There’s nothing more amazing than meeting someone who speaks their truth and invites you into their world with rich stories and endless passion. Couple that with a spark of entrepreneurship and a love of all things food and promoting its healing and connecting powers and you have our latest Girl Crush, Lynsey. She is a nutritionist, author and creator of the blog Lynsey Loves Food, and we love Lynsey for her infectious girl-next-door vibes. Her candid voice is a fresh welcome to the blogging world, she invites you in with an honest perspective on life and her own tales of food insecurity, coming out on top and redefining her relationship with nutrition to be a bright beacon and example for others. Her zest for life is inspiring and her love for food and exciting new creations makes us all want to be invited to her next backyard soiree, and maybe, just maybe we have something special in the works. Discover the love of summer, delicious and nourishing food plus fun cocktails in this week’s Girl Crush!
What is the inspiration behind your business and blog, Lynsey Loves Food? How did you know food and nutrition was your calling?
I have always been into health. When I was little I wanted to be a doctor, and held that dream right up until university when I took my first course in nutrition. From there everything changed. I was hooked. I should preface this with the fact that like most young women I was plague by body images issues. Studying nutrition not only struck a chord when it came to my fascination with the human body but also my crazy. I thought the more I knew about nutrition they healthier (read, thinner) I would be. Unfortunately the opposite happened. As I continued studying through my undergrad and master’s programs, ironically I became the most unhealthy I have ever been. I started to obsess over food, and whether or not it was healthy. I created these lists of “good” and “bad” foods, meticulously planned my meals, and mentally recorded and tallied everything I ate throughout the week. If life threw me a curve ball like impromptu drinks, cookies at the office, or a meal out, it would cause me so much stress and anxiety. My disordered eating finally came to a head, and with much love and support from my husband, friends and family I changed the way I looked at food. I stopped fighting myself and started listening to my body and what it needed. Some days that is a lot of kale, some days it is a cookie and a glass of wine; that doesn’t make me a bad person. In nutrition we are taught so much about the physical attributes that food gives to our body; the calories, fat, vitamins and minerals, but we don’t necessarily talk about the mental or social ones. I started writing my blog because I wanted people to see both. Food nourishes us, it makes us healthy, but it also helps us enjoy life. My goal isn’t to give the green light for gluttony but rather try to remove feelings of guilt and shame we have around food, help people listen to their body, trust in what it is saying, and have a lot of fun enjoying all the amazing foods there are out there.
What was it like taking the leap to start your own business and pursue your passion full time? What are some of the greatest challenges and opportunities that you’ve faced so far?
There are so many words to describe this past year. A lot of them have been of the four-letter variety, but on the whole it has been the most exhilarating and educational year of my life. Starting your own business is tough. You have to keep motivated through some dark times, be accountable always, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. You have to continually hustle, and be ok with the fact that you will always be thinking about work. For me my greatest challenge was that I am naturally an introvert, but when you work for yourself you have to connect with people, whether it be to land the next contract, build your network, or collaborate on cool projects. But I guess my biggest challenge is also my biggest opportunity. Although I may have hovered over the “send” button for at least 10 minutes more times than I care to admit, pushing myself out of my introvert ways and connecting with so many new people has been rewarding beyond belief. I have made so many new friends, worked on some super cool projects, and have taken my business in places that I wouldn’t have thought possible when I started this crazy ride.
On your blog you write “food is thy medicine”. What does that mean to you and how has it shaped your life? Your career?
I believe food should always give to you in some form or another – whether that be physical or mental. My style of nutrition is more about getting people to eat real food, cook it for themselves, and trust their body and what it is telling them. I always preach the rule Choose Good, or rather choose to feel good. Most days that is hopefully a lot of veggies and fresh food, but some days maybe it involves a treat or a cocktail. Maybe it comes from being a Libra, but balance is everything to me, and I see the benefits both in work and rest, indulgence and detox.
For an incredible end of summer BBQ soiree what would you prepare and what kind of atmosphere would you create?
I love parties, and am in my element when I get to entertain friends and family. I think it is always important to have a welcome cocktail and some snacks ready when guests arrive to set the tone and make them feel welcome. For summer barbeques I love something like a hard lemonade using fresh local fruit, and simple snacks like roasted dates, a killer crudités platter, or a few cheeses with local preserves or honey.
