NBSV 084

The Intersections of Eating Disorders + Veganism​

Transcript of the No-Bullshit Vegan podcast, episode 84

Devon Hoholuk on eating disorders and veganism--intersections, harmful messaging, & more

Karina Inkster: You're listening to The No-Bullshit Vegan podcast, episode 84. Nutritional counselor and disordered eating coach Devon Hoholuk joins me to discuss the intersections between veganism and eating disorders. She shares her own recovery story, why vegan diets are often discouraged in recovery, and how she helps her clients.
 

I'm Karina, your go-to, no-BS, vegan fitness and nutrition coach. Recently in episode 82, which was about aesthetic driven fitness in the vegan community, I noted that I wasn't going to address disordered eating patterns because that is outside my scope of practice, but I mentioned that I would love to speak with someone who is qualified to discuss these topics. Luckily, our awesome guest for today got in touch with me, and she's here to discuss eating disorders and how they relate to veganism. You do not need to have a diagnosed eating disorder to get something out of this episode. The diet-related messaging we're bombarded with on a daily basis from social media or from mainstream media often veers into disordered eating territory, and often unhealthy eating patterns are promoted within the vegan community. 
 

On top of that, our relationships with food are often quite complex. I think it's really important to address what may be problematic aspects of that relationship, even if it's not a full-blown eating disorder.  Devon Hoholuk joins us today. She is a nutritional counselor and disordered eating coach from Abbotsford, BC. She focuses on gentle vegan nutrition, and supports a flexible approach to plant-based recovery. Devon offers insight and inspiration from her own recovery from a 20 year battle with anorexia and bulimia, and uses her nutrition education to support the possibility of healthy, balanced plant based recovery. Devon's favorite vegan food is falafel, hummus, and all things chickpeas, which is awesome. Here is our discussion. 
 

Hi Devon, thank you so much for coming on the show and speaking with me today. 
 

Devon Hoholuk: Hi, thanks for having me. 
 

Karina Inkster: I'm really looking forward to speaking with a nutrition professional about an area I definitely do not have expertise in, so that's why you're here. We are going to talk about eating disorders among other things, but that is something that we have not directly addressed on this show before. I'm really looking forward to diving in, and we're also going to talk about the intersections between disordered eating patterns and veganism. I know that in mainstream recovery type programs, veganism is often discouraged and you have a different approach. I'm definitely looking forward to getting into that, but why don't we start with your background? You have a recovery story, and it also includes veganism. Can you tell me about that?
 

Devon Hoholuk: As is the case with every eating disorder, the story is pretty long. Eating disorders are kind of like a perfect storm of all these factors that come together, and then eventually create this pattern of coping behaviors; whatever leads someone to their diagnosis. I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa when I was 19, but I was showing eating disorder behaviors as young as five years old. I think especially as people who were raised or born as women or identify as women, there's a lot of body focus. That started really early for me in my family. I was an actress when I was young, and there was a lot of emphasis put on looks, performance and stuff like that. That continued on. Then through high school I was an athlete, and I was very much a perfectionist, which is super common with eating disorders.
 

I had a lot of anxiety, social difficulties, bullying, and had that kind of stuff going on. Around the time where I was actually diagnosed, I had gone to a clinic and been looked at for food allergies. It turned out that I had a ton of intolerances. Once I started cutting out all those foods, it kind of spiraled from there.  I ended up on a very restricted diet. I was trying to be vegan at the time. It just wasn't really possible or practical because I was cutting out basically everything. It led me to a very low weight, and I was very ill. When I was 19, I sought help for the first time. Then I was in and out of different treatment programs for a few years, and spent time in residential, and lots of outpatient.
 

What I found was there was a big push in many of these treatment models against veganism or even vegetarianism. It was a little bit tough for me to go about recovery, when I felt like I was being forced to eat against my morals and my beliefs. It was a little bit hard to have those things kind of match up. It wasn’t until I spent about six months in a residential eating disorder program in Vancouver, and it really was life-changing. It was fantastic. Coming out of that, I finally felt strong enough to be able to take my nutrition into my own hands, and then kind of keep going with eating the way I was comfortable with: veganism. I went to school and pursued nutrition myself, learned how to meet my own needs, stay strong and healthy, and tweak the recovery model to fit the lifestyle that I wanted to live, and that I'm still living.
 

