I am really excited today to introduce you to a brand new foodie, Alexandra Dawson who is a Washington based wellness warrior with a BA in Neuropsychology, concentrating in Eating Disorders & Obesity. She’s one very busy lady as not only does she make and blog the most delicious recipes, she is currently a post baccalaureate nutrition and dietetics student. Meet Alexandra…
What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?
Wellness Warrior, Passionate & Mindful
What does wellness or wellbeing mean to you?
Wellness is a well-balanced and nourished mind, body, and spirit. Our body is one entity; to achieve true healthfulness means conscious and active living, positive, opened, and affirmative thinking, and clean, unprocessed, and mindful consumption.
What was the catalyst that turned you onto living a more natural and holistic lifestyle?
I have always been so drawn to the field of healthcare and wellness, always. Growing up, my mom would make up medical scenarios and we’d pretend the ironing board was an ER table and stuffed animals were our patients; all I’d wanted was to make them feel better. I recently graduated from college with a BA in Neuropsychology, concentrating in Eating Disorders and Obesity. Somewhere along the way I developed a passion for preventative medicine, most specifically the power of unprocessed and natural food and its ability to keep us well. Diet can treat, and most importantly prevent, chronic disease; imagine how many lives can be saved with simple diet changes, crazy! I am currently a full-time post baccalaureate student working towards a BS in Nutrition & Dietetics. I plan on practicing as a Registered Dietician and wellness guru, emphasizing plant based nutrition and nutrition medicine.
You make delicious recipes so what’s your favourite thing to make and why?
I am head over heals for hearty stews and curries. There is something so cozy, nourishing, and healing about them, they draw you into this pseudo hibernation I just can’t get enough of. Winter evenings you’ll find me cuddling up under my favorite wool blanket with my favorite bowl filled with stewed vegetables and warm spices. This past winter I was especially drawn to my Kale, White Bean & Sweet Potato Korma topped with thick slices of ripe avocado (SO. GOOD.).
If you were to convert someone with one of your food, what would be your first choice?
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that people don’t like to feel pressured into lifestyle change- they have to be ready, opened, and the change has to be gradual for it to withstand. That being said: a few months back I made a dark chocolate chip & walnut banana layer cake with maple glazed walnuts. If that didn’t convert someone to plant-based living, I have no idea what would!
What does an average intake of food consist of for you per day?
Breakfast: I start every morning with a nourishing and creamy green, green smoothie. Most recently I’ve been throwing ¼ avocado into my morning smoothies (they’re packed with plant based protein, monounsaturated fats, and so many essential nutrients!), a big handful of kale or spinach, wheatgrass, ripe banana and cinnamon. It tastes like ice cream!
Lunch: For lunch I usually stick with a BIG and colorful salad, I call them my Rainbow Buddha Bowls. They’re vibrant and primarily raw salad bowls that allow for kitchen creativity and true exploration of each season’s haul. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a diverse diet. Eating the full rainbow of foods regularly helps give your body all the nutrients it needs. A typical Rainbow Buddha bowl will contain: a massive handful (or two) of dark leafy greens, ½ cup nutritious grain, a plant based protein, and 3-4 different vegetables. I dress it with lots of lemon juice and olive or flaxseed oil.
Snack: I typically have 1-2 snacks throughout the day. A snack could be a 16oz green juice, another greener smoothie, 2 cups of plain popcorn with cinnamon and coconut oil, a ripe banana, or a handful or two of berries.
Dinner: my dinner is much like my lunch, usually a pretty large salad. During colder months, I lean towards warmer and more nourishing stews and curries. I can’t get enough of brown rice with brothy veggies.
Dessert: I have dessert EVERY NIGHT. Dessert for me is usually sliced up frozen banana or berries soaked in homemade almond milk. I sprinkle this with cinnamon and a big, big spoonful of almond butter. To. Die. For.
What are your non-negotiables everyday?
I can’t get enough of my husband, black coffee, and wheatgrass.
Who are your dream dinner guests and what would you serve them?
I am truly Jamie Oliver’s biggest fan; he seems to genuinely happy, free, and impassioned. Jamie is currently heading a revolution for better school lunches and food education programs across the world to assist in the obesity epidemic, a cause I care very deeply about. I’m not sure what I would make Jamie Oliver, I don’t think I’d be able to speak.. I’d be so overwhelmed with excitement!
What lessons have you learned in the last few years since starting your health journey that have improved or enriched your life in some way?
Every day is a new day. Sometimes we get so caught up in our daily stresses, anxiety, our careers, a botched grade, a botched meal.. nonsense. It is crucial to step back from an overwhelming situation and address the magnitude of life. In these minute moments we may feel these stressors, but we can’t let them drag us down.
Where is your favourite place on earth?
I was recently on the Amalfi Coast in Italy; I have never been anywhere so vibrant or romantic. The air smelled like salt water and lemons, the wine was out of this world.. That being said, I am always the happiest when I’m with my husband and siblings, wherever they are is my favorite.
What is your favourite quote or saying to live by?
I have so many affirmations, most of which promote positivity, self-love, and wellness. A few weeks ago my sister said to me: “If you don’t like where you are, move, you are not a tree”- and I’ve been holding onto that wisdom. We’re only given one life and one body, we need to set our intentions and follow our dreams. If you sit still, life will continue without you.
Baked Lemon & Herb Falafel + Salad
Baked Lemon & Herb Falafel [makes 2 dozen/ 24 falafel]
2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, thoroughly drained & rinsed
1 medium yellow onion, peeled & roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peel removed
½ cup fresh cilantro
¼ cup fresh mint, tougher stems removed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
juice of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, rack in the middle.
In a food processor fitted with an S blade, pulse all ingredients until well combined, but still textured. Do not over-process or you’ll end up with hummus!
Divide mixture into 12 balls, place on non-stick baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool.
Nutritional Information [per falafel]
40 Calories, 6g Carbohydrates, .8g Fat, 2.1g Protein, 1.9g Fiber, .3g Sugar
Falafel Salad [makes 1 salad]
2 cups raw arugula
1 Persian cucumber or ¼ large cucumber, sliced
½ large tomato, sliced into wedges
2 tablespoons tabbouleh
2 tablespoons hummus
¼ cup picked or raw red onion
3 Baked Lemon & Herb Falafel
juice of ½ lemon
Add arugula to a large bowl. Top with cucumber, tomato, tabbouleh, hummus, onion and falafel. Drizzle with lemon juice and toss to serve.
Nutritional Information [per salad]
300 Calories, 37g Carbohydrates, 15.7g Fat, 11g Protein, 10.6g Fiber, 5.3g Sugar
Connect with Alexandra here