For the BBQ portion I like to keep it simple so I am not cooking the entire time my guest are there. Something like a simple salad that can be prepped ahead of time, a loaf of fresh bread with lots of good butter, and some slow roasted chicken is a good go-to. Or if I had vegetarian friends coming I would whip up a batch of these BBQ quinoa burgers.
For dessert I would either make a batch of my homemade Drumsticks, or just top some good ice cream with whatever berries or fruit was looking the best at the market. And of course would be sure to have lots of cold beer and wine on hand!
We share a love of natural and healthy beauty products! What are your favourites, and how do you define beauty? What are some common misconceptions of natural beauty products?
I always say happiest girls are the prettiest girls, and am a huge believer that you radiate from the outside in. That said a little help on the outside can certainly go along way! Pure + Simple is my go-to when it comes to natural beauty products and I am currently loving their Aloe Kumari cleanser which has a ton of anti-inflammatory ingredients that helps keep my skin calm and super hydrated. I also love treating myself to a Skin Restoration mask which is magic for plumping your skin and making it super fresh looking. I should also give some love to Leaves of Trees and LoveFresh, two other Toronto brands that make insanely good natural deodorants, lotions and scrubs that I also use on the regular.
When it comes to misconceptions about natural beauty I would have to say the biggest one is the products themselves. I don’t pretend to be an expert on this topic but I do know that it is a pretty unregulated business and many products claim to be “natural” even though the only natural ingredient in them may be water. Our skin is our largest organ, and what we put on the outside shows up on the inside. I try to be diligent and purchase brands that I trust have a commitment to being truly natural, or use a retailer like EcoDiva that have very high standards when it comes to the products that they sell.
A moment you are proud of…
I would have to say it was moving to Japan… and sticking it out. I moved there after University and it was the first real travelling I had done. I remember my first meal there, not being able to read a single thing on the menu, in total culture shock and completely overwhelmed that this would be my home for the next year. I was way out of my comfort zone, but I stuck it out instead of catching the first flight home and had the experience of a lifetime. Taking that risk, broadening my horizons, and challenging myself changed me as a person. It made me more adventurous, and more tenacious. I truly think I am a better person for doing it, and so proud that I had the guts to get on that flight and just go.
A cocktail that defines your personality…
Champagne cocktail. I am always ready to celebrate anything from the everyday to the extraordinary.
A place you want to visit…
Ahh that is so hard. I love to travel. I am currently crushing on all things Nordic, and have a lifetime goal of staying at the ice hotel in Sweden and going to Lapland at Christmas, but also super intrigued by South America (specifically the Galapagos) and more off the beaten path places like Corsica or the Faroe Islands.
Can you share your favourite summer recipe with us?
Yes! This this might be a bit of a tease as the recipes aren’t out yet (stay tuned), but a couple of recipes from our collaboration like the simple energy bar (my go-to post workout treat), and the market salad have become staples on my weekly menu.
What are three things on your bucket list and where do you see yourself (and your business!) in 5 years?
My bucket list involves a lot of travel, so part of my goals, both personal and professional, is getting myself to a place where I have the time and funds to make some of my dreams a reality. When it comes to where I see myself in 5 years this is a tough one. I have so many exciting projects coming down the pipeline that I am really passionate about, so I am hopeful that they will take off and be successful. In this past year of working for myself I have learned more than in my previous 6 years of working for someone else so I hope I can continue to grow and challenge myself, and push the limits of what I think I can achieve. Ultimately though I hope I have instilled change in others, and have inspired people to live a life that is balanced, healthy and fun.
1. Stay at the Ice Hotel in Sweden 2. Travel to Belfast with my Dad (he is from there) 3. Write a best selling cocktail & entertaining book
Food can be healing and magical. What does magic mean to you?
Food is amazing. It nourishes us our body and keeps us healthy. It bonds relationships. It helps us celebrate. It creates memories. It is one of the fundamental things in our life and it should be respected as such. You don’t have to be a foodie or love to cook, but just honour the magic that food has on shaping our health and our enjoyment of life. We have to eat to survive, so we might as well have fun in doing it!
All photos via Lynsey Loves Food.
Ana is an actress and writer and host of the blog series Girl Crush. She loves hanging with her friends, finding the best vintage pieces and travelling to every small town. You can follow her musings over on her blog and instagram.