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A Healthy Delicious Life: Moira Nordholt

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 in A Healthy Delicious Life | 2 Comments

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Back at you with the second interview in my Healthy Delicious Life series. This week I’m proud to present to you the amazingly talented plant-powered chef Moira Nordholt. She’s the owner of feelgoodguru, a super delicious plant-powered takeout resto that has some of the most healthy and delicious fare you’ve ever tried.

Moira’s past claims to fame include opening the first vegetarian restaurant in Banff, having her food featured in the documentary Forks Over Knives, and, when I was in nutrition school, Moira was the first person to pay me to cook.

We got to know each other well in her kitchen and became soul sisters of sorts. She taught me a TON about cooking, and I’m proud to call her a friend. I know you’ll find her wonderfully inspiring. Read on to find out why you are what you eat.

How do you define how you eat? (e.g. paleo, veg, vegan, omnivore, plant based, etc.)

I eat healthily, and for me that means organic, mostly local and plant-based, but I try to hold on to nothing religiously, including definitions of diets. I live a lifestyle that makes me feel good in my body right now, with emphasis on disease prevention and longevity. We get one body to live in for as long as we can sustain it. I run premium fuel through my motorbike, so, yeah, I do the same for my body.

How long have you been health conscious?

Since I moved to Paris at 15 and became an uneducated unhealthy experiment for a few years. Our mom was a home economist and raised my 5 sibs and I on 3 homemade from scratch meals every single day. We weren’t allowed to have packaged anything in the house. It was all real, whole food, and I don’t recall ever dining at a fast food restaurant. After that upbringing, I was literally a kid in a candy store in Paris – croissants, pains au chocolat, cafes au lait, porto, horse meat. Yes. I saw myself in the mirror at 16, after several months of the foodie free-for-all of a fille au pair and had the “aha moment” – you are what you eat. I became vegetarian in that moment. Then it took me years of studying and experimenting to figure out what the “right” thing for me was.

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What motivates you to be healthy/do this for yourself?

I love to feel good in my body, to have good energy, to feel clean and bright, to be able to give energy back to those around me, to be able to accomplish the things I want to accomplish in my day, in my life without being held back by a sniffly nose or PMS or thirty extra pounds or insecurity with the way I look. I do it for myself, sure, but then it naturally translates into activism. Being able to help others get on a healthier path is what really motivates me. ”be the change you wish to see in the world.” Our bodies are true expressions of our beliefs. Our bodies, our food, our environment, our planet, everything is connected, so I believe that being as healthy as I can be is a moral obligation.

How do you wake up in the morning? (rituals, music you listen to, etc.)

Wish I could tell you I receive a skilled hand and foot massage each day to gently bring me back into my body, but it’s an alarm every morning then straight to work, with a big fat organic soy or almond matcha latte. My alarm is set, though, on a spiritual lullaby by Ollabelle called “All is Well.” sometimes I lay in bed and listen to the entire song before moving. If you know it, you may think it’s an odd thing to listen to upon waking because it’s about death. But it’s like corpse pose in yoga – practise dying so you can live well, without fear.

Describe a day in the life of you. 

My world has been pretty condensed for the last 18 months into a 10-block “worksleepyoga” radius between my loft, my restaurant, the farmers’ market and the yoga studio.

A typical day starts at 8 in the kitchen. The team is all in preparing to open for 11, juicing, making desserts, assembling salads. I oversee that, take calls, get our morning deliveries out of the house before we open. Once we open, the day flies by with our customers coming and going. I talk to suppliers, go see my farmer, cram in meetings in the kitchen and try to get some time for new product development.

I have been making a point of getting out for yoga 5 days/week and that makes a world of difference in how I deal with stress. Everyone on my team is happier when I get to yoga!

A typical evening will include catching up on email and social media, paying bills, scheduling, dealing with the dangling tentacles that owning a business puts in one’s day. It’s endless. It’s all work all the time and it’s not always fun. I try to remember to savour the hard times. It’s the stuff of good laughs on the other side.

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How do you typically eat in a day?

I’m super spoiled as I’ve made an entire menu of things I want to eat in a day! Frankly, the selfish reason I opened feelgoodguru was so I would have the food I want to eat available in my neighbourhood.

