The History of the Beginning

Some may say that one year of operation doesn’t give a business much of a history. As anyone who has started on such an endeavor knows, the beginning is, without a doubt, months or years before the day your doors open for service. The vision for Sage Nutrition began before I was even aware of the dream I had to offer medical nutrition therapy for clients. It started long before I knew what a Registered Dietitian (RD) was and that I would embark on a career in health and nutrition world.

The evolution of Sage Nutrition began the day I realized I wanted to provide a safe place for individuals to reach out to when they struggle with their relationship with food. For much of my life I was unaware of the connection between people and food; that each of us holds a relationship with food that fuels a variety of feelings and emotions. It was because of my personal journey that I have come to understand the value of developing and pursuing a healthy relationship with food.

As humans we have the ability to turn to a variety of influences to cope with factors of life. Some turn to alcohol, drugs, sex, work… and then there are those folks who turn to food in an effort to control something in their life when all else feels out of control. In this process individuals forget the innate ability their body has to tell them what their body needs nutritionally; they forget that they’re able to know when they’re hungry and when they’re full. The body adapts to using food as a coping strategy and forgets the simple lesson that food is meant to nourish our bodies, not nurture our bodies.

The passion that has driven the creation of Sage Nutrition stems from a desire to offer a wholistic approach of nourishing the human body – offering a service that focuses on the whole person while specifically addressing one’s relationship with food. I believe that food has the power to heal lives; that it should not be the reason to destroy the quality of life folks lead.

So while Sage Nutrition is just starting a new chapter, know that the history of this vision stems far back to the moment where a life was changed because of the realization of the impact food has on the human body – this body. A dream became a vision – a vision became a reality – and without further adieu, I would like to introduce you to the future of Sage Nutrition.

Nourish vs. Nurture

I remember sitting at a table, surrounded by people who struggled with their relationship with food. Don’t let me fool you – my relationship with food was far from ideal – I was on a similar page as everyone else in that group. It was this particular day though that something struck that deep down, soul-wrenching, life-changing part of me. Simple words hit me like a ton of bricks and my inaccurate, ill-perceived image of food was slapped in my face.

“Food is meant to nourish our bodies, not nurture us.”

Well isn’t that interesting? I look back on my relationship history with food and the memories that surface are…

  • Coming home from school, feeling broken, scared, and alone, grabbing a bag of chips and sitting in front of the TV to zone out.
  • Competing with others to see who could eat more food.
  • Having no regard for the nutritional component of food and what I was putting into my body.
  • Stuffing myself to the brim with food to conceal the negative emotions I struggled with.

Many more memories come to mind and in due time I hope to share more, explain more, and explore more with you. But for now, the point I hope to make is that this food that I thought I loved so much, was actually the reason I struggled in various aspects of life. It was a cover for the things I didn’t want anyone to see and provided a numbness to all I didn’t want to feel. When I realized that I was using food to nurture feelings rather than nourish my mind and body, the road to self-destruction I was on became so clear.

My challenge to each of us is to consider what we use to nurture ourselves and then take a look at how we nourish our bodies. If this question strikes a cord with you, if it raises more questions, and if you have come to a new realization and want to explore this more, we at Sage Nutrition are available to join you on this journey. Food has a unique and innate ability to nourish the human body – let the journey begin to find new and positive ways to nurture ourselves.

-Emily Estes, MS, RD, LMNT


We’ve often heard how the media influences how we feel about our weight, shape, and general appearance. But, have you ever considered how the media influences the food, drinks, and pills we put into our bodies? Today, we examine the role of supplements in the American lifestyle.

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I am not anti­supplement. I have often taken multivitamins, both prenatal and otherwise. I also frequently recommend multivitamins for certain groups of patients, specifically those with wounds that need healing, those with poor appetites, and those who are recovering from eating disorders. I also recommend that women who don’t consume much in the way of dairy include a calcium supplement and that clients following a vegan diet supplement with Vitamin B12 and any other nutrients they may be missing.

With all of that being said, not everyone needs supplements in their diet. Ideally, if you are generally healthy; eating a well­balanced, omnivorous diet; and are not pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or lactating; you should be able to meet your nutrient needs. Of course, this isn’t always possible, as demonstrated by the examples above. However, our desire for health is often exploited by those selling supplements. We are told about the benefits of these supplements without being informed about the risks associated with taking over the counter supplements.

One of the risks is that the supplement you are taking does not contain the ingredients it claims. Supplements are not regulated like medicines, which means that they do not have to meet any specific standard of quality or amount of active ingredients. The New York Attorney General recently brought attention to this fact when their testing showed that many store brands of herbal supplements didn’t contain the herbs they claimed to contain.

Supplements and herbs can also interact with medications. St. John’s Wort, which is often used for depression, can decrease the effectiveness of many medications, including birth control pills. Valerian, often used for insomnia, can interact with medications such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan. This is why it is extremely important to make sure your health care providers are aware of any and all supplements you take.

One of the main issues I find for my patients taking supplements is that the risks outweigh the benefits. I had a patient who was taking Vitamin B17 which she thought was helping to cure her cancer. Note that this is not a true vitamin, but an herbal supplement which can cause cyanide toxicity and has not been proven to help with cancer treatment. Despite the fact that the supplement could poison her (which she and her family were aware of), wasn’t helping her cancer, was very expensive, and had to be purchased online from another country, she continued to use it because someone­ who likely had no professional knowledge of nutrition or health­ had told her that it might work.

