Nourishing Knowledge: Agatha Achindu Of Life Unprocessed On The Thrive Practice On The Power of Food as Medicine

Nourishing Knowledge: Agatha Achindu Of Life Unprocessed On The Thrive Practice On The Power of Food as Medicine

High cholesterol: I wish there was a way to shout this particular one from the highest mountain top, knowing the huge number of people on lifetime cholestory maintenance drugs. You can totally reverse, prevent, and manage your cholesterol with a change of dietary pattern and get off that medication. To prevent, lower, and slowly reverse high cholesterol, you need to limit meat, dairy, and fried food consumption, since they are the primary sources of bad dietary cholesterol. Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and high in soluble fiber, which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Inan era dominated by pharmaceutical solutions, there is a rising consciousness about the incredible healing and preventive powers of food. As the age-old saying goes, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” But how does this translate in today’s world? Can we really use nutrition as a potent tool against sickness and disease? How does one curate a diet that supports health, longevity, and wellness? In this series, we are talking to nutritionists, dietitians, medical professionals, holistic health experts, and anyone with authoritative knowledge on the subject. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Agatha Achindu.

Agatha Achindu is a wellness architect focused on helping her audience find a clear path toward what matters most: a long and fulfilling life. As the founder of Life Unprocessed™, a boutique wellness coaching and consultancy, Agatha helps clients uncover, unlearn, and unleash their unique, optimal lifestyle design. She is the author of Bountiful Cooking, a cookbook of wholesome everyday meals released by Hachette Book Group; a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and yoga instructor; and the founder of Yummy Spoonfuls, the first organic baby food line to be nationally distributed.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Igrew up on an organic farm in Cameroon, West Africa. As a kid, I remember playing in the garden with my siblings, working with my mami to harvest ripe fruits and vegetables (not my favorite thing growing up — I swear every time I plant/harvest food from my garden or visit a farm as an adult I can hear my mami turning in her grave), and learning to cook from scratch at my mami and grandmama’s side. And when it was time to eat, my mother always served simple homemade fresh food. My family used the refrigerator only for cold drinks and the occasional leftovers, and we never had convenience foods. So, naturally, I developed a taste for garden-fresh vegetables and homemade meals from the earliest age. Food was also a way of giving and sharing with our neighbors and helping the needy in our community. Everything revolved around cooking and sharing delicious healthy homemade food. This was our way of life. This formative experience of preparing and eating healthy fresh food has been a skill, a habit and a passion for as long as I can remember.

True Story: The first time my parents visited, I went to the farmers’ market with my mami, and while I was looking at the beef labels, she looked at me wondering what was going on. “Why don’t you just grab a package of beef?” she asked. I told her I was looking for grass-fed beef. Oh, the look on her face! “What do you mean by that, Agada? All cows eat grass.” “Not in America, Mami,” was my reply.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

The inspiration for my career started in my mother’s garden, on our family farm in Cameroon. We always ate the freshest vegetables and fruits, and my mother prepared everything from scratch. This knowledge has informed my entire life. When I moved to the US in the early 90s, I was shocked to find foods in cans. The grocery stores didn’t look anything like what I was expecting to see in America, the land of all things amazing. There was less real food and more “food-like” stuff, and I was not surprised at all when I found out that seven of the top ten leading causes of deaths in the United States are related to nutrition and lifestyle.

I started helping my friends in school update their favorite recipes, and I became the go-to person for healthy recipes. When my youngest child, Jared-Zane, came along in 2004, it broke my heart to see that even children’s food had the same issue. I had just assumed that food for children would be better since so much of their health depends on what they eat. Here is the problem: While adults eat food for energy and maintenance, children eat food for both maintenance and growth. They are literally only as good as the food they eat. Many of the disorders that commonly affect children have a dietary component to them. As a result, dietary modifications need to be a part of the solution.

