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Q&A With Avon Nutritionist Ashley Koff

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to join Avon and award-winning nutritionist, Ashley Koff, for a morning of power yoga and wellness tips in Charlotte! Y’all already know that living a healthy lifestyle is something I strive to do daily, and although I’ve learned a lot over time, there are still many things I don’t know the answers too. So, given that I had the opportunity to meet with Ashley and Avon, I figured it would be fun to share my Q & A with her here! 
Q. What does an ideal day of eating look like to you?

A. The goal for any day is to give your body what it needs to run better. I may be able to get in oatmeal with walnuts or hemp seeds, a glass of water and an espresso in the morning, some greens with canned wild salmon and beans for lunch, something chocolate with some nuts mid-afternoon and a delicious dinner of sauteed zucchini noodles and plant protein meatballs (or turkey meatballs). And I’ll even have a glass of wine. However, I may even still miss out on key nutrients that help my body run better, so I would add Espira Daily Essentials in the morning and likely enjoy an Espira PM Restore in my water before bed. I also work out a few mornings a week, so I’ll drink an Espira Plant Power Protein shake after exercising to give my body what it needs to repair and recover after my workout.  

Q. Why is dairy bad for you?

A. Everyone seems to be shifting towards consuming almond milk, almond butter… almond everything! But it seems that people generally don’t understand why you should substitute almonds for dairy – they only know it’s the healthier option. Not all dairy is bad, but, alternatively, eating a lot of dairy isn’t great either. 
Dairy is processed to remove fat, which changes how it impacts your body – especially your hormones. As we age, many adults lose the ability to produce some or all of the enzymes needed to break down dairy (Lactase), so they become lactose intolerant. There are some dairy options for them, but many people prefer non-dairy options – and more importantly, dairy isn’t a food group. While we do need carbs, proteins, healthy fats, calcium and vitamin D, there are lots of ways to get those nutrients in without dairy products. 

If you do choose dairy, think of it as an accessory – like jewelry. Enjoy a small amount of better quality dairy. And don’t assume that all dairy-free products are better! Many have loads of sugar, remove key nutrients too (pass on fat-free soy milk, because the fats in soy are Omega-3’s – which are awesome for us) and can contain artificial ingredients or be made from GMO seeds. 

Q. What are the biggest/most common eating mistakes you see your clients make when they first come to you?

A. The biggest mistake is calorie counting instead of learning to nutrient-balance their “pit stops” (meals and snacks). Your body needs a balance of nutrients to run better, not a set number of calories. For example, you could eat 2 apples for 100 calories (and all carbs) but your body will do better with one apple and a serving of nuts (protein and healthy fats) which is closer to 150-200 calories total. 

I recommend nutrient-balancing your “pit stops,” which includes aiming to get in a rainbow of non-starchy vegetables as the colors all do different things in the body and getting them in helps you feel satisfied with less of the other foods.

Q. What is your take on how many meals per day an individual should eat?

A. So many people recommend 6 small meals a day, but I’m noticing nutritionists now are shifting towards 3 meals a day, with four hours in between meals. This follows perfectly from your last question – when you nutrient balance and get in better amounts of those nutrients, you give your body about 3 hours-worth of energy. I recommend pit-stopping for better nutrition about every 3 hours from waking until 3 hours before bed.

Q. What are your thoughts on intermittent fasting?

A. Here’s my take: https://youtu.be/PFGNuCc8-Xg

Q. In terms of fruit, how much fruit should one eat per day? And is there a time they should stop eating by each day?

A. Fruit is nature’s sweets – it is a great choice – if better quality and better quantity are observed. Your better choice is to consume 1 serving of carbohydrate at most pit stops. Depending on your energy and health goals you may do fine with 2 servings at one or two of your pit stops early in the day. That means that fruit could be your carb choice, but that also means that you’ll want to skip other carbs at the same time (milk in your coffee, toast, grains, etc.). Also aim for a variety of colors – so use fruits to help you get in your daily rainbow.

Q. What are some tips for the girl on the go? Eating healthy while traveling or constantly on the run is such a big struggle for so many women, I’d love to know how you advise clients when eating out or on vacation! 

A. Bring along your supplements to help you prevent any nutrition gaps, because you don’t know what you will have available. Check out menus for local destinations so you do have a better idea and BYOB – bring your own better (snacks) so that you have some options you can count on. I like having Espira Plant Power Protein packets with me so I can easily shake up a better snack. This is a HUGE topic, so I also have a webinar on it, available here: https://youtu.be/yhK9YLdalhw 

Q. What is your favorite Espira product if you had to pick just one?

A. That’s like picking a favorite child!!! If I had to pick two, I would say the Glow System (AM protect and PM restore) as well as the Espira Plant Power Protein

Q. What are you top-5 favorite healthy snacks for someone on the go? 

A. A mint case filled with nuts; a nutrient balanced bar (I like Perfect Foods bars); a packet of Espira Plant Power Protein; a water bottle filled with water; wild salmon jerky; 1 oz of dark chocolate.

Q. What’s the one food you tell your clients to stop eating? 

A. Anything made with artificial colors and sweeteners – and to be clear when I say “stop” I mean that I want them to not have it regularly. Having anything every once in a while doesn’t matter. 


*In partnership with Avon. All opinions are my own.


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