Are you tired of counting calories and dieting to get nowhere? Does it feel like a merry go around? What do your emotions say about you? It’s time to stop the madness! We wanted to know how to look at the whole picture to create healing in the body and be our best self so we asked the expert, Marjan Mogharrabi, a holistic nutritionist to share her secret with us.

Marjan Mogharrabi, a holistic nutritionist, so passionate about all things related to health. She does not stop at food and counting calories because she believes that the body is more than just the physical. To be healthy or create healing we need to look at the body as a whole, the emotional stuff, physical symptoms, mentally, and even the spiritual.​

Welcome Marjan, thank you for taking the time to sit down and chat with us. We are so excited to have you share your passion for mindful eating and healthy tips with us. Let’s dive right in, where do you get your motivation and inspiration each day?

Great question! Something I’ve been doing fairly recently is journal writing and meditation, as well and just allowing myself an opportunity each day to check in with myself. I take the opportunity to sit quietly and check-in with those feelings I’ve been carrying around. I have struggled a lot with anxiety and mood imbalances in my life and I’ve noticed that if I give myself the time to open up at the beginning of the day and let those feelings come to the surface and really feel them then I have better days. Therefore, my motivation and inspiration often times comes from just sitting with the feelings first thing in the morning.

Sounds great! So a personal check in every morning? Yeah, I would say that’s a good thing!

I wish more people did this because most of us just get up and get going we don’t think to check-in. Now, I’m starting to realize all of those times that I felt anxious was because I was on somebody else’s schedule with all of the go, go, go, and not taking that time for my life.

Speaking of personal check-ins, what role do emotions contribute to being healthy or unhealthy? 

I don’t know how they contribute to being unhealthy. However, I’ve recently come to realize that people are still trying to figure out both emotionally and physically where they’re coming from. I believe it’s still important to help them try to figure it out a lot quicker. As I mentioned, I have struggled a lot with anxiety, however, part of that is just the worldly mentality that says if I feel these negative emotions just suck it up and go through life, just keep pushing through! I now know we’re better than those emotions, we can just take hold of them and recognize the reason why those emotions are coming up in the first place. Our bodies are always communicating with us. We’re not just physical beings and those emotions coming up are trying to tell us something. Our intuition might be signaling to us and the more we pay attention to it and allow the process to take place with those feelings by bringing them to the surface, we grow healthier. So at the end of the day, we feel better and more motivated with the focus to continue with our day. 

So do you notice that people who come to see you know if they’re stuffing emotions? Does it show up in an unhealthy way? 

I think this happens often with my clients. I notice it shows up most in terms of lack of motivation and inspiration across all areas of their life. Many times they’ll say ” I don’t feel like going to the gym or I don’t feel like working out at all” I’m not a personal trainer, so I don’t know if it’s related to being too hard for them because I don’t do that type of work. However, oftentimes, by the end of our sessions after they’ve worked with me over the course of five or six sessions, they themselves are finding that they’ve discovered a reason for many of their challenges and why things are the way they are. Now, that it makes more sense to them, they seem to be excited to get up and go to work in the morning.  Also, they are excited to go and do a workout or the activity they’ve been avoiding without all of the effort to think about it first. If some are still not ready I mention to them to wait until we get started on some of the work we’ll be doing. When some of those emotions start to come up I encourage them to allow them to pass through other areas of their life where they find success or their passion.

That’s great! Tell us about what you see in your practice regarding the young women, what do they desire to be? 

Whew, that’s a great question! I think a lot of times they are struggling with anxiety and mood imbalances. I think sometimes when they come to me they think that I’m only in the business of eating healthier. I commend that and I’m open to it! I am a holistic nutritionist so predominantly what I do is give food recommendations. What people don’t realize when we change our relationship with food what a difference it makes in terms of every other area of our life. A lot of times they’re coming to me because they want to eat healthier but it actually goes beyond that. I think when they realize this they tend to have a newfound motivation for living a healthier life whatever this means for them. I would never dictate to anyone what this looks like for them! So what a healthy life means to somebody is something they discover over the course of the time they work with me.

So much like self-discovery?

Yeah, I would say that! Also, when they start to see how holistic health can help change their lives it’s exciting. One of the things I always joke about is that health is beyond just eating an apple a day and keeping the doctor away. We are not just about what we eat. It’s so much bigger than that. Once they start digging into their health a little bit, they start changing a few eating habits they become inspired to do more! Now they start to branch out into other areas of their health and ask, “what else have I been suppressing for so long”?  

Oh, I love that! At the end of the day, you’re a resource, but they have to live with themselves and carry it forward? Yeah. Perfect! What are some of your favorite tips for getting a good night’s sleep? 

