Carley Smith is a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and Certified GAPS Practitioner (CGP) living and working in Colorado. After being diagnosed with Lyme disease, Carley became very interested in health and nutrition. She now works with clients one on one and in small groups to help restore their health. We'd like to introduce you to....
Carley Smith, NTP, CGP
MPOF: How do you start your day?
Carley Smith: So, I don't have a very set routine in the morning. The first thing I do when I get out of bed is turn on my coffee maker. This is the most important thing. Then in the mornings, I get all of my work done. This is when I am the most focused, so I try and get all of my writing done and work on any client protocols or anything else that I have that needs to get done. I work on that for most of the day. Around lunch time I take a break and sometimes I'll do a recipe, cook, and photograph. Then I will go back to work for a bit. Later in the day I will take a second break and go to the gym or yoga. Then I come back home and work on my editing, website stuff, etc. I think I just answered my whole day for you! haha
MPOF: What kind of clients do you work with?
Carley Smith: I work with anybody. I work with a lot of people who are struggling with chronic illnesses, autoimmune conditions, people who are looking for general weight loss, eating healthier, transitioning into a healthier lifestyle. It's a very broad range of clients.
MPOF: What is one thing that you can't live without? Why?
Carley Smith: Coffee. Obviously. Haha, Yoga. I can always tell if I have gone a few days and not practiced yoga. My mind is just not there, and I am antsy and jittery, and so I think yoga has been there to help me thru a lot of hard times in my life and it helped me tremendously in healing from Lyme disease. So, yoga is very important to me and incorporating it into my life has been a big deal.
MPOF: Do you follow any specific diet/meal plan? Why?
Carley Smith: I don't at the moment. I did do the GAPS diet for a couple of years. That stands for Gut And Psychology Syndrome. That is a healing protocol that is focused on healing the gut, and the idea is that with 80%of our immune system being in our gut if we can heal our gut we can help boost our immune system and then fight off whatever ailments we might have going on. With my Lyme disease, I started taking antibiotics and I felt like that was doing more harm than good, so I started the GAPS diet, and that made a tremendous impact on my health.
So, I am off of that diet, but I still pull parts of that diet into my everyday lifestyle. I don't necessarily follow a specific plan anymore, though. I try to pull in things such as bone broths, fermented yogurt, cultured dairy, things like that. I try to maintain those in my diet.
MPOF: What is your favorite music to listen to?
Carley Smith: I don't have a favorite kind of music. I like to listen to everything. It just depends on what I am doing. I like different music for different things. I will listen to really, anything.
MPOF: Is there any other types of activity you do every week besides yoga?
Carley Smith: I go to the gym and do a little cardio and weights, but if I can get outside, that is my favorite thing! So, when the summer is here, I do a lot of hiking! I love hiking! Trying to be active outdoors is probably one of my favorite things. I like to go snowshoeing in the winters although I haven't done too much of that this winter. But yeah, just being active outside is probably my favorite thing besides yoga.
MPOF: What do you tell clients who say working out is too hard?
Carley Smith: You know, I recommend for my clients that there is a common misconception that we have to kill ourselves at the gym to be fit and gain a certain level of fitness. So, I tell them to just incorporate a little bit of activity into their routine. Even just 15-20 minutes a day can make a big impact on our health. Even if it's just getting outside and doing a little bit of walking. Trying to incorporate moderate activity is better than nothing. Especially now that we are sitting at our desks so much. It is really important to get up and have a little bit of extra activity in the day. You don't need to spend 2 hours in the gym to get benefits from exercise. Sometimes the best benefits we can get are from shorter workouts or more high-intensity workouts. Even getting outside and doing some hiking, walking, biking, etc. can make a huge impact on our health and also be fun!
MPOF: On a scale of 1-10 how important is food to your lifestyle? Why?
Carley Smith: Um, food is an 11. It's HUGE for me. It's at the forefront of my health. It's what I used to heal from Lyme Disease, so it's extremely important for me. That experience taught me how important food and nutrition is for our bodies. And is the basis for our health. I am always thinking about food. When I travel for work I prep my meals and bring them with me. That's how important it is for me to make sure I am getting good quality foods in my body at all times.
MPOF: What is one piece of advice you have for someone who is just starting to eat better?
