Welcome back to the In Her Shoes series, where we share inspiring interviews with influential experts in health, nutrition and lifestyle. Whenever I meet healthy, beautiful, successful women, I’m always dying to know what it’s like to walk in their shoes. What do they eat? What products do they use? What’s their routine? I’m obsessed with other peoples’ stories and love sharing uplifting women with y’all!
In our fourth installment of the series, we’re chatting with Ivy Larson, a nutrition, fitness and wellness expert, founder of Clean Cuisine and author of four incredible health books (one of which I wrote about over here). She is also an American College of Sports Medicine certified Health Fitness Specialist and creator of Full Fitness Fusion: The 30 Minute Solution.
Getting to Know Ivy Larson
Ivy's story is so incredibly inspiring, and proof of just how much diet and nutrition affect our health. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 22 years old, Ivy began researching nutrition alongside her husband, Dr. Andy Larson, M.D. (a board certified general, laparoscopic, and bariatric surgeon).
Ultimately, they developed a nutrition plan for her and Ivy started following an anti-inflammatory diet and using natural supplements and exercise to treat her condition. This way of eating has kept the symptoms of her disease in remission for over 15 years! How amazing is it that something as simple as what she ate could help with a disease as serious as MS?! In fact, Ivy’s anti-inflammatory program can help with all kinds of inflammatory and auto-immune diseases, from arthritis to Celiac, diabetes to heart disease, digestive disorders and more.
I first learned about Ivy when my doctor prescribed me an anti-inflammatory diet for my digestive and hormonal issues. I had no idea what that meant, so I turned to Ivy’s 8-week program for help. Her book literally CHANGED MY LIFE! She taught me so much about nutrition and the science behind what happens in our body when we eat something (this knowledge made it so much easier for me to eat healthy, wholesome foods), and yet her approach is so accessible and easy to implement. I always say, the biggest lesson I learned from Clean Cuisine is that eating healthy isn’t so much about cutting foods out or eating an extremely restrictive diet—it’s about adding good foods in.
Though there are certainly foods like gluten, dairy, hydrogenated oils and refined flours and sugars that should be minimized, an anti-inflammatory diet is really about nourishing your body with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins. Within the first two weeks of following Ivy’s plan, all of my digestive issues had completely disappeared and I felt exponentially better. I couldn’t believe how fast the transformation occurred, just from changing my diet.
Needless to say, I knew Ivy would be such a perfect fit for this series and I’m BEYOND thrilled to share more of her story today. Take a peek at what it’s like to spend a day walking in Ivy's shoes.
WHAT ARE THE FIRST 30 MINUTES OF YOUR DAY LIKE?
SHOWER TIME! WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO PRODUCTS?
WHAT’S YOUR TYPICAL BREAKFAST?
My breakfast varies tremendously but I always, always have a good amount of fruit. I either eat the fruit in a smoothie (I'm not a fan of protein powders so I use hemp seeds instead) or put the fruit in a grain bowl (I always have cooked grains in the fridge so I just use whatever I have–millet, quinoa, amaranth, etc.) and add chia seeds or flaxseeds and walnut milk (I make it myself with just walnuts, water, dates, pinch of unrefined salt and bit of pure vanilla extract). I also sometimes do pastured, organic egg omelets with turmeric, onion, garlic and spinach, kimchi on the side and fruit.'
ARE YOU A TEA OR COFFEE DRINKER?
Both! I'm obsessed with anything that turns on the Nrf2 pathway, which is super important for anybody, especially if you have a brain or cognitive disorder, as it activates your body’s main detox system. When you activate the Nrf2 pathway, your cells turn on their own anti-aging defense mechanisms by decreasing inflammation, which can help with MS, Parkinson's, autism, depression and even just foggy head. Coffee and green tea both activate the Nrf2 pathway, so I drink those, and so does turmeric. So I also drink a turmeric tea made with turmeric, lemon, manuka honey and coconut cream (you need a bit of fat to best absorb the turmeric). I also love kombucha.
WHAT’S YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE?
I'm a huge believer in exercise (it too turns on the Nrf2 pathway!) and so I workout religiously. I have my own Full Fitness Fusion workout DVD and so I do that fusion-style of workout–a short, but intense workout that fuses yoga, pilates, ballet, kickboxing, etc. and keeps your heart rate elevated the entire time. But I switch it up a lot, and try to get outside a lot. I never just do an “arm day” or a “leg day”. I keep my heart rate up the whole time and involve as many muscle groups as possible, working as a whole unit and not isolating it into these small compartments. That’s not functional fitness.
TIME TO GET READY! WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO BEAUTY AND SKINCARE PRODUCTS?
I mostly stick to the Kypris products for daily use, but also love Tammy Fender Restorative Masque. For makeup, I have recently started using Juice Beauty, which I really love! I also like Josie Maran's Argan Oil Enlightenment Illuminizer.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MEDICINE CABINET?
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ON-THE-GO SNACKS?
WHAT’S A TYPICAL LUNCH LIKE FOR YOU?
WHEN YOU’RE GROCERY SHOPPING, WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU AVOID ON THE LABEL?
Oh boy! Yes, I am a BIG label reader! I never read calories, fat grams, etc. because they are so misleading. But I do read ingredients like a hawk! I avoid refined sugars, refined flours, refined oils, processed meats, additives, preservatives, food coloring, etc. As for food groups, I steer clear of milk, but I do still have a little bit of cheese (always full fat, never the low-fat stuff)–not because I think cheese is a health food, only because I LOVE it so much (thankfully a little goes a long way!). I also am VERY careful about the animal foods I buy. I eat a very plant-rich diet, but I also still eat animal foods (usually just one serving a day, with the exception of the little bit of cheese) and I make sure I buy the absolute highest quality (grass fed meat, pasture-raised eggs, wild fish, etc.).
WHAT’S IN YOUR PANTRY?
DINNER TIME! IF YOU’RE EATING OUT, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR ON MENUS TO STAY HEALTHY?
WHAT’S ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND?
I keep my nightstand super clean and clutter-free. I usually just have one book that I am reading (currently it is “Brain Maker” by my neurologist, Dr. David Perlmutter) I also have my sleep mask, melatonin (just in case!) and lavender oil.
BED TIME! WHAT’S YOUR NIGHTLY ROUTINE?
FAVORITE HEALTHY INDULGENCE?
Caviar! I am crazy for it on rice cakes or Le Pain des Fleurs crackers with Kite Hill almond cheese (along with Dr. Cow this is the only non-cheese cheese product I will eat–both are nut-based cheeses that are made just like real cheese, only with nut milk instead of cows milk).
FAVORITE PRODUCT THAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO TRY?
Oh my gosh, this is a tough one! I think right now it's got to be the Protandim (Nrf2 activator!) It is the only supplement proven in a clinical study to reduce cellular stress an average of 40% in 30 days. It basically helps your body make its own antioxidants and reduces cellular aging. And it does wonders for enhancing your body's natural ability to detoxify
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