About Allison Jones BA-N, RN, CIHC:
Allison is the owner and founder of Menu To Thrive, Registered Nurse (RN), AzCIM Certified Integrative Health Coach (CIHC), and graduated from the inaugural class at the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine under the direction of Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Victoria Maizes. She has a background in emergency medicine, cardiovascular medicine and prevention, and has taught for the American Heart Association and is currently adjunct faculty at a local nursing university.
Her values and love of family, friends, food, nursing, and integrative health coaching create the backbone of the services she brings to her clients. Menu to Thrive is where lifestyle and health are transformed through Integrative Health Coaching (IHC). IHC is a client-centered, relational approach to working with individuals collaboratively to address the health and wellbeing of the whole person. It acknowledges the interdependent roles of the mind, body, and spirit and the innate healing capacity within each person.
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Why do you recommend Superfood Smoothies?
At Menu To Thrive I take a very fresh approach to nutrition, recognizing everyone’s healing journey is different. Coaching partners ask me all the time: What do I eat? What diet is right? What are superfoods? Unfortunately, many “healthy” foods and “super foods” are expensive and not readily available for everyone. So, that is exactly why I recommend Superfood Smoothies by Nutrition Advisor. Superfood Smoothies are a very simple and delicious way to start eating wholesome real foods. They are perfect for the busy mom, the 80-hour work week professional, the athlete, the person working toward weight loss, and those that are managing disease. My Nutrition Advisor takes a very functional approach to their smoothies and that is another reason I recommend them. Certain foods have been shown to provide benefits to various health goals (like lowering blood pressure, improving thyroid function, loosing weight, etc.). My Nutrition Advisor creates recipes that make it simple for you to understand which recipes are best for your specific health goal(s).
What is your greatest success story in helping another person get healthy?
Early on in my coaching career, I had a woman contact me seeking to lose weight. We worked with her diet, meal planning, prepping food for her work week, and much more. After about 5 weeks, she hadn’t made any significant improvement. We then dived into her internal side of her wellbeing, such as resiliency, spirituality, and relationships. She had a head-on collision with the realization that her mission and values in life no longer aligned with how she lived on a daily basis. She shifted her focus to her inner-self for several months, and her overall health began to improve. She was now able to concentrate on her weight loss goals with a substantial amount of success.
What are your credentials?
I have a bachelor’s in nursing and have been a registered nurse 2003. I have worked in Emergency Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine, Cardiovascular Preventative Medicine, and have taught for the American Heart Association as a Course Director for Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). I am also adjunct faculty at a local nursing university. I completed a year-long training in functional nutrition, completed the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona’s Integrative Health and Lifestyle Program, and completed the certified Integrative Health Coach Program at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.
What is your passion?
Caring for others. As a nurse, mother, daughter, friend, wife, and community member I thrive when I’m caring for those around me by helping them succeed at improving their lives through health and wellness. Health, wellness, and healing are the backbone of my foundation as a person. Bringing my passion of health, wellness, food and cooking to those around me is soul work.
Who do you admire most and why?
I have to say there are many big names I admire and would love to list them all. Who I admire the most are the everyday people who are fighting for their life, thrown into a disease of the unknown, told to take endless amounts of prescriptions, and undergo invasive testing and procedures. They take a stand and seek out food, supplements, herbal medicine, energy medicine, and other integrative modalities to heal. There are many stories like this, but I am always humbled when I hear how food, and a more natural approach to healing has helped so many.
What first motivated you to pursue a healthier, cleaner diet?
After I had my daughter I was having trouble losing my baby weight. I took to exercise and eating whole, real foods, and a year later the weight was gone and I felt great. And my motivation didn’t stop there because I realized as a mom of two small children I could make a profound difference in my children’s lives and their overall wellbeing just by diet. I began to dive into the literature and research about the healing benefits of food, and I’ve never stopped.
If you had to choose one, what would be your favorite fruit and favorite vegetable and why?
My favorite fruit is the apple. My mantra for meals and snacks is fat, fiber, and protein. Our go-to snack in my household is nut butter spread on apples. The juicy, crispness of an apple is always an amazing sensation. Vegetables: picking just one is tough because I love so many. I can devour a pan of roasted Brussel Sprouts; I can’t stop eating broccoli with a dash of sea salt; and my favorite and most versatile veggie is spaghetti squash. I can turn it into a pasta dish, a lasagna, a pepperoni pizza, and so many more things and yet it’s just squash. Yum!
What type of physical activities do you participate in and why?
I have a love/hate relationship with my workouts because my alarm goes off at 5:05 am to exercise. It has for many years and I don’t see that changing until I’m retired. Overall, I combine strength training and cardiovascular fitness. My favorite way to strength-train is through Pilates and TRX training. I have a local Pilates Evolution studio near my house that kicks my butt weekly. It is pure strength training and its intense. I also bring in 2-3 days of cardiovascular exercise, alternating with the seasons between the gym and running outdoors. I think strength training is pivotal for women to develop muscle strength and maintain bone health.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering making positive changes to their diet, exercise regimen, or lifestyle in general?
Don’t go at it alone. Acknowledge what you are already doing well, and how you have succeeded at health change in the past. Piggy back on those successes to make another small change in a different area of health. Set an obtainable, realistic goal and make very detailed action steps. Set up contingency plans and find someone to be accountable with. After a week or so re-evaluate and adjust. Small wins are the key to viable health change.
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