My journey of self-discovery in the world of fitness, health and wellness began 5 years ago, and I successfully achieved a 70-pound weight loss and personal transformation through dietary and lifestyle changes. I pursued studies in nutrition to develop a meaningful career focused on providing digestible knowledge to help others like you to transform their health through my lifestyle detoxification and weight loss programs. Prior to beginning my own practice, I launched my career as Community Manager and Senior Nutritionist at a start-up organic cold-pressed juice bar in the heart of downtown Toronto where I curated organic products and developed personalized juice cleanses, exclusive recipes and product formulas.
I was born in Toronto and raised in the Czech Republic, Italy and Hong Kong, bringing a diverse cultural background to my work and personality. I have been featured in the Toronto Star, The Raw Naked Truth and the Village Press, sharing insights on raw organic cold-pressed juice and a food-based approach to holistic weight loss + detoxification.
In February 2012, I looked in the mirror and finally decided to step on the scale and face my imminent fear of weight gain. As a 20-something female standing tall at 5’4”, I knew I was unhealthy when I saw the digits ‘190’ light up below my feet. Although I was a healthy eater throughout my childhood, my weight problems started when I hit puberty. Sadly, I was that 12 year old ordering a second adult sized portion of steak and mashed potatoes at restaurants, and overeating became a growing problem throughout my teenage years. I attempted many fad diets (such as Atkins) unsuccessfully and eventually became vegetarian for 8 years where my diet was almost exclusively carbohydrates and incredibly imbalanced. During high school and university, poor food choices ensured I was further overfed and undernourished, with iron levels as low as 9 and a growing waistline. My body image concerns coupled with personal family issues developed into a two year battle with clinical depression and a terrible smoking addiction during my final years at university. After graduation, I realized I wasn’t ready to face the real world, I didn’t want to be on medication, and I gave myself two options: see a therapist or join a gym. I am thankful that I decided to join the latter as I (at the time) unknowingly started this wonderful journey of self-discovery in the world of fitness, health and wellness.
I signed up for a yearlong contract with a personal trainer at LA Fitness the same day I read the frightening numbers on the scale and understood it was time to break my vicious relationship with food, toxins, and a sedentary lifestyle.
During my 70 pound weight loss, I began learning about meal planning and macronutrient needs – something I never put effort into understanding in the past – and experimented with many different diet theories (from paleo, ketogenic, intermittent fasting to raw vegan) to figure out what worked best for me. As the pounds started to shed, my self-confidence and energy levels reached new highs and my developing passion for nutrition became my new insatiable hunger. This led me to leave the corporate world to study at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition (which is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made). Truth be told, it wasn’t all good news. I actually became so enthralled by weight loss, that I pushed my body’s limits with restrictive diets. I lost too much weight – yes that’s possible. My body began to shut down, and I was exhausted. I hit rock bottom with adrenal fatigue, and got a reality check when I missed my period for a year and a half – that’s a serious sign that something was imbalanced and I wasn’t as healthy as I thought. I applied my knowledge from school to help rebalance my hormones – and after making patient improvements and small changes, I finally balanced my weight and got my period back to make my body happy. Today, I’m proud to be at a healthy weight, live clean, and understand food as fuel for my body and medicine for my soul.
Throughout this personal paradigm shift in the past 5 years, I have spent the majority of my time researching healthy recipes and natural supplements, creating nourishing meals, and taking a deeper look into the ingredients and additives in modern food and supplements. It is heartbreaking to know that many diseases, not limited to obesity, are caused by toxic food ingredients, poor food choices and nutritional deficiencies. Slow food is a welcome revolution to bring health back into our hands. Properly nourishing my own body is now my top priority, in addition to inspiring those like you to be more critical and conscious of their food choices. Even though every human being requires food for energy and wellness, our food industry continues to be over-saturated with genetically modified foods and misleading marketing. My personal experience with disordered eating and weight issues has inspired me to be a part of a global positive health movement, as a certified nutritional practitioner with expertise in whole foods and natural supplementation. It’s evident food will never go out of business or style, so I hope to inspire and educate others to nourish themselves holistically in order to improve and maintain the health of our current and future generations.
“We are the only species that cooks. When we learned to cook, that’s when we became human”
— Michael Pollan
Jess Lancaster is a first class honours and Valedictorian graduate from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto, Canada. In addition to her Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP) designation, she is currently a Board Certified Candidate with the National Association of Nutrition Professionals in the United States. Jess also holds a BA in Sociology from Queen’s University, and has culminated her interest in social change and natural wellness as a food conservateur – a curator of real food, without modern preservatives. She currently practices as a dynamic and empowering nutrition coach focusing on guiding individual and corporate clients through weight loss and lifestyle detoxification programs in Toronto and worldwide.