Written by Kaitlin Hill | Photos by Caroline Gray
“My big ethos is making health accessible to everyone,” shares Alessandra Richards of The Rich Method. She continues, “I want everybody to feel like, ‘Okay, I can do these self-care things.’ Or, ‘I can use these healing modalities as tools in my toolbox to enrich my life.’”
Richards, who moved to Hunt Country in 2005 to attend Foxcroft, would start her wellness journey as an undergraduate at Ole Miss after suffering an illness that was initially a mystery. “I came home for Christmas break and I had the worst aches and pains out of the blue one day,” she remembers. After years of misdiagnosis, she explains, “It turned out to be a tick-borne illness.” To mitigate her symptoms, a doctor in Aldie recommended she go gluten-free. She shares, “I’ve been gluten-free since 2011. For me, that was really the first time I saw food as medicine.” She adds, “Food as medicine was a healing modality for me and what was going on with me. I was able to control inflammation and that was step one.”
After graduating, Richards returned to Hunt Country for her first job with Vicki Bendure at Bendure Communications and in 2015 moved to the satellite communications space. While she still works in that industry full time, in 2023 she decided “to do something that is going to make me happy and feed my soul.” Richards officially launched The Rich Method in January and completed her nutrition certification in October.
She says, “I attended nutrition school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. And it changed my life.”
In an age of Instagram where anyone and everyone seems to post “What I Eat in a Day” or “The Three Things That Helped Me Lose Weight,” Richards has a measured and responsible approach to doling out health advice. “You’re scrolling on Reels and you see all these beautiful Instagram influencers who are really into wellness. They might have some great tips, but they aren’t certified. What’s really dangerous is there’s so much misinformation, and what works for one person might not work for the other,” she explains.
She continues, “I uncover this with each and every client. Every client is really different and their needs are different. So, their program [will] be different. I use words like bespoke and customizable because it’s not one size fits all.”
Though the root of her method is centered on nutrition, Richards has the ability to address a wide variety of concerns from poor sleep and stress to high cholesterol, weight gain, and much more.
She starts with an initial consultation to better understand prospective clients’ concerns and make sure they are a good fit for The Rich Method and she is a good fit for them. “I give them five or six pages to fill out and it’s everything from ‘What are your concerns?’ to ‘How are you feeling now?’ And I go in depth with ‘What is your social life like’ and ‘What foods did you eat as a kid?’” She continues, “Even though The Rich Method is all-encompassing, it really does start with nutrition.”
Clients who sign on to the program have the choice of a six-, three-, or one-month program which includes a wellness strategy, weekly check-ins, and setting achievable goals. “It’s having someone to talk to that is going to hold you accountable in a loving way.”
Beyond one-on-one sessions with Richards, her social media is a landing place for those seeking wellness tips and a sense of community. Visitors to her Instagram (@therichmethod.us), will often see her picking up local ingredients at the farmers market, finishing a workout class, or prioritizing vitamin D via sunshine on her family’s farm in Hunt Country. She says, “I want to build a community on Instagram. I want it to be a really cozy corner of the internet where someone can go and feel at home.” She continues, “I think the wellness [content] you see online can be really intimidating. So, I want to simplify it.”
When asked to share a few wellness tips, she does just that. Instead of complex workout routines or get-fit-quick schemes, Richards offers advice that is refreshingly simple and undeniably approachable for anyone at any stage in their wellness journey.
In fact, she starts with, “Do less and slow down, so that you can do more.” She continues, “And add in versus taking out. That’s my biggest one. … Add the colorful vegetables; local and seasonal are a bonus. Add the good things for you — fruits, veggies, protein. Add those things instead of being really restrictive.”
She also advocates for achievable goals. “It doesn’t have to be, ‘Run the marathon.’ It can be to wake up earlier, have a glass of water before coffee, go outside without looking at your phone. Pick two or three things.” She finishes, “It’s about creating good habits that can keep you on track. These clean little swaps that we can do make a huge difference.”
As for the future, Richards has add-ons to the method in mind, such as retreats, additional coaches with a diverse set of specialties, healthy cooking demos, and more.
For now, Richards is committed to “meeting clients where they are” in their wellness journey and helping them on their way to healthier living. She emphasizes, “I want everyone — men, women, kids — I want everyone to feel really good and at home in their body.” ML
For more information on The Rich Method, visit @therichmethod.us on Instagram or online at therichmethod.us.
Published in the January 2024 issue of Middleburg Life.