Nora Kassay-Farkas is a Functional and Holistic Nutrition Practitioner with Lynne Murfin MD. She is skilled in helping clients navigate therapeutic diets and food sensitivities with thorough education and personality strengths exploration.
How did your path to holistic healthcare begin?
Like many practitioners, my path to holistic healthcare was inspired by a health crisis. After a series of stressful life events thirty years ago, I developed adrenal dysfunction, which left me depleted physically, mentally and emotionally. At that time, holistic health care was in its infancy in Calgary with only a handful of clinics offering complementary health care. While conventional medicine was able to manage many of my symptoms, it was an intuitive holistic herbalist that truly set my healing path in motion. She helped me understand that mind, body, soul and spirit are intimately linked, and that in order to heal my broken body, I needed to also heal the less visible wounds in my mind, soul and spirit. The journey back to health was long, but it fuelled my passion and desire to study and work in the field of holistic healthcare.
Can you tell us a bit about your educational background?
I have always loved the biological sciences and received a BSc in Microbiology, followed by an MSc in Medical Science with a focus on Cardiovascular Pharmacology from the University of Calgary. I worked as a medical research scientist for a number of years, followed by a brief career in Pharmaceutical sales.
I studied and obtained my Holistic Nutrition Diploma from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and have gone on to complete advanced training in Functional Nutrition, Culinary Nutrigenomics and Autoimmune Disease Dietary Protocols.
Currently, I am studying to become certified as a Functional Medicine Health Coach at the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy.
What excites you about food/nutrition?
Understanding that food is more than energy; it is information. The nutrients in food contribute to a cascade of events that sends a multitude of signals throughout our bodies. Not only are these nutrients involved in events such as the synthesis of hormones or triggering the immune system, they also have the ability to turn genes off or on. It is so empowering to understand that our genes do not necessarily hold us captive and by harnessing the power of food, we can successfully shift their expression to our advantage.
Which services are you currently offering at Lynne Murfin MD?
My offerings currently include:
- 30, 60 or 90 minute appointments which may be appropriate for dietary protocol reviews or a follow-up.
- Nutrition and Lifestyle Foundation Package of 3 appointments - typically this series has a specific therapeutic diet as its focus. Appropriate lifestyle recommendations are also reviewed.
- Digging Deep series of 5 appointments - is a blend of both nutrition and health coaching. This series may be suitable for clients that are interested in health coaching, require a slower adoption of dietary protocols or those that anticipate transitioning between different therapeutic diets.
What is your favourite part about working with clients?
My greatest pleasure is derived from seeing clients respond favourably to a nutrition program that I have developed for them. It is incredibly rewarding to play a role in their healing journey and to be witness to their transformation.
What are some ways your Functional Medicine Coach training has affected the way you approach consultations?
The Functional Medicine Coach training has provided me with a host of skills that I now routinely employ in my consultations.
A new one for me is to gather myself before a consultation with some breath work or a short meditation. This allows me to clear my head and to refocus my attention so that I can be present both intellectually and emotionally when I meet with my clients.
I also employ character strength explorations during consultations. Identifying that which is core about a client’s personality has proven to be an invaluable tool for revealing how to best guide and share information with them.
Possibly the most impactful skill that I now employ is the art of listening. Allowing clients the space and time to share their stories, listen to their challenges and work through the practicalities of dietary and lifestyle interventions ensures that they feel in control and achieve success.
Favourite nourishing foods?
My favourite nourishing foods are those that I grew up with. As a child of European parents, some of my earliest and fondest memories were of helping my mother in the kitchen preparing traditional Hungarian dishes. I can still smell the aroma of dishes like Chicken Paprika or a spicy Goulash. Everything was prepared from scratch and they subscribed to the tradition of nose to tail cooking. I routinely ate liver, kidneys, and even blood sausage. While I no longer have the time to prepare many of the labour intensive dishes, the memory of how delicious and nutritious they were remains with me to this day.
Favourite nutrition and lifestyle resources?
I love recipe books and am drawn to those that are consistent with my philosophies about nutrition. Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, The Longevity Kitchen and the Healthy Mind Cookbook by Rebecca Katz, Healing Spices by Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD
, and the UnDiet Cookbook by Meghan Telpner are a few of my favourites.
To fulfill many of my medical/nutritional interests, I explore websites and listen to podcasts. Currently my favourites are:
- Health Means at healthmeans.com is an on-line health channel that provides advice from a vast collection of medical experts on a variety of health related conditions.
- Rhonda Fitzpatrick, PhD: Podcast- Found My Fitness - Rhonda interviews leading researchers working in the fields of nutritional biochemistry, nutrigenomics, longevity and beyond.
- Peter Attia, MD: Podcast- The Drive: Dr Attia is a very curious MD interviewing some brilliant thinkers in health and medicine.
- Katy Bowman: Podcast- Move Your DNA- Katy is part biomechanist, part science communicator, and full-time mover that has educated hundreds of thousands of people on the role movement plays in the body and in the world. She blends a scientific approach with straight talk about sensible, whole-life movement.
For my soulful side, I enjoy the podcast by author and host Emily P Freeman entitled The Next Right Thing
and a daily Sacred Meditation from Encounter.com
Favourite nourishing practices for your body/skin?
I enjoy ending my day with a soak in an Epsom salt bath while listening to a relaxing audiobook or podcast. Other nourishing practices for me include lymphatic massage, far-infrared sauna and weekly manual physiotherapy sessions.
My fellow nutrition practitioner, Amy Bondar, has also recently introduced me to essential oils. Whether diffused, applied or consumed they are now an important part of my daily self-care routine.
What lights you up?
As cliché as it may sound, it is my relationships that light me up. It is the relationship that I have with God, my family, friends, co-workers and clients that are the driving force behind all that I do and all that I am.
I also have a deep love of learning and enjoy challenging myself by learning new skills both professionally and personally.