Now-a-days eating healthy has become sort of a trend. The only issue with that is several foods are marketed as “healthy” when in reality they are anything but. Personally, I’ve fallen victim to these products one too many times & after discovering what I thought was good for me really wasn’t, I became frustrated. Annoyed. And mostly confused. How could this be? And if these products are marketed as healthy but really aren’t, what is actually good for me? I wanted facts, solid scientific evidence & to learn what I should be eating, how, when, & everything in between. Enter Kelly LeVeque, holistic nutritionist & author of Body Love, who provided me with all the answers I was so desperately craving.
The top secret to Kelly’s health success & major lifestyle change is credited to her Fab 4 Smoothie (which she created for y’all as a smoothie bowl below!). Kelly suggests starting to make small changes by simply incorporating one of these a day in place of your current breakfast or lunch. However if you want to go full-blown Kelly revamp, her ideal food day looks a little something like this: “I’d wake up & have my green spa smoothie. From there, I’d probably do either a salmon salad or my organic canned Safe Catch tuna with a little Primal mayo to put in a salad or lettuce cups. If I need a bridge snack, I’d have a hard boiled egg. Dinner is normally protein with roasted veggies, really simple. If I really need something sweet after I’ll have a piece of my freezer fudge.” Personally, I was buying everything Kelly was selling so I vowed to do at least 2 days of her “ideal food day” & it was WAY easier than I anticipated. The smoothie kept me so full that I didn’t even eat lunch until 1pm (I’m usually the kind of gal who scarfs down lunch as soon as the clock strikes 11 am…) & the rest of the meals were equally as delicious & filling. With that being said, I want to stress that Kelly’s approach isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. See what I mean that she just gets it? Realistic, filling, delicious recipes that can easily transform you are the reasons she has top clients such as Jessica Alba & Molly Sims.
Ok ok to the part y’all asked about, just how did Kelly start working with a-listers? “My first celebrity clients were Evan Peters & Eve Hewson, they were referrals from my friend Mike Alexander, who is a trainer (he trained Jessica Simpson for Daisy Dukes).” From there, she began working with makeup artist Lauren Anderson who introduced her to Jessica Alba & totally changed the game for Kelly. After working together for quite some time, Kelly asked Jessica if she could provide a quote for her first book, Body Love. Jessica responded by asking if she could write the forward instead. “I was like oh my goodness you’re changing my life & you don’t even know it. I’ve written her so many cards where I’m like how can I explain to you how you’ve changed my life.”
If you’re hesitant in any way about making these lifestyle changes, Kelly noted the below quality that reassured me she understand the reality of eating & temptation in this day-in-age: “I grew up eating Bagel Bites, Taquitos, & Goldfish.” After all, if you’re anything like me, food is more than just fuel. It’s social, it’s a stress reliever, it’s a guilty pleasure. Don’t think for a second Kelly doesn’t understand that. She spilled that “when it comes to alcohol, I love this thing called the Brentwood Russian that my husband makes which is a White Russian made with vanilla almond milk & a dirty martini with blue cheese stuffed almonds.”. Hey, Kelly’s husband, you are a creative genius. Kelly adds, “I would say if we’re talking dirtiest guilty pleasure, my best friend from high school makes a really mean tray of rice krispy treats that have kind of been my nemesis since high school.” If you absolutely need the rice krispies, Kelly recommends using collagen (more on collagen below) infused marshmallows, grass-fed butter, & organic puffed rice. “It’s still a sugar infused carb bomb that is taking me to a diabetic place.” she ends with. Yikes. When you so desperately need a little cheat, Kelly notes that in today’s world, “I feel like I can get my hands on just about any of those things but in a cleaner way.” Brands such as SafeCatch, Siete, Organic Valley, & Primal Kitchen are all ones Kelly stands behind. Specifically for protein bars (a controversial topic due to their nutritional facts), Kelly loves Bulletproof, Primal Kitchen, Jilz Crackers, & Julian Bakery as many of the other brands can have massive amounts of sugar & inflammatory oils. As a self-proclaimed sugar addict, I was curious about the over-intake of sugar in our society. I truly didn’t understand how all of a sudden, even fruit was being thrown around as bad for us because of it’s sugar levels. Kelly simply explained that our blood stream can only allow 1 gram of sugar to be running through it at all times. If you eat something with 20g of sugar, you’ve just taken it up to 2000%… Scary but makes total sense, right? That’s another reason Kelly even states that she’d rather have her clients get a grass-fed Slim Jim than have some of the protein bars that are on the market. Mind. Blown.
