Embracing a healthy lifestyle and happy mindset can be quite challenging. Add the stress, dining halls, potential isolation or “lost feeling” of college, and this goal can seem impossible. We’ve all been there – staring at @foodintheair – dreaming of vacation and beautifully gluttonous food instead of studying for our exam.
After my Instagram popular feed was only flooded with overflowing bowls of ice cream and endless amounts of cupcakes, I decided it was time for a change. With 57.1K Instagram followers, a flourishing recipe and lifestyle blog, and stunning photographs, Alexandra Dawson was the inspiration I needed. She even has me daydreaming creamy pumpkin mac n’ cashew cheese.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your journey toward becoming a nutrition advocate and expert?
I’m a Washington, DC based nutritionist, creative, plant eater, and wellness warrior. I have my BA in neuropsychology from American University (’11) and recently graduated from a post-baccalaureate program with a degree in nutrition and dietetics.
Currently, I write and photograph an internationally celebrated lifestyle and recipe website, inmybowl which advocates plant based nutrition, healthful and positive living, and #GoddessVibes. I also photograph the life-documented Instagram, @tallulahalexandra.
How did you get started with In My Bowl and @tallulahalexandra?
Ohmyogsh – it’s a so multifaceted. To consolidate: In My Bowl and Tallulah were both started in 2013, in the midst of my post-baccalaureate program. I was already preparing 3 home cooked, plant based and vegan meals a day, a practice that helped my husband Andrew lose over eighty pounds, and wanted to have those recipes and cognitions documented for future clients and patients.
I was fulltime student planning on becoming a registered dietitian; In My Bowl, truthfully, was established as a resource for future me. I knew I’d be working one on one with patients and clients, and veganism aside, I firmly believed incorporating plant-based meals into any diet would be essential for long-term health. Over the past few years, it’s grown into so much more.
In My Bowl and Tallulah capture the wildly impassioned, pseudo-eccentric me, determined to celebrate the perfectly imperfect, embracing not just what goes right, but truly learning from and thriving from the wrong. They celebrate the beauty found in community and conversations, in stepping away from chaos and truly gathering and living in a moment.
How did your website and Instagram become so famous?
To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure. Both In My Bowl and Tallulah are a true live-documentation of my life, my meals, my cognitions, my ups and downs. The consistency lies in my advocacy of plant based and positive living, while trying to make that lifestyle accessible to every demographic across this country and internationally.
I think my community has grown and continues to thrive through my eccentricities, vulnerability, my openness, struggles and successes. Through me being my me-est me.
Do you have any tips for vegans and vegetarians eating out in DC?
I actually write and feature an ongoing City Guide, spotlighting vegan accessible restaurants around DC (and around the country) that either offer plant based and vegan friendly options on their menus, or are willing to accommodate the vegan eater!
Any nutritional advice you could give to college kids trying to stay healthy while having fun?
My biggest suggestion for healthful living during college (on a college student’s budget) is big batch, make-ahead, cooking. Making one big pot (or casserole) of something wonderful, like a minestrone soup, stew, chunky tomato chili, curry, etc. and just keeping it handy in the fridge or freezer is not only so much more cost effective, but time saving.
The same goes for breakfast – think overnight oats! I always buy grains and beans from the bulk section, utilize canned beans and tomatoes, and purchase frozen veggies when they’re not in season. I also always try to shop in season – produce tend to be more affordable, and nutrient dense, when they’re seasonal.
As with anything in life – healthful eating and living doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It’s ok to go out for a drink or snag an order of fries, as long those indulgences are in moderation and counterbalanced with a life in motion and whole body wellness habits.
Do you also have a fitness regime you pair with your healthy eating?
Not so much a regime, but definitely a conscious and proclaimed ‘life in motion’. A pseudo-anti-antiquated designation I’ve taken upon myself to rationalize an absence of overall fitness direction, but also appreciate the lack of quantifiable-ness found in my days worth of walking, jittering, bopping; the movement for movements sake.
Not diminishing my periodic yoga practices, circuit training, or intended jogs – those do happen too, but I always try to celebrate the naturalness of the unintended.
Lastly, what is your favorite food?
Though I’m particularly partial to frozen banana doused in peanut butter and dark chocolate chips, honestly, I find comfort and favorite-ness in anything that gets people around my table to gather and celebrate. I love my meals to feel really informal, safe, welcoming. The sort of table anyone could and should feel welcomed to gather around – as long as they come with a red Bordeaux in hand.
Don’t forget to check out more of Alexandra’s mouthwatering and inspirational photos at Inmybowl.com and @tallulahalexandra