WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — If you are looking for a miracle diet solution that will help you keep your New Year's resolution to drop 40 pounds in six weeks, do not come to Wild Oats Market on Wednesday evening.
On the other hand, if you want to learn tools that will help you make smart, healthy choices in 2014 and beyond, the Main Street market will be the place to be when certified holistic health coach Nicole Anagnos presents "Lean and Clean in 2014," from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
The free talk will offer information on whole food eating, food intolerance testing, stress relief and the 14-day cleanse she offers through her business, Zen Tree Wellness.
What Anagnos will not offer is a quick fix.
"I try to keep people from starting crazy fad diets, and this is the time of year when that happens," she said this week. "Everyone is desperate to start something new because we're coming off the holidays.
"Whether they want to do a program with me or not, there are steps they can use at home immediately to start getting healthier."
Anagnos, who has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in education from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, is accredited as a health coach by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.
In her practice and in her life, she has found that fad diets are all too common and all too unsuccessful.
"What I most see from people is giving up on one entire food group — whether it's giving up carbs or whatever — something super drastic," Anagnos said. "Every time I talk to someone, even if it's just three weeks afterward, they'll say, 'Oh, I'm not doing that anymore.'
"It's not sustainable. It's really too drastic. It can't last."
And it can be counterproductive to try, she said.
"Why put your body through all that craziness only to then end up feeling like you failed?" Anagnos said.
Of course, there is a reason why fad diets come into vogue in January, and Anagnos recognizes that the start of a new year is a good time to talk about personal nutrition.
"It's a good time focus on yourself because everyone has been so stressed and thinking about the holidays," she said. "Let's think about healthy snacks and packing lunches and that sort of thing again."
At Zen Tree Wellness, Anagnos emphasizes a personal approach tailored to individual clients that highlights good choices instead of "lists of restrictions and good and bad foods," according to the business' website, zentreewellness.com.
Wednesday's event at Wild Oats is one of two free talks Anagnos is offering this month.
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, she will present "Are Foods Making You Sick?" from 6 to 6:30 p.m. at Shima on Main Street in North Adams.
The second talk will focus more directly on the Alcat food intolerance test developed by Florida's Cell Science Systems and offered locally by Zen Tree.
The Alcat is a blood test that can screen for reactions to up to 350 foods, chemicals and herbs. Those reactions are believed to be linked to ailments ranging from obesity and heart disorders to chronic migraines.
Anagnos said she has administered the test only a few months and already is hearing strong feedback from clients.
"A lot of people have done it and said, 'Holy cow, what a difference,' " she said. "The testimonials coming from the lab in Florida have been amazing."
Anagnos said the new technology is an important tool she and clients can use to customize an approach to good nutrition.
"[Before], it was trial and error," she said. "I'd have to say, 'Let's try eating this for a few months and see how it goes.'
"So many people come to me and say, 'Just tell me what to eat.' ... This is the closest thing I've had to saying I have somewhere to start."