With this in mind, I became more purposeful in my need to serve and help parents understand the direct relationship between the food they are feeding their kids and the impact to their overall health. I started teaching healthy eating workshops at local hospitals and “mommy & me” meet-up groups, sharing my home experience and my kids’ good health, which I believe is due to a powerful immune system as a result of their diet. Parents were lining up to learn more. That little group of parents at my monthly free workshop grew from 300 to more than 45K.

As a mother, I fundamentally believe that healthy, delicious food is a birthright to every child, given that so much of their health and development depends on what they are fed. But what happens to the kids whose parents can’t come to my workshop? Every child deserves access to the same high-quality homemade food that those who have the time to make their own food at home love so much. A parent shouldn’t be made to feel guilty because they don’t have the time or knowledge to make their own food.

So, in 2006, I did a hard pivot and decided to risk it all to bring the same high-quality food I feed my own family to market, made like you would at home using the freshest ingredients, with nothing artificial added to it, and preserved using time-tested freezing like I do in my own kitchen. My career and life would change forever. Today I am a former IT executive turned cookbook author, Certified Integrative Nutrition Coach, Certified Yoga Coach, founder of Yummy Spoonfuls Organics for Kids, and the founder and lead coach for Life Unprocessed™, a boutique wellness coaching and consultancy helping families thrive.

It has been said that our mistakes can sometimes be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Back when I was just starting out, I was very anxious to gain exposure for my new business. I was afraid to say no to speaking invitations, demos, and product donations because I thought my business would suffer. Then, one morning when I had a day of back-to-back events scheduled, I woke up with laryngitis! I literally could not speak. My body was saying: No! No more crazy schedules. It was hilarious. Now I would rather say no first than to over-commit. You can always revisit an opportunity.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Passion: I have an undying passion for teaching others to eat and live better. I am so passionate about it that I started offering free workshops. I remember the first time I walked to my local hospital that was close to my job. I wanted to offer free workshops to mothers on how to make baby food. I was asked the name of my business, and they were shocked to hear I didn’t have a business. I was just offering free classes to help parents learn how to cook and make better choices for their family. My free workshop grew to a massive 45k mamas around the country, and that was what truly made me launch my very first business, Yummy Spoonfuls.

Faith: I am here only by God’s grace. To know my story is to understand the power of my faith. To God be all the glory.

Integrity: For more than 30 years I have been on the same mission, speaking the same truth, and this has turned out to be such a guiding light for me. People trust my word — that’s the one thing I hear a lot from clients and colleagues — and I’m grateful for the number of loyal customers and the better world this has brought me along the way.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

This question stopped me in my tracks. It’s such a powerful reminder that for more than 25 years, I have been on the same exciting project of helping as many people as possible to achieve sustainable health, regardless of their socio-economic status. Whatever I have done has been for the greater good of this one mission, a world where all of humanity is equipped and empowered with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to make the best choices for the health of their bodies, minds, and spirits. From my new cookbook, Bountiful Cooking, to upcoming speaking engagements and workshops, I empower audiences to think critically and independently about how to un-process their generational habits and wellness misconceptions to arrive at solutions that actually work, enabling them to thrive on their journey to longevity. The human body is truly magical when provided the mind, body, and spirit nourishment it needs to thrive.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview about cultivating wellness through proper nutrition and diet. To begin, can you tell our readers a bit about why you are an authority on the topic of nutrition?

Because of both my learned experiences (Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with more than 25 years of knowledge) and lived experiences (56 years old with not a single cavity nor a single hot flash).

We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion, what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know and integrating it into our lives?

I know there are many reasons, including finances and lack of easy access, but what I have come to believe from my more than two decades of teaching is that there are three primary factors:

1. Convenience: People want convenience.

2. Mindset: If I put a penny aside every time someone tells me they don’t have the time to make wholesome food at home, I would have $$$$ in the bank as I type this response. I tell my clients that the food you eat and feed your family is not and cannot be an afterthought if you want sustainable health. Food is not the thing you do when you have time; it is the thing you create time to do because it is that important.