Oh, this is another good one! I actually struggle with this myself. So can I just be honest here, I’m not a perfect person! I understand the importance of sleep and I think sleep obviously plays a big factor in our mood and our cravings plus everything in life depends on a good night’s sleep. Our bodies are repairing at night so when we don’t give our bodies that chance to rest and repair we can just wreak havoc on basically everything else in our life. One of the things that some of my clients struggle with is not just falling asleep and getting a good night’s sleep, but it’s that they often wake up multiple times at night due to anxiety and mood imbalance issues. This is creating a lot of stress in their bodies and when they have high levels of stress in the day and their cortisol is firing off at different times of the day, oftentimes, the body gets confused, when it’s night time. Now, those same hormones want to start to fire off at night even though the body is supposed to be resting and repairing. 

One of the first things that we try to do is diminish their stress throughout the day. First off, we identify those stressors and it doesn’t just have to be things that we often consider as stressors. Sometimes there are things that are happening inside of our bodies as well. In terms of food, oftentimes, blood sugar can be kind of going a little bit wonky and this itself is a form of stress in the body. 

Basically, I look to identify and diminish some stressors in the game not just for myself but for my clients too! Another thing, which has really helped me and some of my clients from a physical perspective would be taking a look at your magnesium levels. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant with 500 different benefits for the body including our nervous system. Therefore, one of the things I recommend is for clients to just take a look at their magnesium levels and maybe supplement because it’s not something we get in our food. I find that this really helps me and them at the end of the day. I take a magnesium supplement to help relax my body, it’s not a sedative, so I can continue with my evening tasks calmly. 

Another sleep point is I recommend is putting my phone on airplane mode. I think that we get a lot of output from our phones during the day, not just on our own, but everyone else’s phone or technology in general. We’re constantly bombarded all the time and while we’re sleeping we obviously don’t need these distractions. So I definitely recommend just shutting off your phone completely or just switching it on to airplane mode so you’re not getting all of those notifications.

Another thing, that I try to do in a roundabout way related to sleep is to make sure that my bed is always made first thing in the morning. If my bed is made after I wake up, I find that when I go into my room at the end of the day, I feel compelled to want to rest. I don’t want to walk into a room that has a messy cluttered bed with a bunch of clothes thrown onto it. So, something that I’ve noticed for myself is that it’s a lot more encouraging to want to get into bed and have a good restful sleep when the bed is made. It just looks a lot more inviting. When you’re using your bed for other purposes like streaming video or whatever other tasks you’re doing in your bed, it often confuses your brain into thinking, “oh, this is maybe not the space where we sleep in” So really letting your body and your mind know that this spot is my resting spot and keep it prepared for that purpose makes a difference.

Yeah, I agree, so keeping your room for just sleeping, kind of your sanctuary! Perfect! Speaking of media how big of a problem is social media for women? What’s your take on this positive or negative? 

This is a very interesting question! I just went to a workshop this past week where this was one of the topics. The panelists were talking about this in terms of women’s health, specifically how sometimes it can be viewed as a negative because there are a lot of images and things that are coming at us which might diminish our self-esteem and our mental health. However, one of the amazing and positive things about social media is that it’s a platform that has never existed in our history, where we are able to connect with literally anyone that we choose to connect with. This is where it’s so important because we have the ability to choose. This is where we can go wrong sometimes and where social media can become a negative thing. We don’t have to be following every random person and just because somebody claims to be healthy, does their message actually resonate with you? If it doesn’t, then there’s an unfollow button for a reason. You don’t have to be following anyone who doesn’t make you feel good for whatever reason and you don’t have to have a justification for that.

On the flip side, what’s really cool is that you have the power to choose whoever you want to connect with. I myself have connected with some amazing people. I have personally worked one on one with some talented people, in the sense, I’ve actually reached out to some people whose words have really resonated with me. I’ve had mentorship programs with them or just checked out various services that they offer. It’s so cool to work individually with them even if they are in a different country or live on the other side of Canada. It’s was really cool to get beyond the screen and actually connect in real life with somebody. 

Great, so you’re looking at all the positive!

Yeah. I’ve definitely found it to be more positive than negative! I think because I have that kind of mindset where I genuinely want to connect with like-minded people. I view it this way and I recognize that I do have a choice to not connect with people that don’t resonate with me. So going into social media with that type of mindset can really make a difference. 

Great tips here! All of these points are so good for us to incorporate into our daily lives for our best health! So looking forward to the health of our future generations? What are some of the things a pregnant woman can do to help her baby develop a healthy brain before they’re born and after birth? 

