For the past few years, it seems NYC has been on this health kick, from one-of-a-kind work outs to one-stop-shop meal plans. There’s always a new fitness trend to join, and if you haven’t “juiced” or tried the latest sweat-tactic exercise, then you’re not part of the cool kids’ table. The thing is, your personal health is, well, personal, and what works for you won’t necessarily work for someone else, capiche? So why force your body to do or eat something when you feel uncomfortable? We say 2016 (or what’s left of it) is about taking control of your mind, body, and spirit by finally listening to what your body needs and wants. Thankfully, we met a Boss Babe who knows exactly what we’re talking about and we can’t wait to introduce you to her.
Fernanda de la Puente is a multi-hyphenated foodie who knows a thing or two about wellness, eating psychology, and nutrition. After growing up in Peru, she traveled to California to study nutrition at Cal Poly University, but something didn’t click. De la Puente didn’t want her career to be just about counting calories or having a restrictive view on food, she wanted to find a healthy relationship between food and psychology. With her background in Western Nutrition and her training in the Culinary Arts and Holistic Health, de la Puente has been navigating her clients to connect with food without getting too extreme. And we love it.
We had the pleasure of hanging out with Fernanda at her beautiful Brooklyn home. We asked about her career, favorite yoga pose, what her night off would consist of. Meet the always sweet, Fernanda de la Puente.
Go-to yoga pose:
Ankle to Knee & Seated straddle Forward Fold * Upavistha Konasana.
Most important thing you miss from Peru:
Ultimate guilty pleasure:
Sour Cherry Pistachio Financier at Bakeri in Williamsburg.
Must-have beauty product:
Face Cleansing Milk.
Three things you could never live without:
Tongue scraper, scrunchies, headphones (the big ones).
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a holistic nutrition counselor and natural chef?
I was always interested in food, and once I learned about nutrition, I wanted to go deeper and understand mind-body nutrition; the connection between how our minds and emotions affect our ability to digest and metabolize food. I studied cooking at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC because I wanted to learn about cooking from the point of view of ancient traditional healing systems, like traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.
After studying Nutrition at Cal Poly University, you eventually gravitated toward holistic healing. Why did you feel that holistic healing was the path for you to take?
Because I never believed in counting calories or grams of protein. Those numbers in the back of food packages always stressed me out and seemed very unnatural and disconnected from the beauty of the eating experience. I think deeper down I also just wanted to learn how to be happier and fuller with life, and knew that it had to do not only with the physical, but also the emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of ourselves.
Not only do you focus on nutrition coaching and mediation, you also help your clients through eating psychology. What does that entail and how does it help your clients become better with their nutrition and overall well-being?
Our hearts affect our minds, and our minds affect our metabolism and our ability to digest food. HOW you eat, and WHO we are as eaters deeply affects the way we digest and metabolize our food. If you are stressed out, or live in chronic low level stress response (fight or flight mode) you won’t be able to digest or metabolize your food properly and will probably gain weight. Good nutrition is really about how well we can absorb nutrients from food, which also depends on how open we are psychologically and emotionally to receive nutrients. I work with clients so that they can improve their relationship with food and their bodies, and help them see the connection between their relationship to food and their relationship to their life; usually they mirror each other.
I think it is important to use the gross and physical as a doorway to tap into more subtle and deeper aspects of ourselves. We are at a time when Nutrition and Health specialists should definitely get into the mind-soul level if they really want to help heal their patients.
If you had the night off, what would you do and where would you go?
To some warehouse party in Brooklyn and dance until sunrise with my favorite DJs: Satori, NU, Acid Pauli, and Nicola Cruz.
Being in the nutrition and wellness industry, how do you personally overcome or deal with negativity situations in your life?
I have long chats with my close friends, I practice yoga, and sometimes I just blast music in my living room and dance. Running and writing can also help sometimes.
Being your own boss has a lot of perks, but what would you say were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome to get to where you are today?
The fear of not really knowing what is going to happen next, because I’m not following a set path/plan. Having people around me who weren’t fully supportive or even doubted what I did, definitely made me feel insecure and made me lose my ground at many points along my way.
What would be your ultimate favorite type of dinner party to create?
Pasta, wine, tiramisu and my favorite people from all over the world.
How do you begin your mornings to have an effective productive day?
I drink turmeric tea or lemon and water, and do 3 rounds of sun salutations. Sometimes I play the harmonium if I really want to start in tune.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?
Acting in movies and teaching yoga all over the world. Oh! And publish a CómoComo book.
Any advice for future boss babes, especially those looking to enter the wellness industry?
Really trust your gut. You know what you want, and deep down you also know how to get there. Also trust the wisdom that comes from your mistakes. The moment we choose to acknowledge our mistakes and look at our weaknesses, we become energized and feel stronger than when we thought we were strong and right.
Photography via Vanessa Granda