Annika is the sweetest! She clearly loves what she does and has a passion for nutrition and helping women restore hormonal imbalances. She makes food photography look easy, and her photos are almost guaranteed to make you hungry even if you just ate. It's been awesome to watch her content expand to what it is today, and I look forward to continuing watching her grow as such a young professional! I hope you enjoy these Q/A below, it's fun to see how passionate she gets!
Q: Tell me about your background in nutrition and what you are doing now
A: In November of 2019, I graduated from the Nutritional Therapy Association as a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP). Basically, that's a really fancy way of saying holistic nutritionist! In my training, I learned how to assess my client's nutritional needs to support them on their journey to rebuilding their health.
Now, I specialize in helping women rebuild their hormones from a nutritional and holistic perspective. Women's hormone health is my mission and passion because I have suffered from hormonal imbalances myself. These imbalances can really mess you up, and I don't want other women to have to suffer through them! It's my goal to educate women on their body and hormonal processes. This way they can be in tune with themselves, their body's needs, and can be empowered to make decisions that support their health.
Q: What are the most common questions you get?
A: "How do I know if my hormones are imbalanced"?
"How come fat doesn't make you fat?"
"Do you count calories?"
"What foods are actually healthy?! There's so much confusing information out there"
Q: What are some common myths regarding nutrition?
A: That fat makes you fat, and that you have to count calories to be "skinny"!! Both of these could NOT be further from the truth!
First off, all calories are not created equal. If you’re eating home-cooked fries baked in olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil and seasoned with salt, your body can recognize and understand how to process and what to do with those calories. If you're eating these same fries from McDonald's, they'll have over 14 ingredients, most of which your body won't recognize. When the body can't recognize them, it CANNOT properly process them. THIS is what leads to weight gain, not the total amount of calories being consumed.
When it comes to fat, the real issue behind weight gain is NOT fat. It is the sugars and carbohydrates that are used to replace fats in the diet, and that are snuck into "low fat" foods. Here’s the pure science of it: carbohydrates get quickly broken down into sugar in the body, and sugar is what is stored as “adipose tissue”, AKA body fat - this is what makes us gain weight. Sugar burns up in an instant in the bloodstream, leaving you hungry and with constant energy spikes and crashes. The reason fats don’t make you fat is because you need a LOT less of them to keep you satiated. You can test this out on yourself! Eat a bowl of cereal with low-fat milk for breakfast one day, and the next day, try a breakfast of bacon, eggs, and sweet potatoes cooked in olive oil. You will feel the difference!
Q: What are the best and worst foods you can eat?
1. High-quality fats and proteins (animal protein) like eggs, beef, organ meats, collagen, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, and seeds (in small amounts daily). MUST BE HIGH QUALITY or these would go on the worst list
2. Low-sugar veggies: leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus
3. Resistant starches: sweet potatoes, plantains
4.. Low-sugar fruits: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries (full of amazing micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals)
Anything fake or processed! Food that is NOT actually food! Anything that contains high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, is "low fat" (meaning that it is naturally a high-fat food, but the fat has been removed), contains trans fats or hydrogenated fats, rancid fats like soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), aspartame (a fake, chemical sweetener), and genetically modified foods.
Examples: Jif peanut butter (has hydrogenated vegetable oils), fast food of any kind (a McDonald's burger has over 40 ingredients), chips like Doritos, juice drinks like V8 (high fructose corn syrup), most salad dressings (contain high fructose corn syrup and preservatives), "diet" soda (contains aspartame).
Q: What are your top pieces of advice for those seeking to eat better?
A: Most women associate "eating better"
with eating a lower calorie diet consisting of bland foods (like chicken breast and sad salads) and restricting themselves. This leads to hunger, an uncontrollable appetite, and the feeling of never being satiated. THIS IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. You will "fall off the wagon", and end up binging out of uncontrollable hunger.
When you're trying to eat better, just do one simple thing: read the ingredients of whatever you're buying or making. You can still enjoy the things you love like cookies and pizza, but there are SO many ways to make these foods more healthful. Brands like Cappellos and Simple Mills make this possible. It doesn't come down to the calories, it comes down to the ingredients. Your body will only benefit from eating real foods. If you can't recognize an ingredient, neither can your body!
Lastly, you have to love yourself. You cannot change or heal your body from a place of hate. It has to come from a place of self-love and acceptance.
Q: What is your favorite healthy recipe?
A: Ooh, this is tough! Can I pick two?
2. This magical hormone-boosting maca smoothie
- 1 cup frozen blueberries - 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries - 1/2 cup milk of choice - 1/2 tsp cinnamon - 1 tbsp nut butter - 1 tbsp maca powder - 1 scoop collagen powder or a hormone-friendly protein powder Blend on high and add water as needed until thoroughly blended. Top with hemp seeds, coconut flakes, and paleo granola
View her Instagram here and website below!