Joey Shulman

Canada’s wellness guru on the healthy secrets to a sinfully good diet and how a chance phone call led to matrimony

DR. JOEY SHULMAN, nutrition powerhouse, mom and best-selling author, calls herself a city girl. (She once lived in a tiny loft at Yonge and St. Clair.)

But these days the author of the popular weight-loss book The Last 15 and the new book Healthy Sin Foods finds herself spending more and more time in Thornhill — and she’s loving every minute.

Fed up with an hour-long drive from her home in the 905 to her former downtown office, Shulman moved her weight-loss clinic to Thornhill two years ago. Now she drives just seven minutes from home to her clinic on Yonge north of Steeles.

As an author, registered nutritionist and speaker, Shulman is a household name when it comes to healthy eating. But it wasn’t always that way. “It takes 10 years to be an overnight success,”she says, sipping an organic coffee (no sweetener) at a local café.

Shulman is well versed in the art of juggling. In addition to running the Shulman Weight Loss Clinic, she’s also the head nutritionist for Sweetpea Baby Food, a spokesperson for Genuine Health supplements and head nutritional consultant for Stonemill Bakehouse. The popular speaker, who has given workshops at companies such as Nike and Cadbury, frequently speaks about nutrition and health at conferences and trade shows, including upcoming events like the Whole Life Expo.

Somehow this busy mom also finds the time to appear on various radio and TV shows, such as Breakfast Television, and be a contributor to popular websites, and Alive Magazine. It’s a lot to juggle.

But the busier Shulman gets, the happier she is. “I feel very blessed,” she says. Nutrition was Shulman’s first love — at 11 years old, she read books on the science of food — but when she grew up, she veered toward other careers. At 17, she worked briefly as a model. “It wasn’t my thing,”says the now 38-yearold. With her long legs, luminous skin and perfectly shaped hazel eyes, Shulman could still be mistaken for a model.

After graduating from Concordia University with a degree in psychology, Shulman studied at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto. Two years after opening her chiropractic practice, Shulman decided to switch professions. “I wanted to write books on nutrition and … practise nutrition full-time,” she says.

The next two years were a blur as Shulman worked as a chiropractor while studying at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. In 2002, she began working in nutrition full-time.

Not many people can say their knowledge of dairy-free foods led to marriage. But in Shulman’s case, her first love, nutrition, helped her find the love of her life.While listening to the radio, Shulman heard a voice on CFRB talking about dairy-free options.

Shulman called the show to comment. Host Randy Taylor invited Shulman to the studio for an on-air interview. That resulted in five years of twice a month on-air discussions about nutrition. Not only that, Shulman married Taylor.

Taylor, a former caterer who Shulman calls “the best chef I know,” helped Shulman develop the recipes in each of her books, including Healthy Sin Foods, which arrives in bookstores this month.

The inspiration for Healthy Sin Foods came partly from Shulman’s clients. “I have so many people at my clinic who say things like, ‘Joey, I don’t want to have tasteless tofu.’ There is that misnomer out there that you have to eat bland, lacklustre food in order to be healthy. And that’s absolutely not true.” Nutritious foods — those that help people feel energized, lose weight, prevent disease and eliminate cravings — can be delicious, Shulman says. And she wrote the book to prove it.

Some of the book’s recipes sound downright decadent, like the crumbled goat cheese, apple and pear salad or the chocolate raspberry brownie bites. But all the recipes have been tweaked to be made healthy.

(For proof, read the nutritional information beside the recipes.) Hence, the book’s subtitle: Decadence Without the Guilt. Even the most sinful-sounding recipes contain what Shulman calls superfoods. A superfood, Shulman explains, must meet three criteria. It must have a low glycemic index rating, which means it won’t cause blood sugar to fluctuate and it won’t cause the body to store excess fat. It will keep a person’s energy and weight stable.

A superfood must also be high in antioxidants, which help prevent disease. And it must be antiinflammatory, which can help achy joints. Apples, apricots and chickpeas are among the 50 superfoods Shulman describes. Dark chocolate, goat cheese and cinnamon also qualify. Over 100 mouth-watering recipes in the book incorporate superfoods, so readers learn how to add these über-nutritious foods to their meals.

A rating system explains how often each recipe should be enjoyed. Three strawberries means eat any time. Two means enjoy once a week. One means save for an occasional treat.

Even people devoted to healthy eating want to cheat a bit — and a little cheating is OK, Shulman says. She provides strategies to ensure people don’t go overboard.

“Have a hardboiled egg before you go to your party, so you don’t walk in famished,” she says. Shulman’s goal, both at her clinic and in her books, is to encourage longlasting change.

She wants to help people lose weight and keep it off for life. And she wants people to keep eating tasty, nutritious meals long after they’ve finished reading her latest book.

That’s why Healthy Sin Foods isn’t just a cookbook.While the back half is packed with recipes, the front half explains how different foods interact with the body.

Shulman provides what she calls the “behind-the-scenes stuff ” because she believes if people understand how various foods impact their body they will make wiser choices such as avoiding processed, packaged foods.

“We’re more than we eat for breakfast and for lunch. You are more than your bagel or, hopefully, your whole grain bread,” Shulman says. “But making those small choices can really improve how you feel and how you function on a daily basis at any age, whether you’re a CEO or a stay-athome mom.”

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