Ashley Cox: Nutritionist, food coach & blogger

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Bio:

Ashley Cox is a Nutritionist, who is passionate about all aspects of health.  She has a degree in psychology and nutrition and is passionate about educating people about the mind/body approach to food and happiness, and how the interrelationships between them both feed into every facet of our lives. Ashley’s aim in life is to live as healthy, mindfully and as holistically as she can and to help others accept themselves, others and their choices to lead healthy, whole lives. You can follow her on Instagram @bodymindfull 

What do I do best?

I listen. It’s never come that naturally for me to talk openly about how I feel and what I want in every situation or circumstance, I’ve always been a better listener.  It’s amazing what you learn about people when you allow them to talk.  It’s a good trait to have in my career, being able to listen to people’s wants and needs helps me to tailor specific meal plans and approaches to individuals.  

What makes me the best version of myself?

Perseverance. When I want something, I don’t stop until I get it.  Whether it’s a job, learning something new through online learning or a university course, or even learning to host my own website.  I’m not content until I have achieved what I set out to achieve. Which means that I am OK if things don’t happen straight away. I am a big believer in time and perseverance – and that nothing truly worth having comes that easily or fast.   

Physical exercise also makes me the best version of myself. It calms my mind and helps with my anxiety prone personality. Whether it’s a walk, run, HIIT session, pilates or swim – I am the happiest, most productive and calm when I am active. Understanding this about myself played a big role in the early development of my holistic approach to health and wellness.      

What are my aspirations?

I aspire to create change. Change in the way people view health, and change in the way people see and treat themselves. Eating nutritious, wholefoods is not solely about losing weight – neither is exercising. For far too long, people have pushed their health to the side because our bodies are so good at surviving in the short term. However, the state of ill-health now in many countries, is almost considered an epidemic.

Eating healthy food is about nourishing your body to perform at its best; physically, biologically, cognitively and for the long term. So is exercise… exercise and movement is not just to lose those three kilos to fit into your summer dresses, it’s about encouraging mobility, strength, flexibility, and bone density to ensure our bodies are strong enough to carry us through whatever life throws at us.  I use this approach when I work with clients. It’s not just about developing a meal plan and sending them on their way, it’s about trying to change thoughts and behaviours that were formed so early in our lives, we can’t remember why or even if, we still believe in them.   

I would also love to eventually work with children, in schools. Creating this awareness and understanding from a young age, will help to change how we think about health in the long term.  I would love to work with schools to introduce holistic health awareness into school curriculums.  It needs to become the norm that we are aware and interested in our health. Everything from growing and cooking our own food, to moving daily and being kind to ourselves. Children are our future!

My Biggest Success?

Finishing my degree and post-graduate studies and starting my own business on the side of another full-time job. I’m also proud of myself for learning how to be business savvy, both online and in person and smart with social media. It’s going to be a continuous form of growth and discovery, but I’m ready for it and have proven to myself that I can rise to the challenge and accomplish tasks that have previously been really overwhelming and scary for me.    

My Most Challenging Moment?

Completing a half marathon in July 2017.  I was in a bad car accident when I was 25 where I fractured my sacrum and was left with bad nerve damage in my back.  Before I was in the accident I was an avid runner however as a result of my accident I was unable to run for 4 years, in fact for the first 6 months post my accident, it was hard for me to walk, sit or even stand for too long at any one time.  After years of rehabilitation, strength training, set-backs, and perseverance - I was strong enough to start running again in April 2016.

When I decided to train for a half marathon in March 2017, I chose to listen to my body very closely throughout because I didn’t want to injure myself or aggravate past injuries. It meant I had to push the training out mid-way through for a month as I was increasing the load on my body too fast, but I’m glad I did. What is one month in scheme of things?  This was my most challenging moment, because I had emotionally become so invested in completing this race, I knew that if I did, I could train and complete a full marathon eventually which is something I have wanted to do for so many years.  It was also one of the hardest mentally challenging tasks I have ever completed.  When you are racing that distance, you’ve gotten your body strong enough to complete the task, the hardest hurdle is dealing with your internal chatter.  The mind is a very powerful negotiator – my brain told me everything on that run, from “you’re not going to complete this, may as well stop now” to, “you’re in pain, can’t you feel it? May as well stop now and prevent further injury” to the constant screaming in my head to stop… I kept breathing, kept running and knew that I owned my thoughts, and that I wasn’t going to give in to them.

When I finished that run, I had never felt so accomplished…  I can honestly say, it was the hardest thing I have ever done.

My Motto?

Have courage, and be kind.  

It is my mantra when I’m feeling down.  It reminds me to be kind to myself as well as others. Learning to be kind to yourself is hard because we have been taught to always strive to do better and more.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing however we have to remember to take it easy on ourselves because if we don’t, we miss the signals and cues our bodies use to tell us we are struggling. Whether it’s a headache, trouble sleeping, over eating – you name it.  If we dismiss the cues for too long, we end up unhealthy, unhappy and potentially on the way to chronic illness.  

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My dad is both a role model and my favourite person. It’s from him that I get my passion (and ability) to cook, constantly learn and stay up to date with technology! He is seriously ten times more tech savvy than I am. 

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

This may seem boring – but I love my home.  I’m quite introverted in that I thrive in my own personal space. One of my favourite things to do, is to be at home and let my creativity around food and cooking come out.  I have the best ideas when I am in my own environment and I can achieve so much in an afternoon whether I’m creating and testing recipes, meal plans, or even mapping out my future goals and how to achieve them.  

I also love the beach – I love the sun, the sound of the surf, and the calm and carefree attitude that being at the beach encourages.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Foam Roller – I swear by my foam roller, I use it every second day and sometimes daily.

Blender, I have had a long-term relationship with my blender and it has served me well! Of course, I love making smoothies, but it’s great for making and blending soups and even ingredients for raw treats and desserts.

My Current Passions?

Perfecting sourdough bread.  I’ve had a starter going in my fridge since January 2017, and I only now feel as though my bread is at the point that I’m happy with. Before making my own sourdough, I never understood the passion many bread makers had for the process. But let me tell you, It’s addictive!! Learning how the different hydration percentages, time proving, heat of the room etc all affect the end-product, is so fascinating!   

Learning to grow my own vegetables.  I have been known to kill cactus – which is supposedly impossible to kill. So last summer when I successfully kept my tomatoes alive and lived off my lettuce and Asian greens, was one of the most exciting accomplishments! I changed my crop in winter and have learnt even more, so I can’t wait to continue to get better and better at growing different vegetables.

Another passion of my mine currently is creating my own meals and recipes, and photographing them and putting them on my website. I do the whole process myself, from the recipe creation to testing and trialing the food, before styling it for my photographs and then writing it all up and making it look aesthetically pleasing online. I learn more each time I do it, and it’s fun!