Carley Smith: I have a plan that I work with a lot of my clients that want to transition into a healthier lifestyle. I have them do a food journal and then go over it with them to determine where they are making their worst food decisions. So maybe it's breakfast where they are grabbing muffins in the break room, or it's dinner, and they get home late at night, and they are throwing in a frozen pizza, and start here. We start with one meal and then from there we work on making that meal healthy every single day. I think by starting with one, it helps them to transition. It's not overwhelming to change everything at once. And that starts to trickle into other areas of their life over time. But starting with one thing and then teaching them how to meal plan and create that time so that they can make those healthy meals for themselves and always have really good quality foods on hand is important.
MPOF: What are your thoughts on meal planning as a whole?
Carley Smith: I love meal prepping. I think it is the key part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I love this quote, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." I think that I use that in all of my nutrition talks when I talk about meal prepping because I feel like without a little bit of planning you're preparing to fail for your diet. So, I think it's incredibly important. I always tell people that we make our worst decisions when we are tired, and we are hungry, and we want something ASAP. So, having those good quality foods on hand that are readily available that are easy to assemble are going to save you from making bad meal decisions. Meal prepping is something that is incredibly important.
MPOF: Other than for travel, do you do any weekly meal prep for yourself?
Carley Smith: Yes, I do! I always pick 1-2 days a week where I can set aside some time where I can put together a few things that I can have throughout the week. I usually make a few proteins like baked chicken and slow cook a roast and then I have been enjoying base soups. It helps me get my bone broth in my system instead of having to drink it. I make these super easy base soups that are great for meal prep. I know that if I have a big pot of this soup on hand that I can get that in my system if I am super busy. From there I'll add in some roasted vegetables, some ground beef, etc. Those have been super easy to make, prepare and have on hand. I always like to tell my clients to create a salad bar in their fridge so that the fixings are readily available. Proteins are already cooked, and you can pull the other already prepared items to put together a meal.
MPOF: What are some of your favorite foods or ingredients to meal prep with?
Carley Smith: My meat is 5280meat. Let me just say that if you are making a bone broth, it is incredibly important to make sure your bones are sourced from a humanely raised and sustainable source. I like 5280meat because all of their animals are humanely raised! You don't want hormones or antibiotics in your meat because those will be directly absorbed into your system. You can tell a huge difference between their quality and store bought. I also love and always have on hand 5280meat and good quality fats. Fat is not bad for you. Fat is the preferred source of energy for the body. It's so important for us. So, I use a lot of Fatworks animal fats and ghee, coconut oil, grass fed butter, etc. Building your arsenal with good fats is huge and sea salt. I honestly feel like anything cooked in a good quality fat and seasoned with sea salt will taste amazing, and people will think you are a culinary genius! It doesn't take much!
MPOF: Are there any meal prep tools that you can't live without? Why?
Carley Smith: I always say if I was stranded on a deserted island somewhere and I could only bring one piece of cookware it would be my cast iron skillet! I feel like you can do everything with a cast iron skillet. I also tell my clients this, too. When they are trying to transition into a healthier lifestyle, you don't always have to have a lot of cookware on hand. The good thing is you don't need a lot of cookware to cook and be healthy. But the one thing I would recommend is a cast iron skillet. You can cook your meat in it; you can cook skillet dishes, eggs, sauteed vegetables, soups, etc. It is the ultimate thing that you need in your kitchen because you can make everything in it.
MPOF: Where do you get your recipe and meal prep inspiration from?
Carley Smith: All over. I look online a lot, Instagram, Pinterest, magazines, talking with people. I love sharing recipes with people. Even if it's when I am checking out at the grocery store and asking the person in line what they make with their ingredients. I get my inspiration from all over.
MPOF: How much do you spend weekly/monthly on food?
