AB Nutrition Solutions 2023: Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food!
Written by: Katarina Todorovic on Jul 21st, 2023
In a world where dietary choices and nutritional information can often be overwhelming and confusing, finding a trusted source of guidance and support is essential. Enter Abby Black, a passionate advocate for healthy living and the founder of AB Nutrition Solutions. As a dedicated Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Abby has made it her mission to empower individuals to take control of their health and achieve their wellness goals through personalized nutrition strategies. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Abby Black brings a unique perspective to the field of nutrition. As the founder of AB Nutrition Solutions, she has built a reputable practice that focuses on tailoring dietary plans to each client's specific needs and lifestyle. Whether it's managing weight, improving athletic performance, or addressing specific health concerns, Abby's expertise ensures that her clients receive evidence-based guidance to make sustainable and positive changes. Join Delivery Rank as we delve into the world of nutrition with Abby Black, exploring her insights, experiences, and the valuable work she does at AB Nutrition Solutions.
What motivated you to specialize in medical nutrition therapy, with a focus on diabetes, eating disorders, and food sensitivities/inflammation?
When I was in middle school, I had a strong desire to learn about nutrition. I ignorantly thought that as a 7th/8th grader, I could "make" my family healthy. At that time, I shadowed a registered dietitian in the hospital and felt that was the healthcare field I wanted to pursue. This same dietitian was leading a diabetes group and that also made me want to pursue a speciality in diabetes to hopefully not only help those close to me with diabetes, but also future clients. So, I planned to go to college to major in dietetics back when I was in middle school and I never changed that decision.
In high school, I really wanted to learn how to model as it looked like something that was fun. I figured if I couldn't model into my future, I would definitely utilize being a registered dietitian as my back up plan. In high school, I met a lot of great people who also modeled, but my dreams were quickly shattered by the unhealthy and scary atmosphere I was involved in. I was modeling in a decently sized city so there were probably 10 other teens with me. Unfortunately, I started to have conversations and hear conversations about many of them restricting foods, and other eating disorder behaviors in order for them to qualify to move forward with their careers. I have always wanted to help people my whole life and it shook me to my core to be so naive and not to have recognized this industry that is so diet focused and prodiet, pro unobtainable weights, that I realized this probably wasn't the best place for me. There were many tragic and life changing events throughout my childhood/teen years and so I definitely could relate to if these people had a traumatic childhood or situations, how they may use food to control an uncontrollable home environment. I wanted to believe it could be better. I went onto a modeling contest in Detroit, Michigan and also in San Diego, California in high school. I wasn't the typical outgoing person they were looking for, plus I had a shorter stature which was definitely frowned upon 25 years ago in the modeling business. I never forgot those I met that struggled so much with eating, to satisfy this unattainable perfection. In college, I was a part of SHAPE (Students for Healthy (Body) Acceptance and Positive Esteem) at Purdue University to help those people who were struggling with eating disorders and those who weren't but may have been on verge of disordered eating to provide resources to help prevent eating disorders and or provide resources for those struggling. That always had a special place in my heart and I didn't want this population to struggle without help.
As for food sensitivities and inflammation, this was a whole new topic for me, something that I either didn't learn about in school or forgot amongst all of the other topics. However, about 8-9 years ago, my migraines were getting so frequent and so debilitating that I couldn't function as a mom, wife, and private practice registered dietitian as best as I wanted. I went to a lot of specialists, only to have more side effects than when I started and I sadly, preferred the negative consequences of my migraines over any "medication" that was supposed to help as the medications made me feel worse. I started doing research on my own as I felt there had to be a better alternative, especially when my body was so sensitive it couldn't tolerate any recommendations given to me by the specialists. Fast forward, I stumbled upon Oxford Biomedical Technologies in regards to food sensitivity testing through the Mediator Release Test (MRT). Everything looked promising so I took the course work and was thankfully placed with my mentor, who still teaches me new things on a regular basis. So, I did MRT (a patented blood test to check multiple foods, chemicals, and additives for food sensitivities and then I did LEAP (Lifestyle Eating and Performance) food plan to work on eating the foods that provided the least reaction in my body and slowly increasing foods week by week to then trial in 3 months my moderately reactive foods and then continue to push myself with new challenges so that by 6 months, I was able to successfully incorporate even my red foods (foods that were found to be highly reactive to my body) and I could then reintroduce those items without an immediate migraine. I had so much success and my quality of life improved so much that I wanted to incorporate this for my clients. So now, I work with clients who struggle with migraines, clients that struggle with Hashimoto's and other autoimmune conditions, people that struggle with arthritis, and people that struggle with gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and/or IBS, Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis, etc. It is amazing to see how many symptoms of inflammation my clients have when I first meet them and then how few markers of inflammation they have after following this protocol.
