Nanneke Schreurs is the owner and founder of Optimal Health Studio, a personal training and yoga studio in Mijdrecht (The Netherlands). She combines the benefits of yoga with her own Healthbar, where you can find all kinds of different healthy, organic meals, juices, tea and coffee. All products are plant-based and sustainable. We talk about Nanneke's health journey, how she became a fit green-chef, how she started Optimal Health Studio, and most importantly, how she helps others begin their journey to a healthy lifestyle.
How I started
I have always been into nutrition and exercise, I started combining that because I was very curious about how to eat optimally now but also that it is easy and enjoyable. Then I became an optimal pillar therapist and did a lot of follow-up training after that. After this I started a small nutrition practice to counsel people. At that time I also taught group exercise classes at the gym. After that I ran into the fact that I was coaching people there with nutrition, but then came to a different personal trainer and got different advice from them. I realized I wanted a place where everything came together, so I could guide people on nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, training and relaxation. Eventually this is how my own studio came out. Here we do yoga, personal training, there is a massage room, health bar where they also sell the Funky Fat Chocolate. I also started writing books with recipes and also does this for other books. Besides the studio and her books, I have a restaurant with my husband.
How did you realize you wanted to move forward with this?
My own diet changes often. For a while I ate only plant-based food, so I was completely vegan, but at some point I started to crave fish and eggs again, so I added them back. I had another phase when I eat less fish, but right now most of my diet is plant-based. But I eat very few refined carbohydrates. Also periods with Ketogenic, so I focus on healthy fats and makes sure I eat a few carbs.
It is normal to have phases with your diet because the seasons also change and where you are at the time.
I doesn't eat meat either. I started quitting meat to experience how people used to live so I started a survival trip with my son. Then I finally found that in society you could make so many choices that you don't have to eat animal products for your survival, why buy it. I started to educate myself on it, what to eat to avoid deficiencies. Eventually I went vegan for 3 years, for animal welfare. Occasionally I still eat fish now because it feels different to me then chicken and cow but I absolutely do not eat meat.
My days start early because I have to train. First I start yoga, after this I start my breakfast. If I give my last workout in the evening I often eats my last meal at about 4 o'clock. But if I give workouts in the morning I do have breakfast beforehand. It often varies from day to day during the week.
When it is cold I like to make a hot breakfast, in the afternoon I also find it very important to go outside and get into the sunlight. I often work on blogs or books afterwards. I eat my meals 2 or 3 times in a day. Mainly focusing on enough vegetables even in my breakfast, I also pay attention to healthy fats and I often get that from nuts, avocado or olive oil. Protein is also very important, so in the morning I also regularly takes vegetable protein powder. In the afternoon I eat tofu or an egg with it to get enough nutrients of everything. I listens carefully to my body. In the end, everything depends on the situation of how you feel. If you do what you feel comfortable with, it no longer feels like dieting but a lifestyle.
I also eats less unhealthy things like pizza in between meals, but that's okay too it's important not to restrict yourself, but it's about balance.
Each person needs other ingredients
If you look at ayurveda you also see that you all have different constitutions. You also see a lot of practice that intermittent fasting is very nice for some but not at all for others. Everyone has a different constitution and therefore you have to look at someone's personal circumstances and what works for someone. That's why you have to listen carefully to your body, there are many people who can tell you what is best to do but it doesn't work for everyone. For many people it is all or nothing, if it is advised to eat a little less then sometimes people don't dare to eat it at all. That's why if you stick to a diet "well" it's not a bad thing, then you can easily go on some fun outings and eat a little less healthy for a while. If you want to enjoy something once, do it and don't feel guilty about it either.
Also with alcohol you have to see if you find it worth it yourself. I noticed with my aura ring that when I drink alcohol, my sleep can sometimes be less good, I sleeps less deeply and my heartbeat increases. If you drink a glass of alcohol at lunch, your body has a lot of time to process it and then you sleep well. So time of day also does matter a lot.
What is leptin and why do people need to know more about it?
Leptin is your satiety hormone. If you have good control of your leptin, you don't know if certain foods still your hunger or if the leptin still can't control it and therefore you want to eat a lot all the time. If you are somewhat overweight and you are getting more and more body fat cells, white fat. These also give off hormones and disrupt your whole satiety signals. At a given moment you get into a circle that those hormones don't work properly anymore. The moment you're just a little bit overweight, you already get all the satiety hunger signals disrupted and these people even then still really have the hunger feeling and that they're not satiated yet. That is why dieting makes it a little more difficult for them, because the body no longer gives the signal properly when you are satiated.
There are many ways in which you can ensure that your hormones are balanced. For example, a ketogenic diet can make sure that you experience less of those hunger feelings. Your sleep is also very important. Just to count calories is not going to work but many people do it. Because it also depends on where you get your calories. If someone wants to lose weight and they want to eat 1200 calories but get it from sugar, soda then your blood sugar level goes up considerably and you also produce too much insulin. Your body reacts very differently if you eat a diet where you eat a lot of vegetables, are well satiated, keep your gut bacteria healthy, that you eat healthy fats, protein. That's why counting your calories can be a tool but then you also have to look at how you utilize that. Also, if you eat a lot of fats and your body makes a lot of cholesterol and you don't sleep much, your body is already looking at how you are utilizing the nutrients as well. Someone who sleeps poorly will break down muscle mass and build more fat and vice versa.
When you want to start dieting and losing weight, many people think about nutrition and exercise, but the most important thing is your sleep and recovery. To improve your sleep you can also look at your diet, not eating too late, not too much caffeine and reducing alcohol consumption. It also helps to chart what you eat and how much you exercise, it can be an eye opener.
Practice & Treatments
I only coaches people in the studio. A lot of EMS workouts, which are one-on-one workouts. You also get into relaxation and many different types of yoga and the retreats often have a different theme. For example, a detox training, which is all about how to help your body get rid of waste as best as possible. Everyone is welcome