Maria Spravedlyva: Establishing Healthy Relationships with Food

Nutritional issues, stress, and constant lack of sleep are our current realities. War brutally intrudes on our lives, disrupting our routines and destroying our usual way of life. It negatively affects our well-being, including our eating habits, sleep patterns, and emotional state. Today, we will speak with nutritionist Maria Spravedlyva about maintaining our health during wartime.

How do you define your role as a nutritionist and a specialist in healthy eating and mental health relationships?

Diving into the world of nutrition, I’ve come to realize the boundless interest in its nuances. Everyone needs to have basic nutritional knowledge, as food is our constant companion throughout life. It surprises me that the school curriculum often neglects conscious eating, instead facilitating the development of harmful habits from childhood through cafeterias that offer unhealthy food. This establishes incorrect dietary habits from an early age. Over time, this leads to various diseases, which require significant expenditures for treatment, without many realizing that the root of the problem lies in their dietary habits. Nutritionists help create a healthy diet, considering individual characteristics, and teach how positive changes in diet can improve life quality. They also uncover how daily stress impacts our eating behavior and offer ways to overcome it while still enjoying favorite foods.

How does stress from war affect appetite, and how can you assist those dealing with overeating or loss of appetite?

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Today, every one of us in Ukraine experiences stress, living in a state of constant anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. Being in a state of chronic stress, we unknowingly harm our health. According to a survey of my Instagram followers, 70% noticed changes in their relationship with food during the war, facing overeating. Compulsive overeating, triggered by stress and a lack of peace, signals eating disorders. Both loss of appetite and “stress eating” are harmful reactions. Loss of appetite can lead to nutrient deficiencies, migraines, while compulsive eating can lead to weight gain and related diseases. Everyone must learn to minimize these adverse effects and find ways to overcome anxiety and anger for their health. For this purpose, I have developed a therapy that includes specific actions and personalized advice for my clients. Remember, you’re not alone in this struggle. If you feel the war has adversely affected your eating habits and health, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

What specific steps would you recommend to individuals to maintain their health during stressful situations?

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Stress is an inherent part of our lives, but it’s important to learn to manage it effectively. As a nutritionist, I assist my clients in developing essential skills and adopting practical practices that help preserve health under stress. My goal is to teach clients to use mindfulness to concentrate on the present moment and breathing techniques to reduce stress levels. I also highlight the importance of self-analysis to better understand one’s thoughts and emotions. Additionally, I stress the necessity of quality sleep, balanced nutrition, and regular physical exercise. These life aspects are the foundation of a healthy nervous system, enabling the body to better adapt to stressful situations.

How can one adapt their diet to preserve health during wartime? What foods might be particularly beneficial?

Here are some tips to make your diet as beneficial as possible during stress:

Focus on magnesium-rich foods. This micronutrient plays a crucial role in regulating the nervous system, aiding in better emotional stress management. Include wheat bran, pumpkin seeds, sesame, almonds, spinach, dill, buckwheat, and high-cocoa chocolate in your diet.

Do not fear fats! They provide energy, stimulate brain function, and improve mood. Include both plant (avocado, nuts, oil) and animal fats (salmon, mackerel, cod liver, lamb, beef, eggs) in your diet.

Reduce sugar intake. Sharp blood sugar spikes exacerbate emotional instability. Limit consumption of sweets, carbonated drinks, and other high-sugar products.

What specific services and therapies do you offer to those seeking health support during the war?

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As a nutritionist, I provide a comprehensive approach to enhance health and well-being during wartime:

  • Personalized diet adjustment: I help tailor or modify a diet considering the client’s specific needs, objectives, and available foods.
  • Psychological support: I assist in overcoming stress and anxiety, teaching clients to manage emotions and find inner strength.
  • Intuitive eating: I educate people on listening to their bodies and recognizing hunger and satiety signals.
  • Contemporary methodologies: I always employ only proven and effective techniques based on research by scientists, psychologists, and doctors.

I work both offline and online, allowing everyone to choose the most convenient format for themselves.

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