Lyndi Cohen, better known as the Nude Nutritionist, is a Sydney dietitian and nutritionist who has made it her mission to help others make peace with their body, food and health. Her healthy nutrition philosophy and commitment to a wholefood diet is what JSHealth is all about! In this interview, Lyndi shares her go-to snacks, advice for anyone starting their health journey and her Day on a Plate – giving meaning to the phrase ‘eating the rainbow’ with a delicious array of fruit, veggies… and some banana nice cream!
- Tell us a little bit about yourself – who you are and what you do.
My name is Lyndi Cohen, I am a dietitian on Channel 9, food lover and blogger cheekily known as The Nude Nutritionist! I think eating well can sometimes feel overwhelming and confusing so I started The Nude Nutritionist as a way to strip away the complexity of healthy eating and show how easy and simple it can be to eat delicious, healthy food. I’m also delighted to be a speaker, nutrition consultant and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Ambassador!
- What was the ‘uh ha’ moment that inspired you to get in to health and wellbeing?
Ever since I can remember, I struggled with my weight and was constantly yo-yo dieting. But instead of helping me achieve my dream body, dieting made me obsessed with counting calories, over exercising and depriving myself.
At my darkest point, I was totally controlled by dieting, emotional eating and binge eating disorder. The more I tried to lose weight, the more I gained! I felt so alone and was so far from being healthy, happy or balanced.
In 2011, I was diagnosed with clinical anxiety – something I’ve openly shared and spoken about on my blog. The diagnosis rocked me to the core but it was actually the life-changing revelation I needed to get help me reclaim control from my eating disorder.
Since quitting diets and learning to listen to my body, I have discovered the joy and freedom of eating everything in moderation. I’ve learnt to naturally manage my anxiety, I’ve fallen in love with food again and as an added bonus, lost 25kg.
Because I know what it is like to feel out of control around food, I’m on a mission to help others overcome emotional eating and learn to love their bodies too. These days, I’m all about making simple and delicious food so you don’t feel bored or deprived.
- Talk us through a typical day in your life…
Most mornings, I wake up at 6:45am and hit the snooze button once before rising. I’ve never been the kind of girl to wake up with a sun-salutation and meditation!
My day starts with a homemade cappuccino in bed – with chocolate powder on top, because it makes me happy! By 7:15am, my man and I are out the door and jog to the beach for some dips and squats (or whale watching)! If I miss the morning session, I’ll go for a long walk later in the day.
Post-workout juice: Wearing my favourite top from Healthy is the new skinny
Before heading home, we share a large green juice with spinach, lemon, green apple, ginger and cucumber. All the while, we talk about the day ahead and I share what is on my mind and afterwards, I feel less anxious and centred.
Later, if I feel hungry again I eat Greek Yoghurt for breakfast with toppings like nuts, seeds, buckinis and honey or pomegranate for sweetness.
Greek yoghurt with buckinis, chia seeds, pistachios and pomegranate seeds
Because my job is so varied, there really is no typical day for me! On mornings when I am Channel 9 doing a TV segment on healthy eating, I snack on cut-up fresh fruit like watermelon and pineapple and drink plenty of water backstage.
After the show, I either go out for lunch for my favourite kind of ’work meeting’ or head home. I’ll often eat leftovers from dinner the night before or whatever pull something together from the bits in the fridge. I tend to add a tin of chickpeas or tin of tuna.
Whatever veg is in the fridge… and a tin of chickpeas with tahini dressing.
When eating out, I’ll often order a big salad with yummy ingredients like wholegrains like freekeh, nuts and seeds, cheese and of course – always salad dressing. After dieting for so long, I have no desire to eat boring salads anymore so my food must always taste delicious so I never feel deprived.
Filling (not light) salads are my favourite way to get my veggie quota for the day
In the afternoon, I generally answer emails, write blog posts, prep for events or talks, do consulting work or see clients in my private practice. I prefer not to snack between meals because I like to be hungry for meal times but if I get hungry, I’ll have a handful of nuts, a couple of fresh dates or a piece of fruit.
A couple of dates are perfect when I’m craving something sweet.
Dinner is my time to be creative in the kitchen and come up with the new recipes! We BBQ a lot so my man will man the grill and I’ll make the veg. I love to serve lots of veggies (generally 2-3 options). Typical meals are grilled salmon or chicken with a big salad and BBQ veggies like brocollini, corn on the cob or asparagus. We also love Mexican so tacos or taco salads are popular too!
Grilled chicken with asparagus, tomato chopped salad and rocket + grape salad
Taco salad night is a favourite
During winter we have been eating lots of soup like cauliflower, minestrone and spicy, Thai corn soup.
Sometimes I have a glass of red wine with dinner. I don’t deprive myself anymore so if I feel like a glass, it’s no big deal. I enjoy red wine.
After dinner, I like something sweet. Some nights a crisp apple or other seasonal fruit will satisfy. Often though, we make banana ‘nice-cream’. It is delicious and I have no guilt because giving myself permission to eat everything in moderation has been so key in my recovery.
Banana ‘nicecream’ for dessert – with more pomegranates!
Afterwards, we ‘Netflix and chill’ in bed but the phones stay out of the bedroom. Before lights out – we share three things we are grateful for that day. Then we try and get to sleep by 10-11pm – ready to start all over again.
- Three foods you can’t live without?
- Pomegranate seeds are my favourite ingredient. As you can see, I like to add them to almost anything like salads, yoghurt, porridge and dips!
- Yoghurt is filled with natural probiotics that support my anxiety and I love the taste.
- Chickpeas are so versatile and an underrated health food, in my opinion. I add them to anything and everything – or I just eat them plain.
- What’s your go-to snack for those days on the run?
I am a fan of eating real, wholefoods so a piece of fruit like a banana is my favourite go-to snack. Dates are great when I crave something sweeter.
- … And any last words of advice or tips for those starting out on their health journey?
Have patience! I think we are led to believe that losing weight or changing your habits is meant to happen really quickly – like in 8 to 12 weeks. But I don’t buy that. It took me over four years to heal my relationship with food and lose 25kg. And I’m still on that journey! Real, sustainable health (the stuff dreams are made of) takes time. Be kind to yourself and be patient.
Before adopting any new lifestyle habit, you need to ask yourself “Can I maintain this for the rest of my life”? You know you’re onto a winner when you respond with a resounding “Yes!”