Nadia Felsch hopes to hand busy women the key to eating freedom by cooking “Real food. In less time. Without the b-s.” It’s a food philosophy developed through her own personal health journey from junk food fan to wholefoods advocate. Felsch has openly shared that story on her blog, Nadia Felsch, the cornerstone of her ever-expanding business comprising recipe e-books, healthy eating guides and a brand new members-only meal planning website, the Wholefood Society. This wholefoods wonder woman is one to watch.
You have just launched Wholefood Society. Tell us exactly what it is and who you have designed it for?
In a nutshell it’s healthy meal planning and recipes made simple for the busy woman who wants to feel and look her best. I’ve done the planning so you don’t have to! The Wholefood Society is an exclusive members-only website where you’ll find meal plans, healthy recipes, videos, practical resources and support for a balanced and nourished life. And of course, everything is underpinned by my philosophy of simple, delicious and nutritious food. There are no diets here! I also wanted to ensure that there’s genuine and helpful support so not only are there constant updates to the content with more added across the board, though there are fortnightly emails from me to guide and motivate you along the journey.
How is the Wholefood Society different from your e-books and your own website?
I really wanted to create a simple to use online destination with all the practical tools for healthy eating that a busy woman could take and run with; at her own speed and on her own individual level. Unique first of all in content to my blog and recipe eBooks but more importantly a one-stop- shop Society with everything you need to make healthy eating a cinch in your life. There’s a guided, flowing process to cover those brand new to a wholefoods lifestyle as well as seasoned veterans well versed in quinoa, chia and making real food the hero. And I’ve made it as easy as possible with all meal plans fully interactive and linking straight to the recipes, guides and videos that are both practical and helpful. For instance, a visual guide to serving sizes, how-to build the perfect salad, step-by- step recipe videos so you can follow on and learn all the insider tricks from my kitchen hack video series too.
When you started blogging about health you partnered with your mother, a personal trainer, and you had a focus on fitness. What sparked your shift to solely focusing on food?
It became very clear through my own experiences with health, fitness and wellbeing that what we absolutely are what we eat. Initially, from a fitness and training perspective, the quality and quantity of food that I ate directly impacted the quality and quantity of my training, including the all-important recovery! From sleep, to moods, to skin, hair and nails – it all counts and I wanted to share the incredible lessons I’d learnt the hard way about food. Whilst fitness is still integral to my own wellbeing and life, I realised that I had little interest in sharing that personal knowledge with others. On the other hand, teaching people about the power of real food came so naturally and made me light up inside!
You are studying to be a nutritionist. How has that helped shape your whole foods eating philosophy?
I sure am! And loving it! Learning the science of food as medicine as further deepened my appreciation for real food. For instance, when we’re looking at the specific nutrient profiles within a particular food, say pineapples, we’ll cover what the research and evidence tells us, and doesn’t tell us about particular compounds and their effects on humans. We will dive into everything molecular about the powerful actions of the nutrients within a pineapple and at the end of that, we’ll once again embrace the knowledge that each individual compound works synergistically within the food as a whole. That’s their power and their magic too you could say. Real food, as nature made it, that’s what we’re set up for. That cycle of us being a part of nature and it being a part of us is integral to happy, healthy and sustainable humans on this planet.
Your past health issues are something you talk about openly. What sparked you to take a step towards self-care and what were the first changes you made?
10 years ago I was finally diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). And I say finally because I’d had symptoms from 12 years of age. Visiting a variety of medical specialists and hearing their outlook and management protocols left me feeling frustrated and uninspired. So at 20, I took the matter of my own health and wellbeing into my own hands. Using my natural proclivity to ask questions, to read and to experiment; I started shifting how I went about life. It started really small with eating less food from packets and cans (I was a frozen pizza fiend back then!) And I began to live ‘intentionally.’ The exercise I’d always done, became focused and more informed. I tried lots of things in all matters of health and fitness, and that includes working with a variety of different people, sports and foods, until I found my own sweet spot. And this mindset made life easier when dealing with an autoimmune diagnosis a few years later as well as everything else that crops up as part of being an active human being. 20-year- old me wouldn’t know 30 year old me – and in the best possible way. This practice of self-care, and doing the so-called ‘work’ on the health that underpins our entire life is more rewarding than you can ever imagine.
Like many of us, you left the corporate world when you took on life as a blogger and cook. How does your daily routine compare now to those days?
Great question! And goodness gracious, it couldn’t look more different! First of all, I no longer work 7am-7pm in a job that my heart’s not in. Although I’m still pushing some big work hours, it’s spread across a variety of projects and commitments. I certainly didn’t envision being a full time university student at 30 but I am and I love it!
I’d say the biggest difference in my life from now to then is my sleep. Not even so much in that sleep is a commodity I value highly (though it is that), but more so that I now welcome a consistent and early bedtime (around 930pm), 8-10 hours sleep each night and an early start each morning. I’m sparkling with energy all day though I adore mornings and so endeavour to maximise them each day.
Similar to my corporate days, I prefer to move my body in the late afternoon and still use this as both an opportunity to shut down from work though also to physically extend myself in preparation for an evening wind down and better sleep.
The other big difference is that these days, my days are often varied and I love that. They can swing wildly from university lectures and study, to working part-time in a wholefoods store, meeting friends for lunch, developing new recipes, creating content for the blog, supporting clients or creating new projects.
What does your training routine look at the moment?
