For our KNESKO Visionary series, we bring a spotlight to trailblazers who champion innovative approaches to overall well-being. Meet Shauna Faulisi (@shaunafaulisi), a New York-based nutritionist and celebrity chef who is renowned for her accessible approach to holistic health. 

Upon finishing nutrition school in 2016, Shauna began working and juggling three jobs when she was introduced to an actress who asked for her help in getting ready for a movie. Instead, Shauna found herself not only cooking her meals but those of the entire television crew. This opportunity ultimately became a stepping stone for her future professional and personal success. Fast forward to today, Shauna has gained a loyal online following and high-profile clientele. She shares with us the basics of nutrition for overall well-being and beautiful skin by introducing us to her approach to healthy and mindful eating, the Soul Wellness Method

Read on for our interview with Shauna:

Shauna, please tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work! 

I’m a nutritionist and wellness chef, usually based in New York City but in Miami for the winter. I work with private clients on nutrition and meal plans, and also run Soul Wellness Method, an online membership community which offers a six pillar methodology with the intention to live a healthy life, one that is full of fun, freedom, and no dogma. The six pillars of the Soul Wellness Method are nutrition, movement, inner voice, self-expression, community, and alone time. We need all of those things in our lives to feel balanced. The monthly Soul Wellness Method membership is $11, and every month you receive new recipes and get used to the principles of having protein, fat, and fiber at each meal, delicious gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free foods, while still enjoying a variety of flavors and cuisines.

How did you develop the Soul Wellness Method?

Soul Wellness Method was created out of my own journey of disorderly eating in my teens and twenties. I grew up doing ballet and competitive dancing and was really in touch with who I was. At 19, I moved to Manhattan, supporting myself and feeling a deep urge to fit in. I completely lost sight of who I was for six years and it wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles where I started to slow down my lifestyle. I started cooking for myself, making smoothies. All of a sudden my skin was clearing up, I was losing weight and had more energy. I was going to dance classes again and connected with parts of me that I really hadn’t connected with for six years. This led to my epiphany to go to nutrition school, and combining my love for helping people, being of service and wellness. While in school, I came up with the name Soul Wellness Method, because this way of living, of being gentle with ourselves, all leads us back to who we truly know we are deep within our soul. 

What’s your philosophy on clean eating? How do you feel about all the different diets, such as Keto and Paleo, that are out there? 

Conventionally packaged foods like chips are designed by food scientists with a perfect combination of sugar, fat, salt, etc., with the intention to keep us hooked and coming back for more.  When we have these packaged foods, the reward center in our brain lights up, which is the same one responding to drugs and alcohol. It makes us want to keep coming back and having more. When we start making and eating our own foods, those cravings go away. I have nothing against keto, paleo or other diets per se. There’s something to learn from all of them. But I don’t like being put into a box. I think it’s really restrictive and my philosophy is, “we’re living, we should be enjoying ourselves and have an incredible time in our lives.” So instead, I recommend for you to define your short and long-term goals. For example, I want to de-bloat and lose a couple of pounds for an upcoming event. That is a short-term goal of mine, meaning it will not go on forever. 

How do you feel about all these new meal delivery companies for people that don’t have time to cook? 

I think it’s worth experimenting yourself first what works best for you, for example, try a grain-free, gluten-free, or dairy-free diet, before investing in those services. In my online community I provide those recipes, which eliminates all the guesswork. That way, you know exactly what ingredients you need to buy and then you can find a service in line with what feels best for you. 

What does your virtual kitchen clean-out service look like and what should kitchens have for a foundation of good health?

During the virtual clean-out, you take me into your kitchen via FaceTime, and we go through your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Before we do that, we talk about your goals, current lifestyle, and any allergies you might have. Together, we figure out what you use the most, what foods can be swapped for healthier versions and what you can throw out. Additionally, I give you a list of things that I think would be beneficial for you to have in your pantry. 

What are your general recommendations for a kitchen clean-out? 

Throw away any vegetable and canola oils, and only keep extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, geese, and grass-fed butter. Highly processed oils, like canola oil are highly inflammatory and can lead to degenerative diseases. I personally cook with extra-virgin olive oil. When it comes to cooking, make sure you have vegetables, proteins and fats in the house to cook with. 

What about foods for healthy skin? What are your favorite foods for natural, glowing skin?

Water is a really big one for glowing skin. I can’t stress water enough, staying hydrated. My recommendation for an active person is to drink one ounce of water for every pound of body weight. For me that’s about one gallon. If that’s not possible, then at the very least half an ounce of water for every pound of bodyweight, which is about half a gallon a day. Also: sleep. I know it’s not food, but sleep is really important to healing our skin because it manages your stress. And when we’re stressed, it shows up on our skin. Lastly, avocado and extra virgin olive oil, blueberries, and above-ground leafy vegetables are amazing for skin. 

What is your go-to smoothie or shake?

I have something called a Glow Smoothie, which I have every day. It is low-sugar and keeps me satiated all day. It is made out of avocado, a hand full of spinach, about a quarter to a half cup of blueberries, flaxseed, and then your choice of protein and whatever liquid you like. My go-to is vanilla collagen. Primal Kitchen makes a great one. I recommend Ancient Nutrition and Bulletproof as well. If you can handle whey, that is wonderful, as it packs a lot of protein. 

When starting your Soul Wellness Method, what was the biggest discovery you’ve learned?

I’ve learned that we can’t always have plans for the future. Sometimes we get led into unpredictable directions and we should be open for that. I never thought I would cook. I never ever thought I was going to have a meal delivery service, and yet it led me to where I am today. 

My last question is for those that are starting on their wellness journey: is there one tip that you can recommend for them?

Start slow, be gentle and really honest with yourself. If you know one thing that isn’t serving you anymore, make a commitment to remove or modify it in a way that feels good for you.