Rea Frey has long been a (very fit) fixture on the East Nashville wellness scene; the certified personal trainer and conditioning coach, health and wellness expert, and local author of four books, including Power Vegan and most recently Detox Before You're Expecting, out this month, starts her book with a heartfelt dedication: "To my pre-baby vagina: I will always love you." She goes on to preach the virtues of detoxing, especially in this day and age when food allergies are on the rise, animals are pumped with hormones, crops are sprayed with pesticides, and unsafe food practices and overproduction are a real problem.
Frey's book, Detox Before You’re Expecting, is the first ever cleanse specifically designed to get a woman’s body to an ideal state for motherhood. It focuses on helping women cleanse their bodies using whole plant-based foods instead of fad diets or fasting. There are three different levels of detoxes; infant, toddler, and adult recipes; lists of ingredients to avoid in your food; post-pregnancy tips; and Frey's favorite chapter, "Detox Your Life," which focuses on cleaning out your cosmetics and cleaning products. Whether you want to conceive or you just want to reach optimal levels of health, Detox Before You’re Expecting can help you reach your goals safely.
A longtime East Nashvillian, Frey and her husband and young daughter will soon relocate to Donelson (isn't everyone these days?) to escape rising rent costs here, but you can still find her training clients on the east side. We got her insight on detoxing, optimal pregnancy, and her favorite eastside haunts in this chat.
Rea Frey: "Even though I am a married adult, I got pregnant on accident. (Thanks a lot, iPeriod app. You lied to me!) But luckily, I was in the absolute best shape of my life. My husband and I had ventured into a plant-based diet in the months prior, and I had done a few cleanses. It helped me sail through pregnancy and get through those tough postpartum months, not to mention a 52-hour labor. I think a lot of time women use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever they want and not work out, but it makes it so much harder to 'bounce' back and feel good after. Getting to optimal levels of health before you conceive (or even after) helps with hormone balance, mood, sickness, the health and habits of your child, your relationship, etc. I thought it was important to address this topic in an approachable way that felt very sustainable for women."
"Well, I’ve only been a mom for a little under three years, so the juggling act has intensified quite a bit since my daughter came into the picture. I’ve been a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist for the last 15 years and an author for 11 years. Luckily, I found a way to meld the two together to write about health and wellness. I have four books published (working on my fifth), though the first one was a novel about women’s boxing and was published before I graduated college. So you can imagine how awesome that book was. I think I struggle to find balance just like anyone else. But I make physical activity and health part of daily life. We cook. We exercise. It just goes with the territory. Having a child has made me prioritize my life. I don’t have to do everything, and I don’t have to do everything the best. So I think learning to say no is a huge part of managing expectations and living a balanced, happier life."
"Detoxification is an interesting topic. Our bodies are equipped to detox naturally; it’s when we 'get in the way' that things begin to flounder. It’s not the toxin or carcinogen we take in that’s the real culprit—it’s our body’s response to it that becomes dangerous. Our bodies are cause and effect, but we get in our own way from the way we eat, the toxins we consume, and the lifestyles we lead. Through detoxification, we can change the way we look and feel. We can cure ailments, get off medication and cut almost all disease risks."
"A man’s health is almost more important than a woman’s before conception! (I have a chapter on detoxing your partner as well.) A baby’s health doesn’t start in the womb—it starts with you. From the medications you take, the mercury in your mouth, the environmental pollutants you have been exposed to, the herbicides or pesticides you ingest…all of these tell the story of your health. Paying attention to how you feel and where you could improve health by eating whole foods, removing stress from your life, and not popping a pill every time you get sick are great first steps to getting you in peak shape for the absolute most exhausting race of your life: parenthood."
"This is a safe, effective and sustainable detoxification program that uses whole foods. You’re not fasting, you’re not taking pills or herbs or juicing. You’re eating real food, but you’re eating food that will naturally help clear out the junk in your body. There are different programs in the book, because everyone is different. There’s no one size fits all to detoxification."
"Well, I am at Turnip Truck on a daily basis to get my kombucha fix; Marché for the occasional breakfast; Five Points for vegan pizza with my family; Pinewood Social or Crema to get work done; and the East Y or Gym 5 to train clients. If it’s walkable, I’m there!"