I’m SO excited to introduce you guys to my friend Clara! She currently lives in the beautiful state of North Carolina….Asheville to be exact!
It only takes a few minutes of talking with Clara to learn that she is passionate about informing, empowering, and encouraging women and men to build a healthy relationship with food. When she’s not working as a full-time Clinical Dietitian at a local hospital, you can find her sharing nutritious and simple meals made of wholesome, good-for-you ingredients over on Instagram,
Clara truly inspires me with her honesty and her simple approach to nutrition. I am always learning from her over on Instagram (DEFINITELY follow her if you don’t!) and I knew she’d be a great fit for an interview. We’re talking today about how she got to where she is, plus some of her tips and tricks for healthy living. Encouraging over 79 thousand followers on the Instagram to be healthy in body and strong in spirit, she’s hard not to fall in love with. Plus, she is as cute as a button! You guys will learn so much from her–I know I did!
What are some ways that you have chosen to live life more intentionally?
For me, finding ways to fit in nourishing foods and quick, effective workouts has been the main way that I live more intentionally. Between balancing a full-time job, running my Instagram account @foodfitnessandfaith, AND trying to maintain a social life, I’m quite often strapped for time and frequently on the run. If it weren’t for intentionally planning healthy options and prioritizing some time to move my body, I know I wouldn’t be functioning and feeling my best.
What was your very first step you took toward intentionality in this area?
Simply telling myself that it was a very doable task that I would be able to keep up with as a long-term lifestyle and recognizing the priority — and positive impact — it would have on my life. I think this is what some people refer to as manifestation? This affirmation helped to shape my outlook on the changes and intentionality. Aside from the mental shift, I think the first action step I took was to take a good look at my time management! I started by carving out just a couple hours of my time on Sunday afternoon to prep some food and recipes. If I had some downtime on Saturday afternoon or evenings or was working on something at home, I’d throw a batch of something in the oven. And I’ve really approached working out with that same mentality — I have some times that are set aside for working out, but if I don’t get around to it, I try to be intentional with what time I DO have…even a 10-15 minute walk after work, taking the stairs and parking farther away.
How has choosing to be more intentional about a healthy lifestyle changed the way you live your day-to-day life? Can you give three practical examples?
I think it’s really been a complete overhaul, honestly! More “everyday” type of movement, practicing better time management, and putting thought into what I will put on my plate.
What were some of the challenges you faced throughout this process? How did you overcome them?
There are practical challenges like, “So, how do I teach myself to cook?” to figuring out how to chop foods, store foods, and shop for foods.
I think I also received a little pushback and judgement that stood as a challenge — either people thought I didn’t need to “lose weight” (which apparently was synonymous with eating better and engaging in physical activity), or thought I was making a big deal out of something insignificant. I had to realize and remind myself that other people’s opinions of me are none of my business. I know what is best for my body, my lifestyle, and my sanity, and I won’t sacrifice or second-guess those just because of the opinions of other people.
Aside from external challenges, there’s also the challenge of finding what works for me personally! And with that, also recognizing and honoring the fact that what’s best might very well change through time — that goes for both eating and physical activity habits.
But overall, I think just being more open-minded has helped to overcome several of the barriers and challenges that have popped up.
What’s your “why”? Why is mindfulness in this area important?
Oh my gosh, so I truly don’t think I’ve ever gotten this question around why I embrace and prioritize living a healthy lifestyle….crazy, right??
My “why” is because I want to honor the one body that I’ve been given. I want to treat it well and respect it, but I also want to be able to fulfill whatever plans are in my future without having to worry about preventable health conditions holding me back. I guess, simply put, I want to enjoy my life to the fullest.
I think mindfulness in this area is important because it constantly brings to the surface the real motivation behind your actions. When you feel weary or unmotivated as time wears on, recalling or resurfacing your “why” can help reorient your motives and desires.
What was your “lightbulb moment”?
I think my initial “lightbulb moment” went off in high school when I realized just how big of a role food and physical activity played in how we perform and feel. Ever since then, I’ve been honing and adapting my habits and intentions to align with whatever my current goal is.
What advice would you give to others seeking to live more intentionally in this area?
Find YOUR “why” and own it. Not someone else’s, and not what someone else would want your “why” to be.
Do you have a mantra, theme, or pep talk that helps you re-center your focus?
Truthfully, not really! Ha! While I don’t have a mantra necessarily, I have found that to re-center my focus (and not make it all about me and vanity), I meditate on 1 Corinthians 10:31 and remind myself that everything I do if for the glory of God.
How do you approach educating others about what you believe in?
I approach educating others with an open mind, listening ears, and an expectation for it to be fun! I think there’s so much power in hearing another person’s story and background. And in doing so, I’m better able to meet them where they are and help them identify specific areas of their life where education is of the greatest value. I think before I can educate a person, I must actually know the person.
Fun Facts about Clara:
Any books to recommend?
Love Does and Everybody Always by Bob Goff,
The Defining Decade by Dr. Meg Jay (for anyone in the early teens and twenties),
Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst,
Rooted by Banning Liebscher,
gods at war by Kyle Idleman,
Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis,
Reading People by Anne Bogel….to name a few!
The Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher,
DAIS podcast with Rachel Hollis,
The Cabral Concept,
Dr Ruscio Radio,
For the Love with Jen Hatmaker,
Nourishing Women Podcast,
The Bible Project
Favorite shows/movies you have watched lately?
I’m a little behind and just now really got into Fixer Upper…right as it goes off air!
I also love The Good Doctor.
And I’ve been rewatching Friends on Netflix.
I actually haven’t been to the movies in a while, so I’m helpless on that question!
What does "self-care" look like for you?
Being an introvert, I have to have my time to recharge and be alone. I know when I’m reaching my limit and need some time to chill, because I come back to relationships more refreshed and present. Self-care looks like skipping a workout in lieu of an extra hour of sleep during a busy week, looking at something other than my phone right before bed, and regularly trying to find ways to serve others (because ironically enough, I feel more fulfilled when I’m giving stuff/time away). And I guess self-care if also spending a Friday night in, with a new set of pajamas, a mug of hot tea, Beautycounter fac emask, and a Friends Netflix binge 😉
What has been bringing you joy lately?
Bob Goff’s newest book Everybody Always! I can’t put it down, and I’ve underlined something on just about every page!
What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?
Don’t be swayed by the opinions of others; your validation does not come from them. Also, spend more time at church and less time at the bars (honest and true).
Clara is so kind to share with us three easy breakfast recipes to make ahead so we can start our mornings off right!
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, hands down. I don’t typically have time to prepare breakfast from scratch every morning through the week, so I’ve found a few recipes that I know I can meal prep beforehand to have ready to go in the morning. I know busy moms, new moms, college students, and young adults just starting out in the “real world” that have made any or all of these recipes and love them for their ease and flavor,
banana zucchini muffins|click here for recipe.
savory egg muffins|click here for recipe
overnight oats|recipe below!
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 T chia seeds
2 scoops collagen peptides
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine ingredients in a jar, shake to distribute together, then store in a fridge overnight. In the morning, heat them up OR eat them cold!
I usually top mine with fresh fruit and nut butte.! I also make a few at one time; they will last 4 to 5 days in the fridge.
Thanks so much to Clara for sharing with us here at consciously living. Go follow her for even more ways you can begin making intentional choices to move more, be kind to your body, and find some nutritious foods you LOVE!