Every once in a while I meet someone over the web-stratosphere who I really get inspired by. Obviously as you know I'm all about organics, plant-based living, animals and the environment, but roll that all into a delicious chocolatey sweet treat (that's also healthy) and I'm taken. This young lady I'm introducing you to today is totally on that same wavelength, and at the same time adding her own unique angle to the world through her nutritional training and background. You may have already spotted her blog or Instagram (in which case you'll know you're onto a good thing when a mere 76,000 other people are also digging her recipes and ideas).
McKel Hill (yes that is her first name there), has created a beautiful website, blog and resource centre called Nutrition Stripped, full of delicious plant-based recipes and nutritional guidance. What I love about McKel, alongside some of the other nutrition experts we've featured before (Dr Libby and Jess Cox are two of my favourites), is her no-nonsense fad-free approach. In the world of food, nutrition, dieting and the unfortunate constant pursuit of physical perfection, there's always a new fad circulating the ranks. Atkins, South Beach Diet, Low Fat, Low Carb, Fully Raw, High Protein, Paleo; it's enough to make anyone go crazy. How about natural wholefoods (with a mind for the environment and the other beings we share this planet with), and treats in moderation!
I'm excited to share McKel's down to earth approach with you today, and of course no interview would be complete without us being gifted a delectable recipe to try. So scroll further down and you'll find her deliciously decadent Chocolate Mousse which will make the perfect dessert this weekend. McKel has also been kind enough to offer an exclusive offer for our Be Good readers, where the first five lucky individuals to contact her for a consultation (click here), will get 15% off her regular price. Just mention how you found her and she'd love to meet you!
Without further adieu, say hello to McKel...
Why did you decide to turn to a more plant-powered organic lifestyle?
In high school, I suffered from horrible migraines. I took the common route of seeing a neurologist and taking prescription medications, which never worked and would always leave me feeling lethargic, impairing my ability to do activities and to engage in things I was very passionate about (art, school, athletics). In college, I used to consume “health” foods that weren’t the best for my body, mind, or spirit - they were heavily processed, quick fixes, and full of ingredients I could barely pronounce. These “health” foods never made me feel well physically or look my best either; instead I had poor digestion, low energy during workouts and in general, and dull skin and hair.
By using some commons techniques I now practice with clients, I was able to determine that I was sensitive to gluten and dairy. As soon as I took dairy and gluten out of my diet within days I noticed a radical shift in the way I felt. I no longer felt bloated, my digestion issues resolved, the acne breakouts started to clear, my athletic performance increased, and best of all my migraine headaches decreased dramatically!
I took it to the next level and consciously started to incorporate many more raw fruits and vegetables - I also started drinking my Stripped Green Smoothie, which I’ve been having for breakfast/post-workout for many years now. At this point in my life my skin was glowing, my digestion improved greatly, my figure was leaner, and my energy soared! Of course, diet isn’t the only thing that comes into play with feeling and look great; exercising, managing stress and doing what you love helps the process come into fruition as well.
How has your health (physical and emotional) changed since then?
My health has improved immensely since living a predominantly plant-based lifestyle with no dairy/gluten (again this is for my personal needs). My skin glows naturally, I feel confident wearing no make-up the majority of the time (although, what girl doesn’t like her makeup? haha), my hair grew longer and stronger than I could ever hope. I generally have energy all day long to carry out my work and be present with my clients, engage in workouts, and feel great.
I continue to practice a plant-based (mostly vegan), gluten free diet and of course that’s only half of the equation - I love to workout lifting weights, boxing, doing hot yoga, practicing meditation, art, being with friends, family and most of all living out my passion to share with you all. I hope that through sharing my whole food recipes, nutrition and wellness tips, and my nutrition services, you can experience a shift in your health as well.
If you had to give someone 3 reasons why they should switch to more plant-based organic food & skincare products, what would they be?
More “natural energy” from truly nourishing your body with nutrient dense foods on a cellular level.
