Community Highlight: Kelli Tennant

Community Highlight: Kelli Tennant

Kelli Tennant is a former USC volleyball player and television host who shifted her career and is now the much-adored podcast host of Ceremony Wellness. Through it all, she is a passionate advocate for women. Kelli is invested in journeys with plant medicine, embracing her wild, and helping women find their voice and step into their power. We, at Needed, feel so lucky to call Kelli a friend and partner.

How did your nutrition journey start?

I got really sick when I was 19 years old. I ended up, after 6 months without a diagnosis and being bed-ridden, being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I had to give up my entire college volleyball career and so much of my life I had worked forever to create. It was devastating. As time went on living with autoimmune disease, I did more and more research, and I realized what a critical part nutrition plays in our health. I continued seeking out information on my own, and I worked closely with my Functional medicine and Ayurvedic doctors to heal my leaky gut, microbiome issues, Epstein-Barr Virus, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome through food. I now believe so deeply in the power of nourishing whole foods and the way they can bring us back to life.

What do you find the most rewarding and the most challenging about being in charge of your family’s nutrition?

I am not a mom yet, but my boyfriend and I live together and cook every day. I think, for us, the most rewarding part is trying new things and cooking for each other. It’s such a fun way to show up for each other and show how we care about one another.

The most challenging aspect is definitely keeping up with the amount of food we eat together. We definitely end up shopping quite a bit!  

Of course, there is no magic food that will address all of the nutrition needs of your family, but what are some of your go-tos and why?

We are a mostly paleo, grain-free household. We absolutely love simple meals full of veggies and quality meat. We end up at the Farmer’s Market most Sundays, and grab wild salmon, grass-fed meat, and tons of veggies that are in season. Everything is doused in ghee, hummus, and hot sauce.

What role do supplements play in your approach to nutrition?

I’ve learned that supplements are crucial, especially when healing. The caveat is that not all supplements are created equal and just taking them because your friend said they’re good can be a very slippery slope. Almost everyone is deficient in something or another, and being able to provide your body with what it’s missing - to fully heal or perform optimally - is really important. I get blood work before I take supplements, so that I am really get clear about what my body needs. I don’t want to mindlessly take 30 pills every day. I want to be focused and intentional with what I’m consuming, and provide my body with what it actually needs.

What are your go-to daily supplements?

Of course, the new Needed Omega-3 Powder! High quality, easy to take, and not a pill? Sign me up. I also love Energybits. They have spirulina and chlorella, which are incredible for detoxing, recovery, and inflammation. I also take Vitamin D, Vitamin C, 5-MTHF folate, zinc, Vitamin A, GABA, L-Theanine, and Rhodiola.

What dream product do you wish existed, but you can’t seem to find?

A vitamin that is tailored to the needs of people with autoimmune disease. When you’re really sick, it’s incredibly difficult to take all of the pills to address your deficiencies, all the time. It would be so much better to have liposomal options that cover 5-6 supplements in one. Healing would be much more tangible.

We are interested in exploring nourishment at the intersection of food, family, community. Can you tell us a story about an especially nourishing meal that you had alone or shared with others?

My boyfriend Conner and I were recently invited to our friend’s house for dinner. It was the most magical night, with food from Paleo Chef Mary Shenouda. Not only was the meal next-level, but the wine was clean and delicious, we were outside in a beautiful backyard, and not one person even had their phone near them for 6 hours. The conversation was so connected and present, and I remember just feeling so grateful as it was happening and acknowledging how rare that experience is these days.

What books have influenced your personal nutrition education the most?

The Rain Barrel Effect by Dr. Stephen Cabral, It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne, Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe.
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