Nutritional Chef Mikaela Reuben

On The New Potato, we love divulging diet and wellness advice from our favorite nutritionist, Mikaela Reuben. This girl’s an inspiring fountain of knowledge – a fountain no doubt you’ve gained a plethora of incredible information from over the past year. Mikaela works as a culinary nutritionist and health consultant, assisting stars such as Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson. She takes a personalized approach to her nutrition and health coaching, viewing everyone’s body as distinctly unique. Have we mentioned she’s also a dear friend of ours, as well a a beautiful rock star inside and out? It was about time she herself was a star tastemaker on TNP…

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

Breakfast: Boiled Eggs on a mix of raw and sautéed greens, kimchi, cilantro, tahini garlic nutritional yeast dressing and sesame marinated seaweed. 

Snack: Veggies with a cashew dip or a spicy avocado dip with crackers or chopped cucumber with hummus.

Lunch: Salad rolls with spicy almond sauce or pesto quinoa and a side salad with grated root vegetables and spinach.

Snack: Green vegetable juice, gazpacho, or a ginger brazil nut turmeric milk.

Dinner: Grilled vegetables and roasted spaghetti squash with pesto, pine nuts and maybe some wild salmon with more greens on the side! I love sautéed mung bean noodles with ginger as well!

How do you practice beauty from the inside out?

I try to eat as many nutrient dense beauty boosting foods as I can in a day. I also try to avoid eating too much in the evenings in order to give my body time to rest and recover during the night, which helps reduce stress and aging. Besides the food component, sweating everyday and reducing stress are the main things I focus on when I am practicing beauty from the inside out. Whether it’s yoga, running, or dancing, I sweat once a day. Because I travel so much with work, I stay flexible with what I do to get sweaty – a good exercise class, an ocean side run/walk, or a hike along with some stretching.

I am always working on stress reduction, as I believe this is the major player. I try to take at least ten minutes of silence a day, along with deep breathing, and I am constantly working on being more gentle with my thoughts when I am hard on myself or pushing too hard. I focus on playfulness and laughter whenever I can, as I think laughing and enjoying life are just as important as what we eat. If I eat poorly or don’t have time for exercise in a day I forgive myself and start again the next day. Stress management and perception are everything.

What are your morning and nightly skincare routines?

I love products! I enjoy mixing and matching different lotions and potions, which is probably a facial faux paus, but I am a chef and I think it is a habit. The three companies I swear by are Osea Malibu, Pangea Organics, and Eminence. In the morning I fluctuate between the Citrus Exfoliating wash by Eminence and the Egyptian Geranium and Adzuki Bean scrub by Pangea OrganicsI then use the Stone Crop Hydrating Mist by Eminence followed by either the Balancing Oil by Pangea Organics or the Vitamin Sea Serum by OseaThen Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum by Eminence followed by a moisturizer – either Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer by Eminence or Italian Red Mandarin with Rose Moisturizer by Pangea Organics. I use the Atmosphere Protection Cream by Osea as well when I travel. If I am going to be outside I use the Eminence Tropical Vanilla Day Cream with SPF.

At night I like to clean with the Ocean Cleansing Mud by Osea or the Stone Crop Gel by Eminence, followed by the Stone Crop Hydrating Mist by Eminence, then the Vitamin Sea Serum and the Essential Hydrating Oil by Osea or the Bamboo Firming Fluid by Eminence.

I usually follow with one of the moisturizers again from above!

What’s your personal mantra?

Let go.

A common misconception about nutrition…

That there is one right diet that fits every single person.

Something everyone should know about nutrition…

Hydration is the beginning of all good health. Many people do not drink enough water, and this is usually the cause of many common ailments, so always start by staying hydrated! Vegetables are your beauty routine. Fiber filled, vitamin and mineral dense, these should be a part of an everyday diet, as they feed the skin, hair, and body.

What’s the biggest faux pas people make in trying to lose weight?

Purely just restricting calories in the form of diet products.

How do you practice balance? 