Karina Inkster: That's amazing. Thank you, by the way, for sharing that. Also side note, it's really cool to speak with someone in my own province. I'm in Powell River, and so many people come on the show from the States, or we've had people in Australia (so side note, local BC, yeah!) You mentioned Vancouver, which is where you had a program that was seemingly very effective and very helpful in your recovery. What was it about that program? I'm curious, is there something that was different there that resonated specifically with veganism, or was it something about their approach?
 

Devon Hoholuk: Actually, veganism was not a part of their program at all. The things that I found useful in that program were they had a really great combination of different psychotherapies and different approaches to counseling. We had exercise, mindfulness, art therapy, educating families: all that kind of stuff that sort of gave a well-rounded approach to recovery. The one thing that I did find missing was that when I worked with the dieticians, veganism was so strongly discouraged that it was almost put on a pedestal. 
 

Eating disorders are very sneaky. This is another thing that they kind of teach in recovery, and at this specific place. We talk about eating disorders like they are their own person, and we usually call it ‘Ed’. It’s based on a book called ‘ Life Without Ed’. When we talk about Ed, Ed is kind of this sneaky being that can sneak its way into your psyche, or whatever you want to call it. When the dieticians were so very strongly discouraging veganism, a lot of the residents and patients were kind of taking that to mean that veganism was this magical kind of thing that was going to guarantee a low body weight, just sort of in and of itself. It seemed like by the staff, and especially the dieticians, who I have a huge respect for because what they deal with is very intense in that environment. I do think that their approach backfires a little bit when it comes to plant-based eating. By so strongly pushing against it, it creates an allure, and then people sort of can misuse the diet to hide eating disorder behaviours. I really believe that it can prolong recovery when it's used in that way.
 

Karina Inkster: Right. That must be a really difficult line between what you're doing, which is basically using veganism in a positive recovery type way, versus people who are potentially using it in a way that's masking underlying challenges that are not serving them well. Why don’t we go over it? Why is veganism, in so-called mainstream recover, why is it discouraged in the first place?
 

Devon Hoholuk: I think just because it is a diet based on restriction. I'm going to backtrack. It sort of depends where people are coming from with veganism, because a lot of people come to veganism for animal rights or for environmental reasons. There are a lot of people who come to veganism or a plant-based diet, for health reasons. Those are kind of the places where we have to be a little bit careful with eating disorders, just because it is a restrictive diet. Especially socially (things are getting a lot better now), and I know that you've been vegan a really long time, so I'm sure you've seen the changes. It can still be an isolating diet, and it can still kind of make us feel different and special in a way. Those are things that eating disorders can latch on to. Those are the danger zones where we need to be careful, of just deciding to tease out where the restriction is coming from. When I work with my clients we really need to take a deep dive into their personal reasons for wanting to become vegan. If it is solely health, we just need to be a little bit more mindful and careful of what level of a plant-based diet is appropriate at the time.
 

Karina Inkster: How do you mean what level, basically how vegan someone is?
 

Devon Hoholuk: Yes, and that’s a tricky one. When you look up the definition of veganism, it kind of just says ‘reducing’, and I should actually have looked this up. It's basically reducing animal products to the extent that is practical and possible. That can be different for a lot of people; that could end at diet. Some people would argue that if you're only vegan in your food intake, then you're just plant-based. People have different levels of comfort when it comes to clothing or thrifted clothing, or products, supplements and that kind of stuff. Where do you draw the line? That's going to be different for everyone. If we want to call it "aggressive vegan activism”, maybe isn't super helpful in this way, because I think that allowing people to have a more flexible approach to veganism brings more people into the movement. 
 

Karina Inkster: I would agree for sure. In a lot of ways, not just the eating disorder type way.
 