3. System: We live in a society that makes eating healthy almost impossible. Water is more expensive than soda, for example. You will easily find a liter of soda on sale for $.99 and a 16-oz. bottle of water at double the price. Common sense tells us there is no way soda (water + sugar + color + preservatives + additives) can be cheaper than plain water, but it is because the government directs the bulk of its subsidies toward commodity crops like corn and soybeans that are used to make cheap sugars. A Double Whopper is cheaper than a plain salad at fast food restaurants because…why? While the USDA recommends a diet of at least 50% fresh fruits and vegetables, only 4% of federal farm dollars support their production. Want to know how much of U.S. Farm Subsidies goes to Livestock and Animal Feed? Thirty percent. Want to know how much goes to fruits and vegetables? How about a miserly 4%. Unfortunately, in its present form, our food system is not designed to make healthy fruits, vegetables, and proteins accessible and affordable to all citizens.

From your professional perspective, do you believe that nutrition plays a pivotal role in supporting the body’s natural healing processes and overall well-being, particularly in cases of chronic diseases? We’re interested in hearing your insights on the connection between a holistic approach to diet and its benefits for individuals facing health challenges.

The truth is, we live in the wealthiest country in the world, we have the best doctors, and more medicine and hospitals than ever in human history, yet we also have some of the highest rates of chronic degenerative diseases in the world. Children today are suffering from Type 2 diabetes, which used to be an illness associated mainly with adults. In fact, Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes. It is heartbreaking to see on the CDC website that seven out of the top ten leading causes of deaths are nutrition- and lifestyle-related. So yes, nutrition plays a huge part. We truly are what we eat.

The belief that when you get sick with a chronic disease you can’t get well is not only wrong but is making Big Pharma billions. I had a client who was on high blood pressure medication for 20 years, and she was told she would be on it for the rest of her life. She came to see me when she started having kidney issues. Unfortunately, long-term use of her medication was causing high creatinine levels that started affecting her kidney function. With a change of diet and lifestyle choices, we have been able to slowly wean her off her medication, from twice a day to twice in three months.

Please know that your body, just like mine or any of my clients’, has the capacity to heal when provided the nourishment it needs to truly thrive, but you have to be ready to do the work. You can’t be taking medicine for cholesterol and continue to eat and make the same lifestyle choices that are making you sick.

Based on your research or experience could you share with us five examples of foods or dietary patterns that have demonstrated remarkable potential in preventing, reducing, or managing specific health conditions? If you can, it would be insightful if you could provide real-life examples of their curative properties.

  1. Hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease: There is a strong and consistent body of evidence from studies that have documented that dietary patterns rich in fresh fruits and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk and/or prevention of many chronic diseases, including hypertension, stroke, and coronary heart disease. The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in fresh fruits and vegetables are our frontline defense against high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. Science continues to support the popular adage: “The human body has the capacity to heal when provided the mind, body, and spirit nourishment it needs to truly thrive.” I have seen firsthand with my clients how the body slowly starts to heal itself as more of the right foods are consistently eaten along with right lifestyle choices.
  2. High cholesterol: I wish there was a way to shout this particular one from the highest mountain top, knowing the huge number of people on lifetime cholestory maintenance drugs. You can totally reverse, prevent, and manage your cholesterol with a change of dietary pattern and get off that medication. To prevent, lower, and slowly reverse high cholesterol, you need to limit meat, dairy, and fried food consumption, since they are the primary sources of bad dietary cholesterol. Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and high in soluble fiber, which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels.
  3. Diabetes: Diabetes is a serious medical condition that is keeping communities sick while making billions in profit for Big Pharma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 34 million Americans are diabetic, with about 90–95% of them having Type 2 diabetes. But it can be prevented and reversed with a plant-forward eating pattern that is bursting with life-giving vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Diets that emphasize whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes, while limiting animal products and ultra-processed foods, improve blood glucose concentrations, body weight, plasma lipid concentrations, and blood pressure, and play an important role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular and microvascular complications.
  4. Cancer: Cancer is a category of disorders characterized by cells that have mutated and begin to reproduce themselves in an uncontrolled fashion. Under normal circumstances, the body’s natural defense system would attack such cells and, hopefully, destroy them. If the body’s natural killer cells are not successful, however, cancerous cells continue to reproduce wildly and, eventually, spread to other parts of the body. While not all cancers are preventable, the risk of certain types of cancer may be lowered with a healthy diet. For example, diets that include a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have been linked with a decreased risk of colon or rectal cancer, while eating more red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) and processed meats (hot dogs and some lunch or deli meats) has been linked with an increased risk of colon or rectal cancer.