Carley Smith: That's a great question. I think a lot of people are concerned about what they spend on food. Eating healthy costs money. I love the quote, "You don't have to be wealthy to eat healthily." I go to the grocery store one time a week, and it's between $200-$300 a week. I know that sounds expensive, but that lasts me for three meals, seven days of the week. It evens out to be not that expensive. A few things that help me: shopping one time a week and meal planning. There was a study that showed that more time spent meal planning lead to less time dining out, healthier food choices and a healthier lifestyle. What is expensive is dining out.It actually saves money when we can make one stop at the grocery store once a week and then make those meals last for the remainder of the week. You see that, and it adds up! Now, with online shopping, you can shop so many more sales. I know 5280meat has a sale now which is a great time to stock up and put them in your freezer. You can also shop sales from different sites. Bulk items are great to buy online too. Like Thrive Market has really good sales. It's like Costco meets WholeFoods. So, I buy all of my dried goods and bulk items on that website. As well as my cleaning supplies too. They have a lot of different products on there. So, there are different ways to save. I think that we are fortunate that we have so many options now. Lastly, shopping your farmers market is huge. Buying direct. Maybe signing up for a CSA, buying straight from your rancher or farmer will help save you money. So, there are ways to help cut costs. You don't have to be wealthy to eat healthily. Meal planning and shopping directly will help you in the long run.
You also need to look at eating healthy as an investment in yourself too. Good quality ingredients, yes there is a little bit of a premium. But, I always look at that as an investment in myself. The more money I spend on my health, my food and the quality of the things I am putting into my body the less money I am spending on health care and medicine.
MPOF: Do you eat differently on the weekends vs. during the week?
Carley Smith: Yes, I do. I like to tell my clients to follow a 70/30 plan. 70% of the time I am doing better and the other 30% of the time you enjoy yourself. 70% is my good foods five days a week and the other 30% of the time on the weekends I enjoy myself. That 30% doesn't mean I am hitting the drive-thru constantly. It is more just going out to eat and enjoying it. Or you have dessert, and you enjoy it. Have drinks and enjoy it. It's one of those things where you have to live life too and enjoy things. We can get too far on the spectrum either way. Finding that balance is key. So, I allow myself to have those days where I go out and indulge and have something fun and good to eat. It's fun, and that's life. But the majority of the time you are doing better, and that's what's important.
MPOF: Do you have any advice for women or men who want to be more confident in themselves?
Carley Smith: I think it all starts with yourself. You have to be happy with yourself before anything else. Start with being happy and confident with yourself. I think nutrition, eating healthy and having a well-rounded lifestyle is part of that. So, when you start nourishing your body with really good quality foods and spending some extra time loving yourself, comes out in confidence. This month I was partnered with Yoga By Candace, and we did a 30 Day Love Yourself program. One of the things I noticed is that we always put ourselves last. I am guilty of it. It's crazy to think that how that happens. When it really should be the other way around. So we dedicated this whole month to loving yourself and having compassion for yourself. I think that is one of the hardest things to do. But when you start carving out a little extra time for yourself, taking care of yourself, feeding yourself good quality food, getting sleep...all of the things that you need, it comes out on the other end. You will see it in their confidence. It all starts with yourself and then from there everything grows from that.
MPOF: When you think about success who is the first person that comes to mind? Why?
Carley Smith: It would be my parents. They came from nothing and have worked very hard to get to where they are. I think that seeing the things that they went through in their childhood and then my dad especially, grew up in a small town in Iowa and built a very successful business and is still doing well with that. They have taught me a lot about what it takes to be successful and hard work and being thankful. So, I have to say I admire them for that.
MPOF: What inspires you? Why?
Carley Smith: I would say my friend Candace from YogaByCandace. She also struggled with Lyme Disease, and I remember her going through all of it, and then years later I got Lyme Disease. I looked to her, and it was inspiring for me to see her go through all of it and then for her to get better and start her yoga business from the ground up. It has been inspiring for me to think, "You know, I was sick too. I can get better. I can start my own thing and build that up too." She has done an amazing job building that up all by herself. She just published a book, and I couldn't be more proud of her. She has been very inspiring for me.
MPOF: Is there anything else you would like to mention for the MPOF audience?
Carley Smith: I would like to encourage people to make bone broth and different recipes using broth. I have a great article on Four Easy Steps For Making Bone Broth and then Five Easy Steps For Making A Base Soup Recipe. Those are so amazing for meal planning, and it's great because it has all the benefits of the bone broth for gut health, inflammation, etc. I can't say enough amazing things about bone broth. I try to encourage people to start getting into the habit of making it and having it on hand for various recipes. For example, I soak my oatmeal in the bone broth the night before and have it the next day. I promise it tastes amazing! I wouldn't recommend anything that didn't taste good. It's fantastic! Replace water in recipes with broth and incorporating that more into your diet is so important. It boosts your immune system. Especially during the winter months when flu season is coming around. I think broth is one of the best things people can do to start incorporating into their diet.
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