Devon Hoholuk: Right. For example, if I have somebody who is struggling with a binge eating disorder or has trouble with that, for them adding in something like eggs short term (while it may not be where they want to be), could save them from bingeing on huge amounts of animal products multiple times a week. It’s kind of like that cost benefit analysis: what level of plant-based eating is going to give me the most overall success in what I'm trying to do?
 

Karina Inkster: That's a really interesting point. You know what, it does make sense. It's not something I have thought about before, because as someone who has no experience in the eating disorder world, with clients or with myself, I never really considered veganism as either something that's discouraged or something that needs to be looked at critically, in the realm of eating disorders. It’s just never really popped up in what I do, right? I have clients who have had pasts with eating disorders. Of course there are things that we do: for example, not everyone is tracking their food in an app for various reasons. I’m not a professional who works with clients who are currently experiencing these challenges, so it's not really something I've considered before. What you're saying is basically what veganism is all about anyways. If you drive a car, if you ride a bike, if you use a phone, you're technically using animal products. What you said, your term of cost benefit analysis in the context of (for example) binge eating or somebody who has a binge-eating disorder, that's not really something I've thought about before. It's really interesting to consider that some folks might actually need to be making decisions about that.
 

Devon Hoholuk: No matter what somebody's weight, you can be malnourished at any weight. Depending on where you are in your recovery journey, when I start talking to somebody, we might need to be replenishing either weight or certain nutrients quickly. Sometimes it is better to do that through food than through a super expensive plant-based supplement that might not be available at the time. We just kind of have to look at all the options in that way. In my own life, this has played out in respects to restrictions. I've been vegan for six years now. There was a brief period where I had to just be a little bit more relaxed. If I was out and about, I was eating things where I wasn't checking all the ingredients, so may or may not have been vegan, but definitely vegetarian. The reason I had to relax on that was because if I were to be so strict with myself, it likely would have spiraled. I probably would have ended up back in treatment, and then I would have been forced to eat animal products anyway. I like to really take a flexible and nonjudgmental approach. I don't ever really recommend eating animal products if I can avoid it, just because I don't think that it's the healthiest way to eat of course. There is a place for it, I think, in recovery.
 

Karina Inkster: There's a place for veganism, you're saying?
 

Devon Hoholuk: There's a place for veganism, but there's also maybe a place for animal products, which is really hard as a vegan to accept. I just think that if we are so, so strong about cutting everything out all the time, it opens the door for the eating disorder to sneak back in. 
 

Karina Inkster: That's a really good point. You know, what you said before about calling it Ed, I really liked personifying it. I have two different anxiety disorders. I'm on medication for that. Is it vegan? Probably not. But it allows me to function as a normal human, and so cost benefit analysis once again. My anxiety is called Barry for whatever reason; my friend and I decided his name is Barry. I think personifying it; it has a whole level of removing it from who you are as a person. You are someone with anxiety; you are someone with an eating disorder. You are not the anxiety itself, or the eating disorder itself. I think that in lots of other ways as well, that can be super useful. I have a friend who named her depression, for example (just as kind of an aside, it's interesting that you brought that up.)

You mentioned the term flexible veganism in some of your material online, and in some of the emails that we've sent about what you want to talk about, and that kind of thing. Is that kind of what you mean? Maybe you can just kind of clear up what you mean by flexible veganism, and how the exceptions are useful sometimes in recovery.
 

Devon Hoholuk: You kind of nailed it: flexible veganism was what I was talking about; that cost benefit analysis. When is it appropriate to be a little bit more relaxed on including some- and when I say some, I mean a pretty small amount of animal products, because usually when people are very persistent in their desire to stay vegan through recovery, it genuinely comes from a place of being concerned for animal rights and environmental reasons. I have no problem being a space where recovery is possible, when those are the reasons. The flexibility comes in basically just to keep people well. It's that idea of do the least amount of harm possible. I think that the least amount of harm has to be done to yourself, in order to make a difference in the world.
 

