Nutrition and health discussed at Center for the Environment

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 12, 2015

By Hannah Davis

Center for the Environment

“Food is by far the most powerful medicine you have,” says Nicole Magryta, a clinical nutritionist at Salisbury Pediatrics.

Nicole Magryta, her husband, Dr. Chris Magryta, and Dr. Chris Nagy spoke to more than 150 people Nov. 5 about the effects of food on health at the Center for the Environment on the Catawba College campus.

Instead of a standard talk, where the presenter stands before an audience and teaches, these speakers decided to make the event more of a “self-help session” for their audience. Members of the audience would ask health-related questions such as, “Is there any correlation between [food] intolerances and autoimmune diseases?” and they would answer the question and explain the meaning behind it.

These three speakers believe in a practice beyond modern medicine, which uses antibiotics, or as they call it, the pharmaceutical and supplement model. Instead, they believe that the entirety of our health relies upon what we eat. They explained early on that we, as a society, “want a magic bullet,” Nichole Magryta said, meaning that we want a simplistic solution for diseases, like an easy pill, but this way of thinking isn’t realistic.

As Nagy puts it, “being healthy is pushing a boulder up a hill” and it requires a total transformation and realization of what you eat. Nagy also describes health as someone with low-insulin and low-inflammatory levels.

So how do you achieve that definition of health with just the food you eat?

Some recommendations for healthier digestion, and therefore a healthier lifestyle, include feeding the microbiomes – the microorganisms and their collective genetic material in the human body – through the consumption of adequate omega-3 acids and probiotics – live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system.

Nagy said that our commercial yogurts do not cut it when it comes to our probiotic consumption needs, and that they are actually just full of unnecessary sugar. He went on to say that our culture is missing a great source of probiotics that all other cultures have – such as kimchi in Korea.

Another recommendation they offered was to listen to what your body is trying to tell you. They said that if you believe your body is rejecting a certain food, like cheese, then try to cut it out of your diet and see how things turn out. If that doesn’t help, then try to find the source by taking out or substituting other foods in your diet.

Many of the questions from the night revolved around the concern of parents and grandparents for their children’s health. All of the speakers agreed that with the way our world is running today, and the nutrition that we are so accustomed to, there is cause for concern. However, Chris Magryta said that, as a pediatrician, he solves most of his patients’ problems by simply changing their diet to foods that are good for them such as raw honey and the aforementioned probiotics.

Overall, the talk left many audience members with the urge to eat healthier and spread the news on food to others.

The next event hosted by the Center for Environment will be on Nov. 19. This event will feature the same speakers and will be a cooking demonstration. To register for the event and claim your seat, visit