Better digestion, which leads to optimal metabolism of nutrients, a leaner figure, healthier skin, hair and nails. Overall health!
Sustainable, ethical, and environmentally friendly.
Bonus reason (!), deliciously simple and nourishing foods of course. I share many of them on my blog!
What does a day on your plate look like:
Now, your favourite foodie indulgence...
That’s such an easy question… dark chocolate! More specifically, Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse (check out McKel's delicious recipe below), or anything fudge-like.
What do you think the biggest fear or misconception is about going more organic or plant-based?
That you’re not going to get enough protein! I hear this all the time and it’s simply not true. The American Dietetic Association has a great position paper backing up that vegetarian and plant-based diets are perfectly adequate at providing all the essential nutrients to ones diet, including protein. Check out the paper here.
Another misconception I hear, is plant-based eaters or vegans only eat lettuce and carrots. Although, I do adore salads and raw veg, there are SO many more delicious and incredibly nourishing recipes to choose from. I have many family members who aren’t vegan but LOVE my cooking!
What's your approach to balance & moderation in life (and/or food)
Food is an easy balance because I absolutely LOVE eating this way, full of fresh fruits, veg, and all things plant based makes me feel the best; there’s no substitute for nourishing foods and the impact it has on your health. If I didn’t love this lifestyle I wouldn’t be sitting here sharing it with all of you! And for those of you transitioning into a more plant-based diet, all it takes is one meal at a time, you don’t necessarily have to jump on board overnight. Simply adding a large green salad to the start of a meal or better yet, starting your day with a green smoothie is a fantastic and easy start to simplifying the foods you put into your beautiful body.
You've been given permission to raid the Be Good Organics stock room - what's one foodie product and one beauty product you'd nab
Foodie product: any superfood! I’m in love with all things exotic - fruit, cacao powders, coconut oil, blue-green algaes, etc. Coconut oil is probably my favorite though because I use it for everything, from cooking to skin moisturiser, and on my hair!
Would you like to share your most popular plant-powered recipe with us?
Yes! One of my most popular and favourite recipes from my entire blog is my Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse. It has a not-so-secret ingredient, but one that sure is unique when it comes to desserts, the avocado. This is a non-dairy vegan friendly mousse will all the great qualities of traditional mousse - it’s thick, creamy, velvety, rich in flavor, and pairs perfectly with ripe fruit. It’s full of healthy fats, fibre, and nutrients in comparison to most mousse recipes, not to mention it’s absolutely delicious!
All of the items below can be purchased from our online store, simply click on each ingredient link to add to your shopping cart
Always use certified organic ingredients where possible
1 large avocado (or 2 small)
¼-½ c plant-based milk (depending on desired thickness)
1 Tbsp organic cold-pressed coconut oil
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
40g raw dark chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp coffee/espresso (we used Teeccino)
½ tsp organic vanilla extract
stevia or 1-2 tsp coconut nectar to taste
c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon
PS If you liked this recipe we'd love you to share it on Facebook (hit the Like button below), Tweet it, or forward to a health loving friend. And if you make it on Instagram, tag us @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics to be in to feature in our monthly 'Your Be Good Organics' album on Facebook.
*If you want to find out more about my incredible new Thermomix do-it-all food processor/blender/grinder/mixer/cooker/kitchen-hand/husband/part time sous chef, I'm now a certified consultant so can provide you with all the information you need. If you're interested in more info or a free demo (including a healthy tasty meal cooked for you and some friends), you can contact me here. I absolutely love mine so know you'll love it too.
These deliciously dark and mysterious tarts are just a little bit special, with a secret ingredient. Modestly sweet, with an earthy, nutty flavour- a lovely change from the usual fruity/chocolate affairs - give them a go, and fall in love!
These light and fruity muffins use one of my favourite fruits – feijoas! If you’re a feijoa fan you’ll love these (and if not, come to NZ to try them). Best of all, they have no added sugar – just the natural sweetness of feijoas, coconut, dates, and vanilla.