I actually don’t work with a whole lot of clients who are actually pregnant. I tend to work with clients before pregnancy, so I’ll try to answer from both angles from the knowledge perspective of what I’ve learned in holistic nutrition school. I typically work with clients who are preparing their bodies for pregnancy. Something we look at is making sure that they have enough mental health outlets. We look at ways that they are dealing with their own emotions and how are they taking care of their bodies physically. We look at their bodies kind of like a little oven who will be hosting this little one who will be growing inside you soon. 

Also from a physical perspective, something that I always recommend is making sure that there’s a good balance between EPA omega 3s and DHA. DHA is often talked about in terms of the babies’ brain development and its importance, however, what’s often not talked about a lot is the importance of EPA for inflammation and for the mom’s brain while the baby’s brain is developing, so it’s something that I often recommend pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy.

Sounds good! It makes sense!

This is something that I’ve been really fascinated with so I started doing a lot more research and finding out that we’ve been focusing a lot on DHA which is great, because the baby’s brain does need it, but we forget that mom’s brain still needs it while her baby’s brain is developing. During our sessions, I would be determining these levels over the course of a consultation with a client noting the recommendations for each individual person. 

Happy to know we are protecting our mothers and future generations at the same time. Who’s your mentor? Is there someone you admire or somebody you resonate with?

This relates to the whole social media question. When I went to school for holistic nutrition, I was on social media connecting with like-minded people, especially people who had studied holistic nutrition and were working in this field as well. I just really didn’t know what direction my practice was going to take. I was in school just taking in all the information and didn’t really know exactly what area of holistic health I wanted to focus on. There are many different disciplines, physical, emotional, and mental so I was searching.

The one I connected to was a holistic nutritionist working and practicing in Vancouver. I checked out her content and really resonated with a lot of what she was saying. Eventually, after I graduated, I actually reached out to her over Instagram and had a conversation with her. She let me know she mentors people and talks to them about how they can find their passion in life. and how they can really dig a little deeper to find their authentic self. A lot of what she said really clicked with me. I already knew that she was a holistic nutritionist like myself and I eventually ended up working with her. Over the past two years on and off I have checked in with her on various occasions with any ups and downs that I’ve experienced in practice or just in my own mental health because of the field I work in.

I am holding space for people to come to me with any challenges that they’re experiencing. So I want to make sure that my own inner health is taken care of and my mental health is balanced and I have that outlet with someone I trust that I can communicate with in order to be able to hold space for my clients and the work that I do. This is something that I would consider to be a huge help for me and it’s been life-changing to have worked with her.  

That’s great! I think we all need a mentor. So it’s nice to find someone you resonate with and help you in your practice too!

Exactly! And that’s what I found. Initially, I went to her just to kind of find myself and find my own passion, however, it makes a big difference in my work to work with her. Most importantly, in terms of attracting clients and being able to hold space for people in my practice has been really crucial. 

Perfect! Good for you! Our last question, what’s your favorite healthy beauty product? 

First of all, something that a lot of people ask on social media is where do you find healthy beauty products. If you’ve never tried a product before where can you try it? So this is something I really want to touch on for people living anywhere, basically, most health food stores have a health and beauty section where they sell healthy makeup products, body care products, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion that don’t contain chemicals or fragrances. 

This is where I was able to a lot of different bands that I really like. I literally started roaming the aisles and testing a lot of these products. Most have testers available at the store so you can just try something out to see if it works. Talk to the people who are working at these stores and see if they have any personal experiences with the products. Oftentimes, people don’t realize they can get top-end beauty products by testing them first before making the investment.

Which ones have you tested that are your favorites? The ones that have made the biggest difference. 

 My favorite is a Canadian brand called Carina Organics, they are very organic. This means 100% natural products full of medicinal organics and completely free of cortisone, steroids, DEA, sulfates, salt (sodium chloride), propylene glycol, aluminum, synthetic fragrances, and dyes. And what I love about their products is they work especially their shampoo and conditioner. I really love their products. But the other thing about them is that they are literally made from food products and a hundred percent natural. If we really want natural beauty and health products free of chemicals they should be edible, meaning we should be able to consume them. If we’re talking about true natural products this is the one that really stands out for me because their ingredient list is literally made up of food items like coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils. So I hope that as an industry we start moving in that direction more and more and making sure that the products we apply to our skin can also technically be eaten as well. Another thing not only are they organic products but they are local for me being a Canadian product! 

Exactly! Because technically we are eating them when we put them on our skin because we absorb them! I’ll have to check them out! I’m always looking for alternatives to healthy beauty products.

Marjan, thank you for your insightful tips and tricks in the health and wellness space. We really enjoyed the conversation! For more about Marjan, visit her website, on Instagram, Facebook or Linkedin.

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