Hey y’all! I hope your January has been off to a great start. Thank you to those of you who participated in our Intention Challenge! We had so much fun approaching the New Year in a different way, rather than slamming another form of diet culture in your face. If you missed out, you can still download the guide HERE.
This week for our Wellness Women feature, I would like to introduce you to my good friend Ashley Pardo. We met during her Nutritional Therapy training, while I was on the teaching team as a group leader. Ashley’s vibe is so warm + inviting — seriously, you are instantly drawn to her — and she has a pure heart, with a little humor on the side.
You may have heard my interview with Ashley on her podcast called The Heartfood Podcast last month. We had such a fun conversation about diet culture, releasing old identities around fitness and food, and even dove into some spiritual + space talk (if you are into that sort of thing!). I’d love it if you took a listen and subscribed to her show! If you do, feel free to pop back over to this post and let me know what you thought of it!
Alright, onto Ashley!
Meet Ashley Pardo
Ashley is a Nutritional Therapist, Private Chef, and Cooking Teacher. She is passionate about the intersection between food, our bodies, and our minds, and works to bring this awareness to women in a practical and approachable way so they can feel amazing, inside and out. She believes that our relationship with food and our bodies can be the catalyst to living to our fullest potential and fostering resilience and inner strength.
She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology & Business from the University of Florida, a Master’s in Gastronomy and Certificates in the Culinary & Baking Arts, Wine, and Cheese from Boston University, is a trained Health Coach through Wellcoaches, and is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association. She has her own business in Miami, FL where she provides boutique private chef services & cooking classes, nutritional & wellness coaching, and health seminars for women. She also has a weekly podcast, Heart Food, where she has honest conversations with leading fellow wellness professionals or spends an hour talking to herself about health topics 🙂
Ashley loves movement (mainly yoga & strength training), reading, the woo, her nutty dog Miss Faye, drawing, concerts, spotting beauty in the everyday, and nature. She once lived in the mountains of Italy milking goats and tending to grapevines and dreams of it every day.
Favorite food? Treat? Indulgence?
My favorite foods are so, so simple, but I could (and do) eat them daily: avocados, salmon, & sweet potatoes. My favorite treat is any type of chocolate (literally, any), and my favorite indulgence is a warm brownie with ice cream & caramel sauce.
Must have self-care item?
Books and books and books. I am a dedicated and voracious reader, and there’s literally nothing I’d rather do than curl up on the couch and gets lost in a great book. Nothing feels more delicious to me.
What type of movement brings you joy?
I’m a recovering over-exerciser, and I really enjoy slow movement these days. I take a daily walk in nature, strength train, and do Ashtanga yoga. I’ve been practicing traditional Ashtanga yoga for over 3 years. It brings me so much joy and makes me feel amazing. It’s like WD-40 for the body and brain.
Share a bit about your personal health journey and what led you to where you are today.
Many years ago, I was 50+ pounds overweight, felt like garbage, and had no connection with myself. I was at my rock bottom and wit’s end. I pulled myself out of the hole I created for myself through better eating and movement, but I didn’t only change from the outside, I had a profound internal transformation and can confidently say I became a new person. I was so astounded by my change and its effect on my life that I’ve devoted myself to teaching the same practices and insights to other women.
If you are in the health realm, do you currently have a practice? And if so, what do you specialize in?
I run a nutrition & wellness coaching business from my house (I also see remote clients!) and I specialize in helping women heal their relationship with food.
What do you hope to convey to other women seeking optimal health for themselves?
I want women to know they have (and have always had) an infinite reservoir of strength, autonomy, and love in which they can call upon whenever it’s needed. I want them to feel empowered enough to make and own choices to create a fulfilling life. I want them to know they can do everything they want to with gusto and courage, despite feeling fear. My role is to remind them of these things.
If you could give one tip to someone starting out on their own health journey, what would it be?
Create a morning movement ritual. Every day, commit to a practice in which you can find connection with yourself. I recommend journaling and meditation plus any type of movement that feels great to you. Creating and honoring these rituals will create spillover in all areas of life. Showing up for yourself daily in simple ways is really, really powerful.
Share your favorite quote or source of inspiration.
For much of my life, I didn’t know it was possible to create the life I wanted, and at that bottom of that thought was the belief that I wasn’t good enough. Now, I know that I am and always was. You are, too. That’s why this quote is so inspiring to me. All that you want is yours.
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark. In the hopeless swamps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all, do not let the hero in your soul perish and leave only frustration for the life you deserved, but never have been able to reach. The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” – Ayn Rand
How can someone reach you if they want to connect with you?
Anything else you’d like to share? Fun fact, personal story/thought, hidden talent?
I love any type of expression and believe it’s essential as humans: writing, drawing, talking about feelings with people I love, screaming into pillows (ha, but so necessary sometimes), and especially dancing and singing, even though I’m really bad at both. I’m also obsessed with florals and secretly wish I could make a career out of ikebana (Japanese floral design), feng shui, and tarot readings.
If you could pick two words to represent your personal mantra, what would they be and why?
Spirit & Strength
These words are so vital in my own life. I tend to be an extreme perfectionist, going all-in and hard all the time. And even though that might be good sometimes, it’s never sustainable or fun in the long run. That’s when the spirit comes in. If I balance and respect my spirit, then I’m able to soften and approach myself with grace. I believe inner strength is a birthright that should be practiced daily, in a variety of ways, upheld and honored with regards to our inner and glowing spirit.
Wanna be featured as the next Wellness Woman? Email us!