Karina Inkster:  So yourself first, before potentially other beings, or other things you're affecting. Put on your own oxygen mask first kind of deal. 
 

Devon Hoholuk: I see this all over the place. Right now it's been popping up on TikTok a lot, which has been my quarantine obsession.
 

Karina Inkster: Oh yeah, you and a lot of other people!
 

Devon Hoholuk: There are a few vegan accounts that are great, and a really good source of information. There are always people in the comments that start raging that veganism isn't accessible for everyone, and all these things. That is true, but usually the people who are using that argument don't have those barriers. I’m going to throw my sister under the bus for a second. She probably could be vegan, you know what I mean? She has access to all the food. She has access to a nutritionist, who would work for free. She doesn't have the barriers that somebody living up North might have, for example, where a head of cauliflower is $15, you know what I mean? I do believe that veganism isn't accessible for everyone. The people making that argument, usually, it is accessible for them. I don't want anyone with an eating disorder or any other true barrier, to feel bad about the fact that they can't be fully vegan, to the point where most activists would like to see them.
 

Karina Inkster: Speaking of activists, do you ever get pushback in your own work, from people who most likely have not had experience with eating disorders? I hate using the term militant vegan, but you know what I mean, those who say “ nope, you have to be either vegan a hundred percent or not at all. Why are you approaching this flexible veganism concept?" Do you ever have pushback like that from people who don't really get the cost benefit analysis?
 

Devon Hoholuk: I do, and it's funny because a lot of people who challenge me in that way actually aren't vegan.
 

Karina Inkster: Again: the whole issue of them not being in this situation at all.
 

Devon Hoholuk: I get called out from people, asking how I can call myself vegan if I’m going to encourage other people to be less than perfect. I honestly don't really have a lot of time and energy for those arguments. When people come at me on that side of things (I like your term militant vegans); when I'm critiqued in that way, there's not really anything you can say that's going to be what they want to hear.  I don't have a lot of time to fight that fight, because I'm busy helping people recover.
 

Karina Inkster: You nailed it. Really when you think about it, you're not encouraging people to eat animal products. In your work, you're still encouraging people to do the least harm possible. If that means something like eating eggs, like you mentioned before, versus having a binge episode where they eat a bunch of animal products multiple times a week, you can't really call that encouraging someone to eat animal products. I don't think you can. 
 

Devon Hoholuk: Also, it's not usually a long-term thing. Usually in somebody's recovery, they might need to float in and out of a more…." pure form" of veganism. I'm not saying that this person needs to be okay with eating eggs forever, just at this point in recovery that might be a necessary step. 
 

Karina Inkster: That's a good point. This is totally an aside, but we did an episode with Chana Davis on the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger. Are they healthy? Should vegans recommend them? Blah, blah, blah. We're not actually putting out the idea that every vegan should eat these foods. We're just critiquing. We're looking at the research. We're saying, 'Hey, here's the health issues potentially’. We got a lot of pushback from people saying, 'Oh, why are you encouraging that people eat this processed food, blah, blah, blah’, when in fact all we're doing is presenting data. I think there's a lot of folks out there whose immediate reaction is, "Oh, you're mentioning it, so you're encouraging it!” That's clearly not accurate.
 

Devon Hoholuk: That makes sense. There are certain food companies- I know there was one in Vancouver that makes cheese and stuff, that was bought out by a non-vegan company. I know that a lot of people are trying to boycott those products, but at the same time, if those plant-based products are helping hardcore omnivores to choose vegan cheeses for the time being, is that still helpful? I don't know.
 

Karina Inkster: The end result is fewer animal products are being consumed.
 

Devon Hoholuk: It might be a stepping-stone because I think that a lot of people, when they first go vegan, a lot of those replacement products are used. Then you kind of learn that they're expensive, and they taste better if you make them yourself. 
 

Karina Inkster: That's the ideal situation that we'd get to eventually. In your work with clients then, are they usually coming to you already vegan because they know that you're vegan and they're kind of looking for that approach? How does it work with your clients in the vegan scene; in the vegan sphere?
 

