Foodie Friday: Lauren Felts
This week’s Foodie Friday is the lovely Lauren Felts from another one of my favourite sites, The Holy Kale (how cool is that name!). Lauren is a certified nutritionist, and a self-proclaimed nutrition nerd. She loves farmer’s markets, her Vitamix, stopping to smell the roses, the ocean, and almost anything that comes straight from the ground. I love Lauren’s answers, and can’t wait for you to soak up her wisdom.
What was the catalyst that turned you into a healthy foodie?
Growing up my dad always referred to me as the unhealthiest healthy person he knew. I ate well, exercised frequently, but somehow I always was dealing with the most bizarre health symptoms. I suffered from an unexplained IBS, random small outbreaks of hives, insomnia, hair thinning and fatigue, all of which remained a mystery to all of the top specialists in Los Angeles. So in an attempt to take back my health, I dove my head into every health book and resource I had at my fingertips. I interviewed nutritionists, holistic and alternative physicians, Chinese medical doctors and even raw food chefs, which led me to pursuing a career as a nutritionist.
Fortunately this journey led me to where I am today, a happy, grateful and healthy person who now has their eyes wide open to what it really means to feel good.
What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your diet?
I like to think of myself as a Wholetarian (yes, it is a term that I made up). To me this means that I eat 100% whole foods with my whole heart and soul. Anything that is processed, treated inhumanely, or treated with chemicals is not an option. As cheesy as this philosophy is, it works for me. While I mostly eat vegan, sometimes some fabulous farm fresh eggs just call to me, so as long as the chickens were grown and treated well, I am all in.
I think it is so important for people to see food as a form of nourishment, not just as a substance for your physical body but for your spiritual and emotional body well. Therefore being conscious of where your food comes from, how it is grown and raised is no longer negotiable, because everything we eat literally becomes a part of us. So feeling good about your food choices is going to be imperative to your success in health and in life.
If you were trying to convert someone to your dietary philosophy, what would you make for them?
Well fortunately I have been here before. On many occasions I have had to rise to the challenge of cooking for naysayers and my fool proof, go-to recipe is extremely simple – butternut squash pasta. I make a thick pasta sauce full of carrots, celery, leeks and fresh herbs, and put it over roasted butternut squash. With a few pinches of nutritional yeast (a vegan’s dream alternative to cheese) and unheated sea salt, I have yet to have a complaint. Often they almost seem embarrassed that they like it so much, as if they are betraying all meat-eaters. It’s a lot of fun to see the light bulb turn on when they realise that food without meat and dairy can actually be tasty too!
How do you stay healthy while travelling?
I have been really lucky in this department because my boyfriend and I have really laid out a fool-proof system. We have had to travel a ton for work, doing seminars, lectures and trade shows, so it has been imperative that we have ready access to food that is going to provide us long lasting energy.
Rule #1: Always have tons of clean water
Our first stop is always to a health food store to fill up our gallon jug of reverse osmosis water. This is something you will always be appreciative of.
Rule #2: Powders for protein shakes
When you are on the road, stopping for full meals is not always an option. Therefore we always pack a few of our favourite superfood powders and mason jars to make shakes to go. A few of the basics are: Sunwarrior brown rice protein, greens powder, maca, guarana, rice bran and some coconut sugar.
Rule #3: Bring your breakfast
To me breakfast can make or break my day, therefore I always pick up some sprouted bread and raw nut butter that saves me from the less than adequate options at the hotel.
Rule #4: Plan ahead
Thank God for the iPhone and internet review sites. I always look up the local farm-to-table, raw and vegan restaurants in the area so we never are left hungry. You would actually be surprised at the places you can find in the most unlikely locations.
What are your go-to meals and snacks when you are super busy?
The key is to always have a stocked pantry, some killer condiments, and at least a few fresh vegetables. For me as long as I have a grain or starch, vegetable and a fantastic olive oil and sea salt I am in business. Cooking these couple of things up actually only takes about 15 minutes, which typically can be spared on even the busiest day. Other than that, I am looking at a quick blend of greens powder, banana and protein powder.
Juices or smoothies: Which do you prefer? What’s your favourite combination?
How about a smoothie and juice blend? This has been my new obsession. I take fresh squeezed carrot, beet and ginger juice, throw it in my Vitamix with a banana and vanilla protein powder and voila, my new favorite carrot sherbet shake.
What’s the biggest nutrition misconception you are always having to clear up for people?
The biggest misconception is that I live on cold tofu, carrot sticks and lettuce, which could not be more far from the truth. Once I cut out the meat, I have tried more types of plant-foods than I ever thought possible. It really encourages you to explore all kinds of grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits, many of which would have never crossed your mind. Some of my favorite new findings are celery root, black rice, farro, dandelion greens, kimchi, parsnips and cherimoya.
If you could prepare a meal for anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and what would you make?
To be honest I really must say my friends. There is nothing better than putting together an amazing spread of vegan farmer’s market tapas, setting a beautiful table, putting on music and enjoying great conversation. So many of my friends are starting to move towards a plant-based diet so this is always a great opportunity to show them what can be done.
I would make dehydrated heirloom tomato and pesto sliders, red pepper and macadamia nut spread and garlic sauce for raw vegetable crackers, stuffed Kalamata olives, fresh tabouleh and raw almond and herb falafels. Tasty!
What does being a Wellness Warrior mean to you?
Being a wellness warrior is all about being 100% conscious and true to yourself and the world around you. We are in a time where we truly have the chance to make a difference, not for just ourselves but for this planet and the generations to come, so I feel it is up to us to step up to the plate and choose to be a part of the change. Being a warrior is not the easy path, but it is the most rewarding and that is what wellness is about, creating a journey of enlightenment. One of my favorite quotes seems to sum it up:
If you want something you have never had, then you are going to have to do something that you have never done.
A Recipe From Lauren:
Well, since I am The Holy Kale, I think it is only fitting that I do my favourite Kale Recipe!
THK Coconut Curly Crispy Kale
What you’ll need:
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tbs nama shoyu
2 large bunches chopped kale
1 ½ cups coconut flakes
2 cups farro (1 cup cooked, 1 cup uncooked)
3 tbs hemp seeds
1/4 cup pine nuts
Unheated sea salt
What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F
2. In a small bowl, mix together the nama shoyu and coconut oil. Put the kale and coconut in a large bowl and toss well with the oil/nama mixture. Sprinkle with unheated sea salt.
3. Spread the kale across a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 20 minutes. Bake until the kale is crispy but make sure it does not burn.
4. Remove from the oven and serve over cooked, warmed farro. Top with pine nuts and hemp seeds.
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Positive affirmation for the day: I only consume foods, drinks, and thoughts that I want to become a part of me.
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