This week’s inspirational person is…
Occupation: Holistic Nutritionist
Tell us a little about who you are, what you do, how you got here:
I am a holistic nutritionist and cleanse expert based in Los Angeles. Outside of meeting with personal clients, I have created a few cleanse/detox programs. While I’ve always been passionate about nutrition, it didn’t strike me as a career until both myself and my husband were diagnosed with cancer at very young ages (I was 32 when I was diagnosed, he was diagnosed 10 years later at age 43). It was clear to me that our diseases were the product of the crazy work environments and stressful situations we were subjecting ourselves to. He very sadly lost his battle with cancer and passed after 18 months and when I looked at my two young girls, I couldn’t believe they had two parents who had already dealt with cancer. The fear that this instilled in me pushed me to get certified as a nutritionist and work to try and change the way the world looked at what we put into and how we treated our bodies.
What does ‘health’ mean to you?
To me, health means being in tune to your body so that you can make the right decisions on how to nourish and fuel it by paying attention to what it is telling you. Especially in America, we accept being in pain, feeling tired & unmotivated, etc as still being “healthy”. I believe that being healthy means feeling like your best self, feeling vibrant and inspired and like you can take on anything. I believe that health is a balance of nutrition and good energy- you can pour as many nutrients into your body as you want, but if your soul and mind are heavy and laden with stress, you will not be healthy. We carry everything we do, say, think, eat and feel. All of these things need to be balanced for us to feel like our best selves.
How do you manage to stay so fit and healthy, please share with us your dietary philosophy/secrets:
I wake up every morning and write in my gratitude journal and pick three things each day to be grateful for which helps me heal my mind on a consistent basis. I eat every few hours and a largely plant-based diet with lean, organic, grass-fed proteins, plenty of good fats, fish and unlimited amount of vegetables. I try to have a green juice once a day to fill up on high-octane fuel and I do indulge in one vice- I LOVE the smell and taste of coffee. I have one cup a day and it makes me smile inside and out. With my autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s, I shouldn’t have any caffeine, so there’s your proof to tell you that I am far from perfect! Every night I enjoy a healthy, hot dinner with my girls, boys and fiancé. I also really believe in releasing stress and indulging in yourself often. I treat myself to a reflexology foot massage whenever I need a break- it keeps my mind and soul healthy.
What brings balance to your life?
I have worked for years letting go of my painful, emotional and traumatic life growing up with a crazy mother. I try to connect with my immediate family and friends on an intimate basis daily and I eat the foods that fill my body with love and energy. I’ve learned to seek and accept nourishment from only genuine sources.
Your favorite healthy recreational activity?
Who is your greatest health inspiration?
This field is so cool, because almost every day I meet or find someone that is doing something interesting and inspiring within it. One person whom I really look up to is Dr. Andrew Weil. He is considered the father of integrative medicine and he’s someone whose beliefs totally align with mine. His knowledge is boundless and his outreach is always simple and intelligent. I am also really inspired by Kris Carr who has such an incredible career and is making nutrition so mainstream and cool. Her ideas are so inventive and I love everything she puts out. Her success in this field is certainly something to strive for!
Where is your favorite place on earth?
Anywhere with my fiancé and my 4 kids (two girls who are mine and two boys who are my fiancé’s)!
What is your favorite healthy meal/snack?
I recently got Kris Carr’s new cookbook and she has this sea veggie salad that’s unbelievably good. I make it on Monday and snack on it all week. My favorite on the run snack is a green juice or a raw Elemental Superfood bar. They are these bars that were created and are made from scratch by this mother outside of LA. Her daughter was allergic to wheat, dairy and sugar and it left her store-bought options really limited so she created these bars. They are sensational and packed with nutrients.
What is your favorite healthy neighborhood restaurant?
I do cleanse programs with a few Los Angeles restaurants that I really love, Cafe Gratitude and M Cafe. Their energy and their food are equally amazing and inspiring. I also love Real Food Daily- you can’t go wrong with anything on their menu.
What is next on the cards for you, what are your goals and aspirations?
These days, everyone has a book so this will sound cliche, but but I’m looking forward to writing a book about my childhood journey in a family I never thought I belonged and always wondered if I was adopted. My childhood took a huge emotional toll on me and my strength came from finding a way to become awakened and find my own healing path. I want to further educate people about the importance of letting go of the emotional turmoil they carry around everyday, because it is just as important as the food we put in our bodies. “You can’t be truly healthy and live the life you are meant to live without both!”
Please share one of your favorite healthy recipes here…
I am not a chef but I spend a lot of time discovering and experimenting with new recipes. I made these vegan crab cakes from Kris Carr’s cookbook, Crazy, Sexy, Kitchen last week and they blew me away. I’m still thinking about them!
Crab Cakes Hearts-of-Palm-Style with Remoulade
- 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- .25 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons minced capers
- 2 teaspoons minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons minced red bell pepper
- 1 sheet of nori, or 2 teaspoons toasted nori flakes
- two 14-ounce cans hearts of palm
- .5 cup canola oil, more if needed (alternative: reduce to 1⁄4 cup oil if using small sauté pan)
- .25 cup finely diced red onion .25 cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 3 tablespoons Vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1. Prepare Rémoulade: Place all rémoulade ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend on high for 1 minute. Set aside or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
2. Prepare Crab Cakes: Toast nori sheet by holding it with tongs and fanning it over a low gas flame or electric burner. Be careful not to let it burn. Turn the sheet frequently, so that it toasts evenly.
3. Grind the nori using a spice grinder or a coffee grinder that you use exclusively for spices. Break the nori into pieces, place it in the grinder, and pulse until powdered. Alternatively, crumble it as finely as you can with your hands or pulverize it with a mortar and pestle.
4. Drain the hearts of palm and press in a towel to dry them. In a food processor, pulse gently until it looks like the consistency of crabmeat.
5. Place a small sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
6. In a large bowl, combine the hearts of palm, onion, bell pepper, Vegenaise, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, nori flakes, nutritional yeast flakes, arrowroot or cornstarch, and salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
7. Scoop with an ice cream scoop or a large tablespoon to portion into small cakes. Combine breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Coat the small cakes with breadcrumbs. Form and let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until firm.
8. Cook Crab Cakes: Place a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add some canola oil and heat for 2 minutes. Working in batches, sauté the cakes (make certain that the oil comes about half- way up the sides of the cakes) until browned on both sides and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
9. Remove the cakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in a warm oven (200°F) until you finish all of the cakes.
10. Serve: Place the cakes on a plate and garnish with Rémoulade.