Devon Hoholuk: Most people come to me because they want to be vegan. They've worked with other nutrition professionals who haven't given them the space to do so. My scope of practice is more of a coach with my nutrition training and my psychology background. I can't diagnose. I do require that my clients be in contact with a doctor, and often my clients have already talked to a registered dietician. That is kind of when they end up finding me, as I can be an alternative to that approach. There have been situations where I actually work in tandem with a registered dietician. It's very rare for someone to come to me who is not vegan already.  I'm wary of that because if somebody with a full blown eating disorder comes to me, they haven't been vegan before, but now they want to try, that's when I start to question Ed and think "Hey, is this my new client, or is this Ed saying I haven't tried this yet. Why don't we try to be sneaky here?" Usually the people who come to me have had a long history of being in and out of vegetarianism and veganism; kind of flirting with plant-based eating their whole life. 
 

Karina Inkster: Well, you make a good point that it's important to get into why they're looking at this. Is it purely an ethical decision? Is it Ed in the background, or the foreground? That's a really interesting point, actually. Are the registered dieticians that you often work alongside vegans themselves or do they have a good understanding of plant-based nutrition? 
 

Devon Hoholuk: Hmm, tricky question. 
 

Karina Inkster: Just curious. I mean, there are a lot of dieticians out there who do not get it. Soo…….
 

Devon Hoholuk: I do not work with any dieticians who are vegans themselves. I think if they were, they probably wouldn't need me, because then they would just do the work themselves. Most of the ones I work with are supportive for the most part. Really when it comes down to it, especially in a more restrictive eating disorder, I don't care what you eat; you just need to eat your food. Whether that’s meeting your calories through beans and greens and rice and everything, you still have to eat your food. A big struggle with restrictive eating disorders and coming into plant-based eating is that usually the volume of food needs to be a lot higher, because vegan food isn't as calorie dense as animal products. We need to eat more of it. That can be really tricky with people who need to weight restore, which is another place where adding in tiny bits of animal products is appropriate when we just simply can't pack in the volume of food that it takes to get somebody to a healthy point.
 

Karina Inkster: That's a very good point. It's pretty well known in the vegan athletes sphere that you're basically stuffing your face 24/7 if you're vegan, and you need something like 5,000 calories a day. That’s an insane amount of vegan food.
 

Devon Hoholuk: Right. That can be super overwhelming. Also just as a side note, I don't just work with full-blown, diagnosed eating disorders. Any pattern of disordered eating is worthy of help. I know that a lot of people have this whole “ not sick enough” thought when it comes to disordered eating patterns. You don't have to have a diagnosis to seek help, which is kind of important to note with me.
 

Karina Inkster: That's a really interesting point. What are some examples of contexts in which somebody should probably seek help if they can, but might not meet the criteria for a full-on eating disorder? 
 

Devon Hoholuk: I would say basically it depends how much of your mental load food and diet is taking up. I know for myself, I cannot count calories. I cannot track macros. Even though I consider myself to be fully recovered and strong in my recovery, I just know that those are gateway drugs to me. 
 

Karina Inkster: They are for a lot of people.
 

Devon Hoholuk: There are people out there who could do that, and still maintain relationships with other people, who can still hold a job and go to family events, and all these things. Whereas somebody who is starting to tip into eating disorder land might avoid social situations. They might avoid holidays and family gatherings. They can struggle with concentration at school or work because your brain is always, always, always on food, counting, body image or body checking, or compulsive exercise and that kind of stuff. Really just anyone who feels like there isn't any room in their brain for anyone else, or anything else rather, should seek help or should talk to someone.
 

Karina Inkster: Absolutely. Would you agree that a lot of the messaging that we get (we, especially as female identified folks) from social media and from mainstream media: would you agree that some of those messages are kind of in eating disorder territory?
 