Phytochemicals like the catechins found in green tea act to prevent cell mutation and keep cells reproducing normally. Allyl sulfides, found in garlic and onions, trigger enzymes that help to rid the body of carcinogens before damage to the cells can be done. The lower incidence of cancer that exists in some countries such as Japan has been linked to a fresh wholefoods plant-forward diet.

5. Weight loss: It’s no secret that we have a weight problem. According to the CDC, nearly three-quarters of us are overweight or obese. Yet more than 160 million Americans are on a diet at any given time, spending a whopping $70 billion each year on commercial weight-loss plans, supplements, and other pound-shedding measures. Because we are prone to look for shortcuts, we keep falling for the same gimmicky diets of losing and regaining weight over and over. We don’t need a new study to tell us these crash diets or detoxes are not working.

It is entirely possible, when done right, to lose weight and keep it off for good. I would love to caution that sustainable weight loss takes time. It happens slowly but steadily with a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, pasture-raised meats, and wild-caught fish. A balanced diet provides the nutrients and minerals your body needs to function at its best. It keeps you fuller longer and balances your gut bacteria (all that amazing fiber), and you slowly start losing the excess weight. Make water your friend. Studies show that simply drinking more water can contribute to weight loss over time, as an increase in water intake not only keeps you hydrated but may help suppress appetite.

Do experts generally agree that merely choosing healthy foods isn’t sufficient, but that understanding how to consume them is key to unlocking their full health benefits? (For example, skins on/off, or cooked/raw, or whole grain/refined grain) Could you provide advice on how to approach this and sidestep common errors or misconceptions?

Take the time to find foods that nourish your unique body, and fill your plate with them 80% of the time. Eating this way would naturally crowd out the not-so-good-for-you foods that give you comfort (which is just as important, but without the nutrients).

Remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you feel like eating white rice instead of brown rice, go ahead — and top that rice with a delicious vegetable medley stew, add some beans to it, and you end up with a fiber- and protein-rich dish that hits all the spots, including your joy (crowd-out factor). I think one thing we don’t address enough in this country is how important it is to truly make time to eat. My mother used to remind me as a kid to take the time to chew my food because my stomach doesn’t have teeth. Today I see the science behind that statement. Digestion starts in the mouth. It doesn’t matter how healthy you eat, it is counterintuitive if your body is not able to assimilate the amazing nutrients because the food wasn’t properly digested. When you chew your food properly (20–40 times, depending on the food), it reduces stress on the esophagus and helps your stomach metabolize and break down your food. The process of chewing also triggers the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which further aids digestion by regulating the pH to increase acidity levels that assist with food breakdown. The next time you catch yourself rushing through your meal, take a deep breath and chew with gratitude.

With the recent prominence of nutrition’s integration into healthcare, what’s your perspective on the collaborative approach between medical professionals, health coaches, and nutrition experts when it comes to delivering holistic patient care? Can you please explain?

This collaborative effort truly takes us from a sickness-focused to a health-focused system, giving patients the whole body (mind, body, and spirit) support they need to thrive. More than 80% of chronic conditions are related to diet and lifestyle choices, so it makes perfect sense to have a team that can address all the different facets of a disease.

