334: Food Story

Elise Museles And Ashley James

Everyone has a food story. To those who don’t know what a food story is, it’s mainly about eating psychology and how we look at food. My guest today, Elise Museles, is a Certified Eating Psychology and Nutrition Expert and will show us how to have a healthy relationship with food.

Childhood Years

When Elise Museles was young, she would eat when she was hungry and not think twice about all the fresh food available. When she was nine years old, she went to the doctor’s office with her mom. There she heard her mom whispering with the doctor.

Elise Museles was then told that if she loses five pounds, she can get my ears pierced which she wanted so badly then. So, at nine years old, Elise Museles went on her first diet. She exercised as well and eventually lost weight.

Around the same time, Elise Museles’ dad had a habit of sleepwalking and eating. So, they tried to remedy it by locking up the fridge. From that experience, Elise Museles thought that food is best kept under lock and key. And it’s something that is needed to be controlled.

“I tried every diet and outsourced my inner guidance. It was all about what were the experts saying. I had that whole cortisol effect,” recalls Elise Museles.

Defining Moments

Elise Museles eventually went to law school, practiced immigration law but was still interested in Nutrition. After she had kids, Elise Museles ended up not practicing law and pursued Nutrition instead.

Elise Museles says her defining path was when I met her boyfriend who eventually became her husband. However, because he was uncomfortable watching Elise Museles not having fun with food, they broke up.

“I went back to California where I was from. And that’s when I knew I had to heal my relationship with food. So, I turned to a more vegan lifestyle and started cooking for myself. We got back together, got married and had children,” Elise Museles shared.

Elise Museles’ second defining moment was when she got pregnant and had to learn about this whole listen to your body thing. She was vegan at the time and recalled craving turkey.

“It was a battle versus my head and my body. I had to start to listen to my body, and I felt so much better,” said Elise Museles. “Then I realized also that I couldn’t pass down an unhealthy food story to my children.”

Pursuing Nutrition

Elise Museles left her law career to pursue Nutrition. She wanted to help other people become comfortable with their food choices and make food less of a drama. She eventually got certified in Holistic Health, worked a lot with people with what was on their plate.

“It’s not about telling people what to eat. There’s something else. And that’s when I turned to get certified in Eating Psychology. It was a huge game changer in my journey, my own food story and the way I could help and serve people,” said Elise Museles.

The biggest thing Elise Museles learned was about how our thoughts can impact our digestion, metabolism, and pleasure. You are what you eat, but you also are what you think.

“So, I knew I wanted to help people shift their minds. Looking back, I realized our food stories aren’t our own. Food Story also a part of the people that we share our meals with,” said Elise Museles.

Kale and Chocolate

Elise Museles says she was the kale and her husband was the chocolate. She claims she didn’t like chocolate until she met her husband. Now Elise Museles eats dark chocolate every day. And she can see how they became kale and chocolate together.

“It’s proof that whether you are aware or not, your food story is being shared. And you are picking on the food story of other people along the way, too,” said Elise Museles.

Where To Start

We have complex and layered relationships. So sometimes, Elise Museles tells people to start by making their kitchen more of a sanctuary. Ultimately, you want your kitchen to be a place where you are excited about being there. And that the food in there is going to help you make the choices that you know will make you feel good.

“Seeing things organized makes you feel good. You want food that makes you happy in there,” Elise Museles said. “And what makes you happy is what makes you feel good.  It’s pretty hard to create a meal unless you have all the foundations right at your disposal.”

She adds, “It does require some work at the beginning, but it is so worth it. Use Nature as your guide, and it will answer the question of what you will eat or at least get you started.”

Food Guilt

Instead of feeling guilty about something, Elise Museles advises to get curious instead of judging yourself. She says this is a huge part of creating a healthy relationship with food and with yourself. Because when you can put on that detective hat, you don’t wait too long in between meals. And being curious is a great way to be able to change those unhealthy habits.

“The guilt is a cycle that serves no productive purpose. I think we create food guilt because of all the rules that we set up for ourselves. And the labels of good and bad. There is no such thing as a perfect diet,” said Elise Museles. 

Furthermore, Elise Museles says guilt damages you emotionally. It also has an impact on our physiology. When we have negative thoughts, that’s when our cortisol levels jump. A lot of guilt and shame comes from the internal dialogue that we’re having with ourselves.

“So be aware how you are talking to yourself. Having a conversation with yourself when you’re not in the moment helps you be equipped to have the same conversation with yourself when you are in the moment,” Elise Museles explains.

Knowing Your Food Story

Elise Museles didn’t realize the depth of her food story or precisely what her food story was until she started doing the work. She called it a food story because a story has a flow. It’s constantly evolving.

“And I like for people to start thinking how they are, how they eat and how they think about food as part of their story. I think it brings a little bit more energy to food and the way we feel about it,” Elise Museles said.

In starting your food story right, Elise Museles advises that first, you have to slow down. There’s no way you could recognize or realize what the habits that aren’t serving you until you can slow down and create that awareness is.

“When you slow down, you can take a deep breath and look at yourself more objectively.  Sit at the table one or two meals a day,” said Elise Museles. “It makes you realize that you can have such a huge impact on the choices that you make and the way you feel after a meal.”