Remember how I told you I loved Kelly for her honesty & realistic approach to this healthy lifestyle thing? Well, then let’s not hide the one taboo topic we all tread so lightly around in terms of conversation: weight loss. It’s tricky now to discuss weight loss because there seems to be two sides to the approach: eating clean vs. counting calories. Counting calories is what we we grew up knowing as the way to lose weight. Yet now-a-days (thankfully) our society seems to be a bit more focused on the type of food we put into our bodies instead of the caloric intake within that food. I know it might be wrong to quote an entire paragraph but this topic is important & Kelly is pretty spot on with how she views it all. Here we go… Kelly notes that “It’s ok if you want to lose weight. We shouldn’t be body shaming our friends who want to be 5-10lbs smaller. I think the questions to ask yourself are am I trying to be an unattainable high school weight that requires me to be a hermit & not live my life? I think if you get to that weight, add 5 lbs, & then you’re in the sweet spot. Those 5 lbs of drinking wine with your friends, eating a cupcake on your birthday, going on vacation, we need to not be at our unattainable, unsustainable weight but it needs to be ok to want to push yourself & to be the best version of yourself – because no one is giving you shit about that if you’re working out or if you’re doing it in your business or in your relationship, if you’re trying to decorate your house perfect, no one cares. But when it comes to your body it’s such an emotionally charged thing because you’re out with friends & you say you don’t want the dessert, people shame you & make you feel bad about it, especially if you’re already what might be considered a genetically fit person. It’s almost worse for them because they almost overcompensate & feel like sure I’ll share the dessert, sure I’ll have the wine & then they get in the car & have resentment towards that friend. It’s so much better to be honest & clear & say look I want to go out with you, this is the life I want to live, I want to have dessert sometimes but not on a random Tuesday & that needs to be ok.”
Moral of Kelly’s story is be realistic with yourself. Be strong with yourself. But most of all eat well, live well, & be well. Start with the smoothie recipe below & gradually add more changes in. It’s a marathon, not a race. Thankfully Kelly has a second book coming out real soon which can help you take the next steps. In the meantime, catch up on her fast facts below & make that wildly delicious & healthy smoothie bowl she shares below – trust me, you’ll feel great!
Fast Facts with Kelly:
What about working out?
“My favorite things ever is yoga–YogaHop is my absolute favorite.”
Favorite Food Place?
“I was beyond impressed with Bondi Beach in Australia. It was insane, I could totally live there – they really know how to incorporate fresh vegetables into their food. Every single time we went to breakfast it was a veggie breakfast bowl with pesto & poached eggs. Their salads were huge with different types of greens. I feel like here in California & across the United States it’s more like ‘here’s a Cobb & here’s a Caesar & that’s it’ whereas there every salad had radicchio, micro greens, arugula & it just really took advantage of packing every plate with plants. Here in California I keep it very simple, I really like FarmShop & I really like Votre Sante – those would be my two favorites.
Can you tell us any secrets from book #2?
It will be more for the person on-the-go, who is working from home, traveling, etc. & how to eat/take care of yourself in those situations.
5 Fridge Essentials?
“I always have primal kitchen collagen fuel, leafy greens of some sort (spinach, kale, romaine, etc), & I can make a nut milk if I have a bag of nuts & cashews. I would say my easy to-go proteins that I keep in my cabinet are wild salmon cans & then a really good 12 pack of pasture raised eggs, Vital Farms is my favorite. I can get away with scrambling eggs & spinach, making a smoothie with some of those because if you have the nuts you can get the protein, fat, & fiber from that, with the salmon when I have that I’ll just put it over salad with some olive oil. I don’t really meal prep or plan but I’m prepared.”
What is your recipe for success?
“I would say it’s really important to have consistency. I would say that I probably hustled a lot harder than people saw me hustle. I had 2 full-time jobs for 3 years. I had this job & a job in cancer/genetics. Every single day I woke up & believed in myself & did something for that [BWBK] business. When days were tough in my cancer in genetics job, I still did something for Be Well, By Kelly, I still put myself out there. I think people get really nervous when they’re starting a business. I’m sure half my friends thought Kelly had a fun new hobby & that’s fine, [yet] I put my head down & kept hustling. I would say the same thing for diet, consistency is key. You don’t have to change your whole life, it doesn’t need to be 100% from the second you wake up to the minute you go to bed but can you lock in 1 meal per day? Or can you lock in from when you wake up until lunch? Can you have a smoothie once a day & just commit to that? Can you make a plan in your head? Whatever it is, don’t reinvent the wheel.”
