It wasn’t just a matter of getting what we needed and heading back to the cocoon of the cottage. There was a system. First we walked the entire market examining the offerings at every stall, making note of where the juiciest raspberries were and who had the plumpest corn. I still do this and have trained my family well. Once we had narrowed it down to the final contenders, we’d split up. My mother would go one way and Grandma and I would go the other, swooping from one stall to the next, scooping up our prizes and quite literally getting the cream of the crop.
I loved going to the market. I loved hearing the farmers talk about their crops as if they were their children. I loved the earthy smells, the kaleidoscope of colours and the anticipation of eating it all. But there was something else, something intangible that my adult mind now calls potential.
I remember not wanting to eat potatoes in high school thinking they made you fat and then sneaking to the corner store after school to devour candy. I remember going to McDonald’s for the first time – when I was 14. I remember residence food in university and iceberg lettuce salads and midnight pizza. I remember eschewing fat of any sort but collapsing in front of the TV with a big pot of spaghetti after a long day at work.
Then I had children and what I had seen and absorbed as a child from my mother came home to roost. I made my own baby food. I started using organic foods. I made sure my children had protein at breakfast. We all drank water, not juice. We were moving more towards a more whole foods diet. My children thrived. I went back to school to study holistic nutrition seriously and start to put the science together with that feeling I had as a child of the potential of food and the information it carried.
What I know now is that, as basic as it sounds, food is foundational. It is the most powerful medicine we can use on a daily basis.
Today my food story continues to evolve as I learn and experiment. I still love shopping at farmer’s markets. I love sharing what I know about food, cooking and the science of nutrition with my clients. My hope is always that they feel empowered by our consultations to embrace the food and lifestyle changes that improve their health and well-being.
Jill Hillhouse BA, BPHE, CNP, RNT
Jill is a passionate advocate of whole foods eating and nutrition education. She believes that health starts on your dinner plate and she uses diet and lifestyle shifts to mitigate and reverse health conditions. Jill focuses on addressing her clients’ metabolic individuality as a key factor in her functional nutrition protocols and health coaching. A strong voice for self-advocacy, Jill encourages and empowers her clients to be active participants in their own health care. Working as a practitioner since 2001, Jill is part of the integrative health team at P3 HealthClinic in Toronto, Canada. She is also a Trusted Advisor for Zwell.ca, and a PRO with League.com. Jill is the author of The Paleo Diabetes Diet Solution as well as the best-selling book, The Best Baby Food. She also writes articles for a number national print and online publications.
Jill is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP) from The Institute of Holistic Nutrition and has earned her Bachelor of Physical and Health Education (BPHE) and her BA in Psychology at Queen’s University. She is certified as a First Line Therapist in Lifestyle Medicine by Metagenics and as a Stress and Wellness Consultant by the Hans Selye Foundation and The Canadian Institute of Stress. Jill has been a faculty member of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition since 2005. She is a member of The Canadian Association of Natural Nutrition Practitioners and the Institute of Functional Medicine.