Kimberly Snyder Wants to Help You Feel Healthy and Calm From the Inside Out
When the world is stressing about Coronavirus and we all want to be our healthiest, avoid getting sick and stay away from crowds, sitting in a crowded downtown coffee shop sounds like the least healthy thing one could do right about now. But to be there and listening to Kimberly Snyder, plant-based nutritionist and holistic health guru to the stars, is actually a complete health booster. Snyder is a well-known, and loved, nutrition to clients like Drew Barrymore, Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon Channing Tatum and more.
Her message: That you have to stop obsessing, take care of your emotions, by eating healthy, taking little "breaks" to reset throughout the day, and breathe, is resonating and oddly calming. As Snyder tells me to pay attention to the entire self, and not just the thing you're obsessing over, it is impossible not to feel like she has the answer to being our healthiest right now, and it is to take care of the whole self, including our emotional and spiritual beings, and give our bodies the strength they need to be healthy --including healthy foods -- to fight off any harm that might be lurking, including a virus.
Stressing Out and Obsessing Over Something Like a Virus Can Make Us Less Healthy
Suddenly as she is speaking, you realize: To stay healthy, you have to pay attention to your physical self, and bolster your immune system with healthy foods, getting enough sleep and exercising. But you also need to give time to your emotional and spiritual self, which for me means turning off the scary and endless news about the virus and watching something sweet or joyful.
Snyder explains in her purposeful and calming voice that instead of just worrying or obsessing about one thing (food, the virus or the body) there is a whole other side of the equation that we neglect: How to take care of our emotional selves, our spiritual selves, and the best way to stay healthy and stave off any disease is to feel calm, breathe deeply and focus on absolutely nothing every now and then.
So in order to fight off the virus, you need to stop thinking about the virus. If that sounds zen, it is. For Snyder and her followers, taking care of the "Four Cornerstones" of your being reaps healthier, more calm and beautiful results than obsessing over one of them. The four are Food, Body, Your Emotions and Your Spiritual self. For Snyder, the journey from a nutritionist to wellness teacher all started with learning about an ayurvedic approach to life -- and that meant switching to a plant-based diet.
Snyder is a Certified Nutritionist and three-time New York Times bestselling author with a series of hugely popular books based on her Beauty Detox Solution. She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show and countless other television shows, where she tries to help people get in touch with their healthiest, most beautiful, authentic selves. She also espouses plant-based eating. Now seven months pregnant with her second child, Snyder attributes her ability to be healthy and happy to her vegan lifestyle.
Nutritionist to the Stars, Wellness Coach to the Masses
Snyder has worked as a nutritionist to celebrities on movie sets and in their personal lives. Much of Snyder's popularity is based on the fact that she does not just tell her clients how to eat, or what to not eat. She does want them to follow a plant-based approach, that's a given. But her enormous popularity is largely due to her calm, coaching, deliberate approach to treating one's body and food and emotional and spiritual life as all connected. For example, she explains her theory of why people get bloated, inflamed, and blocked, and that this unhealthy digestive state often has as much to do with your emotions as it does with food.
Feeling Bloated, Having Inflammation and Digestive Disorders Start With Emotions
"Being bloated is not just about food, it's about holding onto the negative feelings and thoughts and emotions that literally block our digestive systems," Snyder explains, and as she speaks, she draws her hands down the center of her body from her collar bones past her small but noticeably pregnant belly and stopping at her gut, to emphasize how stressed out posture can physically cause the body to curl inward and tense up. As she talks in her soothing tones, I am prompted to sit up, breathe deeply, release all my tension and let go of the morning frustrations that had started at the office that day. I want to be calm! I want to banish the bloat. In minutes, Snyder has that effect on you.
But as a science-oriented writer and editor, I can't help but listen to my inner voice saying: Wait, is she for real? A skeptical thought bubble floats up from my brain -- am I really to believe bloating is an emotional response? Just as I was about to "snap out of it" and not buy-in to this argument, Snyder says the one thing that disarms me. She tethers her claim back to science: "Your emotions elicit cortisol and other negative stress hormones to be released into the body, and that triggers a physical response in your gut. It reacts by tightening." And just like that, I'm back on the Snyder train.
