Next up is Ashley - a wonderful holistic nutritionist who practices mindful eating and yoga. Her website is one of my go-to daily spots for all things natural. Here she is sharing her amazing food and lifestyle story.
- A few words about who you are, what you do, where you live and what you are passionate about.
I'm a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher and energy healer based in Los Angeles. I am passionate about supporting women to take better care of themselves through cultivating deeper relationships with themselves and their communities.
- When, why and how have you decided on the holistic nutrition lifestyle and mindful nourishment?
I came into this lifestyle after being very sick for over a year. After meeting with Naturopaths I recognized it was time to change my diet and lifestyle. It's been an amazing 8 year journey of learning. I've tried every diet and today have a practice that is truly holistic. All of my experiences have brought me to this place of recognizing that labels don’t matter. It’s most important to get down to how and why we eat which is the reason I love mindful eating, it really connects us to experiencing our life through the way that we nourish it.
What is your food philosophy? Are there any food-groups/products you avoid? How do you substitute them? How important is the relationship between food and wellness?
Michael Pollan got it right when he said, Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. And don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. Occasionally I eat animal products. I consume as much local and organic produce as possible. I believe in supporting nearby farms and enjoy eating seasonally. I believe that eating mindfully is just as important as eating organic. I don't subscribe to diets or labels. I pay attention to what my body wants and I nourish myself with the foods that I eat. Food carries powerful energy within it and it should be respected. Fermenting foods is a regular practice in my house.
Everyone is different. Our nutritional needs are dependent on so many factors and they change throughout our life. What worked for me five years ago doesn’t necessarily work for me today. Healthy living is about balance and eating is a part of that. Community and family plays a big role in healthy eating for me. Sharing a meal with loved ones is something that I cherish on a regular basis.
I avoid fast food, junk food (white flour, white sugar, agave, etc), products that are not natural/green. I try to drink the cleanest water possible.
Food and wellness are intimately connected. It is impossible to experience wellbeing without addressing how we nourish ourselves. Food is the building blocks of all of our cells, if our cells are made up of McDonalds our experience will be different than if our cells are made up of seasonal, organic, delicious foods. This is a very simple example and our bodies and systems are much more complex, but in a very real way we are what we eat.
How does the holistic approach to life fit into your everyday routine? Your family, your well-being, shopping for food/cosmetics/clothes, going out for dinners, traveling?
At this point it is very much integrated into my life. In the beginning I had to rearrange much of my life. I always traveled with my mini blender, had to remind people about my dietary needs and so on. These days my circle of friends and community are all like minded women and living this way is very natural and part of our everyday.
How do you plan your meals and cook at home?
I plan my meals based on seasonal ingredients and always have staples on hand like broth, sprouts, coconut yogurt, and ghee.
I like to cook for a chunk of time on the weekends to make meals quick during busy work weeks. This system saves me so much time and I really enjoy devoting several hours of cooking knowing that I am making an investment in my self-care.
- What‘s your daily/weekly go-to meal plan? (Breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner)? Basics that you swear by?
Morning: lemon water, broth, porridge - Snacks: homemade granola bars, coconut kale smoothie, spring dandelion juice - Lunch + Dinner: Sunchoke soup with crispy leeks, roasted saffron cauliflower with golden berries and lentils, spring bounty bowl with lemon cumin vinaigrette.
You're very passionate about yoga and energy healing. Can you tell us more about the practices?
Yes! I've practiced yoga for 12 years and it’s a big part of my life. Yoga is a wonderful way to connect with your body, your heart, and your intuition. I started teaching yoga at the encouragement of a teacher and haven’t looked back. Yoga is how I live my life. It’s so much more than downward dog and fancy handstands. Yoga is a practice in being more conscious, more awake and alive and this is important in all areas of life.
Here are some of my tips for starting a yoga practice and here is my favorite restorative pose. Also, here is my Mudras for Self Healing and a few tips on meditation for beginners.
Energy healing was something that came out of my desire to go deeper into my spiritual practice. I knew there was much more to heal within myself and that lead me to my first Reiki training. Since starting my journey into energy work I've been able to work with so many women in this way. It’s such an honor to witness the shifts in their life after just a few sessions.
Drinking your healing heart elixir is one of my favourite ways to calm anxiety. Do you have any other feel-good food secrets?
Yes! My Medicinal Chocolate Truffles are out of this world and are loaded with potent Chinese Herbs. I also recommend my Heart Tonic which was specifically crafted to sooth the heart.
Any tips on how to make a healthy transition to living a holistic life?
Take it slow. There is no rush to the finish line and long term, sustainable changes take time and dedication. Choose one action that you can take to improve your overall health and wellness and start today. Keep practicing until it is integrated into your life. Then build from there. And above all, remember to enjoy yourself, healing can be fun!
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Ashley!
P.S: Also, Drea's vegan food story and my thought on this series.
(All photos by/via Ashley and Sera Lindsey)