We’ve all met those preachy vegans. You know, those who make us feel inadequate for being anything less than the epitome of healthy eating. Terra Milo is not one of those. Milo, a health coach, says it’s OK to eat sweets every once in a while. Guilt is not her currency.
“I’m not a judg-ey vegan, but there’s that idea that vegans are really judgmental,” says Milo, whose lifestyle doesn’t necessarily include rigorous exercise or discipline, but rather common sense, fun and enjoying what you eat.
“I love sweets, I don’t run,” she admits. “I make it normal to be healthy, even make it fun.” If you want to eat fries, “don’t beat yourself up,” she says.
For some of her clients, Milo works on coaching more than eating habits. She also provides assistance with career choices, spirituality and overall health. One of her clients was able to find a new job, because Milo helped her reduce her stress levels and gain more confidence. Another recent client was able to finally break the cycle of “yo-yo” dieting to the point where she now craves healthy food.
Along with its obvious health risks, eating poorly also affects a person’s confidence, says Milo. “When you go through the drive through, you’re not thrilled about that decision, but when you make food for yourself and it tastes good, you feel good about yourself.”
She warns against fad diets, which merely amount to chasing numbers rather than focusing on healthy and enjoyable eating.
As for her own personal diet, Milo likes to follow food rules set up by Michael Pollan, journalist and author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma“: “fewer than four ingredients, everything is pronounceable, and if it has a label, it’s probably not that great.” She prefers to eat whole, real food that you can make for yourself in the kitchen.
And it doesn’t have to be expensive, either. In fact, Milo’s husband, Greg, chair of the social studies department at Hoban High School, also is vegan. (And his regular Akronist column “Working Class Vegan Man” explores low-cost ways to eat healthy.)
Vegan food like beans and whole grains are much cheaper than meat and dairy products, she admits, adding that she often encourages clients to cook once for multiple meals.
Milo was originally a vegetarian, but found out that dairy contributed to migraines. She looks at a healthy diet as an overall mindfulness of how food affects a person.
For those interested in healthy living, Milo starts with a free consultation and helps set goals, including sharing recipes and making changes a little bit at a time. One example of mindfulness is when she tells her clients to chew food 50 times before swallowing it, which clients at first resist but are thankful in the end for the sensory experience.
She’s hosting a a complimentary menu-planning workshop at lululemon downtown (21 Furnace St.) at 6:30 p.m. (Register here.)
Milo also is hosting a free Webinar for summer eating Aug. 10 at 7:30 p.m. The Webinar will cover the best ways to stay hydrated (without sugary energy drinks) and some healthy alternatives to ice cream. (Register here.)