Teaching her clients to become food detectives has earned Debra Basch some enemies, but most come around when they realize the bonuses.

The personal fitness trainer and holistic nutritionist says she has had several clients over the past 10 years who were working out, but they weren’t losing weight or lowering their cholesterol. Plus they lacked energy.

“So I decided to go where the crime originated — their homes,” says the Toronto mother of two.

And what Basch found was one dirty little secret after another in the kitchens of those who agreed to participate in the makeover.

“In one kitchen cupboard, I discovered what I call a pandemic of puddings, chocolate bars, cookies and things that will last forever should they run out of fresh food,” she says.

Her approach is to suggest to a client that she would like to spend about 90 minutes at their home to do some sleuthing and set parameters in how far the client will let her go in purging certain products she may find.

She finds a gentle touch is best. “Some people will shut down if I go to their home and hardline it, so I try not to be judgmental.”

To demonstrate what she thinks her clients should be eating, Basch brings samples of empty containers from healthy products, such as whole-grain cereals, natural peanut butter, and probiotic and low-fat yogurts.

“They usually buy into it, especially when I say to start out slowly,” she explains.

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