Being laid off from an administrative job was the best thing that could have happened for Raina Lutz.
At the time, Lutz said, she didn’t feel that way, but looking back it was a key moment that led her to become a valuable member of the community as a volunteer, entrepreneur and gave her the ability to share her passion for promoting a healthy lifestyle.
“I went to Workzone and did some testing and was told I would be a good counsellor or someone that was involved in food and agriculture. As my generation does, I started Googling about this and a school website came up and I knew right then that is what I needed to do and I was so drawn to it,” said Lutz of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, of which she is now a faculty member.
“Looking back on that moment now, it was like one of those moments in the movies where the clouds part and the sun shines down. I’m so lucky that I found my path. I love that I get to do what I get to do.”
The unsettling news of losing her job afforded Lutz the time to really think about where she wanted to be in life. She is now one of only two full-time registered holistic nutritionists’ in the Okanagan. The other is her mentor Lisa Kilgour.
“Holistic nutrition is about to get really big and we are on the forefront of this huge revolution with organic food and that is what people want, fresh, local, organic food,” said Lutz. “It is really an exciting field to be in.”
The 25-year-old’s passion is bringing traditional food back into people’s homes. She achieves this through frequent fermented food information lectures and how-to workshops.
Her homemade brews include a Kombucha, which she says has many health benefits and has been around for thousands of years, will be available for purchase at Covert Farms this year.
Lutz has also implemented a program to visit people’s homes for refrigerator raiding, family recipe exchanges, teen nutrition and taking individual or groups on grocery store trips to shop smart and learn labels.
In a time when society seems to be going backwards in eating, Lutz’s forward thinking is that holistic nutritionists will be in high demand in the upcoming years and she is on the forefront of that trend in the Okanagan.
Lutz has immersed herself in the Get Bent Active Arts Society programs and through her company Lutz Nutrition holding workshops, one-on-one nutrition counselling and classes in yoga. While she admits some people might have a certain stereotype of what kind of people do yoga, Lutz said it is something everyone can do and benefit from.
“Get Bent is really wonderful because we do have props to modify poses for people. It makes it really accessible for people who are really nervous about trying yoga. People often have the perception that they are going to come in and be surrounded by young, sexy, pretzel women and they don’t want to do that. We are very casual here and we get a huge range of ages and people,” said Lutz.
The holistic nutritionist is passionate about providing youth with information to assist in their body image/self esteem perception.
On the volunteer board of facilitators of the Esteem Team, Lutz and three other adults, guide high school students to create workshops on anti-bullying, self esteem and the medias influence over youth.
The workshops are presented by the Get Bent Active Arts Society, the non-profit arm of Get Bent, to Grade 6 students across the Okanagan and Kootenays.
“I wish I had someone come to me when I was younger and talk to me about that stuff. So many girls ask. ‘Why aren’t I good enough? Why don’t I look that way?’ It is so hard to see,” said Lutz.
“It is why I am passionate about changing that because it is traumatic for teens and plays a big part in eating disorders and other problems.
“I had some of these issues when I was younger and I needed someone to tell me. My hope is I can make some impact, even if it is just on one person.”
Lutz holds a strong belief that women need to get to the bottom of their emotional eating habits and the source of the problem goes back to females in their teens struggling with food and image issues.
Her aim is to get them clear on the simplicity of eating. Through this and workshops she strives to make food simpler for everyone.
She said giving back to the community is something she learned through her mother. Lutz watched her mom step up into volunteer roles most of her childhood and always tagged along to help.
This resulted in Lutz volunteering with local churches, junior curlers, running music for local minor hockey games, a member of student parliament at Osoyoos Secondary and being involved in the candy striping program at the Oliver hospital.
She also was selected as an Osoyoos Princess and served as ambassador for Osoyoos through the community and across parts of B.C. in 2004.
When Lutz isn’t spreading the passion for a healthy mind, body and eating habits through classes or by volunteering you can hear her on the SoCountry.ca radio talking about it and other things with Dennis Walker.
Penticton Top 40 under 40 is presented by the Prospera Credit Union in partnership with the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce and JCI Penticton, with support from the White Kennedy LLP Chartered Accountants.
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