Welcome to The Barefoot Nutritionist! I am Kayla MacDonald, a Holistic Nutritionist living in the charming village of Cumberland on the coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
About My Journey
After exploring the realm of culinary arts as an early career path, I realized that my interest in food was beyond creating a delicious and beautiful meal. After working in the restaurant industry, exploring various catering jobs, and spending several years travelling with a food truck, I returned to school to study nutrition. I attended the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in Nanaimo, BC, where I completed a diploma program in Holistic Nutrition, a practicum, and case studies.
Following graduation, I found an opportunity at Edible Island Whole Foods Market, a health food store local to me, where I worked as an on-staff nutritionist in the supplements department. I also wrote a monthly publication for the store in the Comox Valley Record in the 50+ Living feature on the topic of longevity and senior-focused nutrition, which I continued to write several year after my departure from working in-store.
While maintaining my position at Edible Island, I established my own business and private practise, where I worked alongside an Acupuncturist and a doctor of Chinese Medicine. Here I gained both clinical experience and insight of ancient practises based in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which has been practised for over 3,000 years. This work greatly influenced the way I practise nutrition and view the human organism, and though I am not formally trained in TCM, I integrate a number of principles into my personal and professional life.
About My Practise:
I created The Barefoot Nutritionist to share with the world my journey back to where we all began – as intuitive, connected beings, being one with ourselves and the natural world surrounding us. Nutrition is the modality in which I help reunite individuals with their deeper purpose and help root the whole being back into the earth, though my practise penetrates much deeper than diet.
My food focus is to prioritize real, whole foods, prepared according to traditional methods. Fresh, seasonal fruits, vegetables, mushrooms and herbs (both cultivated and wild foraged) eaten raw, fermented or cooked; whole heritage grains and locally grown nuts and seeds, soaked, soured, or sprouted; grass fed, pasture raised, or wild animal proteins, eaten nose to tail (bones, organs, fats, and muscle meat) including beef, pork, poultry, seafood, eggs and game; and fresh, raw, non-homogenized, full-fat dairy products from animals raised on a diet of grass and forage.
Though I am not dogmatic about diets, a potentially appropriate way to label this approach is as an “ancestral diet”. Beyond this, there is room for customization. Genetics, ancestry, geographical location, food allergies and sensitives, religion, and values and beliefs are only a handful of variables that can impact what diet may be right for any individual. These differences paint the picture of bioindividuality.
To me, food represents much more than the diet. It represents art, culture, the emotional body (passion, joy, love, gratitude, reverence to name a few), and celebration of seasons, weather, and the earth. Growing, foraging and hunting for organic and wild foods creates a deep connection to the source; likewise, shopping for locally grown food supports local farmers, the economy, and creates connection to the community. Preparation of these foods within the home fosters a sense of mindfulness, and creates a much deeper meaning for the meal on your plate. Gardening, foraging, hunting, and food preparation are a meditation, as they draw the attention to the present and provoke a sense of mindfulness and connectedness. Reverence, gratitude, and a sense of accomplishment are a few highlights of this process, and as a byproduct, you create a much fresher, more diverse, and nutrient dense meal, with a more robust microbiome and enzyme content.
I currently live, work, and play in the charming village of Cumberland, where I am raising a family, growing my business, and evolving my whole being.
When I’m not reading, researching, and writing, you’ll find me exploring in the Pacific Northwest with my partner, son, and English bull terrier. You’ll often catch us off roading to find our new favourite foraging spot, barefoot hiking, rock climbing the crags above Comox Lake, or sailing in the Strait of Georgia. I make a point to experience joy, wonder, and playfulness within my daily life, and find purpose in connecting to my local terrain.