Wellness is a passion for Nealy Fischer—largely because moderation was so elusive to her for years. The mother of four and blogger behind The Flexible Chef began her first diet at age 11. “My mother gently nudged me by saying, ‘You’re getting a little chubby,’ so I went into restrictive dieting,” she recalls. Later, she tried out a panoply of eating plans, from the lemonade, carrot and cracker diets to macrobiotic, pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan regimens.
“I was constantly trying to fix myself,” she admits. Yet Fischer soon realized that her extreme eating wasn’t sustainable. “We all know that with deprivation, we often end up on the other side of it and just go crazy,” she says. “So there were days I’d be on a diet, then I’d binge and eat all the cookies in the freezer. You just can’t restrict yourself for that long.”
Fischer’s route to long-term peace and health stemmed from yoga. As she began to practice—and later—teach, Fischer applied the discipline’s lessons about self-care and balance to her own life. “After years of bouncing between extremes, I had finally had enough,” she shares. “Yoga taught me to be flexible.”
Soon, she started sharing what she’d discovered about wellness with a broader audience. After moving to Hong Kong for her husband’s career, she founded Mayya, an Asia-based company that ran cooking, yoga and women’s empowerment programs. In 2015, she founded The Flexible Chef, a lushly photographed blog complete with healthful and doable recipes, plus advice on fitness, beauty, relationships and more. Recently, Fischer released a cookbook, “Food You Want for the Life You Crave” (Da Capo Lifelong Books, April 2019), and launched a cooking show, “Nealy’s Flexible Food” on Food Matters TV (FMTV).
Through her book, blog and TV programs, Fischer aims to teach her audience the importance of balance and flexibility in the kitchen, how “we want to do it all but we can’t do it all at once,” she explains. This lesson hits home for Fischer, who admits that she is “not flexible all the time. I still have those moments when I’m rigid,” she says. “And my lesson is to embrace the concept of flexible and go with the flow sometimes.” Read on to learn how the wellness entrepreneur treats herself with kindness in the kitchen and how you can, too.