ST. PETERSBURG, Fla .– Alexis Holland walks through the produce department at St. Petersburg’s Rollin ‘Oats Market, picking a turnip here, testing a squash for maturity there.
“I really like that this store focuses on organic products,” she said, placing a water bottle in her basket.
What would you like to know
- Alexis Holland is a yoga teacher, chef and food consultant
- His company Living By Intention teaches healthier lifestyles, including diet
- She teaches online and in-person courses on how to prepare complete meals.
This 27-year-old yoga instructor, chef, and healthy life coach selects ingredients for a vegan macaroni and cheese recipe and gives an impromptu lesson on eating well while shopping. Its holistic lifestyle brand, Living by intention, offers online and in-person cooking classes and a host of other wellness services, and its upcoming series “Redefining Soul Food” focuses on reimagining home favorites.
She grabs a bottle of organic salad dressing from the shelf, pointing out its very short, ostensibly chemical-free ingredient list (“the first four are what it’s mostly made of”), then bends down to put some nutritional yeast in it. a compostable bag, saying that its cheese flavor will replace, well, the cheese in its recipe. She also goes for chickpea pasta rather than the usual variety derived from grains.
“People can’t tell the difference, it has that pasta texture,” she says.
Holland is dedicated to helping people live better and longer lives through movement, nutrition and mindfulness. She has been teaching yoga for a decade and has studied with the South West Institute of the Healing Arts and Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She says her determination comes from watching and trying to break the cycle of unhealthy habits she’s seen in her own family.
“Everyone in my family suffers from heart disease, diabetes, intestinal imbalances, and we used to die very young from these lifestyle diseases,” she says. “So at a very young age I knew I had to do something about it. I knew I had to change the way I eat because that was the common thread.
One of the main components of Dutch concierge services is to “mend people’s relationships with food” by raising awareness of tasty alternatives to processed products and creating healthier eating habits. She believes there are changes anyone can make to help improve their quality of life, even those on a budget.
“Eating healthier costs a bit more, but that being said, it all depends on how you budget and what you spend,” she says. “If you sacrifice healthy eating because you like going out to the bar or like shopping for new clothes every week, I’m going to challenge you on that. We spend so much money on material things that won’t get us anywhere in life, but spending just a few more dollars will give you quality food and it will help prevent disease and create longevity. I mean, the benefits are astronomical for just shifting your budget a bit. As a resourceful woman at this time of my life, I can tell you that if I can afford to eat healthy, everyone can. “
A few days later, Holland is in the test kitchen of the Tampa coworking space. Hyde House, shooting a video while she prepares her not-so-cheesy recipe.
“I feel like [mac and cheese] is the choice of a lot of families, especially if they want to do something quick, do something easy, ”she said on camera. “But let’s be honest, we’ve all been coming out of Mac Kraft in the box since we were kids.”
As a pot of water heats up to a boil, Holland covers up the healthy ingredients she brought in: roasted chickpeas for texture, unbleached garlic powder, and roasted butternut squash – the “ingredient” secret ”of its sauce. She describes them in detail and goes through each step of the process for those who will be subscribing to the online courses for “Redefining Soul Food,” explaining why she prefers certain brands and techniques.
The test kitchen is filled with a seductive aroma that certainly smells more of natural cooking than what comes out of a box of seashells and cheese sauce. After about half an hour, she’s finished with a healthy and enticing dish that some tasters might not even realize doesn’t have any of the chemicals in their favorite comfort food.
“It’s the way I cook,” says Holland. “Use whole foods to prepare the soul food you love. And let me tell you, it is possible.