We are nutrition obsessed.
So naturally we were thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Michelle Tirmandi - a Toronto based and online nutritionist helping women eat well and fell better. Not only does Michelle work magic in the kitchen, but as she explains it, her desire is to help create healthy relationships with food and decipher the complexities of healthy eating for women in her community. Here, Michelle shares valuable insights on everything from food to motherhood and self-care.
We love how you approach nutrition with simplicity and practicality. Can you share a little bit more about your journey to becoming a nutritionist and creating michellenutrition.ca?
Thank you :) My journey to become a nutritionist came about in somewhat of a roundabout way. In my early teenage years and well into my mid-twenties I struggled with an eating disorder. Yet, never in a million years did I expect to work in a career helping others with their food and wellness!
In university I studied psychology and human behaviour. After university I decided to follow my passion for teaching and later attended teachers college but found it wasn't the career for me. Somehow I ended up working in marketing consulting and brand management, and after 7 years I was completely burned out and I learned again that it wasn't going to be a lifelong career for me!
During my years working in the corporate world I started to think about how I wanted to live the remainder of my life and came to the conclusion that I didn't want to continue living the lifestyle I was living.
It sounds like your story is similar to many as far as the experience of being on a totally different path than the one you are on today. Was there a specific AHA moment that really changed everything for you?
I remember being on a vacation with a few girlfriends in Mexico when the conversation came up around what we would all do if we could quit our jobs and do anything we wanted. I mentioned that I would be a nutritionist so that I could help others with their relationship to food and teach them how to cook nourishing wholesome meals. After I said it out loud I immediately dismissed the idea but my friends insisted that nothing stood in my way of pursuing nutrition as a career! This sparked the seed for me to begin my journey to become the nutritionist that I wish I would have been able to see while I was struggling with my issues with food and nutrition.
Going through your own relationship issues with food must have really shaped your current nutritional philosophy. What is your nutritional philosophy and what do you love most about working as a nutritionist?
My philosophy at Michelle Nutrition is based on the idea that we all have a unique relationship to food. My hope is to help encourage women to form a healthy relationship with food and to learn to use food in the most nourishing way possible. I love teaching women about nutrition, intuitive eating, self care and how to cook simple meals! I also love to bring women together to create communities where we support each other in wellness, business and now in motherhood!
Not only are you a nutritionist but you are a mom to your 9 month old daughter. Now that you have baby Isla, has your perspective on nutrition changed at all? If so, how?
Now that I have Isla my perspective on nutrition has shifted in some unexpected ways. I am more conscious of my own relationship to food and I think often about how I can help set the groundwork for her having a positive body image and relationship to food.
On a more practical level, my perspective on nutrition has changed to be all about simplicity and ease. I now realize how much time children take up! Although I do love spending time in my kitchen, my time is much more limited then they used to be. My hope is to be able to support other busy women (both mamas and non mamas) with ideas and inspiration on how they can nourish themselves in a way that provides abundant energy and nutrition in fast, simple ways!
Any nutritional words of wisdom or tips for new moms?
I laughed a little to myself when I read this, as if to say "you are asking ME for advice for new mamas?!". Most of the time I feel like I am in way over my head and have no idea what I am doing in both my business and in motherhood! Yet, at the same time, what I have learned about eating and nutrition I have found also somewhat applies to motherhood: for example - following your gut and doing/eating what feels nourishing, being kind to yourself and not over complicating things is key!
I'm sure every mother out there reading this let out a big AMEN right along with you! Your honesty is so refreshing and welcome.
I have seen so many women looking for nutritional guidance after baby arrives and a lot of times it comes down to focusing on nourishing whole foods, moving more and choosing to love ourselves first. I really do try to focus on the underlying issues surrounding why we may wish to make nutritional changes so that we can work from a place of self love, acceptance and positivity which I have found is a much better way to make a lasting lifestyle change then a simple, quick fix diet.
You're right. There are tons of moms (and non moms, and moms to be) out there looking for nutritional support. And frankly, any tools that helps make eating healthy easier and more sustainable. Any plans to create something special for them?
I started an online meal planning subscription program called NourishandGlow. It's meant to help busy women plan simple meals by delivering weekly meal plans and recipe inspiration Right in their inbox every week. It's super affordable ($10 month or $100 for the year) and we have a developing community of women who are loving it.
We couldn't agree more. Between a business and a baby, understandably, you probably don't get much "mommy time." But if/when you do, what are some of your favorite self-care rituals to indulge in?
I must admit that I am learning to be kinder to myself and try to prioritize self care more! Usually, when I do get some time to myself it involves a yoga class at my favourite studio, a massage, or a bath and face mask at home with a glass of wine (or two!).
When it comes to self-care and/or nutrition, what do you hope Isla learns from you?
It is so important for me to model self love and self acceptance to Isla. As I mentioned above, I struggled for so many years with my body image, self-esteem and feelings of never being good enough and I never wish for her to go through that. I also have a vision of us cooking in the kitchen together the way that I grew up cooking in the kitchen with my dad. I'm not sure if she will be into it, but I would love to teach her how to cook, bake and appreciate the amazing power of food from an early age!
We like to get different perspectives about the meaning of self-care. What does self-care mean to you, and has the meaning changed since becoming a new mom?
The meaning of self care has definitely shifted for me recently from care in the physical sense to be more about my mental and emotional care. I am working hard at saying NO more often and choosing to follow my gut and intuition more. I also feel that I have been bitten by the 'busy bug' and find myself constantly trying to tackle to-do lists that are totally unrealistic and leave me feeling like a failure. My hope is to model self care to Isla in a way that demonstrates true love, acceptance and decision making and that is reflective of following my true desires that make me feel good vs. feelings about doing things that you believe 'should' be done.