I start every day with a giant matcha latte either with our house-made sprouted almond milk or organic soy milk. That’s breakfast. I’m in the kitchen most days, so I nibble and taste. I get around to lunch sometime mid-afternoon and most days I keep it simple and clean with our “make kale not war” and “cosmic quinoa” combo’ed. That serves as a full meal for the day.

I have a litre of “super green fuel” most days as well (our green smoothie filled with super foods and all kinds of fresh greens, sprouted almonds, dates, pumpkin and flax seeds). It’s a great way to get a ton of nutrients into the body while you’re on the go. I just sip it all day long.

I grab a fresh pressed juice from our grab & go when I need a quick pick-me-up – redjoice is a fave – organic beets, red apples, lemon & ginger.

Sometimes dinner is just an avocado simply drizzled with a good cold-pressed olive oil and sprinkled with fine pink sea salt, or my guilty pleasure, hummus with corn chips.

The longer I eat real, whole, clean foods, the more sensitive my body becomes to powerful drugs like coffee and alcohol. So I don’t drink much of either, not because I’m against it but because I get wired on one and stunned on the other and I just prefer the calm presence of a healthy mind and body.

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What’s the HEALTHIEST thing you do each day?

There isn’t one single thing that is the healthiest thing I do in a day. I would say that the routine is the thing. The “worksleepyoga” routine feels to me like the key to holistic health. It’s discipline, it’s challenge and learning, it’s balance, it’s food and movement and play. It’s that routine that allows my body to continue building greater strength into my forties and my mind to open into deeper wisdom. Without yoga or some kind of good quality daily sweat, my body feels incomplete. Without work, I have no sense of purpose. Without sleep I can’t function. Each of these elements that fill my day contributes to my health and happiness. I’m lucky that my work is all about healthy food because if I had a desk job I’d have to modify my practise!

What’s your favourite ‘superfood,’ the food that gives you the biggest sense of well being and energy?

Kale! More specifically, organic kale from our local farmer, Ted Thorpe. He grows the most amazing, rich deep green kale, dense in nutrients and flavour. Kale protects against cancer, contains a ton of antioxidants, is a mood enhancer and a massive detoxifier. We use kale all over the menu so I eat it every day. I pretty much am made of kale.

What’s the most DELICIOUS thing you do for yourself? For example, how do you treat yourself? How do you indulge?

About once a month I take an afternoon off and soak in the hot pools at body blitz. it’s purely indulgent, but also a really key element in my holistic health practise. if I lived near a natural hot spring I’d find a way to incorporate a nightly soak into my routine.

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What’s your chosen physical activity? Why do you do it?

Yoga, baby! It’s the thing that works for me. It has all the benefits of a gym workout with the added bonus of meditation. When I practise, I am zen. When I don’t, I turn into chef [Gordon] Ramsey. I practise for peace of mind, and I enjoy feeling strong and flexible. I do yoga so that when I trip off a curb and twist my ankle or fall off my bike I bounce instead of tearing muscle tissue. I do yoga to feel good in my body right now but also as an investment in my future. We age slower when we move our bodies daily. I believe in staying juicy.

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Who inspires you?

All the real people in my life inspire me. My family inspires me, my team inspires me, my next door neighbour inspires me, my farmer inspires me, customers inspire me. Every day someone shares a story of their journey to healthy eating and that gives me the inspiration to continue my work.

Can you share one of your favourite (healthy) go-to recipes?

Ask your readers to email me at store {at} feelgoodguru {dot} com for a free copy of “feel good fast” autumn:)

Anything else you want to add?

Just want to say thank you for thinking me a worthy subject for your blog! I’m honoured. You’re a delight and an inspiration! xoxoxoxoxo

2 Comments

  1. jim sarjeant
    November 7, 2013

    good one

    Reply
  2. BL
    November 7, 2013

    “I do yoga so that when I trip off a curb and twist my ankle or fall off my bike I bounce instead of tearing muscle tissue.”

    Note to self… This made me smile; such a great way to put it. Great post, Spocks. I’m loving the HD interviews!

    Reply

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