Plant-Powered Peeps: Meet McKel from Nutrition Stripped
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:
- It varies from day to day depending on my activity level and what I’m doing at the moment, but without a doubt I always start my morning with warm lemon water followed by my Stripped Green Smoothie (or a Stripped Green Smoothie Bowl) topped with loads of “superfoods”/nutrient dense foods like goji berries, raw cacao nibs, coconut, hemp, spirulina, etc. My green smoothie is packed full of plant protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and its super easy to digest. It gives me more energy than any cup of coffee ever could!
- 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, and of course huge dark leafy green salads! I absolutely love salads and try to eat them with most meals with fresh squeezed lemon – my Nourish Bowl is my favorite 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 and in the winter my body craves warming foods like soups, stews, and stir-fry meals.
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
Beauty product: Sally B’s Skin Yummies – anything and everything from that line I absolutely love it, but especially Antioxidant Skin Boost!
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!
Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
- 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
- 40 g raw dark chocolate chopped
- 1 Tbsp coffee/espresso we used Teeccino
- ½ tsp organic vanilla extract
- 1-2 tsp coconut nectar to taste
- 1 Tbsp cacao nibs
- 1 Tbsp shredded coconut
- Melt the dark chocolate over a stovetop with the coconut oil and coffee (if you have a Thermomix you can melt it on the 37°C or 50°C setting).
- Combine the melted chocolate sauce with the remaining ingredients in a blender or bowl. Combine all the ingredients using a high speed blender, processor or hand mixer and blend or mix until creamy and smooth. The texture will resemble a fluffy mousse.
- Spoon into a bowl or wine glass (for some flare) and garnish with toppings of your choice.
- Chill and enjoy!
- Make it keto: use stevia to taste instead of coconut nectar.