Food Philosophy with Stephanie Gaudreau of Stupid Easy Paleo
Inspiring women across the web to be their best selves
Blogger, recipe developer, and all-around wellness powerhouse, Steph Gaudreau, has been a part of our wellness circle since she launched stupideasypaleo.com way back when. We are honored to interview her today and share an insider's peek to her health habits and why she eats and lives the way she does.
Steph, tell us about yourself:
My purpose is to inspire women to unleash their inner badasses so they can change the world. In 2010 my life dramatically changed when I decided to shake up my diet and fitness routines; suddenly I felt better mentally and physically than I had in years. Not long after that, I started a food blog called Stupid Easy Paleo to share my journey with others. It evolved into what you see today, and in 2013 I left my 12-year teaching career to make nutrition and fitness my focus. I’m super interested in how to build “harder to kill” humans and explore that through my podcast and 6-week challenge of the same name.
I’m from Springfield, Massachusetts, and I’ve lived in San Diego since 2005. I do the most random mixture of things: nutrition consulting, blogging, food photography, and strength and mindset coaching.
Tell us about your daily practices:
- I take breaks throughout the work day to recharge my batteries. When I’m drained, I can’t be at my best creatively, so it’s important to step away and reboot.
- I move every day, even if it’s something “small” like walking. When I move, I get less stiff and sore.
- I’ve got to get my 8 hours or I feel pretty miserable. Sleep is everything.
What's your go-to recipe? Your favorite splurge food?
My favorite go-to is probably a whole chicken in the Instant Pot (30 minutes on manual)…from there I shred the meat and toss it into soups, salads, or tacos. Favorite splurge would be something like a grain-free chocolate chip cookie.
(Steph has a TON of delicious paleo-friendly recipes that can be found on her website here.)
What's your food philosophy? Do you follow a specific diet or have you created something tailored specifically for you?
In 2010, I started eating a pretty strict paleo diet. My health changed in so many positive ways – more energy, fewer digestive issues, less acne, better moods, etc – that I could hardly believe it was possible to feel this good day in and day out.
I’ve always been an athlete, though, so I found I needed to tailor a strict approach to fit my needs. That means upping my carb intake more than some people who eat a very low carb version of paleo, using protein powder when training feels extra hard, paying attention to my recovery window, etc.
Over the years I’ve done a few elimination periods where I’ve tested foods in and out of my diet to learn what works for me. I know, for example, that I’m okay with full-fat types of dairy like ghee and heavy cream, but not with milk. I have endometriosis so I have to play it cool with dairy and other inflammatory foods.
My philosophy for folks is to pick a starting point (ex: paleo or primal) but then you’ve got to listen to your body over time and customize to your needs. Sticking too much to diet dogma won’t be sustainable for the long term.
What is your favorite way to move your body? How has exercise evolved for you over the years?
Movement has always been an integral part of who I am. I’ve done everything from dance and soccer as a kid to track and tae kwon do in high school. After that I got heavily into racing mountain bikes and triathlons, and then in 2010, I found CrossFit. When I started CrossFit, I was really broken down from years of endurance training and lots of body image issues. For once, I didn’t have to focus on my body size…I could just concentrate on getting stronger. It was so freeing.
I learned that I really loved strength training. Though I don’t do a lot of CrossFit anymore, I’m still really into lifting weights, some powerlifting and some Olympic lifting. I lift heavy about three times a week. Earlier this year, I started doing Brazilian jiu jitsu because I wanted to get outside my comfort zone. I do that three times a week on average, as well.
Who do you look up to? Where do you find inspiration when needed?
Gosh, I look up to so many people…folks across so many industries who have purposely stepped outside the status quo and played by their own rules. For me, inspiration comes from things like being out in nature or finding a beautiful ingredient at the farmers market. I try not to push inspiration too much though…I try to let it find me.
If you could have a one-way flight to anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
New Zealand. It’s pure paradise. Spectacular, unspoiled beauty everywhere you look.
What is your favorite thing to eat or drink at Picnik?
Probably the Iced Yeti, though everything I’ve ever tried has been so delicious. My only regret is that Austin and San Diego are so far away!
If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting their wellness journey, what would it be?
Go at your own pace! Let the journey unfold as its meant to for you. You’ve not fallen behind…you’re exactly where you need to be right now.