After suffering from extreme migraines, McKel discovered just how much healthy eating can impact your life and dramatically improve your health. Now a Dietitian and Health and Wellness Coach, she uses her blog Nutrition Stripped to share her nutritious and delicious recipes. GTG is a big fan, and we guarantee you’ll be one too...
Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog?
First and foremost it was a way for me to show people that healthy eating can be incredibly delicious and simple to make. Blogging is a perfect outlet for me to share my nutrition expertise and knowledge with the community and also connect with my clients. It’s a way for me to combine my true passions of nutrition, wellness, healthy living, and embracing my creative side through photography and writing; two things I adore doing.
How did you decide upon a blog name?
This is a great question! I have a lot of people ask me what the meaning behind Nutrition Stripped is. First, when I was brainstorming names I wrote down a list of adjectives, concepts, imagery, or visuals that I felt represented my philosophy about food, coaching, and overall health. I came up with a list of about 40 adjectives and starting narrowing them down. A couple of names that were great, were either too similar to names already out there, didn’t roll off the tongue well, or didn’t make sense/capture the message I was trying to portray. Also, I took it to my family and friends with each name and presented it as “What do you think this means… or what do you think of when you hear this…?” Those were helpful questions to ask. I also had to keep in mind, would this name be something my company could be named after?
Nutrition Stripped essentially means getting back to bare basics with nutrition - stripping away nutrition confusion and just getting back to the real deal. Whole, real foods is the basis of my food philosophy - I also clearly state what my food philosophy is on my blog for everyone to read and get a sense of where I’m coming from.
What’s your favourite aspect of blogging and are there any downsides?
My favorite aspect of blogging is the freedom. Freedom to create recipes, write, and share whatever may be on my mind that day/week. It’s a fantastic, supportive community with fellow food bloggers and my readers - there’s nothing more I love than reading comments, kind words, and hearing what Nutrition Stripped readers have to say!
How much of a techie are you?
I would say I’m not an expert, but I definitely know my way around technology. Being a blogger you kind of have to be a tech nerd! I not only write, but there’s a lot of behind the scenes editing, photography, marketing, designing etc. that goes along with blogging.
How do you balance blogging with other interests or jobs?
Blogging is just one part of my job/career. First and foremost I’m a dietitian and wellness coach who coaches one-on-one with my clients; I also do photography, freelance writing, and work as a contract dietitian for several companies. I take work/life balance very seriously and in this digital age, I think so many of us (including myself) have to take a break from the internet world and enjoy nature, real life, and disconnecting/unplugging from social media. I make it a point to set boundaries with myself and my work schedule (i.e. not checking emails past a certain time, not working on the weekends, etc.). When I first started blogging, it wasn’t the case! I learned very early on what the phrase “burn out” means.
What’s your top healthy eating tip?
Eat more greens and whole foods! Simple as that.
What is your personal food philosophy?
In a nutshell, getting back to basics with eating as much whole food as possible - meaning nothing coming from a package with questionable ingredients! I’m plant-based, therefore I practice and preach plant-based lifestyles, which are rooted in foods from the earth - there are many variable lifestyles that can be “plant-based”. You can read more in depth about my food philosophy here on my blog as well.
I personally don’t consume dairy and gluten due to sensitivities, and also don’t consume animal proteins with the exception of farm fresh eggs or wild caught fish. All in all, I work with a diverse group of clients, some of which are paleo and I completely support them 100% - whatever works for you!
How has eating healthily impacted on you personally?
I would never carry out a lifestyle that I truly didn’t love and enjoy - I LOVE what I eat, how I train physically, and thoroughly enjoy every meal. When you truthfully love what you’re doing with and to your body it’s effortless to stick to! Not to mention, it makes me feel so amazing, energetic, and incredibly focused/productive (just a couple of perks!).
How do you create new recipes?
Recipe development is one of my favourite parts of behind the scenes blogging - I have way more ideas than I have time for, which is a great “problem” to have! With my baking recipes, those definitely take a lot more trial and error (sometimes up to five tries or more with retests), I always retest my recipes at least twice if they’re something new; if they’re a tried and true recipe I’ve made for years, I’ll test them out once after.
Have you had any cooking disasters?
HA! Who hasn’t? I definitely have had a lot of cooking disasters, mostly being with baked goods - baking recipes from scratch, especially gluten free, can be really tricky. Nonetheless, I always learn new skills and hone in on my strengths as a cook.
