Jennifer Iserloh has been serving up nutritious food and healing lifestyle advice for decades. A classically trained chef, author, speaker and yogi, she has evolved and refined her approach to healthy eating and general wellness based on personal experience, education and exploration. The author of more than 20 books, including the best-sellers 50 Shades of Kale, she is the founder of Body+Soul Alchemy and has just released her latest book: The Superfood Alchemy Cookbook.
Ms. Iserloh recently spent some time talking to WellWell about her commitment to getting everyone’s mind, soul and body properly aligned. She also took a moment to swat back the notion that alchemists are simply kooky old bearded guys in long robes and pointed hats.
What Is Your Health Philosophy?
Ultimately you have to bring different elements of the yourself together to succeed, to get the life you want and need. And you’ve got to start with the mind and build from there. There are three parts that you have to nourish or support—the body, the soul and your mind.
Hit all three and you’ve got the gold standard. But a lot of people are missing one or more of these elements. Think about it. Great chefs may be engaged in soulful practices through their cooking but they aren’t necessarily stimulating their minds. Physical fitness is another example. Some people may have a perfect body but they’re depressed or not healthy in some other way.
You need to work on all three.
How Did It Evolved?
From my own health issues. Four years ago I started feeling sick and tired. Traditional medicine wasn’t working. Doctors attributed my problems to just getting old. While, yes, everyone slows down, but not as much as I was feeling. That’s when I started looking at functional medicine and took a deeper dive how into everything was working together. I wasn’t ready to accept a traditional diagnosis. Ultimately, I discovered I had a thyroid condition and issues with gluten.
Your latest book focuses a lot on vegetables and gluten free nutrition and foods. Is that essential to your approach?
It’s not required, but I made the book vege-focused because it is important and so hard for many people to follow. Gluten-free diets aren’t required either. Grains, in fact, aren’t necessarily bad for everyone, but it is something to watch especially since the grains we’re getting today aren’t traditional or organic grains. Most of them actually can contain more gluten than people usually consumed, which can also have an adverse impact on those with autoimmune deficiencies.
You refer to alchemy a lot in your writings and work. Do people ever think that’s crazy or a little out there?
I haven’t had a lot of push back but I can understand what you’re asking. Alchemy has gotten a bad name over time. In fact, many famous scientist were really alchemists. Alchemy is ultimately a deep rabbit hole that is often misconceived by people. People assume alchemy is synonymous with charlatans but alchemists were a combination of chemists and doctors. Their aim was to turn something yucky into something wonderful, blending things together in a wonderful way. Real alchemists weren’t trying to change lead into gold.
There is so much information out there now about how to stay healthy, feel good, live well. Some of it is conflicting. It is overwhelming for a lot of people. How would you advise someone to start?
You’re right. There is a lot of information and it is hard to ignore. Start by going organic if possible. Also, keep track of how your body feels after eating different foods. If, for example, you realize you feel bad after a slice of bread, go beyond getting a standard test done. Go for a GI Map test. It will take a deeper look what on what may be affecting you.
Common sense is also important. My family had eating issues but one thing I remember is that vegetables were always said to be the best—and that’s correct. You can never have too many vegetables.
My approach in helping anyone is to start with their emotions. I used to start with their diets first but too often it didn’t stick. But if you can deal with their emotions first, you can help someone change the mindset and then build a healthy diet.
About Jennifer Iserloh
Jennifer Iserloh is a professionally trained chef, certified health coach, healthy cooking expert and author. Her latest book The Superfood Alchemy Cookbook was issued earlier this year. She is the author of the Amazon bestsellers Healthy Cheating (2012) and 50 Shades of Kale (2012), as well as The Active Calorie Diet (2011), Secrets of a Skinny Chef (2010) and The Yoga Body Diet (2010), among others.
As the Skinny Chef, Ms. Iserloh has created thousands of delicious recipes, articles and blog posts for magazines, newspapers and Websites including SELF, Prevention, InStyle, People, AOL, The Huffington Post, Epicurious and Livestrong. She is also the founder of Body+Soul Alchemy, a far-reaching wellness group that helps clients remove blocks that inhibit them from embracing wellbeing and a healthier lifestyle. To learn more, visit https://bodyandsoulalchemy.com.