We recently had the pleasure of sitting down & chatting with the lovely Mikaela Reuben who let us in on her secrets to staying so happy & healthy whilst creating delicious & sustainable meals for her clients (Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Joshua Jackson, & Whitney Port to name a few!).
Mikaela is not only devoted to creating healthy bodies & minds, but also healthy communities & environments, thus she has always been an advocate for sustainable and local farming – and for growing your own food! Check out what Mikaela had to say about her world in the kitchen, the market and the garden:
How did you decide to become a health & nutritional coach?
I was in my Masters of Physio after 10 years of school, but I always knew I wanted to work in food and nutrition. One day I decided to follow my heart, bought a one way ticket to Europe and went on a food journey. I trained as a nutritional chef and went on to become certified in health coaching.
What has been one of your most exciting moments in your career?
Probably when I was in Paris one afternoon at a local market and I realized I was getting paid to wander in the sunshine and pick out fresh produce to design healthy food for my clients. It happened again in Spain and then in Ireland: the moment I realized work wasn’t work.
What percentage does food & diet contribute to health?
For me it is at least 75%. You are what you eat. After studying human physiology and exercise for 10 years, I realized how important exercise is to health, but the more I learn about food the more I see that no matter how much you exercise the fuel has to be good. It has to be a combination. A car needs the right fuel to drive no matter how sleek the model is.
Do you recommend your clients to eat foods that are local/in season?
I definitely recommend eating to support the local farmers. Eating locally is essentially supporting farmers & healthier food options. It is important for people to understand where their food comes from – because nowadays you don’t know what has been genetically modified.
Eating locally is beyond the nutrition benefit, it’s about making a statement about what you want in the world.
That said, I do love lemons and avocados. But the rest of the time it is possible to base a large amount of your diet on foods that are grown locally. The less time out of the ground to your plate the better.
Other than the benefits to the environment, what other health benefits are there for eating in-season fruits & vegetables?
In seasonal climates, eating locally allows you to gain nutrients that your body requires because the human body adapts to the climate it lives in.
For example, eating root vegetables in the fall & winter allows us to be more grounded compared to what grows in the summer when you need less heavy foods and eat more fresh raw foods that give you light energy.
There are always a lot of trends when it comes to nutrition & diets. What advice would give someone who doesn’t know what to listen to or where to start?
I would say start clean. Eat as fresh as possible and focus on eating things that haven’t been processed. Listen to your body, start by introducing as many whole foods as possible, monitor how you feel when you eat certain things and then go from there.
Why would you recommend people to grow some of their own food?
For condensed spaces, such as apartments, growing plants actually reduces carbon dioxide and increases oxygen. Studies show that the closer humans are to nature, the more grounded and healthy they feel. Whether it be having your feet in the sand for 10 minutes, or spending time connecting with the dirt when growing your food, spending time in our natural environment can make all the difference to our health & happiness.
What are five ingredients that you always have in your kitchen?
A green: spinach, swiss chard, or kale
A seaweed: Wakame or spirulina
Nuts: almonds, cashews, or my roommate!
Eggs from healthy happy chickens
Can you give us a recipe that incorporates in-season and local BC fruits/vegetables?
***STAY TUNED! Mikaela’s delicious recipe to be posted on our blog later this week***
Huge thank you again to Mikaela for sharing your wisdom with us – we always love speaking with those who love fresh food & nutrition as much as we do!