Health coach Evey Schweig offers a simple directive to her clients about proper nutrition.
“Everything you eat literally becomes part of yourselves,” Schweig said. “Once you start to understand the quality of the food you are eating, then that is the start of understanding and making changes in your life.”
Given that perspective, Schweig emphasizes the benefits of healthier foods, which she believes do not require spending large amounts of time for preparation. She said she aimed to bring that perspective in a demonstration on the preparation of snack foods at a June 21 lecture delivered at the Takiff Center, after inclement weather forced it out of the intended location of the Glencoe Community Garden.
Speaking after her presentation, Schweig mentioned she made “roly-poly apple pie bites,” powerseed bars sans oats and chocolate hummus. She said she created all of them in less than an hour using natural whole food ingredients such as almonds, apples, bananas, cocoa and chickpeas.
“I made them creamy, I made them crunchy. Just to show you can satisfy whatever food cravings you have,” she said afterward. “These are much healthier snack options than what is being marketed to us with processed foods.”
Schweig, who has been working as a health coach for five years after previously earning a biology degree, noted people tend to overeat when sugar levels get too low and they are seeking a quick energy burst. However, she believes energy bursts are only beneficial for people in extreme situations such as running a marathon, but for the most part, they lead to weight gains.
“You want to eat healthier foods to avoid the trap of eating foods that cause energy crashes,” Schweig noted.
Therefore, Schweig said she designs recipes made from healthy fats, proteins and fiber.
“They are natural sources for sugar the body metabolizes more slowly for sustained energy,” Schweig said.
She said too much processed sugar might lead to chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
“We need to get away from the processed foods, the added sugars, chemicals and the additives that are added just to make sure the foods stay fresh until they are purchased,” Schweig said.
Besides the snack preparation tips, Schweig provided advice on how to read food nutrition fact labels, referencing the Altman Rule, named after a doctor who wanted to improve American dietary habits.
That part of the demonstration resonated with Nina Schroeder; one of the co-founders of the Glencoe Community Garden who said she attended the Schweig lecture.
“When you read a label of packaged food product or snack, the fiber plus protein should be greater than the added sugar,” Schroeder said after the meeting. “It was more intuitive than fact based but now it gives someone definite sense if they are buying packaged snacks on what to look for.”
While noting exercise is also important for overall, Schweig said some people have reservations about modifying their diet and that is why as a health coach, she advocates step-by-step changes, not a complete overhaul at once.
“If people want change,” Schweig said. “It is beneficial to look at their lifestyle as a whole and then make appropriate changes.”