Can you discuss the importance of personalized nutrition plans for individuals with diabetes and how you tailor these plans to meet their specific needs? Individualized nutrition plans are the most important aspect when I am a client's RDN and CDCES (certified diabetes care and education specialist) so that I can better tailor recommendations and work together on mutual goals to ultimately give them back control over diabetes and help them know that they can eat all foods, we just have to monitor blood glucose (also called blood sugar), factor in their ever changing levels, understand how carbohydrates impact their health and importance of still consuming carbohydrates and quantity, making sure they understand proper blood glucose monitoring techniques, and that they are, if prescribed by their physician, taking their medication properly and aware of possible side effects. This has to be individualized as no two people are the same! I meet my clients where they are at and help them identify challenges and goals. It is such a wonderful experience to see their HgbA1C improve to a lower, but safe number and see their quality of life increase in addition to seeing how happy they are when we bust so many myths related to diabetes and food choices. Can you explain the connection between food sensitivities/inflammation and overall health? How do you help clients identify and manage these sensitivities through nutrition? I mentioned this in the question above, but to be more concise, we all have inflammation of some type in our body. By learning what foods/chemicals/additives you are sensitive to, we can work together on a food plan after the blood test for MRT to specifically allow you to eat foods that are least inflammatory and then slowly incorporate the higher inflammatory foods over a series of months, as your body can get reprogrammed to not instantly or within 72 hours no longer having that food cause a reaction of inflammation. Remember that allergies and food sensitivities are two completely different topics. By us working together for MRT and LEAP, my clients have all been able to reduce their inflammation and feel so much better.
Can you share any practical tips or recommendations for individuals looking to improve their overall health and well-being through nutrition, especially for those with diabetes or food sensitivities? I highly recommend clients who want to improve their overall health/wellbeing related to food sensitivities to reach out to a qualified Certified LEAP therapist, such as myself. There are so many "fake" food sensitivity tests that do not have the same accuracy or reliability as MRT. I know, as I tested them myself to see my results and compare just because I wanted to be my own research subject before I ever recommend anything to my clients. As for diabetes, it is crucial for people with diabetes to be working with a RDN, CDCES, in addition to their endocrinologist or primary care physician and potentially other educators specializing in diabetes such as nurses, social workers, psychologists, and pharmacists.
How do you collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as physicians or therapists, to provide comprehensive care for clients with diabetes, eating disorders, or food sensitivities/inflammation? I'm constantly collaborating with other healthcare professionals. I am a registered dietitian nutritionist, CDCES, certified LEAP therapist, and ACSM certified exercise physiologist, however, I'm not a physician, nurse, psychologist, social worker or pharmacist. Therefore I need to collaborate with other health care providers so that we can provide the best outcomes possible for our clients. I will not work with clients who have eating disorders unless they have a therapist involved or will see one asap as it take a village to help work through all the challenges they are facing. If you would like to find out more about AB Nutrition Solutions, visit https://www.abnutritionsolutions.com/ About The Author Katarina Todorovic Writer , Delivery Rank Katarina has a voracious appetite for discovering the stories and flavors behind delectable dishes. With a keen palate and a passion for culinary adventures, she strives to tantalize readers with engaging interviews that explore the art, culture, and science of gastronomy.