I work hard, play hard, and relax hard. 

How do you keep it healthy when traveling? 

Greens whenever I can. I order sides at restaurants if I am eating on-the-go to try and get a diversity of vegetables. I google healthy restaurants to check out and I travel with food based supplements and probiotics. I will usually plan for purse snacks so that I don’t find myself suddenly starving in a new city and I always pack food on planes.

What would your last meal be? Who would it be with?

Last meal: Cheese fondue, sushi, pad thai, perogies, and spanakopita. All of my childhood favorites.

With who? 

My Dad

Your favorite fats and why…

Avocado – It complements everything perfectly and is a wonderful addition to most meals. I love eating fats in their whole food form, and avocado is perfect for this.

Hemp Oil – I love drizzling this oil on salads, toast, chopped vegetables, and eggs. Every time I consume hemp oil I feel like my body is being lubricated with health.

Nuts – A most diverse ingredient that I love to use in my cooking. From pestos, to butters, to dressings to simple toppings, adding fat in the form of nuts is easy and flavorful. They seem to go with any meal in one form or another.

Olives – I love olives as they not only add fat but also salty flavor. I can eat green Cerignola olives by the bowlful or I can add chopped olives to dishes to increase saltiness while benefiting from the fat content and fiber.

Fish – I love fish, in particular cold water fish. I have been a long time eater of these fish especially in their smoked forms. I love how I feel after I eat them because I know how much good fat they offer my body.

Your favorite spices and why…

Smoked Paprika adds a smoky flavour to food; I am obsessed with this spice and add it wherever I can.

Coriander adds a depth to soups, sauces and other dishes that I crave. It is unique and goes with so many other spices.

Turmeric adds color, health, and flavor. I love creating new recipes with turmeric.

Thyme adds a woodsy flavor and I think it makes everything taste good.

Cinnamon adds sweetness to a dish without having to use a sweetener. Boosts sensory experience of eating in my opinion.

Curry is a blend of the best. A go-to for flavouring foods, in particular soups.

Cumin adds a nutty, smoky flavor and brings an earthy element to a dish.

The essentials any healthy person should have in their fridge always…

Apple cider vinegar, cold pressed hemp oil, spirulina, acidophilus, spinach or other leafy greens, kimchi, sprouts, tahini, hemp hearts, sunflower seeds, a fresh herb, nutritional yeast… and I am going to say avocado. Even though I don’t keep it in the fridge but somehow it deserves to make the list! I take baby aloe vera shots every morning so this is a must in my fridge.  

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

There is no right way or wrong way, there is only your way.

In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ in fashion, what’s the new potato in wellness?

Cauliflower, wild mushrooms, and edible algae and seaweeds are all leading players when it comes to health and cooking. 

Cauliflower has become a popular base for cooking. A nutritious way to add texture or fullness to a dish, cauliflower quickly takes on the flavors around it, making it a wonderful ingredient to use in the kitchen. Being both gluten-free and nutrient rich has made cauliflower a key ingredient in creating meals as the healthy eating trends have picked up speed.

Mushrooms are being used as the centerpiece for many dishes but are also being explored medicinally for many tonics and health potions. In western medicine, we have only begun to understand the profound health benefits of mushrooms and I think they will continue to be on our plates and in all our supplements moving forward. 

Growing up on Vancouver Island in a house with Japanese people I fell in love with seaweed at a young age. In the healthy food scene we are seeing more varieties of seaweeds and algae’s than ever before. Spirulina and chlorella are everyday staples. blue algae can be bought in shots at juice bars, and seaweed salads and kelp noodles are gracing the plates of culinary creations. These are becoming more and more popular in the nutritional cooking world but also recognized as a sustainable way to receive nutrients in the health and supplement world. I think seaweeds will continue to grow in popularity and more of the eastern approach to using mushrooms and seaweeds will continue to be integrated into the western approach to health and cooking.

For more from Mikaela why not read the best superfoods to consume, or foods that help clear skin