With more than 20 years’ experience in the field of nutrition and exercise, it’s fair to say that Kathleen Alleaume, 39, knows a thing or two about healthy living. Through her first book What’s Eating You? and her website, The Right Balance, Kathleen has been educating women and helping them reap the rewards of living a balanced, nourished lifestyle. We caught up with the mum-of-three to chat about health, wellbeing and her daily eats.
Tell us a little bit about yourself … I’ve always had a passion for food and fitness, and I love showing people that healthy living can be simple. I truly believe that many of us don’t know how good we could look and feel – and how much more productive we could be – if we ate well and moved more.
I’m passionate about giving health advice that is credible and I do this through my published articles and as a spokesperson. With so much conflicting noise about what you should and shouldn’t be doing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
I’m also a mother of three children, and like most mums I juggle work, life and a business, which isn’t easy.
What inspired your passion for health and wellness? I have always loved fitness and sport. Throughout my school years, I was a competitive gymnast and did sports acrobatics, where I became the Australian sports acrobatics champion at age 14. Studying exercise and nutrition science at university was a natural progression for me, and I graduated as an accredited exercise physiologist with a Bachelor degree in exercise science and a master’s degree in nutrition.
What’s your food philosophy? If food comes straight from the earth, eat it! If it has a label, question it.
Walk us through a typical day in your life … On most days, I start with a 45–minute brisk walk in nature. On the days I don’t do a morning walk, I do a 30-minute HIIT class at the gym. I swear by the benefits weight training for women. It makes me feel strong and is the key to a faster metabolism.
I generally dedicate the mornings to my children, making breakfast, lunches, planning dinner while sipping on my ‘one coffee a day’, which I make at home. Then, once I get the time back to myself, I have a quiet breakfast. I like granola or poached eggs on sourdough. Then, I get straight into work.
By 10am, I love snacking on nuts and a piece of fruit. For lunch, I keep things simple. Lunch can range from a wrap with salad and salmon, sushi or sourdough bread with smashed avocado, feta and sprinkled seeds, or a bowl of vegetable and legume soup.
By 3pm, I have another snack of either wholegrain crackers with avocado or hummus, or some more nuts.
By 4pm, I’m with my children and the ‘witching hours’ begin. Whilst it’s a crazy time, it’s also a time I try to be mindful and be present with them. I may respond to emails, but I devote my time to preparing dinner, sitting down to a family meal and reflecting upon our day.
Mealtime planning is key for me. If I don’t make a weekly menu plan, life just gets on top of me. I try to allocate a time on the weekend to plan household meals and shop accordingly.
I [must] confess, I have fussy eaters, so mealtime battles are common and pleasing everyone’s taste buds is no easy feat. Meals can range from fish and vegetable bakes, salmon and roasted sweet potato, meatballs, fish tacos, homemade vegie pizza, or crumbed lamb cutlets. I’m a big fan of one-pot and one-pan dinners.
That said, I try not to get too stressed about all the ‘fussiness’, as I’m hoping they will grow out of it sooner or later. The most important thing is that I teach my kids to have a healthy relationship with food. There’s no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food. Everything can be enjoyed in moderation, including ice-cream, chicken nuggets and chocolate.
I also practise yin yoga once a week. I think it’s important to set aside some time for you; to nurture and look after yourself. Women can often feel guilty about giving time for themselves. If not, you are depleted and drained, low on energy and often lack the motivation to keep on, keep on.
Coffee or tea? Both. In the morning, it’s coffee. In the afternoon, it’s tea. At the moment, I’m loving dandelion.
What is your indulgence of choice? Chocolate.
What are three foods you can’t live without? Avocado, mushrooms and broccoli. I eat these foods almost daily.
What’s your go-to snack when you’re on the run? Nuts
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out on their health journey? Listen to your body. Just because something works for someone else, it doesn’t mean it works for you. Avoid following the fads. Healthy eating need not be complicated. The basic principles never really change. As for fitness, just simply find ways to move more, or find an activity you love and stick to it.