Nathalie has a popular Instagram page where she inspires people to connect to their inner goddess through healthy food, self-love, creativity, pleasure and feel-good vibes. We chatted to Nathalie about her lifestyle, family and blogging.
Tell us about yourself!
I was born and raised in Lebanon, a beautiful country in the Middle East where I have earned a masters in clinical psychology and started practicing there. Then I met the love of my life and had to move to the US where he lives and my life has forever changed since!
My first culture shock was food and nutrition, and how it affects our lives on a daily basis – so I delved more into that, changed my diet and my lifestyle, and I couldn’t feel better! I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in 2015 as a holistic health coach.
Today I coach women beyond the food on their plates; I guide them to connect to their inner goddess (Inner.G) through healthy rituals (food is just one of them). This helps them reclaim their power and tap into their inner.G, empowering them to create the life they want.
I am also a mom of 2 beautiful girls who inspire me tremendously.
When did you start food blogging on Instagram and what inspired you to start?
After I shifted to a plant-based diet in 2011, I started recreating dishes that I love in a healthier way by omitting dairy, meat, and processed foods. People started showing interest in my food and lifestyle which encouraged me to share it online.
You are such a positive advocate for plant-based living. What led you to this lifestyle choice?
I just love plant-based foods for how great they make me feel! Since changing my diet, I’ve gained more energy, better clarity, and better skin and hair. I felt so good in my body as my meals weren’t making me tired or sleepy anymore. I felt more alive!
It all started when I first moved to the US and was shocked by the big portions of overly-processed food. Nothing tasted the same and my body couldn’t tolerate the junk. I even developed a rash on my neck that was so mysterious, doctors couldn’t tell me why it was happening.
It was a time of awakening for me, and my desire to know more led me to change my diet. I cut off meat, dairy and sugar, and the rash went away! It was my first ‘A-ha!’ moment: food really does affect our health. I then remembered how much I used to dislike meat when I was younger, and had to be conditioned to consume it growing up.
Since then, it has been a beautiful & fascinating journey! Today I still believe that good food is very important to our health, but I do believe that we need food for the soul as well.
You have two very cute little girls! Do they eat plant-based diets also? If so, what is your advice for other parents trying to encourage their kids to eat more plant-based and healthy foods?
Yes, my kids eat a plant-based diet. I am glad you didn’t put labels in your question such as “are you kids vegan or not?”, because honestly, I believe that labels are very restrictive and dogmatic.
We all eat food that is 95% derived from plants, but most importantly we do not eat processed food or sugar. My kids love greens, radishes, beets, cauliflower etc.. Foods that other kids often don’t like. My daughter’s friends call her food “weird” (lol) simply because they are not familiar with eating whole foods and vegetables!
It is easier to incorporate healthy food since they start eating solid foods because their taste buds will develop an enjoyment of the natural flavours of fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts etc. When kids get used to eating a lot of processed and sugary foods, their taste buds become overly stimulated by the chemicalized flavours, and it becomes a challenge to make them appreciate the sweetness of fruits and veggies, or even tolerate the unfamiliar flavours found in other plant-based food.
If you like, you may follow a process to help them become accustomed to plant-based food. However, it will take time to get them back on track:
- Start by cutting out refined sugar & flour. Make healthy treats using dates or natural sweetener and unrefined flour. You can also make raw treats using frozen fruits, nuts and seeds.
- Get them in the kitchen with you. Let them participate in creating their own food and treats whenever possible. The act of creating a meal using whole foods is fascinating for kids, and will help them to become more conscious of how they are nourishing their body.
- Ask them their opinion and adjust the flavours to their liking. Show them that natural, healthy food does taste good.
- Teach them to plant anything! It could be as simple as seeds in a small pot in your kitchen. Let them experience the power of living food.
- And in the meantime, sneak those veggies into their smoothies lol! This process is going to take time, but as long as you, the parent, are consistent and persistent in encouraging them to eat healthy food, your kids will definitely follow. It just requires some patience.
- Last thing: Lead by example! Our kids imitate everything we do, say or even feel!
Your photos are always styled so nicely. What tips and tricks can you share to assist in creating such great images?
Thank you so much, that is so sweet. I don’t really plan my pictures or creations ahead of time, but doing so will save a lot of time! I am very flowy when it comes to creating and I just go with the spur of the moment. So if you don’t have time to plan ahead of time, don’t worry, you can still create great pictures.
The tips & tricks that have worked for me though are:
- Use fresh & colourful ingredients! When the subject is already pretty, this is what you are going to capture.
- Use natural light. Food looks best under natural light (not too much light though) – all you need is a small window.
- Use a background for your pictures that is not going to take the attention from your food. Your food is the hero. Use simple surfaces, plates, and bowls that are not too flashy.
- Use a good camera. Even a good phone camera will do – the iPhone 7+ has an awesome cam with a great depth of field. But make sure your picture is not blurry or grainy.
- Edit your photos with Lightroom! Such an incredible tool to take your photo to the next level without really photoshopping them!
- If you can, use a tripod to avoid shaking hands, especially when shooting without enough light.
When your not food blogging, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I don’t really have much spare time lol! I am a mom, which is a full time job already. My days are spent between kids, food and lifestyle blogging (Instagram, stories, creating food, taking pictures, posting, facebook lives, editing pictures, developing recipes for brands etc), getting on calls with my clients from different parts of the world as a holistic health coach, following up on emails, making lunch for myself and my family, kids activities, spending time with my hubby when he comes back from work, studying, workout, dinner, showering kids… are you tired yet?
But I still make time for myself. When everybody goes to sleep I enjoy the simple things; I love tapping into my spiritual world, I listen to Abraham Hicks, I read self-help books, I listen to music, I love journaling, I meditate and I LOVE to daydream. I think that is my favourite thing to do and I can do that at any time of the day; just visualizing my desires fulfilled! It gives me tremendous joy and keeps my drive alive to manifest them. I also love to walk in nature and watch the moon.
You serve up some pretty amazing dishes in our Coconut Bowls! What has been your favourite so far?
Honestly, I love using your Coconut Bowls for everything! But my favourite is to serve smoothies. Smoothies look so good with all the toppings in those bowls!
What is your favourite thing about your Coconut Bowls?
I love the natural feel of eating out of a coconut! It is so earthy and makes me feel more connected to the food I am eating. It also allows me to channel my inner goddess. And of course, I love the fact that they are eco-friendly and stunning!
We are so excited to have your delicious recipe “Fish” Tofu Salad, included in our cookbook ‘Vegan Bowls’. Tell us what it means for you to be apart of the book?
I am beyond excited for this! It feels so good to be part of such a beautiful tribe gathering together to highlight beautiful healthy food served in the most natural way using Coconut Bowls! It brings so much awareness – not only around eating healthy, but also around how we serve and eat our food, which for me is equally important.
It is such a pleasurable experience we are bringing to light together!