By Shivani Vora
When Mckel Kooienga started Nutrition Stripped in 2013 as a creative outlet to share recipes and her perspective on holistic nutrition, she never imagined that it would grow to the powerhouse it is today: a business with a team of 10 that offers free recipes, one-on-one nutrition coaching and online programs for healthy and mindful eating.
“Food is meant to be enjoyed, and if we are in touch with ourselves, we have the ability to do that, nourish our bodies and recognize what we need to be eating,” she says. Her top tip for a mindful diet is to take a deep breath before every meal and judge hunger on a scale of one to 10. “One means you’re uncomfortably full, and 10 is when your blood sugar is low. Ideally, you should be between six and eight,” says Kooienga. “When you realize how hungry you really are, you can feed yourself accordingly.”
Your day begins with: Several glasses of water and a cup of tea. Then, exercise. Depending on how much time I have, that means a walk, a virtual barre class or yoga. And I always meditate.
Your healing journey began when: I had health issues when I was a teen including migraines and hormonal imbalances, and when I started learning about nutrition, I realized how much diet impacts health. I got in touch with my body and sorted through my problems.
The most important thing we can do for ourselves each day is: Check-in with yourself and see what you can do to support your health.
Five pantry staples we should all have: Beans, nutritional yeast, grains, nuts and seeds.
The items you load up on every time you shop: I grow as much produce as I can and make most things homemade so when shopping I get snack items, vegan cheeses, and chocolate!
The superfood you can’t get enough of: Nutritional yeast. It’s a great source of B vitamins and plant-based protein along with a cheesy flavor without any dairy.
What you do to relax: Immerse myself in nature. I love gardening, bird watching and just sitting outside.
Secret to a great night’s sleep: Keeping the room cold.
The greatest lesson learned in quarantine: Live in the present moment as much as possible. There is so much uncertainty in the world. You don’t know what is going to happen in the future, and you can only be in the here and now.
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