Q&A with Carole Freeman, New Instructor
Please meet Carole Freeman, the newest addition to our faculty at The Wellspring School. We are thrilled to bring her unique expertise and her abundant passion for wholistic health to our Wholistic Nutrition Program. Curious how she found her niche, what keeps her so motivated, and what a total of 12 ravioli can teach you about mindfulness? You’ll enjoy our Q&A with her. For her bio, please see our Faculty page.
How did you first become interested in nutrition?
My interest in nutrition started at about 18 or 19 years old, after I had followed a commercial diet program. After losing weight on the very strict plan, I wanted to learning more about healthy eating so that I could maintain my weight loss without the program. I soon found myself reading everything I could find about nutrition (this was back when you had to go to an actual library to read books!) and was drawn to information about the nutritional benefits of whole foods. It wasn’t very mainstream in the early 90s, but it just seemed to make perfect sense to me.
However, over the next 10 years, I lost sight of this as I fell into the standard American diet rut. I developed digestive issues from one end to the other of my GI tract: GERD, ulcers, and advanced disease of my duodenum, plus high cholesterol, obesity and severe depression. My diseased duodenum was so serious my gastroenterologist wanted to surgically remove it. I asked if I should be eating anything different, and his response was, “we find food has nothing to do with it.”
I decided it was time to see a Naturopathic doctor for the first time. The wisdom I had gained years before about the healing power of whole foods began to percolate through my mind as my new ND began to reinforce my inner truth, that nutrition was my passion. I radically changed my diet to real, whole foods, eliminating food I was sensitive to, and my body healed. I did not need surgery and have felt great ever since.
In addition to nutrition, you have also studied psychology and hypnotherapy. How do you fuse these different disciplines in your work?
The way I see it, you can’t separate the well-being of our mind and the well-being of our body. Nutrition affects how our body and mind function. And how our mind functions affects what we eat and how much. In my private practice, I specialize in helping clients overcome issues with overeating, such as emotional eating, stress eating, and cravings.
My goal in working with them is to uncover the underlying cause(s) of their overeating rather than giving them a restrictive diet plan to follow. Using multiple disciplines in my work allows me to more thoroughly address the causes and effectively reduce their symptoms, making it easier for them to eat more healthfully.
Nutrition allows me to address underlying deficiencies. Psychology allows me to address emotional and cognitive function. Hypnotherapy allows my clients to change habits, thought patterns and beliefs at the subconscious level, plus heal childhood issues.
You seem to always be expanding and deepening your knowledge, taking courses in functional nutrition, whole foods cooking, herbal medicine, and more. What keeps you so enthused and motivated?
Nutrition truly is my passion! I find that when following my passion, enthusiasm and motivation come easily.
For years I worked in every aspect of the business world, and continually experienced burnout after about 6 months at a given job. A counselor I was seeing pointed out that I was not following my passion in life. She was right! I was doing what I thought I should do, not what I loved to do.
In addition, I find understanding and embracing my personality type (instead of trying to conform to someone else’s) helps me maintain my enthusiasm and motivation. My personality is one that thrives on constant learning, variety and creativity, so it is natural for me to explore a variety of subjects within nutrition.
Do you have any advice to share with someone just starting to explore wholistic nutrition?
I would have to say, experiencing is believing and be patient with those around you.
As you begin to explore wholistic nutrition, apply what you learn to yourself. You will begin to experience the healing and restorative powers of nutrition, and others will notice the changes in you and perhaps ask what you are doing. This is your invitation to share what you have learned. Don’t be surprised if at first others are reluctant to change! Kindly and gently share your experience and when they are ready, they will listen to what you have learned and actually begin applying it in their own lives.
Unfortunately, many people have to hit a rock bottom, health-wise, to be ready to make a dramatic change in they way they eat. Be patient with them. No one likes to be badgered or should be made to feel ashamed of themselves.
What was the most memorable meal you’ve ever had and why?
When I was reflecting on meals I’ve had in an attempt to decide which was the most memorable, many images of times with close friends and family, sharing delicious food, came to mind. Interestingly, all were home-cooked meals; none were of restaurant meals. I love sharing food with friends and family.
I love putting time into special meals and the accolades while everyone is eating. Food brings everyone together, is an expression of love and a way of showcasing the chef’s artistic kitchen talents. Of all of the meals I’ve prepared, those I’ve cooked for my son for his birthdays are the most memorable.
We have a tradition that every year, he gets to pick what I make him. He gets a kick out of coming up with a challenging dish or technique that he has watched on a Top Chef-type show. One year he requested ravioli, which I had never made, nor had the equipment to make. No worries! I love a cooking challenge. So I hand-rolled the dough, but since I didn’t have a pasta roller, it was a bit thicker than traditional ravioli dough. They still turned out stunningly delicious, however, but there were only 12 total to share among 3 of us. I told everyone to eat them slowly, enjoying every morsel, because that was all there was. A lesson in mindful cooking and eating, for sure.