It’s incredible and frustrating all at the same time. After close to a decade of intense training, I was forced to back off for the sake of my poor skeleton, in 2014. I have a daily vinyasa yoga practice that always errs on the side of pushing my limits. I also incorporate other body-weight strength training and rehabilitation-type movements into my training. The latter are mainly to support my hyper-mobility (I’m super bendy) and further stabilise my body for now and the future. This is a huge shift from my athletic past however my focus has become one of longevity and preservation. Just because I ‘can’ doesn’t mean it’s the best for me. It’s certainly been a humbling few years!
Yoga is a big part of your life now. How does that practice help you as an entrepreneur?
It sure is. And I’d say that my daily yoga practice has supported every facet of my life over the last few years. What started almost a decade ago as frustratingly slow has become a nuanced and constantly evolving part of my life which I value enormously. I call yoga my moving meditation and it’s provided me with a more focused and quiet mind – super helpful as an entrepreneur, and human in general! It’s taught me about humility, connection, fear and sometimes that’s all just about my own physical body.
You have hinted towards becoming a yoga instructor in the past. Is that something else we can expect you to add to your tool belt in the future?
Yoga teacher training is certainly something I’m excited to undertake so yes absolutely you can expect to see this in my future. At this stage it’s unfortunately had to take a back seat to full-time university, part-time work and my business however I have no doubt it will all fall into place when it’s meant to.
Tippy, your husband does most of your photography. How important has his support and work been in building your business?
Where do I start? I’m absolutely the luckiest girl in the world! Tippy’s presence and support grounds, balances and uplifts me all at the same time. We’re a solid example of yin and yang and I’m very grateful for him in my life – so thanks for the opportunity to publicly declare that. On a practical level, his incredible photography skills bring so much to my professional life and it’s great when we’re able to collaborate on projects. He’s taught me a lot about photography and overall we work well together as I love ‘seeing’ the shot, styling and working together to bring my vision to life. Although nadiafelsch.com is me all over, Tippy has supported every single decision or idea I’ve ever had. Even if the thought lasts no longer than a day, he’s willing and able to dream big with me, as I am with him. I see my business, as our business in many ways, and I hope to be able to employ him in the future – paying him in food is a better deal for me than him I think!
On a recent trip to Bali you mentioned you may be organising some retreats. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Wholefoods are my thing. And they rock. However, we’re complex creatures and we live in a seriously fast paced world. I see retreats as bringing together like-minded people who a) need a break, b) need to reconnect with some balance and c) to feel healthier, happier and more inspired to maintain it post-retreat. Sharing my knowledge and experience in-person over several days, with other talented individuals (think: yoga) within a stunning and relaxing environment is what I plan to create. Hands-on, practical, inspiring, motivating and relaxing – all in one. Stay tuned!
Collaboration has been a big part of expanding your business. Who are some of those people that have been instrumental in helping you to fine tune your vision and your brand?
Working with other talented people has been great to not only reach new audiences though to also become super clear on what I do and who I do it with. That’s also extended to aligning with relevant and aligned brands and media publications that I love. There is no one individual, however I have intentionally surrounded myself with other like-minded entrepreneurs across various fields and that’s been a true blessing. To share, evolve and support each other in the journey.
Who are your own favourite bloggers, authors and cooks?
Gosh where to start there are so many incredibly talented humans put there! My favourite foodies that cover all of those categories are David and Elsa from Green Kitchen Stories. They combine true love for real food, gorgeous styling, photography and their own unique way of life into one incredibly awesome package. On the home-front, I think Elsa from Elsa’s Wholesome Life is fabulously talented and knowledgeable. And I also think Sarah Britton from My New Roots is beyond fabulous.
Can we expect to see some of your recipes in hard cover in the future?
I’d love that. It’s something that has cropped up as an opportunity so stay tuned on that.
What else is coming up for you over the course of the next year?
As well as furthering my Nutrition studies, I plan to evolve my signature Path to Wholefoods program in addition to offering a brand new mini-program – a 7 Day Reset for those busy women who want to start feeling better now! There’s also been some movement on my very own line of food products so you’ll just have to wait and see.
What are your favourite kitchen tools?
I’m not much of a gadget-lover and additionally, I live a minimalist life. So when it comes to the kitchen, a place where I do spend a fair bit of time, it may sound boring though my needs are about practicality and versatility.
- Quality knives – don’t skimp on these like I did for years because they’re game changers. Even just one good knife will rock your world.
- Glass containers/jars – because they look good, clean easily (no more tomato sauce stains!) and are better for us and the environment we live in.
- Food processor – I’ve lost count at the number of simple recipes I wanted to make and couldn’t without one of these. Even a smaller, quality processor is capable of so many awesome results in your kitchen.
What are your three top tips for beautiful food styling?
- Don’t be afraid of white space – Often what’s missing, not in the shot or what you’re leaving space for can really draw the eye in.
- Consider shapes and textures – This could relate to the props you’re using as well as the food itself. Instead of always slicing avocado lengthways, would dicing it or serving it in its skin be more interesting for the shot? On the prop front, do you always shoot round plates, bowls and glasses? Could you work with a variety of shapes?
- Keep it simple – If you’re working with colours, try not to use the rainbow as it rarely works. Stick to 2-3 colours and not overloading every prop you have in there.
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller.
She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health.
As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her appetite for adventure.
Read more about Skye’s story here.