you focus on including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet and honor your hunger and fullness, you can maintain a very healthy lifestyle.
Oola: Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Gisela: Remember that nutrition is not a One Size Fits All approach. None of us have the same likes, schedules, lifestyles, traditions, or regimens. Take time to think about what will help you in your health journey and always take it one day at a time, one meal at a time.
Learn More About Gisela And Follow Her Work At:
Name: Gisela Bouvier
Expertise: Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Company: Mindfully Intuitive Nutrition
Specialties: Mindful Eating, Intuitive Eating, Corporate Wellness
Awards: Miami Dietetic Association Young RDN of the Year 2010.