By: Jennifer Cole
For 22-year-old Gaby Nunez, an environmental engineering major at UF, the diagnosis of an endocrine-related disorder (on top of another gastrointestinal disease that she has battled since 2006) led the Miami-native to make an entire lifestyle change. At first, she joined Weight Watchers and developed a blog to connect with others and share recipes. However, in January, she began a unique program called Whole30, which emphasizes a high-fat/high-protein and low-carb/low-glycemic diet. Nunez has kept her blog throughout her journey, sharing tips, inspiration and meal ideas with her 21,300 Instagram followers. She gives Orange & Blue the exclusive behind her @wholefoodblog, who inspires her and a quick and easy five-minute, Gaby-approved recipe.
OB: What is the premise behind your blog and how did it get started?
GN: I started my Instagram account about a year ago when I signed up for Weight Watchers. Though I no longer follow the WW program, @wholefoodblog is a glance at my ongoing journey with health, food and fitness. I do tend to keep the focus on food, but I like sharing bits and pieces of my personal life in order to connect with people and show them that it’s possible for a full-time college student (or anyone who’s always busy and has a million excuses) to lead a healthy lifestyle.
OB: What is Whole30, and why did you decide to adopt this lifestyle?
GN: Whole30 is a 30-day program that’s very similar to Paleo: no grains, no legumes (beans, peanuts), no dairy or soy. The biggest difference between Whole30 and Paleo is that Whole30 doesn’t allow sugar or sweeteners of any kind (not even natural sweeteners – only fruit). It places a lot of emphasis on the psychological effects of food and aims to eradicate that “sugar dragon” many of us struggle with. The idea is to foster good habits for 30 days straight and hopefully end up with a balanced and sustainable relationship with food.
OB: What’s the biggest challenge about being a food blogger?
GN: Sometimes I just want to sit down and eat like a normal person without photographing my food first.
OB: Where’s your favorite place to grocery shop in Gainesville?
GN: Trader Joe’s.
OB: Your fridge is always stocked with…
GN: Fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, almond milk and a few types of meat!
OB: What’s your guilty pleasure (Whole30 not approved)?
GN: Desserts and just sweets in general! I love pretty much all of it: ice cream, cookies, brownies, cupcakes and anything chocolate…I could go on forever. I think when people see health food bloggers on Instagram it’s easy to assume that we just don’t like those sorts of things. But I really do! Thanks to Whole30 though, I’m capable of recognizing when the splurges are worth it to me and when they’re not.
OB: Who inspires you?
GN: I’m sure it’s not surprising to learn that I find a ton of inspiration on Instagram! One of my favorite Instagram accounts is @fittlyss. She’s a college student and also has a hormonal disorder, so her story really resonates with me. I also love @wayofgray because she preaches balance and self-love no matter what stage of the process you’re in. I’ve made real-life friendships thanks to Instagram, and they inspire me on a daily basis.
Gaby’s Five-Minute Lunch
1/2 an avocado, sliced in 4
4 slices of sugar-free prosciutto
2 big handfuls of mixed greens
1/4 of a large green apple, finely sliced
1-2 tbsp raw walnuts
1/2 tsp chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp honey (or lemon juice for Whole30)
Pink Himalayan salt
Lay a slice of prosciutto on a flat surface and place a piece of avocado at one end. Season lightly with garlic powder and roll firmly. Repeat with other 3 avocado pieces. In a medium bowl, add mixed greens, apples, walnuts and chia seeds. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and honey or lemon juice. Add dressing to salad and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss until evenly coated and then serve with avocado/prosciutto slices.
(Photo Courtesy of Gaby Nunez)