She adds, “If you care about your health, it is something that you have to make a priority. And if that means scheduling it into your calendar, do that first step.”

Learning How To Cook

Elise Museles recommends making cooking as simple as possible because she believes that people then become empowered.

“Smoothies in the morning are not very hard. Start simple and basic and keep going. Have realistic expectations,” Elise Museles said. 

She adds, “Cooking is healing. It is healthier for you and saves money. If you care about your health, it is something that you have to make a priority. The greatest gift you can give your kids is teaching them how to cook.” 

Food Choices

Elise Museles loves sweet potatoes. They are great for serotonin production. To make it easier, she says you can make a sweet potato dish ahead of time like meal prepping on Sunday.

“I have two recipes on my website. One is a fiesta one which has tomatoes, zucchini, and corn. I use black beans as a protein source. You can sauté all the filling and add some cilantro or jalapeno as a topping,” suggests Elise Museles. 

She adds, “The other is Moroccan spice. Other spices you can use are cumin and turmeric. Again, sauté whatever vegetables but I do a Moroccan spice chickpea with it. It’s an easy dinner to make in 30 minutes and have some leftover for the rest of the week.”

Elise Museles says soups, on the other hand, are very forgiving. She also stressed the importance of teaching people the whole concept of meal prep and having food ready and waiting.

“It’s such a great way to go into your week. I have a ton of soup recipes and topping that list is my Coconut Curry Soup. Because it’s easy and it’s fun, warming, has spices and anti-inflammatory. So, if you want to protect your immune system it has it all,” Elise Museles recommends.

For a quick snack or dessert, Elise Museles suggests sautéing apples with some coconut oil. Then add some cinnamon and a little drizzle of nut butter. Elise Museles sometimes tops it with raspberries. She says it’s so empowering to think about what food can do for you and not to you.

Once Upon A Food Story Podcast

Elise Museles’ podcast just launched in January. According to her food stories are a great way to connect and to heal because everybody has something interesting to share.

Elise Museles also has some new programs on creating a healthy food story for your family and loved ones. Apart from that, she also has an Instagram account, a blog, as well as some food story books and recipe books that are worth checking out.

There’s also a free e-book on her website called Five Easy Ways To Stop Stressing About Food. Elise Museles says it’s an excellent place to start re-writing your food story so make sure you check that out as well.

“Be flexible. Allow yourself not to get stuck in the rules. It’s all about evolving and allowing yourself to do so. The story is always changing. It’s a more freeing way to live,” said Elise Museles.


Elise Museles is a Certified Eating Psychology and Nutrition Expert, creator of the Food Story platform and host of the podcast, Once Upon a Food Story. As an author, speaker and health coach, Elise Museles’ mission is to empower women to create a healthier relationship with food and their bodies by changing what’s on their plate – and what’s in their minds. 

Elise Museles’ newly-launched podcast, Once Upon A Food Story, shares the “Food Stories” of leading health experts such as Kimberly Snyder, Dr. Frank Lipman, Robyn Youkilis and more. She’s also the best-selling author of Whole Food Energy: 200 All-Natural Recipes to Help You Prepare, Refuel, and Recover (Barron’s Educational Series, January 2016). 

Elise Museles earned many professional nutrition and psychology credentials, and became a Certified Holistic Health Coach from the Institutive of Integrative Nutrition, Certified Eating Psychology Coach from the Institute for Psychology of Eating, Certified Integrative Nutrition Expert from Purchase College, SUNY, and Certified Plant-Based Nutrition Expert from Cornell University. She also developed and taught a program Cook INN Together, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Elise Museles is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health grant and serves on the Board of Directors of Environmental Working Group, the nation’s leading organization for making safer choices and creating positive momentum for American health/wellness initiatives. 

As the chair of the Development Committee, Elise Museles connects with the industry’s most influential thought leaders. Her advice and recipes have also appeared in major publications and books, including the New York Times Best-Selling book Gutbliss, The Microbiome Solution, The Naughty Diet, The Reducetarian Solution, Real Fit Kitchen, and the upcoming book, The Courage to Rise.

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Food Story – Elise Museles & Ashley James – #334

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Ashley James

Health Coach, Podcast Creator, Homeschooling Mom, Passionate About God & Healing

Ashley James is a Holistic Health Coach, Podcaster, Rapid Anxiety Cessation Expert, and avid Whole Food Plant-Based Home Chef. Since 2005 Ashley has worked with clients to transform their lives as a Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-linguistic Programming.

Her health struggles led her to study under the world’s top holistic doctors, where she reversed her type 2 diabetes, PCOS, infertility, chronic infections, and debilitating adrenal fatigue.

In 2016, Ashley launched her podcast Learn True Health with Ashley James to spread the TRUTH about health and healing. You no longer need to suffer; your body CAN and WILL heal itself when we give it what it needs and stop what is harming it!

The Learn True Health Podcast has been celebrated as one of the top holistic health shows today because of Ashley’s passion for extracting the right information from leading experts and doctors of holistic health and Naturopathic medicine


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