Ever since making the career pivot from public relations to nutrition, Annie Gaudreault has been helping women achieve a healthy and empowered lifestyle with VEEV Health & Wellness, a Toronto-based series of programs, guidance, and coaching. As a holistic nutritionist and wellness coach, she specifically focusses on helping women age with vitality and strength by guiding them through making nutritious choices and designing a productive and focused life.
Here, we go through her top wellness tips, her insight on what we can do as young women now to transition smoothly into middle age, and what foods are included in what she calls the “diet of eternal youth.”
Briefly walk us through your career path. How did you get to where you are today?
I started my career quite far from the health world that I am in today! My first job was in public relations. I quickly switched to the branding and design world and worked my way up to owning my own boutique shop for over 15+ years. I loved the creative world, but I knew that there was something more for me, something more closely aligned to my values. That’s why in my early 40s I went back to school to become a nutritionist. It was a fantastic journey and I am so happy that I did as I love what I do now!
What inspired you to specialize in women’s health and wellness?
It is so rewarding to work with women. When you support them, their progress influences their families and their communities. So, the impact that we create is huge.
What sort of programs do you offer at VEEV Health & Wellness?
There are basically two types of services. First, I offer group programs specifically for women looking to ‘reboot’—to lose weight, get back on track with healthier habits, and have more energy. The second is private coaching. An exclusive six-month engagement for those looking for a customized approach especially designed to address unique needs and have more accountability. This is the fast track to health success.
What challenges or hurdles did you face as you grew your practice, and how did you overcome them?
School teaches you about nutrition and lifestyle, but it does not teach you how to find your niche, how to structure your programs, or how to market successfully! I am grateful to my previous career for having had a chance to learn about networking, presenting, and running a business. After 25 years in a previous career, building an entire new network was probably the hardest challenge but I am happy to report that it is progressing nicely.
What are some areas of women’s health that you think are still hush-hush or taboo that you wish we spoke more about?
I would say that the menopause phase is still quite taboo and misunderstood. It can last years, and women are quite misinformed about it. It is high time to normalize this phase of life.
You specialize in helping women age with vitality and strength. How can young women prepare now so that we have a smooth transition into middle age?
I think that building healthy habits from a young age will only help women enjoy the best life possible. It comes down to having great sustainable energy and building resilience for the long run. Making activity part of your life would be a key strategy as well as it helps not only transitioning to menopause, but it helps you mentally and emotionally as well.
What are the six pillars of health that you speak about?
Nutrition, Activity, Supplements, Environmental & Emotional Health, Rest & Rejuvenation and Purpose
How do you personally make sure you stay healthy? Do you have any top wellness tips?
I practice what I preach! I make sure to start my day focusing on myself, establishing my intentions, meditating, and staying away from social media.
I also make activity part of my day to day life. Running, yoga, walking—I love to keep my body moving. And bonus, it really helps with my stress!
Last, I surround myself with people who inspire me and keep me positive. I have become quite good at putting boundaries to protect my time and my energy.
Tell us about the five scientifically proven “forever young” foods.
– Cold water fish (trout, wild salmon, sardines, haddock etc.): their natural high level of Omega 3s is proven to help brain health.
– Nuts (walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds): they nourish the gut, help protect against diabetes, regulate blood pressure levels and protect against inflammation.
– Cruciferous veggies: (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts): excellent for the gut, high in fiber and rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
– Olive oil: (extra virgin, cold pressed): it increases the “good cholesterol” and heart health.
– Mushrooms: they contain antioxidants and “anti aging” compounds. They also feed your gut which supports your immune system.
What are your tips on being more productive and focused?
The biggest strategy is to always have a concrete plan and remove the distractions. Turn off notifications, move your phone to another room, and schedule everything. The second strategy is to take breaks around 45 minutes for longer tasks. Try a five-minute walk outside, a gentle stretch, and getting a green tea!
Why do you think it’s super important to pay attention to nutrition?
It’s your primary account for your energy and vitality—now and forever! It’s an ongoing investment. It determines how you feel, how much you can focus and learn. It also affects your mental and emotional health. It truly is essential to not take this for granted.
What do you love about your job?
The best part is that I get to see people’s lives transforming. Cliché but true! I see them transform from limitations to infinite possibilities. It is the most rewarding part of my job for sure!
What is a regular day-in-the-life like for you?
Part of my time is spent working directly with clients. I also block time to market myself. I network, I speak at events (virtually of course!) and dedicate a lot of time to create exciting presentations. I also dedicate time to learning as I am in a field where you are never done with your education. I read the latest research on nutrition, lifestyle, and everything to do with healthy aging. I am a real geek!
Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
Speaking and contributing internationally and spreading the word about how women can age with vitality and strength! Spending time with my partner in different places in the world depending on the time of year, staying active and engaged.