There Are Four Cornerstones of Wellbeing, And You Need to Give Time to All Four
Snyder explains that women, especially, tend to focus too much on food and exercise and get obsessed in an unhealthy way. "Understand that there are four main cornerstones of overall health: Your food, your body, your emotional well-being, and your spiritual growth." She hands me a card with yellow writing on it to explain how these work together.
The message is packaged neatly for general consumption and comes with a takeaway card that is part of her Solluna brand, which means Sun and Moon. Snyder is brilliant, a former free spirit who traveled the world for years as a post-grad, learning the Ayurvedic and yogic practices from gurus in India and the Himalayas. She landed back here to teach stressed-out overachievers about the importance of their being in touch with their inner health as well as their physical self. Everything she says makes perfect sense, like the fact that we no longer get minerals in our food, which is washed beyond reason so no dirt can make it into our bodies, and this is one reason we modern humans need to take supplements for gut health.
Snyder, a vegan for the past 12 years, also believes in the power of capturing nature in everything you eat and drink. She loves drinking hot water with lemon juice since they soak up the sun and "they are literally the closest thing to eating the sun's healthy energy." Here, Snyder imparts her many helpful tips and points of wisdom. If you want to learn more about her approach or purchase her "feel good digestive enzymes" or beauty products, check out MySolluna.com or make your way to one of her Sallluna Circles which happen all over the country, or sign up for her online My Solluna Circle subscription for $14.
The Beet: How did you get so interested and knowledgable about health and wellness?
KS: I was always interested in science and biology. I wanted to be a doctor.
I worked in a hospital and figured out it wasn't my journey. But I had been partying and gained weight and was having terrible acne. Had coffee and cheese and I went to a nutritionist and she said how ids your digestion.
I wanted to lose weight. I realized digestion is the most important thing. I gave up dairy and that was the beginning of my journey. I had a detox from numbers. Didn't weigh myself.
The Beet: You are obviously still helping people. What is your main message?
KS: I want people to own their true beauty and feel good.
There are four cornerstones. Food is an obvious starting place. Food is tangible. Understand what food does. It's just as important what you cut ours as what you put in.
If you're putting dead, decaying food in your body it weighs you down. Meaning I gave up meat and animal products and felt better immediately.
The Second is the Body: What you do besides how you eat. Like sleep and exercise, your skincare products. We are not just what happens up here (pointing to her brain) but we are meant to have an in-body experience when we eat, and we need to know what to eat to feel healthy.
The third cornerstone is Emotional Wellbeing: Bloating and inflammation happen and once upon a time, I might have thought that was because of what I was eating, like dairy. But actually bloating is not passing through, so if you're holding onto guilt or shame then the intrinsic reaction we have is to 'hold on.' Your body secretes stress hormones and it makes you keep from healthy digestion.
The fourth is Spiritual Growth: Spending time connecting to your authentic self. You need to care for your natural self, and take time to cultivate our uniqueness, our connection to ourselves.
If you ignore any one of these cornerstones you obsess about the other ones. So if you have an eating disorder, then you obsess with the food and you ignore the rest of these important aspects of your wellbeing.
You need to create this integration. That is how you start to feel good.
The Beet: As someone who has lived through it, what is the big lesson or takeaway?
KS: Quiet time. You need time to reset. Stop thinking for a moment. Yoga makes us do this.
That's why I started the Solluna circle. It's about being magnetic with self-love. We teach the Solluna way of life: You get food elixir recipes, you learn journaling and self-medicine. There is real healing that comes from the community. We practice no judgment and no advice.
It is helpful just to speak and be witnessed. The answers get pushed up from within you. In our lives, the answers are pushed down so often. We wake up and we are on Instagram and you don't think about yourself and what really matters.
So we start the day by drinking hot water with lemon and probiotics, and you're coming from a stronger place going into the day.
The Beet: That sounds divine but what do I do when I am tense at my desk and on deadline and can't join a Solluna Circle?
KS: There are these tiny little resets throughout the day that you can do.
Here is one reset... Grab your elbows behind your back and just sit up straight and breathe. It opens your chest and your heart and you can't help but feel more relaxed and calm and centered. try it now. (We all do this and she is right, it's like a mini massage for your back and spine.)
At that, we are all ready to join the Solluna circle. Kimberly Snyder is a very smart lady.