High school sweethearts Ashanti and Brent Coleman have always been fit-conscious, but after Ashanti suffered a stroke in November 2017, the couple took their healthy lifestyle to the next level.

“I’ve always been one to exercise and eat right, but the blood clot and stroke happened anyway,” Ashanti says. “Because I was healthy and young, I recovered quickly, which is something I am very thankful for.”

Ashanti, 39, works as a nurse practitioner and teaches foundational skills for first-year nursing students at the University of Memphis. Brent, 40 works in transportation and coaches their son’s football and basketball teams. Their goal: “Approach our forties healthy and fit, and better than we looked in our twenties.”

She draws from her education and experience to craft a diet plan for herself, her two children, and husband

The Diet

The family avoids red meat, pork, and sugary beverages, sticking mostly to low-carb and protein-based meals. If they do indulge, it’s in moderation: pizza on Fridays with lots of veggie toppings, and ice-cream in small portions. Ashanti meal preps on Sundays based on themed nights (like Taco Tuesday), and they always have high protein bars in their pantry. Other foods that all four Colemans enjoy include chicken or turkey hot dogs, vegetarian baked beans, sugar-free fruit cups, and taco soup.

“For breakfast, we really like the protein shakes from 310 Nutrition because we are up and rushing around early,” Ashanti says. “The kids love salmon, and we do too, so we have that at least once a week.”

The Workout

“It’s better when you workout and eat right together as a family,” she says. “I practice what I preach when I talk about a healthy lifestyle with nurses and customers.”

Before the stroke, Ashanti loved to run and do yoga. Now she incorporates hot yoga three to four times per week at Sumits Yoga in Germantown and weight trains with Brent at ATC Fitness. Over the summer, she plans to take a certification course to teach yoga.

Brent, who has been lifting since 15, weight trains as a way to relieve stress from his job. At ATC Fitness, he likes to target his arms, chest, and shoulders.

“Once you learn that everything is about technique, it’s easy to get a hang of it. I do things my way at the gym,” he says. “I’m not trying to hit a weight goal or lift a certain amount, I just want to gain energy and feel better. Once my wife had the stroke, it was an alarm for me. I thought, ‘If not now, then when?’”

By India Nikotich. Photo by Tindall Stephens.