Another patient spent at least $50 per month on a supplement that claimed to help his diabetes because he had seen it on a TV talk show. He did no other research on the product once he had heard about it on TV. A quick internet search allowed me to see that although the individual ingredients had been tested, the whole product itself had never been tested, so there was no research on whether or not the amounts of the active ingredients used had any effect on his disease.

When my patients tell me that they pop vitamin C tablets when they feel a cold coming on or add protein powder to their beverages when their diets clearly contain adequate protein for their activity level, I have to gently inform them that they are really just paying for their urine to be more expensive. That’s because our bodies don’t store extra Vitamin C or protein when we don’t need it­ we just pee it out instead. Which isn’t great for our bodies or our wallets.

That said, if your health care provider thinks you need a supplement and you are ok with that-go for it! But don’t just add a pill to your regimen without first looking into it. Ask your primary care provider if it will interact with any other medications you are taking or if you even need it in the first place. And always be wary of someone who will financially benefit from your supplement use instructing you on what to use. Remember that Registered Dietitians (RD) and Registered Dietitian­ Nutritionists (RD­N) are the only recognized health care providers who specialize in nutrition. Most of the credentials you will find at your supplement store of choice do not require the intensive training and continuing education that RDs and RD­Ns are required to have. And, they are probably making a commission from your purchase.

Knowledge is power. So do your research and ask questions. Your body and wallet will thank you.

Sources: The New York Times,, National Institutes of Health

Girl Holding Up Clothes to Herself

Body Shaming

“Body shaming” is an aggressive phrase. It conjures up images of schoolyard bullying or even abuse. But body shaming can be much sneakier. In fact, many of us do this every day, without any thought or realization as to what we may be doing to someone else.

In one of my previous positions, we called out body shaming and other negative or triggering words with the phrase “Red Light!”. This allowed the other participants in the conversation to be made aware that what they were saying was affecting someone else in a negative way.

Patients used it most often in treatment, but it is useful for conversations with friends and family as well­ provided they have been made aware of the meaning of the phrase beforehand.

Some examples of “Red Light” words and phrases are:

  1. “I feel fat.”
  2. “I feel ugly.”
  3. Pinching skin
  4. Criticizing someone’s weight or size
  5. Questioning someone’s food choices­ “Why are you eating that?!”
  6. Making fun of someone’s weight, size, or appearance

Body shaming isn’t limited to what those close to us, including ourselves, say or do. The media plays a huge role in creating a culture of body shaming. I myself have an entire board on Pinterest devoted to images of body shaming. There are pictures of healthy women pinching skin on their arms, abdomens, and buns to demonstrate “fat”. There are posts giving instructions on what are essentially starvation diets to encourage fast weight loss. Posts insinuating that any jiggle on any part of your body is bad. Posts insinuating that you are either “fit” with 6­-pack abs or “fat” with any other stomach. There are pictures of women where Photoshop has clearly been used to create artificial “thigh gaps”.­ Pro tip: If the crotch is mysteriously square and even indented, it’s probably Photoshop.

But the most heartbreaking pin I have seen to demonstrate just how far body shaming has seeped into our culture is a picture of a little girl doing push ups after she has lined up all of her Barbies to do the same. This child cannot be old enough to even attend school yet. The caption reads “Barbie Bootcamp”. While many comments I have seen on this picture indicate that people find this “cute”, I find it disturbing. Yes, we want to encourage children to be involved in physical activity. But for children that young, that activity should be more along the lines of playing catch, taking the dog for a walk, or running around the lawn doing cartwheels – all with parent, guardian, or sitter participation. Doing push ups alone in your bedroom is not a fun activity for most people.

The other issue with that pin for me, is that children learn a lot of body shaming behaviors from the adults around them, usually without the adult realizing what they are teaching. As a child, my mother was constantly on a diet and talking about how “fat” she looked. I watched her take Dexatrim and drink Slim­Fast shakes all while reminding me that her butt looked better before she got pregnant with me. Did she realize how that made me feel or even that it affected me at all? Of course not, or she probably wouldn’t have said those things in my presence. But she did, and they affected me for quite some time.

The moral of this story is one of prevention. In my role as an Eating Disorder Dietitian, my job is not only to treat, but to prevent eating disorders from arising in the first place. While this is not always possible, becoming aware of what you say or do, especially around your children, can help them to form healthier and more realistic views of their bodies and health. Model healthy behaviors as a family and keep it positive. For example, focus on teaching your kids that eating fruits and vegetables will provide them with the nutrients that their bodies need versus telling kids that eating cookies and candy will make them fat. Encourage the family to play a game of soccer in the backyard instead of plopping down in front of the TV after dinner.

Have your kids help with dinner preparation so they feel more engaged with the foods they are eating. And, most of all, avoid saying negative things about your body in front of your children. If you want your spouse’s opinion on an outfit, ask if you look professional, not fat. If you feel like your healthy eating has taken a detour, voice your desire to have fruit instead of dessert with dinner, instead of professing your need to go on a diet.

Following my above examples definitely qualifies as a culture change for most families, which means it probably won’t be easy. However, this doesn’t have to be an overnight change. Just making yourself aware of what we do to shame others about our bodies makes it easier to see what we could improve upon and makes it easier to notice behaviors and word choices in your children that may indicate an issue. Remember: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”­ Ben Franklin.