Inspiration: Natalie Archer of Nutritiously Natalie
Hey guys! SO, it’s been a long time since I’ve done an interview and I’ve missed it. It’s truly one of my favourite ways to connect with other foodies and wellness gurus in the community, learn a little more about them, share their story, to finding out what a typical day looks like to them to where there favourite cafes are in the places they call home.
This month I had the privilege to interview Natalie Archer of Nutritiously Natalie; who I am hugely inspired by. Natalie is a plant-based recipe developer and holistic health coach from New York/Connecticut and now resides in Montana which she calls home. Natalie’s journey to her healthy lifestyle is a story that’s a bit different than most. I hope you too will be inspired by Natalie’s unwavering tenacity and drive to help others battling similar health issues she faced at the young age of 24. Let’s get to know this inspiring lady more:
Credits: recipe + photography by Natalie Archer, Interview by me!
EH: First off, thanks so much for doing an interview with me Natalie and congrats on having a baby! For everyone who doesn’t know you, give a little bio about yourself before we dive into the interview!
NA: Thank you so much Emma! Well, I am a Holistic Health Coach and plant-based Chef born and raised in New York and Connecticut, but currently living in Montana with my husband Kyle, our little chihuahua Killa, and a baby on the way!
EH: One of the things that really struck me about you is your reasoning behind starting Nutritiously Natalie. If you don’t mind diving into how and why you started your blog to give readers a better understanding of your mission/philosophy?
NA: I started Nutritiously Natalie after my battle with leukemia at the age of 24. I always felt like I had been a pretty healthy person. I loved salads, ate frozen yogurt on the daily (hello excessive dairy and sugar!), worked out regularly, and as a newlywed at the time of my diagnoses, was overall happy and excited about the future. However, my beliefs about food and mind-body health changed during my chemotherapy treatment when I was placed on a strict neutropenic diet where I couldn’t eat any fresh fruits or vegetables. A neutropenic diet is thought to protect those with weakened immune systems from potentially harmful bacteria found in many raw foods. This concept seemed completely outrageous to me, because I didn’t understand how I would be able to heal my body by only eating foods that were packaged, processed, or really well cooked (we were told to cook our food thoroughly and then microwave it for two minutes for safety). So I began doing some research on how food can be our medicine and I came across a whole food, plant-based diet. I was hooked! I read The China Study and watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and knew that it was something I had to try. It felt like I had found my answer in this new way of eating, and that I could finally regain (at least some) control of my life by how I would choose to nourish my body. All I wanted to do from then on was cook new WFPB recipes every time I was home from the hospital and tell anyone and everyone I could about this life-changing path that I was on! After I finished my treatment, I made it my goal to turn this new passion hobby of mine into something more and became a certified Holistic Health Coach and created my blog Nutritiously Natalie. I have been so fortunate to work with so many incredible people over the past few years. My goal is to help others that are going through similar health challenges, as well as those wanting to change their relationship with food, by sharing my love, passion, and immense gratitude for a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.
EH: What are some tips you could give to make a plant-based lifestyle more affordable?
NA: I think that a lot of people are intimidated about how to begin a plant-based lifestyle because they think it is going to be too expensive or they are worried they have to completely overhaul their pantry and that is just going to be too much work. Yes, if you are eating at a trendy plant-based restaurant every day for lunch, that does get expensive. But once you have some plant-based staples in your kitchen and a few favorite recipes down, making a WFPB feast is simple and really fun! My biggest tip, if you are totally new to a plant-based lifestyle, is to start small with a few key pantry items (beans, grains, nuts, seeds, nutritional yeast) and slowly build from there. When organic is just too darn expensive, follow the current year’s dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists to see which foods you should always buy organic and which ones you can get away with not. Meal prep is also key, and at the end of the day, a BPA-free can of lentils is ALWAYS going to be cheaper than a steak.
EH: What does an average morning look like to you?
NA: Well, lately it’s been a tad bit different because I’ve been dealing with quite a bit of morning sickness from my pregnancy so I’m a little slower to get going. But, my morning typically begins with Killa being fed and taken out, then the kettle goes on for my warm lemon water and usually a smoothie follows. However, at the moment it’s a sprouted grain english muffin with avocado and hemp seeds, and then if my stomach can handle it, a smoothie after. Then I sit down at my kitchen table with my computer and Killa by my side, and begin going over my work for the day. Each day is different depending on if I am meeting with a client, working on my blog, have an event to cook for, or am making or dropping off my energy balls that are sold by local businesses around town.
EH: What are some of your favourite ways to get your body moving?
NA: I love Pilates, yoga, spin, kayaking, taking Killa on a walk around the neighborhood, and hiking one of the many beautiful trails Montana has to offer.
EH: Some of your favourite restaurants in your city?
NA: I live in a pretty small resort town so we unfortunately don’t have a ton of restaurants that have great plant-based options. However, there is one restaurant, Zucca, that is my absolute favorite place to eat for lunch. I always get a cup of soup (all of them are made with coconut milk and are amazing) and an Adriatic Platter that comes with hummus, dolmas, rice chips, and I add avocado!
EH: How do you maintain balance?
NA: Balance is easier to achieve some days more than others, but I always look to have a few specific things in check..my faith, personal relationships, physical well-being, and career. It’s not just about having the cleanest diet there is. All of these things need to go hand in hand in order to lead a balanced life.
EH: What/who keeps you inspired?
NA: My family. They are my biggest cheerleaders and always inspire me to keep following my dreams and working towards my goals.
EH: What is one of your favourite quotes?
NA: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
EH: What is one of your favourite recipes that you have created so far?
NA: My Survivor Smoothie! It was actually the first recipe that I created when I was home from the hospital and had only just adopted a WFPB diet. I still make it almost daily and the recipe can be found below…
The Survivor Smoothie
Makes: 1 Serving
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 big handful spinach or kale
A few frozen berries of choice
1/2-1 serving vegan protein powder
2 Tbs ground flaxseed (or chia seed)
1 Tbs almond butter
1 tsp spirulina
a dash of cinnamon
a few ice cubes
a splash of water, optional
Method: Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy! Adding more liquid or ice if necessary. Top with bee pollen!
EH: I’ve loved following you on Instagram and would love to know if there are any projects/goals you have in mind for the future of Nutritiously Natalie?
NA: Likewise girl! One of my biggest goals for NN is a cookbook! I would love to have one tailored to cancer patients and their dietary needs. And putting out more video content is something I want to make happen in the near future. I’m also very excited to see how things evolve once there is a little babe in the mix! We were told that I might never be able to have children after undergoing such intensive chemotherapy treatment, so there is so much more I plan on sharing about that topic that I never have before.