Spend 45 minutes in a spin class led by CycleBar Exton general manager and wellness influencer Ashley Robertson, and you’re guaranteed to leave feeling inspired, invigorated and rejuvenated. Her energy is infectious, and if you follow her on social media, you’ll get an inside look into what fuels her: food.
Robertson wasn’t always the motivating powerhouse she is today. “I had crippling anxiety, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, stomach pain and head fog,” she describes. “I wanted to heal. I just got tired of dealing with this low-quality life every day, so I looked into all the ways my choices might be impacting me. Food was a big one.”
In a new e-book entitled Back to Our Roots, Robertson shares what she has learned through countless hours of research and personal implementation. It’s the first installment in a series that aims to help readers gain a better understanding of the way food nourishes our bodies and how we can make the best possible dietary decisions to elevate both our physical and mental health.
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“I don’t think we have been given enough of the right information when it comes to food,” she says. “My hope with this material is to empower you to make informed decisions about your food and where it comes from, provide resources and ultimately help you to recognize your autonomy over your own life and health.”
The e-book explains what “organic” truly means and highlights the importance of the highest quality eggs and meat, plus where you can find them.
Looking back, Robertson credits the changes she made in her diet for changing her life. “I was always hungry and never really satisfied,” she says. “I would become exhausted right after eating. I would need naps throughout the day. My mental space took a toll.” Incorporating the right food into her daily routine made all the difference.
By utilizing nutritious, locally sourced ingredients in her meals, Robertson was able to overcome the discomforts she was experiencing. “The right food has helped me heal,” she tells. “I never bloat or feel sick after eating. I’m satiated and energized throughout the day. I don’t need naps in the afternoon.”
Most importantly, she has gained mental clarity. Feelings of anxiety and depression are common in today’s society, and Robertson believes that food truly plays a role in that. When she began seeing positive changes in her own health and well-being, she knew she had to share her findings with the community.
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Back to Our Roots is available online for free. Robertson chose not to charge for the information because she whole-heartedly wants readers to see the same improvements she saw in herself. “What I want more than anything is for our population to heal from inflammation, disease, chronic issues, depression, anxiety, isolation, loneliness, unhappiness…because it’s not what you deserve,” she explains on Instagram. “You don’t deserve that life. You deserve one that is full of vitality, and I truly think food is your first step.”
One of the biggest complaints Robertson hears is that healthy eating isn’t always convenient. We lead busy lives, and it’s often easier to run through a drive-through or order takeout. The e-book author recognizes that all bodies are different, and while this may work for some people without creating a negative impact on their wellness, that might not be the case for others like herself. “At the end of the day, if it’s important enough to someone, convenience isn’t a deciding factor,” she says. “Anything worth doing in this life is rarely convenient.”
So, where can you find the items Robertson is passionate about, like grass-fed meat and pasture-raised eggs? There are plenty of local farmers’ markets throughout our region. Robertson’s favorite is the Chester County-based Growing Roots Farmer’s Markets. Kimberton Whole Foods is another option, with locations in Downingtown and Malvern. Robertson does most of her shopping at these places, but she also loves subscription boxes like ButcherBox, which provides subscribers with grass-fed meat, pasture-raised poultry and wild-caught seafood.
Through her e-book, Robertson looks to help the community feel more connected to the food we eat, our health and the people around us. “I just want to positively impact others’ lives and their health because I truly think there is an untapped potential to live a healthier and happier life for us all,” she says.
Related: 8 Steps to Achieve Your Lifestyle Goals on the Main Line This Year