What does a standard food day vs. a dream food day look like for you?
“I do love the way I feel when I start my day with my spa smoothie, theres just nothing like it – I’m really calm, relaxed, fueled, when I do that for a couple weeks in a row my skin is insane – there are benefits I see & feel immediately (I’m really regular, I don’t feel dehydrated, a lot of things). When it comes to lunch I’m not super emotional about food when my blood sugar is balanced. When I’m at an event & have a gluten-free fonut then the whole day becomes emotional about the food & I’m riding the roller coaster all day to supplement cravings. I tend to really enjoy the simplicity of foods, I have less cravings when I have a clean food day. I love Mexican food so my favorite dinner would be American or Mexican, either tacos (I do mine in butter lettuce with spicy shrimp). If I need a tortilla I’ll use a Siete Tortilla. If it’s American I love lettuce wraps with Organic Valley Cheddar with some baked sweet potato fries. My dream food day is just a little more fun of a dinner than roasted protein & veggies.”
Questions From Readers:
Q: “Can you ask her what her thoughts on collagen protein? Is it just a fad? Are there true nutritional benefits? What is actually in it? And what protein powder she would recommend in general?”
A: “I’m using a collagen protein [in this recipe], collagen is protein, collagen is four amino acids that are synthesized together into a strand so it’s a strand, or a line, of amino acids & that’s what gives it stability in your skin & your face. People back in the day didn’t like collagen at all because they were concerned about getting essential amino acids (which are acids your body can’t synthesize on it’s own) so as vegans & vegetarians, they need to be aware of whether they’re getting what their body needs or not. If you incorporate animal proteins into your life, you’re getting all the essential amino acids that you need & what’s great about collagen is it’s giving you the exact amino acids that your body needs to synthesize collagen. Also there were studies that show that 40% of that collagen protein is actually absorbed into it’s whole state form meaning it can fix & heal specific parts of your body because it’s collagen strands themselves. The brand I recommend is Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel. I think it’s the best tasting & they’re using minimal ingredients, I love that! “
Q: “Suggestions for movie, concert, sporting event snacks… in places where leafy greens really aren’t an option!”
A: “I always go to those types of situations full. I really like to have a full Fab 4 Smoothie before I go & I always think it’s better to not go starving. You make really poor choices when you’re really hungry.”
Q: “I follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, no processed sugar, no nightshades diet. Is it harmful to take breaks (i.e. when I travel)? Am I doing more harm than good in doing so?”
A: “What’s interesting about that is your body is really resilient & you have the ability to heal. When you go out & eat at a restaurant where they’re using bad oils & it’s oxidizing, where the proteins aren’t the best source, the vegetables aren’t pesticide-free because they’re not organic, your body knows how to detoxify. I would say look up cruciferous vegetables like broccoli & cauliflower because those help you with the detoxification of the liver & that’s important for getting that stuff right back out of your system. Try your best to stay as balanced blood sugar wise & I would say if you can, when it comes down to protein, if you can pick fish that tends to be a little cleaner hormonally. You’re not ruining it, I think people get really stressed out about that [eating out] & you want to really think about living your life. It’s really important to go on work trips, go on family vacations, go on dates–don’t become a hermit based on your fears of food. Your body is a really miraculous thing & yes it’s really good to cook as many meals at home as you can, invite your friends over, but don’t lose your life because of food. I’m the person who suggests social things to be going to a yoga class or getting our nails done so you can minimize the effects.”
- 1 serving of Primal Kitchen vanilla collagen protien
- 2 tbsp acacia fiber
- 2 tbsp Georgia Grinders Almond Butter
- ¼ cup organic fresh or frozen (frozen makes it thicker for smoothie bowl!) blueberries
- 1 handful of spinach
- 1 cup of almond milk
- In Vitamix (or strong blender) combine all ingredients. Serve & enjoy!
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*Photos by Lilly Vivado via The Darling Collective for Public Lives, Secret Recipes.