For the Embrace Edition Peony Parcel, we sat down with the gorgeous Monique Kelly of MK Natural Health (www.mknaturalhealth.com.au) for some tips on keeping healthy and well through this cold season. Monique is a highly sought after naturopath and clinical nutritionist and one of the few that is available for not only in-office consultations but also Skype and phone for those too busy or too far to travel to her! She established MK Natural Health to help people restore balance in their lives through therapeutic natural remedies. Monique has extensive knowledge and years of experience in nutritional supplementation, individual dietary planning as well as a keen interest in fitness and healthy lifestyles.
We love her straight forward common sense approach to delivering results with no eccentric diets or prescriptions! This was also an excuse for us to get the low down on what a nutritionist really eats on a daily basis.
Who or what inspired you to be a naturopath and nutritionist?
When I was about 8 years old, I suffered from glandular fever and extreme migraines. No amount of MRI’s or blood tests could figure out what was wrong. My mum was at her wits end so she took me to a local Naturopath in our country town, which at the time seemed like she was this strange lady with crazy ideas who worked from her home! It was discovered then that I had a dairy protein intolerance and since then I have never looked back. As I got older, I wasn’t what you would call a “Health Guru”. I ate whatever I wanted, thought exercise must have been a TV show and I even planned to study journalism. But the desire to help people pulled me into Nutritional and Naturopathic Medicine and I knew I found my passion. I am constantly learning and blazing the trails myself with my own health concerns, which enables me to be a more understanding Practitioner.
What does a day on your plate look like?
I always start the day with a big glass of water to re-hydrate, a probiotic and then a hot drink to start the day. I love coffee and the nice wake-up ritual it can be in the morning, so I will have one per day.
Breakfast depends on the season but I often love a smoothie as I like to do a lot in the mornings and am often running about. At the moment I am making a Salted Strawberries and Cream Smoothie - Vegan Protein powder, ½ cup strawberries, 1 dessertspoon raw cashews, 1 teaspoon Coconut Oil, ½ frozen Zucchini (trust me you won’t taste it and it’s the secret ingredient), pinch sea salt, 100mls Coconut milk, water and ice.
Lunch is usually always a mixed salad of Greens, Pepitas, Extra Virgin Olive Oil with a complex carbohydrate like Buckwheat Pasta, baked root veggies, Buckwheat, Quinoa or Rice plus a nice serve of protein (often salmon, chicken or turkey)
I sometimes get Afternoon Tea if I can squeeze it in between clients, so if I get time I will snack on Celery, Cucumber & Hommus or a goats milk yoghurt parfait with berries and Seeds.
Dinner is pretty similar to lunch except I love a hot meal at night so I will always have something like a slow cooked Chilli, Curry or Stew on the go. Otherwise I opt for easy steamed veg with chilli olive oil dressing, some kind of seafood or chicken and a small serving of starchy carbohydrate (baked potato or Spelt Pasta).
Dessert I often don’t have as I make sure my meals are balanced so I don’t crave things, however if I do, I like to make a hot chocolate using 200mls Coconut Milk, 1 heaped teaspoon Raw Cacao and ½ teaspoon honey heated on the stove or I use my Nespresso Milk Frother (just throw it all in and it blends itself).
What are your top 3 immune boosting foods for winter?
- Garlic & Onion – and lots of it! It’s antibacterial properties really do keep infections at bay.
- Mushrooms – but not just the button kind. The more exotic Mushrooms such as Shitake are great to add into stirfrys or stews to deepen the flavour and they have amazing immune boosting properties.
- Oysters – Not to everyone’s liking but they are so full of Zinc and Iron that they are a great booster. Fresh with Lemon and Salt.
What do you do to ‘reset’ the balance button when life gets a bit hectic?
I switch off electronically. I feel like these days the “hectic” feelings come from being available all the time. Our emails, phone calls, text messaging etc. So I stop watching television, leave my phone away from me and will spend some time re-connecting. I find cleaning, washing, gardening and cooking very therapeutic for my soul.
What are your top 3 tips for staying fit and healthy?
- Keep it balanced. If you go too full on and crazy about your new health “rules” you are more likely to give up as it isn’t sustainable. If you deprive yourself all the fun things you enjoy in life, then you will ALWAYS give up. Find a way to incorporate your enjoyments into your lifestyle without sacrificing your health for them.
- Be realistic about what you want to achieve and what you are willing to do to get there. Some people have the desire to look and feel a certain way, but no intention or acknowledgment of what they need to do to get themselves there. If you want to feel or look a certain way, be practical and honest with yourself about what you will likely have to do or change in order to achieve it. It keeps you from hitting that point of “this is too hard”.
- Layer it. Don’t do too much all at once. Pick 1 thing for the week to change, and stick with it. Then once you are doing that one thing easier, then layer on another 1 thing. This creates real change.
What snacks might we find on your desk or in your handbag?
I don’t usually snack often but if I did it would be fruit. I often have a tin of red salmon in my bag just in case I get caught out.
If you had an entire day to indulge, describe your ideal pamper session!
I would wake up with no alarm, followed by drinking a hot coffee whilst I sit in the sun stretching & enjoying some me time. Next I would pop on some fun music, have a long hot shower, put my hair in a conditioning mask & moisturise my face with natural skincare that I use. A green smoothie would be the perfect light start to the day and easy to drink whilst I run about home doing chores. Then I would take myself out, make-up free and fresh-faced, for lunch with friends or family. If I had the entire day to indulge, then a massage followed by a pedicure for my toenails always feels like a luxurious treat. Ending the day with a glass of red wine, the sunset and asleep by 10pm. Perfect!
If you're after more tips for health and wellness, head over to Monique's website at www.mknaturalhealth.com.au