Did you know that all protein originally comes from plants? As nitrogen is needed from the air to create amino acids and only plants can do this. Which means eating a primarily plant based vegan or vegetarian diet is completely part of a balanced health program if you do it properly. Animal products like meat, fish and cheese have more bio-available protein, meaning a better uptake per volume eaten, but they also create acidity which causes inflammation and can lead to diseases. Fruits and vegetables are also a well rounded source of micro nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
To find the right balance of health, wellness and fitness we suggest that you speak with the team at LoLo Health Co in the Lower Lonsdale Shipyards District of North Vancouver. They are located close by West Esplanade right near the BCIT Marine Campus and the Lonsdale Quay Seabus. We had the chance to speak with Leslie Brugger who is the owner and operator of the business to get to know her better for the community. She is also a Registered Nurse with Vancouver Coastal Health.
|How did you get started with your local health business and what do you like about operating in North Vancouver?|
|I got started with my business just under 2 years ago now while I was working as an RN at Lion’s Gate Hospital. I was living right on LoLo lane on Esplanade and Lonsdale Avenue and I was trying to think of a name for my business that would represent our awesome North Vancouver community that I have fallen in love with. This was before the abbreviation “LoLo” had really taken off in our neighbourhood and I had just come back from a trip to West Hollywood where everyone was referring to their neighbourhood as “WeHo.” |
Like most millennials, I love a good abbreviation and took the inspiration from that name and LoLo lane to create LoLo Health Co. Shortly after that, I was chatting with a friend’s father who still lives and had grown up on Capilano Road – he asked me where I lived now. I told him I lived at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue and he says – “oh you live in LoLo do ya!” And that’s when I realized that the name LoLo had actually been around for a long time for these North Vancouver residents.
I am absolutely in love with our community. As someone who has done a lot of travelling and has lived in several cities from Ontario Canada to Arizona USA, when I finally moved back to North Vancouver I knew this would be it for me. The beauty and access to nature in this city is really unparalleled to anywhere I have ever been. After living in the USA, you really do appreciate things like clean air and water so much more than I ever had in the past. I love how friendly and kind everyone is in North Vancouver. I love the community feel and sense of belonging that I get here. I love walking down the Spirit Trail on a sunny day and seeing everyone outside with their kids and dogs and people hanging out on brewery patios. It’s a place that I am very proud to call home.
My motivation for starting LoLo Health Co really came from my personal experiences working as a nurse in the hospital. In acute care, we are very good at helping acutely ill patients. If you have a broken bone, a lung infection, or you’ve just had a heart attack – we are excellent at treating these types of patients and they receive life-saving care at our facilities. Unfortunately, when it comes to chronic disease and prevention, our system is just not set up at the moment to help these types of patients. Our healthcare system has mostly overlooked how important nutrition is in both the prevention and reversal of chronic disease.
Before I was a nurse I completed a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from the University of British Columbia. Originally I thought I was going to be a dietitian but after working in the hospital for some of my clinical hours, I decided to go back to school to be a nurse. Once starting work, I was truly shocked by the quality of food that we were giving to our patients who arguably need better nutrition more than ever during their time of recovery. I am sure anyone who has ever seen a hospital tray can agree that this food is highly processed and nearly inedible. Additionally, the nutrition and lifestyle information provided to our patients following discharge that is essential to help them heal and prevent re-admissions is either grossly inadequate or not given at all.
According to the government of Canada, chronic disease costs about $190 billion annually between healthcare costs and productivity losses. One of the biggest issues that I continued to see in the hospital that really struck a chord with me was the number of both younger and older patients with mild to severe cognitive decline. Our brain health is rapidly declining in our community members and no one in our provincial or federal health care systems seems to be paying attention to this. The prevalence of dementia has more than doubled every 5 years for Canadians. If you live to be 85, you now have a 1 in 4 chance of having dementia. Dementia is a devastating disease for both the patient and their loved ones. It robs people of their quality of life and puts a huge emotional and financial burden on their loved ones.
As a nurse, I see patients every day who forget where they are, have constant paranoia, forget who their loved ones are and even become physically aggressive to the point where they need to be physically or chemically restrained in order to keep them and the people around them safe. This is a disease that no one would ever want to experience and yet we are currently doing nearly nothing about preventing it in our healthcare system. That’s why I created LoLo Health Co – to bring awareness to the importance of brain health and preventing these chronic diseases before you ever have to access our healthcare system for them.
The unfortunate truth about these chronic conditions is that by the time you are experiencing these types of symptoms, it is largely too late. We currently have no treatment for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease but we do know how to prevent them. One of my favourite Neurologists in brain health Dr. David Perlmutter always says “the time to fix the roof is not when it’s raining.” Issues with brain health can start to accumulate 20-30 years before the first onset of symptoms, which is why I am so passionate about getting young people now to pay attention to their brain health before they ever have to start experiencing symptoms. And that is what LoLo Health Co is all about. Educating people on preventing chronic diseases like cognitive impairment and heart disease before they start having symptoms. LoLo Health Co is an online resource for up to date, evidence-based information about health and wellness. We have book lists, podcast lists, recipes, wellness guides, community information and more, which are all directed at the promotion and prevention of chronic disease.
|What are the health related products and services that you offer to customers?|
|Over the past two years, I have been writing 3 eBooks that will be for sale on our website and will be used as a guide for our clients in our new dynamic coaching programs. There is a Nutrition Guide, a Grocery Shopping Guide and a Wellness Guide – all of which you can read more about on LoLoHealthCo.com. Our coaching programs will consist of both online and in-person coaching sessions as well as in-person grocery shopping sessions for locals in order to educate and help people become better at navigating their grocery stores. You can also access all of our recipes and tips for keeping your brain healthy for free on our website. The launch of both our guides and our coaching programs have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both for the safety of our clients and because of the overwhelming demand in my primary job as an intensive care nurse at LGH and VGH hospitals. We hope to have these out by summer but for now, you can follow along on our Instagram and YouTube channel and can sign up for our newsletter so that you can get updates on when they will be released.|
|Before operating Lolo Health Co what were you doing for a career?|
|I am still currently working as a full-time RN in the ICU at both VGH and LGH for Vancouver Coastal Health. I absolutely love nursing, I am very passionate about helping people at both the community and acute care levels. I am not sure I will ever leave acute care but I do hope to focus more of my attention in the future on keeping our community members healthy in order to prevent them from ever needing my help in the acute care setting.|
|Outside of operating your business what do you get up to for activities in your personal time?|
|I am a true North Vancouverite. I absolutely love hiking in our beautiful community. I road bike and mountain bike. I love hitting the gym with my friends at Level 10, Sweat Vancity and RIDE Cycle Club. You can always find me on the weekends enjoying a pint of beer with my friends at one of our many local breweries – our personal favourite is Beere Brewing.|
|Lastly, is there anything else you might want our readers to know about you or your business?|
|I am very active on our Instagram account. I love sharing information on there and always get messages from people saying how helpful the information on our Instagram stories are. They seem to really enjoy watching what types of brands and products I buy. I often film myself shopping in grocery stores and explain why I buy certain things. I always answer my DMs if you have any questions or just want to say hi!|
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