The following interview is part of Out's "Dating PrEP" series, in which four notable experts from various fields offer advice on how to prepare for dating as a modern queer man.
Dave Coast, a nutritionist and wellness blogger, loves food. But his relationship with eating got off to a rocky start.
In a video interview with Out's David Artavia, Coast recounted how, when he was a teenager, he acquired C. difficile, an inflammation of the colon, after being overprescribed antibiotics.
"I just started rapidly losing weight and wasn't able to properly digest food anymore," Coast said. "The latter part of my teen years, [I was] really, really skinny and feeling really unhealthy, like anything I ate didn't make me feel good."
However, the experience ended up shaping his career. His "passion and desire to feel better" led him to attend school to become a registered holistic nutritionist, in which capacity he helps others take control of their wellness.
When it comes to food, each client has their own history, which comes with its own plan. "It's really like a personal relationship, that is, I would say, one of the most important ones they're gonna have in your life," he said.
Coast shared a few ground rules, though, like the "80/20" rule. Choosing healthy and nutritious foods for 80% of your calories, while the remaining 20% can come in the form of pizza, alcohol, desserts, etc. He believes flexibility is important and that everyone should be able to eat foods they love and feel nourished without guilt. Additionally, gay men often perceive carbohydrates as "the enemy," Coast has observed, "but it's a shame, because if you are working out, you really do need carbs to both properly fuel yourself and recover."
With clients, Coast also loves to use a macronutrients calculator to help them determine exactly what they are putting into their bodies (Check out Dave's FREE Macros Calculator). He also stressed that emotional wellbeing can be achieved through preparing healthy meals for friends, a partner, or a romantic interest.
"When you make a really good meal, I would just equate it to ... when you have a nice outfit on, and you know you look good, just got a haircut, because you've put a lot of care and attention and thought and love into it," he said.
In addition to eating right, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) — the treatment that is proven to be up to 99 percent effective in HIV prevention if taken daily — is also an important tool for achieving a healthy lifestyle and taking care of loved ones, especially if your sexually active.
"There are a number of different things you can do to take better care of yourself, and once they become daily habits." Coast said. "You can take better care of yourself. You can take better care of others. And you can take better care of the planet. Simply put, you can start showing to your life in much bigger ways too."
Below, Coast shares his receipt for his "Go Green" smoothie, which he prepares in the video interview — an easy and delicious way to start your path to wellness.
Celery (3 ribs)
Romaine Lettuce (½ head)
Honey crisp apple (⅓ of apple)
Lemon (1 squeezed)
Avocado (¼ of avocado)
Banana (1 full)
Spinach (1 large handful)
Fresh water (16-24 oz)
Blend in Vitamix and/or Blendtec machine for 40-60 seconds and enjoy! Check out more of Dave's recipe's here.
Watch more from Out's "Dating Prep" series at Out.com/DatingPrep