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Expert Interview - Lose the Quarantine 15

2020 has been a lot of things... tough, sad, stressful, weird, and challenging are things to come to mind. Definitely not anything that we've ever expected. 

With all of the stress and uncertainty that has come with this year, many of us have packed on the Quarantine 15 (or more)! If this is you, don't fret - you're NOT alone. There are safe, healthy ways to get these extra pounds off so you can jump start your healthy journey before 2021 even arrives. 

We had the opportunity to interview Rhya Pachin, one of the experts in functional nutrition here in Charlotte. You may remember her from earlier in the year when she talked with us about the gut microbiome and the importance of using food and nutrition to heal the body. 

Today, she is going to talk to us more about that pesky "Quarantine 15" and how we can make a few simple lifestyle changes to get that off, and keep it off.


Hi Rhya! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us again! Today, we are going to be talking about loosing the Quarantine 15! Can you first tell us about this "Quarantine 15" and why so many people packed on extra pounds during this time?

Thanks for having me! This year has been so challenging, and I think the stress of the pandemic on top of everyone's regular commitments contributed to more comfort-driven habits like increasing alcohol, sugar, and processed food consumption. Also, for many, the gyms have been closed, which impacted not only access to certain types of equipment, but also forced people to create and implement new workout habits which can feel overwhelming or intimidating. Furthermore, financial constraints and/or reduced access to healthy foods impacted buying habits.

Sounds like quarantine was the perfect storm for added weight. Can you tell us a little bit about what the first step would be for loosing this weight? 

The first step to lose extra weight is to focus on digestion and elimination, which improves the metabolism and supports overall health. An unhealthy body can't lose weight without extreme force; whereas a body with effective detoxification processes will let go of extra weight as a side effect of being healthy.

That's really good to know! It seems that the "detox" is a word that gets thrown around a lot lately. Do you mind clearing up any misconceptions around what a detox is?

I would love to! Detoxification is not magical or something found in one specific food or pill. It is a natural, necessary process that should be occurring in our bodies all the time on a regular basis by way of eating a healthy diet and drinking water, which support the liver and kidneys in removing waste and toxins. However, in modern society, many people are putting in more toxins on a daily basis than the body is able to remove effectively. This causes toxins to accumulate in the body, which then further hampers detoxification and so perpetuates a vicious cycle.

I know earlier you mentioned that detoxing can help digestion. Tell us a little bit more about that?

One organ largely responsible for detoxification is the liver. The liver breaks down toxins to reduce their ability to hurt the body, and then makes them water-soluble so that they may be excreted. Working on digestion and detoxification together helps to remove toxins more effectively and therefore reduce the overall toxic burden on the liver and the body overall.

We all know that digestion leads to elimination. Is there anything you recommend to help with that?

Foods that support healthy digestion include: dandelion and mustard greens, lemon, mint, ginger, and beets. These foods can be eaten fresh, cooked, or dried in a tea format. Supplements are sometimes necessary, but there is not one particular supplement that's right for every single person or symptoms.

Tell us a little bit more about the protection you can get from a detox.

Not all detoxification programs are created equal, so don't fall for a box that promises the world in 2 jars of pills. However, by following a whole foods-based diet with lots of fruits and veggies, along with a few key supplements for 15-30 days, digestion usually improves, and various symptoms from fatigue to joint pain to headaches to difficulty losing weight often resolve or are significantly reduced.

Oh yum! Fresh fruits and veggies! That sounds like the perfect situation for a smoothie. Do you have a good smoothie recipe that you would like to share with our readers?

I love smoothies because they are a quick, easy way to get in extra veggies and "hide" concentrated nutrition that might otherwise be cumbersome to get into your daily diet. Berry-Avocado smoothie is one of my favorites:

+ 1 cup coconut milk (or other plant milk)
+ 1/2 zucchini (chopped, frozen)
+ 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach
+ 1/4 cup frozen cauliflower
+ 1/2 cup frozen berries
+ 1/4 avocado
+ 1 tbsp chia seeds
+1 serving of vanilla protein powder (or collagen)

Blend and enjoy!

Thanks for that recipe! It sounds delicious and I can't wait to try it! A lot of modern women struggle with their metabolisms. What can we do to help boost our metabolism?

Focusing on detoxification and digestion as well as stress management is the best place to start. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to balance stress. If the body perceives excessive stress, it will hold onto weight as a protective mechanism.

So many women are affected by autoimmune diseases, can add in an extra element to weight loss. Are there any additional things these women need to consider when trying to get off the extra quarantine weight?

Avoid extreme diets. Focus on health not on a quick weight loss solution. There is always a gut component with autoimmune conditions, so again start there. You may need to work with a knowledgeable practitioner to get to the root cause of the autoimmune issue first, and then the body will respond to a weight loss program much better.

Are there anything other last things we should know about detoxing our bodies?

While you detoxify your inside body, remember to also begin to detoxify your outside world. As you run out of household and beauty products, slowly begin to replace with non-toxic versions in order to minimize your toxic burden and relieve some of the stress on your body's detoxification mechanisms.

Thank you so much for answering my questions! Before we part, where can people find you and learn more about the great work you are doing?

My email address is rhya@carolinafunctionalnutrition.com. 

You know I've got to ask this! What are your favorite Roses and Azalea products that you've personally tried?

Speaking of detox, LOVE the detox mask! It balances and calms my skin without making it feel dry.
Whether you are battling the Quarantine 15 or just want to start healthy habits, I know the information Rhya shared will be really helpful for so many of you. Know that we are here for you and cheering you on, no matter where you are in your journey.

Detoxing your body can bring amazing benefits, and give you a fresh start during this tough year.  If you want more information about this topic or have any questions, visit Rhya's website or email her at rhya@carolinafunctionalnutrition.com.

As we start heading deeper into fall and this holiday season, I am sending you and your family wishes of health, happiness, and positivity



Rhya Pachin is licensed dietitian nutritionist with an integrative or functional approach and a certified LEAP therapist dietitian, trained to design and supervise customized plans and elimination diets.  She helps you discover the root cause of food sensitivities and chronic inflammation through evidence-based interventions.  Her practice focus areas include: gastrointestinal (GI) conditions such as IBS and IBD; autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Hashimoto's; stubborn weight issues; food sensitivities, and other chronic inflammatory conditions in both adults and children.



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