Laura Lea Goldberg is a certified holistic health coach and chef living and working right here in Nashville. After quitting her corporate job in NYC (which she studied for ever-so-diligently at UVA), she enrolled in the National Gourmet Institute and developed a passion for a plant-based diet and healthy lifestyle. She and her husband, Max Goldberg, moved to Nashville where he works as co-owner of successful restaurant group, Strategic Hospitality. After Max spoke in one of my Vandy classes, I had the incredible opportunity to get in touch with him and his wife, Laura.
What is a typical day of food like for you?
Oh man, it really depends on what’s going on in my life! Right now I’m cookbook testing, so my meals are all over the place and different most days—I’m having to give a lot of food away to friends and family (no complaints yet though :)). When I have a day of administrative work or writing ahead of me and can’t bother to be creative with meals, there are some staples that I rely on. I usually start my day with lemon water and Kirkland brand green tea (the BEST) or a Dandy Blend latte. Then it's an avocado and runny egg on toast with a green smoothie for breakfast, canned wild tuna salad with Mary’s Gone Crackers and some kind of roasted veggie for lunch (I always keep them on hand), and whatever leftovers are lying around reheated plus a salad from our garden for dinner. I do a lot of big-batch cooking on the weekends for our dinners so I can focus creating new recipes! Some of our favorites are my Crockpot Salsa Beef, Turkey Jalapeño Meatloaf, Baked Crunchy Chicken Tenders, Sesame Noodles and Curry Lentil Stew. I almost always have snacks between meals, either fruit with almond butter, hummus and veggies, kale chips, roasted nuts or grass-fed beef jerky. I usually end the day with a little treat—berries topped with coconut milk and cinnamon or a scoop of organic peanut butter.
Dietary restrictions are on the rise with people becoming gluten and dairy free, vegetarian and even vegan when they do not need to be. Do you follow any of these lifestyles?
Great question, and no, I really make a point not to fall into any one prescribed “type” of eating, for myself or my clients. I believe firmly in bio-individuality—that we all have different needs and preferences based on factors such as lifestyle, genetics, work, environment, stress levels, etc. Dairy gives me pimples and my husband doesn’t love cheese (I know, what?!), so we don’t do too much dairy, but some people thrive with grass-fed whole milk yogurt or kefir in their routine. Neither of us are gluten-sensitive, but we really don’t eat much of it—there are just so many other fun and scrumptious foods to play with! Plus, much of our country’s wheat is over-processed and does cause intolerances in a lot of people, so I like to spend time creating options for them. We’re all on differences places on a spectrum, and ultimately I want people paying attention to their own bodies and eat according to what makes them feel best! Focus on real, whole foods whenever possible, and don’t stress about it. Food isn’t good, bad, right or wrong, it’s food, and it should be enjoyed!
What is your favorite recipe from your blog?
That’s like asking for a favorite child!!!!! If I could only share one with the world though, currently it would be my Holy Fudge Black Bean Brownies, because they are so shockingly good for being made primarily from beans! They are seriously amazing, and they’ve helped a lot of people wean off of refined sugar. I also have to give a shout out to my Almond Tarragon Chicken Salad, because it’s a really delicious and healthy play on a classic Southern dish, where I use avocado instead of most of the mayo!
What are your favorite Nashville hot-spots when you go out to eat?
Well, I’m pretty biased, as my husband co-owns a local restaurant group called Strategic Hospitality, and I’m his/their #1 fan! I love the seasonal soups and Avocado Toast at Pinewood Social, and my favorite dinner combination at the moment is the Bibb Salad and the burger at Le Sel—yes, I love a good burger! If I’m not at a Strategic spot though, I adore the veggie burger from Sunflower Cafe, The Red Pepper Soup at Epice (as a starter), the Spring Rolls at the Juice Bar, which has lots of locations, and everything on the menu at Little Octopus in East Nashville.
What are your favorite workouts and how often do you exercise?
I used to be really into intense cardio, and then a year ago I hurt my back working with a personal trainer. The only thing that I could do was yoga, so I took myself to Sanctuary in Green Hills somewhat grudgingly. Fast-forward to today, and I am completely IN LOVE with yoga. It has changed my life in so many ways, and every time in step in the space I feel calmer and supported by all the positive energy. When I don't do yoga, I take long walks in my neighborhood, especially when the weather is beautiful! I actually feel more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have, since I changed the type of exercise I do. I also want to give a shout out to Barre3—the owner, Holly, is amazing, and it’s a fabulous workout.
The photos on your blog and Instagram are amazing! Do you take your own photos, and if so do you use a camera or an iPhone?
Thank you!!! That’s so sweet! I have a lot of fun with it. I use my iPhone for 85% of my photos, with a smattering of my professional DSLR. I play with VSCO and use a filter on there, and I just try to be thoughtful about lighting and angle. It’s actually made me really appreciate plating my food beautifully before eating it, and I make a point to do so even when I’m not going to ‘gram it!