Getting Back To BasicsElle Sikorski left a career in finance to pursue holistic nutrition. But unlike many holistic nutritionists, she’s realistic about how people—particularly moms of young children—can truly overhaul their lifestyle. She shares her tips for mindful eating and squeezing workouts in during naptime. All with the goal of living a life that’s more fulfilling and more in tune with nature.
What inspired you to launch Ellevate Health? How is your approach unique?When I began my career in finance, I was faced with late nights, early mornings and many skipped lunches. I began to see the people around me become sick because of this always-on lifestyle. I didn’t want this to be my story and I knew that it was time to pursue a different path.
I felt happiest when I worked toward bettering myself. I wanted to be physically and mentally fulfilled. I wanted to serve a purpose. I wanted to help motivate others to live their happiest and healthiest life. I have a degree in Health Sciences and Biology and a fascination in human anatomy. I believe we are the founders of our bodies. We have the power to fuel ourselves through the food we eat. My passion for food, health, and fitness, and the natural world became the reason I left my job in finance and started practicing holistic nutrition. I’m so thankful for my past opportunities because it led me to created Ellevate Health.
My approach is all-encompassing, but realistic. Simply put, nutrition has no one-size-fits-all methodology. I pride myself on the philosophy of customization. No two bodies are the same, so what may work for one body may not necessarily work for another. Setting realistic expectations for my clients and tailoring to their individual needs is what has made my career in helping others so successful. I’m most fulfilled when my clients and their families are working toward living their most optimal life.
Holistic Nutrition sounds intimidating, particularly when kids are involved. What do you tell someone who is trepidatious?I think of holistic nutrition like this: Let’s put what the Earth gave us into our bodies. This could mean both physically and spiritually. By eating the foods produced by the Earth or surrounding yourself with the Earth’s natural wonders, you’re incorporating a more holistic mindset in your everyday life.
It’s really that simple.
The study of holistic nutrition takes the individual into account in their entirety. In other words, holistic nutrition aims to support each person’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being through a completely natural approach.
When kids are involved, I look at the family, their health history, and the family’s lifestyle. I take baby steps. For example, instead of giving your child a granola bar as a snack, replace it with a handful of fresh blueberries or a smoothie infused with collard greens, fruits and various seeds. By simply incorporating more plant-based unrefined nutrition in your child’s diet, you will teach them from a young age how to fuel their body with what the earth has given them. There are other actionable tips on my Instagram page!
Simply put, nutrition has no one-size-fits-all methodology. I pride myself on the philosophy of customization.
What are the three most important things people should know about healthy nutrition?1. The way you eat your food can determine your relationship with it. It’s important to eat without distractions (like your phone, TV, or other screens). Eating your food in a calm environment and limited distractions will help your digestion because you’ll become more mindful of how much you eat and how fast you eat itt. This is a rule I absolutely live by: You must respect and cherish your mealtime as much as the foods you put into your body.
2. It’s important to eat an abundance of raw food. Cooking can kill off key nutritional elements that our bodies need for proper digestion and assimilation: enzymes. Try (as much as you possibly can) to eat raw foods—fruits, vegetables, and herbs—so you get ample nutrients and natural enzymes. Overcooked foods are not only devoid of enzymes, but place a burden on our bodies’ enzymatic reserves, which then have to be tapped in order for cooked foods to be digested and passed through the system.
3. Make plants and vegetables the majority of your diet. While I understand that animal products are important in many people’s diets (I also eat some animal products!), plant-based foods should be top priority. They contain the highest nutritional potency while being the easiest for your body to digest. I’m not vegan, but I like to use an 80/20 rule: 80% of my diet is plant-based, and 20% is animal-based. I also try to avoid fried food or processed foods as much as possible because it denatures the food’s essential fats and other important nutrients.
What are your favorite kitchen tools (and why)?I can’t live without my Vitamix blender. Whether I’m making soup, dressings, smoothies or nut butters, I use it every day. I also love using the BEABA Cook to make baby foods and purées. It saves new moms so much time, energy, and cleaning. I highly recommend it!
The way you eat your food can determine your relationship with it.
How do you juggle motherhood and your career? Any tips that work well for you?Motherhood is a career on its own, so juggling my two other businesses isn’t always easy. But it’s not impossible! The single most important thing a working mom should know is that it’s okay to ask for help. Thankfully, my mom helps a lot. It allows me to be flexible with my work hours. Sometimes, I use a babysitter. My son, Benjamin, just started daycare, which frees up an enormous amount of time that I can dedicate to my work.