Devon Hoholuk: Very much so. I think diet culture runs strong, and I'm going to blame mostly Instagram for this, because that's the platform that I'm the most familiar with. I just see a lot of people giving nutrition advice that absolutely should not be giving nutrition advice. That really clouds the feed. When people are being bombarded with that information all the time, it's really easy to slip into a land where thoughts of food and body take over your day. 
 

Karina Inkster: I'm actually on the Admin team for a really large Facebook group. It's about 33,000 (or something) members for Vegan Nutrition and Bodybuilding, but it's not exclusively bodybuilding. I mean, I'm not a bodybuilder. I strength train a lot though. It’s fitness focused on strength, training and nutrition. Obviously we have guidelines in the group, but we also have certain high-profile vegan professionals who we’re not allowed to discuss in the group, specifically because we feel (we, by the way includes the team of six or seven admins, some of whom are scientists, one of whom is also a registered dietician)..anyways, we feel like we don't want these folks in our group, specifically because their messaging and their programs veer into disordered eating territory.
 

Of course, there are people out there who are training for bodybuilding shows. That's a whole other issue. I don't train clients for physique competitions for various reasons (it’s a whole other podcast episode.) We actually have noticed that some high profile, even vegan professionals, have a very disordered approach to food where food is something you earn. Food is something you burn off with exercise. This is not the route that we want to take in an evidence-based sane, psychologically healthy approach. Have you ever come across messages in the vegan world specifically, where you're thinking "Holy crap, this is eating disorder territory."
 

Devon Hoholuk: Yes. I mean, I can't really think of any specific platform that's been an issue, but I do see actually in a lot of the vegan groups and some of the Vancouver ones specifically, there's kind of this idea that if you’re a junk food vegan, then you're bad, or you're not a real vegan.
 

Karina Inkster: Ooh, that's a good point. Yes!
 

Devon Hoholuk: There is gatekeeping and hard lines within the vegan community. I think that if somebody can follow a mostly whole foods plant based diet, that's great. This narrative that it's the only way to be healthy or to be vegan just isn't right. Even with the science, you know what I mean? There's more than that. I really like your approach. I've heard in a few of your episodes, how you mention that there are no good or bad foods. Food is just food. That's a super strong belief of mine as well. Any food can fit into your food choices, to a certain extent. You don't need to cut out anything, really. You just need to tweak things to fit your goals.
 

Karina Inkster: That's it exactly. One person's "bad food" might be another person's "good food”. (Our listeners can't see us on video, but I'm making air quotes around those.) That's a really good point that you brought up though about the “well, if you're not eating exclusively no-oil, 100 hundred percent whole foods, then you're not a real vegan". I mean, some people are not vegan at all for health reasons. I wasn’t when I first went vegan. Health wasn't even on the menu at that point. It's evolved over the years of course, but it's a really good point that you bring up. What kind of programs do you have? What are a client's potential options when they know that they need help and they want to work with you?
 

Devon Hoholuk: I offer different levels of support. What I have found to be the most successful is when people commit to at least three months. That's my most cost-effective program. When people book in for three months with me, that includes monthly Zoom appointments, we can do meal support where I will actually sit down with somebody over Zoom and eat a meal with them. That can be really tough for somebody, especially who's challenging a fear food or something. I will chat with the person the night before and say, "okay, what are we going to have for breakfast?"  I will make the same meal as them and eat it with them on Zoom.
 

Karina Inkster: That’s so cool. That’s amazing!
 

Devon Hoholuk: That's another level of support that isn't always available with outpatient programs. That's kind of a cool thing that I like to add in for people. Pre-pandemic, I was also offering grocery store support where I would go help people in the grocery store. That can be a super overwhelming task as well. Right now that can't be part of the program, but we can still talk about meal planning, grocery planning, and stuff like that. My three-month program also offers daily accountability check-Ins via text or email, and 15-minute phone calls throughout the months as well. That's kind of the most bang for your buck program.
 

I do have a one-month program, and I offer one-off, one-on-one sessions. Those can be a great introduction for people who aren't sure if they're even ready to seek recovery, because sometimes that's the case. I've learned through working with people who are probably outside of my scope of practice, that people need to be ready to make the changes to be working with me. That's where the one-on-one sessions are really helpful, where someone maybe is new to recovery and isn't sure what they need yet. That's a great option. Those are all available on my website.
 

