The Healed Life: Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos

Healthy Q&A's
mediterranean
  1. Tell us a little bit about you – who you are, and what you do

I am Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos, I am an Accredited Practising Dietitian and a senior academic at La Trobe University in Melbourne. I am head of a large department called Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Sport which includes dietetics and human nutrition, physiotherapy, podiatry, prosthetics and orthotics and exercise science. I also lead the Mediterranean Diet Research group at La Trobe.

  1. What was the ‘uh ha’ moment that made you get into health and wellbeing?

I was doing a science degree at University during the 80’s and I was thinking about my career options and a very close friend suggested dietetics – which was ideal because it combined my interest in working with people, nutrition science and therapy. That was almost 30 years ago and I have not looked back!

  1. How important is our relationship with food?

Very important and for me it is about the science of food. The power food has to help prevent disease and help manage health problems or “heal”.

  1. What does a typical day on your plate look like?

A typical day on a plate for me is starting the morning with a wholegrain cereal with sliced banana (or strawberries) and milk, a few tablespoons of natural Greek style yoghurt (on the run), followed by an orange or apple as a snack, then leftovers for lunch (today it was lentil soup), a handful of nuts in the afternoon, and evenings are often a casserole with lots of veggies and small portions of meat or baked fish with lots of wild greens drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. A small glass of wine for dinner and 3-4 cups of coffee throughout the day.

  1. What inspires you and keeps you motivated each day?

Creating a special meal for family and friends motivates me and I love to take photos of healthy and colourful meals and sharing on social media.

I start my day with a brisk walk in the park with my husband and dog (Japanese Spitz – Fuji), then have a healthy breakfast and head off to work with a clear head.

  1. What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Everything in moderation – this is a common Greek saying.

Once we abstain from the foods we love we [humans] will be unhappy and eventually seek those foods.

  1. What are the top 3 foods you can’t live without?

Natural Greek yoghurt

Watermelon

Ice cream!

  1. What are some cafes in Melbourne you are loving right now?

Miss Marmalade in Union Street Brunswick – they have the best breakfast options (I love the Farmer’s Market).

Wide Open Road on Buckley Street in Brunswick – best coffee and gluten free bread – great breakfast and lunch options (very Middle Eastern influence).

  1. What is your life motto or mantra you live by?

Seize the Day!

I am to achieve something each day – and make sure I pack in lots of things on weekends (with family and friends).

10. What is it that you wish to achieve by entering the health industry – what do you hope to change/improve?

I have been in the industry (health and academia) for a long time and I hope I have influenced people’s lives (my patients’ health and my students’ careers) positively.

11. Any tips or advice for those just starting out on their health journey?

Focus on what YOU wasn’t to achieve and taker small steps and make sure to reward yourself for every small achievement.

When making changes to your diet focus on one thing – for example change the type of fat you use in your cooking and on salads (to extra virgin olive oil) – and then move on to the next step.

Make lifelong changes to your diet and lifestyle habits.

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Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

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Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

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I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!

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