It was a rainy Thursday evening when we met up with nutritionist Nathalie Rhone and her “assistant,” an Australian Shepherd named Brady, in their New York City apartment. Aside from sharing the Tribeca pad with Brady and her husband Matt—we featured their gorgeous wedding in East Hampton on Over The Moon last month—the registered dietitian and functional medicine nutritionist also runs her successful business, Nutrition by Nathalie, from a soothing mid-century modern office in their apartment. That day, we ended up spending over two hours with Nathalie, digging into everything from her family eating habits growing up to how she stays in shape. Below, she talks about her career, the easy nutritional advice every person can follow, and how she prepared for her own wedding.
OTM: Did you grow up in a household with parents who only had organic, non-processed food in the house?
Absolutely not! Growing up we had a fridge stocked with soda, any kind you could imagine—Sunkist, Cherry Diet Doctor Pepper—we had a candy drawer in the kitchen that was always full of Twizzlers, Reese’s, you name it. But, I should say, that my siblings and I were always moving. We all played sports growing up and were constantly running from activity to activity. So our lifestyle offset the junk we were eating from a physical perspective, and we weren’t aware at the time of the terrible effects processed foods have on our insides. My Mom is also Southern, so she loves cheese, butter, nachos, the whole shebang. She loves flavorful food but doesn’t care for anything fancy; I’m the opposite—I love experiencing every detail of Michelin Star restaurants; she’s perfectly happy with 2% cheese melted on a piece of chicken.
How did you transition from that Southern, comfort-food upbringing to your current clean, non-processed and nutritionally focused way of life?
I was the girl in middle school who voluntarily had the salad bar for lunch and then McDonalds after sports practice. I lived off granola, apples, and nut butter in high school. College was when I started to transition my diet and become more in tune with my body. The more food that was available to me, the more I thought about what I was eating. That, combined with my undergraduate major in psychology really hit home for me . . . the idea that what you put in your body affects the rest of you . . . your mood, your energy . . . etc. It wasn’t until I moved to my West Village apartment after college—with a kitchen literally in the hallway—that I started to really develop my love for cooking and nutrition.
What is one simple piece of advice you would recommend everyone do in order to improve their nutrition?
Eat more plants!
Walk us through what you eat in an average day? What do you typically have for breakfast/lunch/dinner?
My husband and I make fresh coffee every morning, and I steam my homemade almond milk and add 1 packet of Truvia to create a foamy, delicious latte. I look forward to it! The first food I put in my body is always something alkaline—fruit and/or vegetable based. Breakfast is typically a giant smoothie or a green juice. My go-to smoothie includes coconut water, kale, frozen banana, berries, cucumber, ginger and Green Protein Alchemy. My daily green juice has kale, celery, cucumber, parsley, lemon, ginger, and apple. I snack on fresh fruit until lunch; any and all fruit, there is no bad fruit! For lunch, I’ll have a big salad with veggies, avocado, nuts, seeds, beans, grains—I’m always switching up with I throw in. Dinner changes every night. I’ll make a big veggie roast, whole grain or legume pasta, wild salmon; really whatever my body is craving that day. No matter what though, dinner always includes a raw green salad and tons of veggies!
What are some of the most underrated foods in your opinion?
Fruit and potatoes! I find that so many of my clients don’t eat fruit because they are scared of the sugar and try to avoid potatoes because they think the carbs will make them gain weight. I quickly squash those beliefs and get my clients eating fruit every morning and cooking potatoes all the time and they love it!
How many of your clients visit you for pre-wedding fitness and health goals?
I have countless brides and grooms that seek out my services, but I always recommend that they come at least six months to a year before the big day because it isn’t about a drastic change. It is about a gradual shift in the way you view food, life, and exercise all together. Your diet shouldn’t just change because of your wedding, it should change because you want to be in the best version of you on your wedding day.
Can you tell us about how you prepared for your own wedding?
For my wedding, I continued to eat a clean diet filled with unprocessed foods. I definitely watched my sweets (I have a big sweet tooth) and cheat meals more than before but overall my diet didn’t change. What I did change, was my workout regime. I made sure I was sweating daily and more often and went to Tracy Anderson’s studio in Manhattan and East Hampton for private sessions the month leading up to my wedding.
In fact, the day of my wedding, I went to Tracy Anderson’s East Hampton studio first thing in the morning for a good de-bloating sweat. For breakfast, I had fresh fruit (I always start my day with some form of fruit) and a massive coffee with almond milk. Later in the morning, brunch we could call it, I had a plate of scrambled eggs, and a leafy bowl of greens with tomato and avocado. I wanted to be fully fueled with enough energy to last till appetizers and dinner after the ceremony. For our, cocktail hours (yes, there were two of them!) and reception, I chose every appetizer and decided on each detail within the multi-course meal, so you bet I was going to eat every single piece of food I selected. I’m a big foodie and wanted to make sure my husband and I were able to sit down and enjoy the meal with our closest family and friends . . . I definitely was not a “skip the dinner” kind of bride!