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Ground Floor: Vinton business sheds light on nutrition

Simple Roots Wellness offers healthy recipes

Alexa Schirm, owner of Simple Roots Wellness, prepares sweet potato gnocchi for her healthy food blog at her home in Vinton. Schirm’s blog features healthy versions of recipes that she develops by using alternative ingredients in place of the typically less healthy ingredients found in traditional recipes. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
Alexa Schirm, owner of Simple Roots Wellness, prepares sweet potato gnocchi for her healthy food blog at her home in Vinton. Schirm’s blog features healthy versions of recipes that she develops by using alternative ingredients in place of the typically less healthy ingredients found in traditional recipes. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

VINTON — Alexa Schirm wants to expose the myths around good nutrition.

“You don’t have to eat crazy health food to be healthy,” she said. “I want people to understand that eating whole foods is a realistic lifestyle.”

Schirm’s desire to help people sift through the ever-changing and often contradictory information about how much and what they should be eating is the foundation of her business, Simple Roots Wellness.

Schirm, who has a degree in dietetics from Iowa State University and is pursuing a master’s degree in health sciences from the University of Alabama, previously owned a fitness studio in Vinton. She sold that business last year so she could focus on providing nutrition consulting services on a full-time basis.

In February 2014, she launched Simple Roots Wellness as a blog and an eight-week, online nutrition course. The blog provides tips and recipes for eating healthier, while the course provides instruction in nutrition basics along with meal plans and other tools to help clients implement healthy changes in their diet.

“I showcase nutrition in a different light,” Schirm said of her online services. “The eight-week course helps people understand the science behind nutrition and gives them a practical application for the information.

“It’s not about a restrictive diet. It’s about understanding the body’s needs so they can choose the right foods.”

Schirm’s blog features healthy versions of recipes that she develops by using alternative ingredients in place of the typically less healthy ingredients found in traditional recipes. Recent examples include sweet potato and apple hash browns, Hawaiian-style flatbread, and citrus funfetti cookies.

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“I favor family-friendly recipes because my family eats them, but others will enjoy them, too,” Schirm said. “They are realistic and practical and not as fancy as a five-star restaurant.”

Over the last several months, as the audience for her blog has grown to tens of thousands of visitors per month, Schirm gained readers from around the world and had her food featured in major online publications and in a cookbook.

In November, she opened an office in Cedar Rapids to provide one-on-one nutrition consulting services. “The blog has given me some great opportunities online, but now want to grow my local audience and make an impact here in the community,” she said.

In addition to personal consulting services, Schirm also is available to provide nutrition training presentations to groups and organizations.

Schirm’s future plans for Simple Roots Wellness include developing a second, more advanced online nutrition course and publishing her own cookbook.

AT A GLANCE

Know a company or manager who has been in business for less than a year that would be ideal for “Ground Floor”? Contact George Ford at george.ford@thegazette.com

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