Karina Inkster: That's amazing. We're going to link to your website in our show notes. I actually really appreciate that you mentioned scope of practice. It's something I talk about a lot because in the fitness world, nine out of 10 fitness coaches are making meal plans for their clients. “ Here is what you're going to eat for the next month on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.”  That is outside the scope of practice for fitness coaches. I'm happy to do a sample menu plan where it may be "here are some options for breakfast. Here are some options for lunch”. We are legally not qualified to make meal plans. Every freaking coach out there is doing this, which is crazy to me. For your scope of practice, obviously you're networking with other professionals, which is awesome. Dieticians, for example, what's in your scope of practice versus what's out of your scope of practice?
 

Devon Hoholuk: What is in my scope of practice: I can offer meal planning. I can offer nutritional support through supplements. That's actually sort of a territory that I'm not crazy comfortable with, because most of the people who come to me are on psychiatric medication for various disorders. I'm not going to say usually, but eating disorders can often occur at the same time as other mental health diagnoses. I tend to leave supplement suggestions on the scarce end, and leave that to registered dieticians who are working closely in hospitals with the doctors prescribing medication. I focus on meal planning. I focus on menu planning. I do a lot of work around people's relationship with food and challenging diet culture beliefs, challenging those ideas of good and bad food, working with people to challenge the idea that with food (not in respect to veganism, but just in respect to food in general) there's a morality. You're a good person if you eat an apple, but you're a bad person if you eat a donut. We challenge those ideas. 
 

I think one of the biggest things that set me apart from a lot of other professionals is the more frequent check-ins. I can really be a teammate for someone. I know when I was in recovery; I think I could have really used that. I could have used someone to check in with a little bit more frequently, so I could send a text and say " Hey, I'm, you know, about to eat this scary food and I'm nervous about it, and I just wanted someone to know”. I can be that person for people and that's not always available through other professionals.
 

Karina Inkster: Great point. That's huge, the ongoing support. I think nowadays with more people being open to the concept of having help or support or a coach online, it's probably going to explode with people saying, "Hey, well, I need to find someone to help.” It's going to be online for obvious reasons now during the pandemic. That's amazing that you can do that, connect with clients, and help them that way. I'm totally going to be referring people. You're awesome.
 

Devon Hoholuk: Thank you! I do have kind of a vision for the future just now, since I am getting more comfortable with Zoom. I used to only see clients in person. It wasn't until this year that I've moved into Zoom. I have a client from Australia that I've been able to chat with, which is super cool. Where I'm hoping to go in the future is some groups, and some peer support and stuff like that. I found groups really helpful in my own recovery. I think that especially now, as people are more and more isolated, having an opportunity to have an online platform where we can meet in real time would be a good idea. I'm also working on building a couple of self-paced courses that include worksheets more for exploring like people's own relationship to food, and what the best course of action could be for people specifically to seek help.
 

Karina Inkster: That's amazing. How awesome. Is your website the best place where people can go and learn more about what you do, and connect with you?
 

Devon Hoholuk: It is. My website, and honestly just shooting me an email or a phone call. I really love to chat with people one-on-one, just because everyone's situations are so different.
 

Karina Inkster: That's amazing. Well, we'll have links to your social media as well in our show notes, so people can go there. It has been amazing speaking with you. Thank you so much for coming on the show. This is a super important topic, not just within veganism of course, but in general, in the health and fitness and nutrition sphere. I'm really appreciative. Thank you so much for speaking with me today.
 

Devon Hoholuk: It was awesome. Thanks for having me!
 

Karina Inkster: Devon. What an important topic we tackled today. Thanks again for coming on the show. Make sure you check out our show notes at nobullshitvegan.com/084 to connect with Devon, and make sure you reach out if you feel like you need help with your relationship to food. Thank you so much for tuning in.

 

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