It’s a myth that eating better is a sacrifice. As with most things, it’s truly about what you put into it and healthy dishes can be just as delicious as some of the less-nutritious options.
According to local health and wellness coach, Nicole Monier, eating nutritious foods is not as difficult as one might think. Sharing that message is something that has become a passion and a profession for her.
Monier’s love of food connects back to her childhood, and it later drove her to pursue an education at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
“My interest in cooking, food and nutrition is inherited as my family has been ahead of the curve with understanding the importance of good quality food being foundational for health,” Monier said. “My grandmother used to say, ‘You either pay the farmer or you pay the doctor.’”
After working in restaurants like La Tour d’Argent in Paris, Le Bernardin in New York City and Aqua in San Francisco, Monier eventually realized she wanted a change.
“I realized that I wanted to have a more balanced and service-oriented job, which led me to become a cooking teacher,” Monier said. “After teaching for a while, I saw that most people didn’t know much about nutrition or cooking, and they are such a natural pairing to me. Heath and wellness coaching became a logical place for me to expand my career.”
Monier and her husband relocated to the Golden Isles 15 years ago. Once settled, she began work as a health and wellness coach. Here, she helps people navigate their relationship with food in a healthy way. She also offers cooking classes to give her students the necessary tools because she says cooking isn’t as challenging as it seems.
“It is deeply rewarding to help people navigate their symptomatology as well as their relationship with food,” Monier said.
“Everyone has a unique physiology, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important that my clients work with an M.D. and me for testing and monitoring of underlying conditions and get the “all clear” for addressing lifestyle changes. While that may seem like a lot, it’s actually really fun and empowering.”
In this role, Monier works as a guide to help people think about food differently.
“It’s not rocket science,” she said. “I like to give lots of options so you can choose what feels right for you. The food writer Michael Pollan sums it up so eloquently ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’ I take people where they are and help them get where they need to go in discovering what works best for their bodies. Healthy eating can change your energy, your immune system and your life.”
Monier provided a recipe that her kids like to call “Green Chicken,” but its official name might be Tomatillo Braised Chicken Thighs.
This recipe can be used in multiple different ways, and it’s all part of Monier’s process.
“Part of what I do is encourage people to experiment with what they like in the kitchen and don’t give a lot of structure,” Monier said.
Her recipe for Green Chicken calls for a six-quart slow cooker, eight to nine chicken thighs and a jar of your favorite tomatillo salsa. Then, let it cook for eight hours.
“If you do this in the morning before you walk out the door, you will come home to a home that smells amazing, or you stay home and get the good smells all day, and gives you options for meals,” Monier said.
“You could make a bowl with brown rice or quinoa and garnish with cilantro and lime. This could be the filling for tacos or enchiladas or a base for soup by adding some chicken stock, cumin, coriander and cilantro.”
Monier focuses on endless possibilities. She doesn’t want to limit clients to think it’s a hassle. Instead, she wants to guide them, so maybe they can still have their favorite meal — they have to have the key ingredients.
“If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired or just want to explore your health and wellness, please book a free consultation at 210-381-9335,” Monier said. “Peace, love and home cooking.”