Nutritionist know-how: meet Jillian Tuchman
We’re firm believers that vitamins are just one part of living a healthy life. So it was exciting to bring Jillian Tuchman, MS, RDN onto the Care/of team as our Head of Nutrition to help us expand how we approach wellness. Jillian has a Master’s degree in nutrition, is a level 2 Reiki healer, and has spent nearly a decade studying traditional medicine like Ayurveda. She practices here in NYC and specializes in combining her clinical training with with integrative and holistic disciplines. She’s used to us asking her advice on all matters health and wellness, so she breezed through our questions below.
Tell us a little about your approach to health and diet.
When it comes to health, I really keep an open mind. In addition to my clinical nutrition training, I’ve spent years studying the energetic component of health through Ayurveda and Reiki. My range of training allows me to take a step back when it comes to health to look at the body as a whole, from a lot of different perspectives.
When it comes to nutrition, I wish we could get everything we needed from the foods we eat, but that’s not realistic. The nutritional value of our food has declined over the years due to nutrient depletion in our soil and cultivation. Also, it is now widely accepted that the microbiome of most Americans is compromised, so even if we were to eat a technically nutritionally “perfect” diet, we likely wouldn’t be able to absorb and assimilate all of those nutrients. Everyone should strive for a healthy diet, but a few added supplements can still make a huge difference in your overall health.
Microbiome? That sounds like the name of a Hunger Games arena.
The microbiome is the collection of symbiotic, commensal, and pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and viruses that create a “mini-ecosystem” inside your body. The organisms in our microbiome carry out a variety of functions that are vital our health and well-being. It helps our bodies develop immunity and judge whether or not something is friend or foe. Our gut microbiota is fundamental to the breakdown and absorption of nutrients. Without it, the majority of our food intake would be indigestible and we wouldn't be capable of extracting nutritional compounds from food. We need to keep our microbiome healthy so we can get the nutrients we need to function.
Do you have to drink kombucha and eat kelp to be healthy?
Haha, definitely not. While those things can help certain people, it’s important to remember that every person has their own needs, preferences, and goals. Some people feel their best when they omit sugar or dairy from their diets. Other people feel healthiest when they meditate every day. Everyone starts from a different place, but all of us would be healthier eating even a little bit less sugar, getting enough restful sleep, and cultivating a practice of stillness, whether that’s Vedic meditation or mindful walking. Helping people find the healthy options and behaviors that fit into their real lives is what I love.
What’s the one diet change you find yourself recommending to your patients over and over?
The advice I find myself giving most is to practice self-compassion — do your best, and don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect. In terms of straight-up dietary advice, I always emphasize blood sugar regulation and its effect on the body. That means making sure that you eat a mix of fat, protein, and carbohydrates whenever you eat, even if it’s just a snack.
When do you feel your healthiest?
When I’ve been consistent with moving my body and building strength. When I’m truly listening to my body — which means saying no to social events if I’m wiped out, getting into bed before 11, and connecting with friends.
What do you do when you want to feel decadent (it’s all about balance, right)?
Eating dark chocolate while soaking in the bath with epsom salts and essential oils is pretty close to perfect.
What's in your Care/of pack?
I sneak in a few other supplements and teas as well.
Desert island food?
Hardest question. Avocados or tahini.
Summer or winter?
Is it cheating to say Fall?
Favorite way to unwind?
Either a long walk around the city with Spotify dialed up or hanging with some friends making each other laugh.
Favorite Beyoncé song?
Hold Up - new
Single Ladies - old