Having an on-hand team consisting of a primary care physician or functional medicine doctor, dietician or nutritionist, and a health coach truly gives patients a fighting chance. So, for example, a patient comes in with high cholesterol, diabetes, or any other chronic condition. Instead of just giving them a maintenance drug, the patient will leave with a detailed plan from the nutritionist/dietician on what to eat and avoid, and the health coach will plan better lifestyle choices and provide support as needed to uncover root causes.

Having a team that helps patients decide what their priorities are for their health and helps them learn where these new habits fit into their daily lives is a win for all. What a way to empower patients to make the right changes and drive their own healing journey. What a powerful way to tell patients that there is help, even if they have been diagnosed with a chronic disease. It isn’t a life sentence — you can get better.

It’s been suggested that using “food as medicine” has the potential to reduce healthcare costs by preventing disease severity. However, there’s concern about the affordability of healthier food options. What solutions do you believe could make nutritious choices accessible to everyone, ensuring that food truly becomes a form of medicine for all?

Unfortunately, it will take an act of Congress to make healthy food more accessible to all. While the USDA recommends we fill our plates with 50% fruits and vegetables, only 4% of federal farm subsidies support the production of fruits and vegetables. The government’s support for certain foods over others has a major impact on our diets. That’s the reason a liter of soda is cheaper than a 16-oz bottle of water, and the fact that a juicy burger at your local fast food restaurant is cheaper than a bowl of salad. Because subsidized food groups are so much cheaper, it makes eating fruits and vegetables more expensive.

Here is a stat to keep in mind: Almost 90% of the U.S. population falls below the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vegetables, and 80% fall below the RDA for fruit. I have gone all the way to Congress with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to advocate for better food. While all the behind-the-scenes work is going on to push for better policies, we are still responsible for our health and that of our children. Yes, I know there are food deserts and a million other challenges and reasons why we can’t easily afford or get access to fresh wholesome food. Please do the best you can, grow your food (there are community gardens), trade and barter with your neighbors, and make nutrition a priority, because the food you eat truly matters.

Everyone’s body is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. How does one navigate the vast array of nutritional advice available today to curate a diet tailored to individual needs, ensuring health and longevity?

So true. We are all bio-individuals, and the adage that “one man’s food is another man’s poison” is so true. Don’t blindly follow nutritional advice without paying attention to how you are feeling. Just because it works for your favorite influencer doesn’t mean it will work for you. The good news is that there is an immediacy to food; you know how food makes you feel the moment you are done eating. I say listen to your body, and keep a food journal. You will slowly start separating the foods that make you feel alive from the ones that leave you feeling lethargic.

As our understanding of the intricate link between food and health continues to evolve, we’re curious to know which emerging trends or breakthroughs in nutritional science excite you the most. How do you envision these advancements shaping the future of healthcare?

I am tickled to see locally sourced produce becoming increasingly popular among health-conscious consumers like myself as we seek out fresh ingredients that are grown close to home with fewer chemicals or preservatives added during processing. Local farmers markets, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), and other local food sources will become even more important as these sustainable practices become the norm in 2024. The more we eat locally sourced produce, the less we eat ultra-processed foods.

How can we better educate the public about the medicinal properties of food, and what role do professionals like you play in this educational journey?

Here is a sad truth: There is so much money in sickness care. There’s no money when you are healthy, and there’s no money when you are dead. All the money is when you are just sick enough to need some level of maintenance drug that keeps making money for Big Pharma. My job is to continue to create awareness around the importance of nutrition to everyday health. The fact is, nutrition plays a major role in the prevention, treatment, and cure of most diseases and sickness. The minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants found so abundantly in fresh whole foods are the front-line defense against diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, premature aging, allergies, and much more. It is our job to help those who are ready to listen shift through conflicting information that is prioritizing bottomline profit instead of health. I can tell you that at age 56, I have zero cavities, have never experienced a single hot flash, and don’t have “aging pains.” How you eat and live truly determines how you are going to age.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thank you so much for all you are doing to spread the word about whole body health, and thank you for the opportunity to contribute to such a worthy and timely topic. You can follow my work through my social media handle @agathaachindu and my website,

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at

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