How do you decide which recipes to feature on your blog?
Truthfully, I don’t go alongside trends with the exception of having something themed around holidays, but mostly I just share whatever recipe it is I’m loving lately! It’s a way for me to connect with my readers so they can get a taste (ha, pun intended) of what I’ve been enjoying in my kitchen as of late.
What are your three favourite recipes?
My favourite recipes from Nutrition Stripped definitely include my famous Stripped Green Smoothie , Nourishing Muesli , and Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse for my insatiable sweet tooth.
If you kept a food diary, what would a typical day look like?
Oh goodness, it varies from day to day depending on my mood, what my body is craving, and how intense my weight lifting/workout sessions were that day! In some form or another they may look something like this: without a doubt I always start my morning with warm lemon water (sometimes fair trade organic coffee) followed by my Stripped Green Smoothie (or a Stripped Green Smoothie Bowl ) topped with loads of “superfoods”/nutrient dense foods. My green smoothie is packed full of plant protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and it’s super easy to digest. It gives me a lot of energy to use during work and keeps me on my toes!
Lunch and dinner are some variation of gluten free grains like sprouted quinoa or millet, root vegetables like sweet potatoes with tahini (my favorite!), butternut squash soups, lentils, curry dishes, sometimes fish, eggs, and of course huge dark leafy green salads! I absolutely love salads and try to eat them with most meals with freshly squeezed lemon - my Nourish Bowl is my favourite go-to salad recipe.
Desserts because I have a huge sweet tooth can be something super simple like a healthy Hot Chocolate or other raw chocolate recipes. I listen to my body, in the warmer months I tend to eat very high raw by nature and in the winter my body craves warming foods like soups, stews, and stir-fry meals, etc.
Which ten ingredients do you use most often?
That’s easy! Kale, lemon, coconut oil, avocado, spirulina, nutritional yeast, one of my homemade granolas, almond milk, proteins (beans, tempeh, powders, eggs, fish), and superfood powders.
What five things are always in your fridge?
Coconut water, fresh produce (greens galore!), batch cooked items like quinoa, sweet potatoes, etc., and mustard. I totally have a thing for all varieties of mustards - I have about 7-10 in my fridge at any given time.
Where are your favourite places to buy ingredients?
Trader Joes, Whole Foods, farmers markets, and online if I can’t find it in the store.
Which three kitchen appliances could you not live without?
Vitamix, a good chef’s knife, nut/seed grinder!
Where are your favourite places to go when eating out?
Indian (hands down my favourite!), Thai, and any vegan/vegetarian specialty spot.
What advice would you give to those considering a healthier lifestyle?
Jump in! Just do it - what else are you waiting for? We have one beautiful life to live and I try to make the most out of this by treating my body with respect, love, and nourishing it with foods that’ll keep my body strong for years to come. Living a healthy lifestyle has nothing to do with numbers on a scale, a dress size, or how you look - it’s about what your body can do for you and for how long. Sometimes I think we all take for granted (myself included at times) the wonderful things our bodies do for us on a daily basis - they allow us to walk, to breathe, to think, to contribute to this world, and be with our loved ones. Now that’s a beautiful thing!
What are your favourite cookbooks and/or books relating to health?
I have an entire bookcase in my home office filled/overflowing with textbooks from graduate school full of information - these are my go-to resources. Others I enjoy reading may be some variation on leadership, business, or self-development books.
Who are your favourite bloggers?
To be honest, I don’t get around to reading too many other food blogs. If I’m reading blogs it’s for the sake of relaxation, and since food and blogging is typically on my mind 10 hours a day with work, I like to go somewhere to read about nothing related to food! Craft, fashion, beauty, etc. blogs are what I like to read up on.
Is there anything you don’t like about working through the internet?
I absolutely love what I do and can’t complain a bit about working! One thing I wish was more prevalent was face-to-face time, but I do achieve that a lot through Skype pretty often.
What does the future hold for your blog? Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline?
Sky’s the limit! I have a lot of special things in store this year for the blog alone and some other big projects in the pipeline that I’ll announce later this summer. I just recently upgraded my blog to include a quick way to make an appointment for my one-on-one nutrition coaching. I also added tip sheets for sale , that are incredibly affordable and loaded with my personal tips and tricks from topics like dining out, getting ready for the beach, and healthy digestion. I LOVE this addition to my site and so do the readers.