Guest Editor | Lauren Felts
Lauren Felts | The Holy Kale
A self-proclaimed "nutrition nerd", Lauren has embarked on a quest to find "The Holy Kale" of the health + wellness world. Through her website, The Holy Kale & as the Food + Fitness editor over at one of our favorite publications, The Chalkboard Mag, Lauren expounds on the best way to "feed your mind, body and soul to obtain ultimate health!".
We are honored to feature Lauren as our latest Guest Editor as she gives you insight into her nutrition based world, why health + nutrition have become such a meaningful part of her life and gives you tips on how to craft your own healthy lifestyle.
What inspired you to start TheHolyKale.com?
The Holy Kale was created during a time in which I was in between career paths and was not sure exactly what my next step was going to be. I have always needed some sort of creative outlet, whether it was painting, writing or drawing, and so taking that energy and combining it with what I love most, nutrition and helping others, seemed quite natural for me. So I just created a space that I wanted to be in, and the rest grew from there.
The Holy Kale is definitely a passion project of mine, a way for me to center myself and unwind from the craziness that we call life. I never intended it to be as expansive as it has become, but every day I am filled with gratitude for my ability to reach so many people around the world and hopefully inspire them to take charge of their life, their health and their happiness. It is simply an expression of who I am, what I love, and what I believe in.
What inspired your passion for health?
In my late teens I finally came to a point in my health that a lifestyle change was no longer a choice, but rather a necessity. I was constantly dealing with symptoms that were left undiagnosed by the Western model of medicine, and so I decided it was time for me to invest in myself and look for answers on my own. As humans I believe we have an innate ability to know what is right for our bodies, we have just stopped learning how to listen. Therefore, I did what I felt was the most natural, and the most logical… I looked to the food. That is what I knew I had control of, and since our very forms are a manifestation of what we put in them, I knew there had to be answers there. Once I started cleaning up my diet and adding in whole food supplements, the game completely changed for me. While it was a long road, I can proudly say that I have essentially healed myself of all the previous symptoms I used to deal with. The funny part is that once in awhile I will dabble in some of my old eating habits (cheese, ice cream, sweet potato fries), thinking I might get away with it (yes, I am human after all), and the old symptoms start to creep back. It is then that I remember that our body is so receptive to the choices we make, that we must be mindful to take care of it at all times. This is ultimately what keeps me committed to a healthy, clean eating lifestyle - the desire to feel good, and to have a disease-free future. Plus it’s really fun too!
It’s almost fall! What are some of your favorite seasonal ingredients you’re looking forward to?
Oh that is easy! Persimmons and root vegetables like turnips, Japanese yams and carrots. I absolutely adore roasting root vegetables with herbs like rosemary and sage, and just eating that for dinner. They are so nourishing while also being filling – it is the perfect fall meal. As for persimmons, I actually never tried one until a couple years back, and boy was I missing out! My favorite are the Fuyu, small and hard similar to an apple. I wait for them every year so I can eat one every single day until the season is over. If you haven’t tried one yet, definitely give it a shot!
What’s the most important thing to throw a perfect dinner party?
Creating the perfect blend of comfort foods and surprise. People love to try new things (even if they don’t think they do), but you have to ease them into it. That is why I always do a new dish paired with a dish that is recognizable to them. A few ways I do this is by having a vegetarian spin on a classic dish such as spiced lentil and mushroom tacos, but then serve it with the typical guacamole, salsa, and fixings. I have found that people are far more open to trying new things, especially non-meat, vegetarian dishes, when it is presented this way.
What are some of the easiest things people can do that will rapidly change their health without giving up the foods they love?
I always suggest for people to start slow. The best and most encouraging way is to begin by adding in healthy habits into your life, not by taking away unhealthy ones. Most everyone will begin to notice how much better they feel, and therefore will naturally gravitate away from their old unhealthy habits. It is quite simple, we all want to feel good, but we just don’t know what that really feels like until we start to make the changes.
A few great steps to begin with are:
Starting the day off with a fresh made green juice
Drinking half your weight in ounces of water a day
One day a week go meatless
Instead of choosing refined white sugar, choose raw honey or coconut sugar
Replace the soda for coconut water
Try a greens protein shake with superfoods as a meal replacement
Eat at least two home cooked meals a day
It’s Happy Hour. What’s your drink of choice?
Whatever is fresh. I am a huge fan of drinks made with fresh herbs and vegetables like a mojito, sangria or Moscow Mule. I also make sure that they keep the sugar to a bare minimum, and opt for other alternatives like agave.
Do you have a favorite local artisanal treat?
Quinn popcorn! This is by far my new favorite snack that I hope everyone can try. They are one of the only companies to make Non-GMO popcorn, using organic, hormone-free ingredients and a healthy oil. They have amazing flavors such as Vermont Maple and Sea Salt, Hickory Smoked Cheddar, and of course, my personal favorite, Kale and Sea Salt. They also have removed all chemicals and liners from the microwave bags, keeping the popcorn completely toxin free. If you haven’t tried them yet, definitely do. Most people think of popcorn as a healthy food, but the fact is that almost all brands contain GMO (genetically modified) corn, toxic oils (trans fats), chemicals and hormone-laden dairy.
If you could choose one of November’s featured ingredients to cook with, what would you choose and what would you make?
I am really looking forward to the Mina Harissa Paste. This is a flavor that I do not get to utilize that often, but every time I do, I am just as in love with it as the first time I tried it. Made with only a few simple ingredients, red chili pepper, red bell pepper, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, and salt, I find it to be the best accompaniment to meals or appetizers. Typically I love just adding it to Naan, and throwing some grilled vegetables on top in order to make a super delicious, but easy to prepare meal.
Midnight snack of choice?
Ohhhh probably Chia Pudding or Chocolate Avocado Pudding. Both are so easy to make, and super delicious. They make you think you are eating something completely decadent and sinful, when in fact you are eating all superfoods. They are also easy to digest, so they don’t add on those extra pounds like other late night food choices do.
Congrats on your new book, The Miracle Kidney Cleanse! Tell us a little about what the inspiration was and the writing process.
I wrote this book is because I believe that the kidney is at the root of so many health issues, and can dramatically change ones life, regardless of the condition. In my own personal experience, cleansing and strengthening the kidney brought energy back to my life, and was an impetus in transforming my physical appearance (thickening of hair as well as hair re-growth, stronger nails, brighter skin), and bringing my hormones back into balance. Through all my work in eastern medicine, specifically Chinese medicine, the kidney proved to be at the foundation of health, and most oftentimes the missing link in our path to wellness. Therefore in my quest to help people live the healthiest life possible, I knew I had to start with the kidney.
Writing the book was a ton of fun that involved long days researching, reading, and drinking lots of green juice and coffee. Most of the time it was pretty easy, but there are always those days where you feel like you will never accomplish anything. In the end, it was a great challenge, one that paid off.
Grab your copy of The Miracle Kidney Cleanse and start your journey towards a healthier you today!
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