Holy wow I have missed you guys!!! I’m sorry that I disappeared for so long without a peep! My computer has been on the fritz lately, and so I haven’t been able to get on and create posts for you lately. It’s still not 100% back to normal, but I figured I’d give it a shot, because I can’t stand to be without you any longer! I’ll try to get back to my normal posting schedule, but no promises. (Darn technology!)
Anyway, I am very excited today, because my first post back is an interview with the lovely Sonnet Lauberth from For the Love of Food! Sonnet is a holistic health coach and fellow Seattle-ite, and comes up with some pretty awesome healthy vegan recipes. She’s been featured in quite a few publications, from Vegetarian Times to Glamour.com. I’ve asked her to share some information about her diet and healthy lifestyle with you. Believe me, it’s worth the wait!
How would you describe your diet?
SL: I eat a seasonal, plant-based, whole-foods diet with a focus on local and organic foods. I have been plant-based for five years now and have found that removing animal products from my diet greatly improved my overall health and energy levels. I focus on eating seasonally and locally because food simply tastes better when it’s not being shipped across the country. Aside from being more nutrient-dense and better for the planet, eating seasonally and locally also helps me to feel connected to the seasons here in the Pacific Northwest.
What is your favorite veggie, and how do you like to eat it?
SL: Ooohh this is a tough one. I’d say it’s a tie between broccoli and beets – which is funny considering that most people despise these veggies! I love steamed broccoli with a little nutritional yeast and black pepper. And these roasted beets are my absolute favorite in the fall and winter!
What was/is your biggest motivator for changing and maintaining your eating habits?
SL: For me, I eat the way I do simply because it makes me feel good. Like many Americans, I grew up on the Standard American Diet of processed meals and fast food. When I was 14, I began to suffer from debilitating abdominal pain and digestive issues. I was in and out of doctors’ offices, seeing specialists, and trying medications for years. Nothing made it better. At one point I was even told by a doctor to stop eating fruits and vegetables. To me, this recommendation seemed to be exactly the opposite of what I would want to do.
I began to realize that I needed to know more about food because I believed it would make me better. I didn’t set out to become vegan, but as I began playing with my diet and listening to my body, I began to slowly transition away from animal products. In 2005, I cut dairy out. Then the following year I stopped eating meat and eggs. Next went the processed foods, refined sugars, and packaged junk. Pretty soon all of my abdominal pain went away – it felt like a miracle.
In 2010, I began working with a naturopath and finally discovered that the root cause of my past abdominal pain was gallstones. It would be impossible to know for sure what had caused the gallstones years back, but I believe it was due to 14 years of living off of the Standard American Diet full of processed junk. Since going plant-based, I’ve yet to experience a gallstone attack and I cannot tell you how grateful I am to be living pain-free for the first time in my life. Today I am motivated by how healthy and strong my body feels and there isn’t anything I would trade for good health.
What’s non-negotiable for you in your diet?
SL: If I was stranded on a dessert island, I swear that I could probably live off of kale and water. Every day I have to include kale, chard, spinach, or collard greens in my diet either in a green smoothie, fresh vegetable juice, or large salad. Veggies make up a large part of my diet and I have found that eating a variety of vegetables makes me feel more grounded and energized.
One of the biggest non-negotiables for me, besides eating lots of veggies, is drinking water. I am one of those people that has to go to the bathroom every hour because I drink tons of water throughout my day. Drinking water not only makes me feel more energized, but it helps to battle my dry skin and curb food cravings.
I workout every day so I’ve found that for me to feel happily satiated, I have to include some good fats and legumes in each meal. I love adding lentils to salads, beans to soups, and tempeh to stir-fries. I am a huge fan of nuts, seeds, and avocados, and I’ve discovered that adding more healthy fats to dishes helped me to feel fuller longer.