But before daycare, I had to maximize my work time during his naps. I’d schedule client meetings and conference calls during rest time, and I’m so grateful that my clients were so understanding.
When I have to spend a lot of time on marketing and web development for a portfolio of small businesses, I usually reserve it for when Ben is asleep for the night because this requires a lot of concentration. I’ll sneak into my office, light a candle, throw on a relaxing playlist, and tackle some projects. It motivates me when I create a peaceful environment.
Above all, being a boss mama is extremely fulfilling, which is why I would highly encourage women to find a talent they can do to earn extra income from home.
Photo Credits: Lauren Cheong
How did your diet change during pregnancy and what advice would you give other moms-to-be who are striving to eat holistically in the face of cravings?Thankfully, I didn’t really experience any cravings or dietary issues when I was pregnant with my son. I like to say he really took it easy on me. If anything, I was even more attracted to healthy foods than ever before. I was literally eating raw greens during pregnancy. I know it’s weird!
I always tell a pregnant mother to try to provide your growing baby with healthy, nutritious meal options. For example, if you can only seem to stomach pasta, make it a chickpea pasta. If you’re craving sweets, make some zucchini chocolate muffins that still have nutritional goodness packed into them.
I would also recommend eating foods that are high in folate like:
· Leafy Greens (if you can’t stomach them during pregnancy, mix them into a fruit smoothie)
· Citrus Fruits
· Lentils & Legumes
· Nuts and Seeds (I was always snacking on nuts during pregnancy)
These foods are not only rich in folates, but they’re also high in fiber, which will help beat any prenatal constipation.
In terms of pregnancy eating, the advice I’d give is to always remember to provide your growing baby with healthy, nutritious meal options.
Nutrition is a huge part of feeling your best, but so is your lifestyle. What are some ways you recommend moms-to-be and new moms keep moving?
As a holistic nutritionist, many people think that I only deal with food to improve lifestyle. That’s not the case! Moving your body is just as important as maintaining good nutrition.
As a new mom or mom-to-be, it’s important to keep active. It will benefit both your and your baby’s well-being. You should also find time every day (even if it’s only for 20 minutes) to get outside with your baby. Take the stroller out, and enjoy some fresh air. It’s not only beneficial to breathe the clean outside air, but it’s critical for your baby’s cognition. Having new, rich sensory experiences is essential to their development.
Finding mom groups to interact with other moms and babies is also a great way to get out of the house and get motivated. It’s important to meet moms and develop a social circle of other like-minded women who are going through the same thing as you so you don’t feel isolated.
I also really loved swim class with Ben! I was able to get out and meet other parents while doing an activity with him. Win-win!
What do you do to decompress when you have a little time to yourself?No matter what the day throws at me, I always find time for a workout. Even when this is nearly impossible, I run the stairs in our building for 15-20 minutes (with baby monitor in hand) while Ben is napping.
And while Ben is a great napper, there are always off-days. If that’s the case, I’ll take him outside in the stroller and get a light jog in. Not only does this keep me moving, but the fresh air also changes Ben’s mood, and more often than not, he’ll end up falling a sleep.
Staying active and moving my body is what clears my mind. I truly believe that if you’re having a mental block, or if you simply need a change in your perspective, getting up and moving your body will stimulate your brain, ease your stress levels, and give you a sense of fulfillment, all at once.
I truly believe that if you’re having a mental block, or if you simply need a change perspective, getting up and moving your body will stimulate your brain, ease your stress levels, and give you a sense of fulfillment all at once.
What are you currently researching?I’m fascinated with learning more about plastics and the health implications they can have. More specifically, I’ve been researching the negative effect they have on both the female reproductive system as well as a child’s overall health and development.
There’s no question that plastic contains chemicals that cause health issues. BPA is the most commonly known toxin, but there are other chemicals in plastic that we may not be aware of—chemicals that may be leading to the rising issues of infertility. Research is also linking certain chemicals found in plastic to nervous, immune, and digestive system health issues. And this is raising concerns for young children whose systems are still developing.
Although it’s unrealistic to completely avoid all plastics in our modern city life, my family and I are taking steps to eliminate as much plastic use as possible in our household. Aside from the negative impacts plastic has on the environment, this information could entice you to do some more research, and possibly take your own steps to eliminate the amount of plastic you use.
What’s next for Ellevate Health?YouTube! In 2019, I’ll be venturing into the world of YouTube and documenting my life, my approach to holistic nutrition, recipes, and more through short video snippets and vlogs. Look for an announcement soon!
Although it’s unrealistic to completely avoid all plastics in our modern city life, my family and I are taking steps to eliminate as much plastic use as possible in our household.