Natasha Uspensky is a nutrition counselor, lifestyle expert and a fantastic blogger over at The Organic Beauty Blog. She's been helping women rediscover a healthy lifestyle and holistic health both online and with her Skype based counseling programs. We recently got the chance to talk to Natasha about her approach to health, dieting, writing and her family.
Question: Obviously, you are uninterested in the fads of diets. What I'd love to know is how you convince yourself and your clients that diets don't work. There's always a sexy new diet promising to change everything. What do you say to remind yourself and clients that fads aren't the answer?
Answer: I think deep down, most people know that there is no one magical diet out there, that will help them stay slim and healthy for life, without some crazy deprivation or unsustainable process. Many diets work, but only for a time, and it's never any fun. Calorie counting, restricting entire food groups, or subsisting on some specific combination of foods gets old after a time.
I've never met anybody who has been able to stick to a diet long-term, and still maintain a healthy self-image and healthy relationship to food. So when working with clients, I remind them of their own experience with diets, and how frustrating it has been. We've all been there (myself included).
But true health is based on a sustainable approach to eating that will last for the rest of your life.. not just occasionally, or when you want to lose a few pounds. When you have a sustainable, healthy way of eating, you never have to diet, you're always hovering around your healthy/happy weight, and you don't have to live a life of obsessing over food and a number on the scale.
Q: People who don't typically cook can be intimidated by the idea of cooking whole, healthy foods. Is there a recipe you love for beginners in the health world?
Answer: Smoothies!! Green smoothies are my absolute favorite entry into the world of healthy cooking. First off, they're easy -- I'd barely even call it cooking. And secondly, you get instant results, which is really motivating to help you get confidence to branch out into other meals and recipes. An awesome green smoothie leaves you feeling satisfied, energized, focused, and slim. Who doesn't want that? Here’s my Glowing Green Smoothie recipe, that I have for breakfast myself almost every morning (I also make it for my baby, and she loves it!).
- 1 cup organic greens (kale or spinach are my favorites)
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup frozen mixed organic berries
- 1 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
- 1 tbsp raw almond butter
- 1 tbsp chia or flaxseeds
- 1 scoop hemp protein powder
- 1 cup of organic unsweetened almond milk (more or less, depending on the consistency you like for your smoothie)
- (Optional) 1 tsp organic raw cacao
Blend in a high speed blender, and enjoy!
On Holistic Health
Q: What does holistic mean to you?
Answer: Holistic means looking at how all factors play a part — health isn't just about what we are or are not eating, it's also about our stress levels, our relationships, the way we move our bodies, our self-care, how we unwind and have fun. The biggest mistake people make when trying to lose weight or tackle a specific health concern is just looking at diet, but that is just one small piece of the puzzle.
When we are happy, fulfilled, and taken care of, we experience less cravings, and find it so much easier to make healthier decisions in our lives. A holistic approach is necessary for all aspects of health, from weight, to fertility, to even our skin!
On Life With Baby
Q: You recently had a beautiful baby girl, congratulations! How has having a baby changed your health and beauty routines and ideas? Have you found yourself losing time or making more?
Answer: Thank you so much! It's been honestly the most amazing addition to my life. But becoming a mom does change a lot in terms of time and self-care. Whereas I used to make time daily for an hour of relaxation and self-care, with a new baby, I'm lucky if I can sit down and sip a cup of tea and read a magazine during nap time. But, since I know how important self-care is for my own body, happiness, and sanity, I still find ways to prioritize it.
I've pared down my morning beauty routine, but still take time every morning (either while my baby naps, or while she plays) to take care of my skin, put on a bit of makeup (BB cream with sunscreen, mascara, and a lip/cheek balm), and get dressed in something I feel great in. This is so important for new moms (or just moms in general!). It's so easy to throw your hair in a bun and live in yoga pants, but what message is that sending yourself? That you're not important, and that your needs aren't important.
With that message floating around, it becomes a lot easier to skip meals, eat crap, miss workouts, feel stressed out and overwhelmed. And then we wonder why the baby weight isn't coming off!! Starting the day off by making sure you are taken care of and look great will help you to feel great and make better choices throughout the day. It doesn't take a lot of time, but delivers a whole lot of benefit.
I've also been making sure I take a self-care afternoon a few times a month on the weekend. I leave baby with daddy, and go get a massage, facial, or mani-pedi — which are my monthly self-care essentials. As moms, we need to get out of the mindset that taking care of our children falls solely on us. Both parents are equally responsible for and able to take care of the kids, and it's important to tag team parenting so both parents have some time for self-care.
On Online Nutrition Counseling
Q: Greens. Grains. Gorgeous., a 12-week online coaching program for new moms launched just over a year ago. How did you create this program? Has its first year of existence marked any substantial changes in your coursework or mindset?
Answer: I created Greens. Grains. Gorgeous. for busy women who are sick of dieting, body hatred, and de-prioritizing their own happiness. The flexible, online format makes it a lot easier to commit to than regular one-on-one sessions, and the self-paced curriculum is great for customizing for whatever you are most in need of. And the community support aspect is awesome for staying on track! Especially now, I am limited in the number of people I can work with privately — I only take on a handful of private clients a month. But with an online program, I am able to reach and help so
Especially now, I am limited in the number of people I can work with privately — I only take on a handful of private clients a month. But with an online program, I am able to reach and help so many more people and spread my message of easy, pleasurable, radiant health far and wide. The first two iterations of Greens. Grains. Gorgeous. didn't have a mom focus, but now that I am experiencing balancing self-care and motherhood for myself, I just knew I had to share everything I'm learning with my clients!
So I'm now working on paring down the program to make it even easier for busy moms to take in, and adding a lot of new mom specific content like healthfully losing the baby weight, eating for energy and mood, and boosting milk supply. New moms are especially in need of a lot of support, and I feel like there isn't that much out there that is just for us, other than mommy and me classes and yoga.
I think this program really meets a need and will help a whole new generation of moms set a foundation for health and self-care that will last them through baby 2 (or 3.. ) and for the rest of their lives!
Q: What has been your favorite beauty product of the last year?
That's a tough one! I receive so many amazing natural beauty products to test every month, and fall in love with each and every one! I'd say this past year, I've relied heavily on my Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Oil. It's the most versatile beauty tool a mom (or any busy woman) can have. Just a swipe over cheeks and lips and you instantly look put together, glowing, and gorgeous. I love the Everlasting Honey hue, which is perfect for warm skin tones.