I like to think of myself as a “conscious eater” (rather than a “food snob”), but I won’t eat anything that includes refined flours, sugars, or trans fats. I try to limit my exposure to pesticides as much as possible so I prefer not to buy and eat conventional produce, but I absolutely will not eat any conventional produce that is on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list.
Describe what an average day of eats looks like for you.
SL: I exercise first thing in the morning so I usually start my day at 5:30 am with a spoonful of almond butter. It’s hard for me to eat right when I wake up, but I’ve found that having a little almond butter is just enough to power my workout without upsetting my stomach.
After my workout I always opt for a giant green smoothie full of greens, banana, berries, and avocado. I also like to include extra goodies like spirulina, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, or maca powder.
Mid-morning I’ll have a snack like nuts, raw buckwheat granola, veggies and hummus, or fruit.
During the spring and summer, lunch is always a giant green salad with legumes, avocado, seeds, raw veggies, and a little balsamic vinegar. In fall and winter, my body craves warm foods like soups and curries for lunch.
Dinner is usually something quick and simple like a veggie stir-fry, quinoa bowl, or black bean tacos. I also love Thai food so sometimes I’ll make a Tom Kha soup or tofu curry for dinner.
How do you like to get your sweat on?
SL: I currently have knee injuries that have been keeping me from running and cycling (my faves!) so instead I’ve been doing lots of brisk walking, strength training, and swimming. I also recently got back into yoga. Bikram (hot) yoga really isn’t my thing, but hatha yoga is my new addiction.
What is a natural beauty product you swear by?
SL: I am obsessed with the oil-cleansing method! I simply use a 3:1 ratio of extra virgin olive oil and castor oil to clean my skin and the results are incredible. I’ve never had my skin look so dewy and moisturized before. Plus, it’s super easy to remove makeup! I love that I’m not using any harsh chemicals, cleansers, or moisturizers on my face anymore.
What steps do you take to try to live a greener life?
SL: Besides being conscious about my diet and supporting local farmers, I am a strong advocate for composting, recycling, and not buying items that come in wasteful packaging. I shop in bulk (to avoid excess packaging) and always use cloth bags over paper or plastic. I try to reuse items as much as possible and usually opt for buying used items over new. I use all-natural cleaners and beauty products in my home to limit my chemical-use. I’m also big on taking public transportation and walking whenever possible.
What is/are your favorite book(s) about healthy living (physical, mental, or spiritual)?
Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr
Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson
What is the best piece of advice you have for someone looking to live a healthier life?
SL: My biggest piece of advice is to just start wherever you are at and start small. When it comes to making changes in our lives, a lot of times it is easy for us to want to do everything at once, but then we end up feeling overwhelmed, stuck, and too paralyzed to make any changes at all. Creating healthier habits takes time and so the best thing we can do is to make small changes over time and stick with it.
It took me years to transition off of the Standard American Diet of animal products and processed foods and I think it would be almost impossible for someone to do this overnight without feeling stressed, miserable, and deprived. My advice is to add things into your diet rather than remove them. For instance, focus on adding more green vegetables, whole grains, or legumes to your diet, rather than focusing on eliminating less-healthy items that you are currently eating. Over time you will find that your tastes will change and you will naturally gravitate towards fresher and healthier foods.
And, don’t forget to have fun and experiment with new things! Being healthy should be about feeling great and enjoying your life. If you’re not having fun and feeling happy, then there’s just no point.
Sonnet Lauberth is a holistic health coach empowering women to take better care of themselves and remove the barriers that are keeping them stuck. Sonnet helps women to transition to a healthier diet, have more energy, lose weight, banish their digestive issues, and reach their health goals. She believes that your health is a system and there is more to being healthy than simply eating the right foods and getting exercise. Sonnet is also the voice behind For The Love of Food, a blog about plant-based cooking using seasonal and local ingredients. If you are ready to transform your health and your life, be sure to sign up for her FREE weekly newsletter and self-care workbook at healthyyoueveryday.com.