Expert Spotlight: Laura Olson

There’s nothing we love more than checking in with our grads to see how they’re improving their own health, the health of their families and (sometimes) the entire world. Today, we’re chatting with Laura Olson, graduate of the Fall 2013 edition of the Culinary Nutrition Expert program.

What motivated you to take part in the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program?

I’d been dabbling in recipe creation, health and wellness coaching and writing, but had no formal training – just years of my own research. I wanted to formalize my training a bit and really take my business to the next level. When I found Meghan’s blog it was almost like someone had created exactly what I’d been thinking! She was writing about and teaching all the ideas I’m passionate about. It just made sense. I couldn’t help but sign up!

How has the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program changed your perspective on health and cooking?

I’m not sure the CNE program changed my perspective so much as it reaffirmed it. I loved seeing how accessible Meghan’s able to make the whole ‘healthy living’ thing. The main thing that changed my perspective was just seeing how she built her business out of a need to heal, then by sheer passion, will and contagious good humour. It made it all seem possible.

What has been your best culinary nutrition creation?

My favourite creation from the program was my Cream Filled Pumpkin Spice Muffins recipe. They’re more cupcakes than muffins, thanks to the filling, but because they’re low in sugar, they’re absolutely guilt-free. They’re grain-free too, and satisfying, but not heavy. Indulgent, beautiful and healthy? You gotta love that.

What was the most rewarding part of the program for you?

It’s so hard to choose! The Rock Your Biz workshop was illuminating. Presenting the workshop assignment at the end was amazing. Somehow it was more organized, more specific, more real. The need to put it together in such detail for the course was a huge kick in the pants for me.

I also love staying connected with so many others from the program now via social media. It’s such a great community, and a great space that fosters creativity, forward motion and confidence. I’ve even collaborated with fellow alum Noelle Smith, whose photography is really beautiful. We all have our own talents and it’s nice that so many of us are willing to help each other.

How have you been putting what you learned into practice in your life, your business and/or helping someone else?

It’s funny, though I have used many of the principles we learned to help clients, write recipes, create blog posts and more, I do see the most change in those close to me. When I can really explain why grass fed butter and coconut oil are healthier than some whipped chemical blend  with scientific backup and confidence, the people around me seem to listen.

My dad has thrown out his whipped chemical spread and my aunt and cousin have started eating chia seeds. Another family member emailed me for advice on beginning a whole foods lifestyle. I’m still trying to get my husband to ditch the gluten, but on the other hand, he will eat anything “good” and so, whatever I cook, he eats…that’s a start!

What has changed in your life since you completed (or perhaps since you began) the CNE Program?

I feel more confident in my business. Or maybe I now actually believe it’s a business and not some hobby. Somehow going through the formal program, and watching Meghan enthusiastically going forth with her message despite (or maybe because of) those who don’t agree, helped me realize I have something worthwhile to share. I still have a long way to go in building an audience, really putting myself out there and getting programs going, but I just feel more grounded and hopeful about it all.

What’s next for you?

I’m so excited about the ‘right now’ actually! I just released my first little e-book, Delectable Pairings, on my web site. It’s amazing to see all that work come together in something tangible. One of the things I see in parts of my tribe is a sense of restriction, stress and perfectionism around eating and pursuing health. In my experience this can actually be counterproductive. Any kind of dieter’s mindset will backfire at a certain point, so I’m passionate about helping people feed themselves well while also being nice to themselves. I’m clarifying my message around that, and you can expect to see more e-books, workshops and yoga tips on the subject.

And I’m stepping up my yoga teaching too and finally just going for it. For me, it all ties in. Of course it does! Food is just one aspect of the picture. But, well, it’s a delectable one.

Check out Laura’s Culinary Nutrition Expert Profile here!

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