Hello Lovelies! I’m so thrilled to introduce you to my friend Natalie Archer, our new nutritionist and plant-based chef contributor on the Mr. Kate blog! I’ve known Natalie for years, we met in acting class (Natalie was in Rescue Me for years playing Denis Leary’s daughter) and she is a shining light of talent in so many ways. She was an early supporter of Mr. Kate jewelry and every time we hung out I took pictures of her looking adorable in her jewels which you can in past blog posts here!
I was devestated two years ago when I heard Natalie was diagnosed with Leukemia. She had moved away from LA so I stayed glued to Facebook to chart her recovery. Natalie fought cancer and came out on the other side still as positive as ever. Her battle with disease inspired her passion for health, which she will tell you more about below. She is an inspiration to me which is why I know you all will be inspired by her journey, insight and delicious recipes! So without further ado, take it away Natalie!!!
Happy New Year! My name is Natalie Archer a.k.a. Nutritiously Natalie, and I am so excited to be sharing some nutritional wisdom with all of you! Thank you to the absolutely amazing Kate for having me!
I currently live in Montana with my husband Kyle and our chihuahua Killa in the most magical little mountain town that I feel so blessed to call home. I have always had a love for good food, cooking, and healthy eating, however, the way that I looked at all of those things drastically changed when I was diagnosed with a life threatening illness.
After a month of feeling just plain icky, I finally passed out in a grocery store and was taken to the hospital where I was diagnosed with Leukemia. At the age of 24, and still a newlywed, my world was forever changed in an instant. After my diagnoses, I immediately spent 29 days in the hospital receiving my induction chemotherapy, and then one week a month for the following few months to receive my remaining chemotherapy treatment. I was not allowed to go outside or leave my hospital floor, and if I wanted to leave my hospital room I needed to have a face mask and gloves on at all times. One thing I will never take for granted again is fresh air and sunshine!
During this time, I was put on a strict neutropenic diet where I could not eat any fresh fruits or vegetables. A neutropenic (nu-tro-PEE-nik) diet is for people with weakened immune systems, like cancer patients. This diet can help protect you from harmful bacteria and other harmful organisms found in certain foods and drinks. Basically, as long as it was packaged, processed or cooked I could eat it. Sounds pretty crazy, huh? How would I be able to succeed on the road to get healthy if I couldn’t fuel my body with all the proper nutrients? I began to research recipes that had healthy ingredients I could still eat while on a neutropenic diet, which then led to my discovery on the benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet. I was in love! I knew that it was something I wanted to give a try, so that was exactly what I did.
Cancer changed everything for me. My relationships, career, city, and whole perspective on life (which is something beautiful that I will always be grateful for). So, once I finished treatment I decided to put my passion for nutrition to work by starting Nutritiously Natalie and studying to become a certified Holistic Health Coach! My hope is to help others who are going through similar health challenges, as well as those wanting to change their lives by transforming their relationship with food! I truly believe that changing my diet helped me through my treatment and believe it or not, it has helped me to feel better now post-cancer, than I ever felt before.
So getting to the food! When thinking about which recipe to post first, this one instantly popped in my mind because it was one of the first plant-based recipes I created. I made this green smoothie for myself almost daily when I was home from the hospital and I continue to drink it daily now. I call it The Survivor, and I may be biased, but I think that it is the best green smoothie around! This smoothie includes kale, flaxseed, berries, spirulina, almond butter, and many more wonderful whole-food ingredients. Not to mention it contains a whopping 30 grams of protein! Sounds like the perfect way to start the day if you ask me.
My favorite ingredient in The Survivor is spirulina, a natural blue-green algae that is grown and harvested underwater. Although it doesn’t sound too appetizing, spirulina is one of the most complete food sources in the world. It is rich in many necessary nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and B vitamins, and offers a complete form of protein containing all 9 amino acids. Spirulina is very high in chlorophyl as well, which has a blood cleansing effect by attaching to toxins and removing them from the body.
Whether you are simply looking to increase your energy or boost your immune system, adding spirulina to your routine is a fantastic idea!
Tip: Buying a reputable brand of spirulina is very important. Make sure to buy only organic brands that are grown in a safe area that is free of toxins or pollutants.
The Survivor makes a fantastic breakfast, mid-day meal or snack, or even post-workout treat!
I love to top my smoothies with bee pollen! This is totally optional but I personally feel that it is well worth the nutritional boost. Like spirulina, bee pollen is also considered one of nature’s most complete and nourishing foods, containing as much as 40% protein, as well as 22 amino acids.
The Survivor Smoothie
(Makes 1-2 Servings)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup frozen kale or spinach
1/2 cup frozen berry blend
2 Tbs ground flaxseed
1 Tbs chia seed
1 Tbs hemp seed
1 tsp spirulina
1 tsp goji berries
1/2 – 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 Tbs raw almond butter
A dash of cinnamon
A few ice cubes and a splash of water
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy! Top with bee pollen (optional)! Makes 1-2 servings, so you can either freeze what’s left or drink all of it in one sitting which is what I usually do.
For more delicious recipes click on over to www.NutritiouslyNatalie.com!
Photos of Natalie by Jeremiah & Rachel Photography