Our latest Behind the Spoon Q&A is with our friend Carlene of Healthfully Ever After. She’s not only a registered dietitian nutritionist, she’s an incredibly talented recipe and content developer for a number of brands. Her Instagram feed has been named by Washingtonian as one of the best to follow, she’s been featured in a number of publications including Huffington Post and Mashable (just to name a few) and she is involved in a number of organizations that add to her list of accolades. Not to mention she has a YouTube channel and two eBooks (including a Wedding Wellness Workbook) both filled with stunning photography and useful tips for living a healthy lifestyle.
This multi-talented girl needs no further introduction, so let’s jump right to the interview so you can learn more about Carlene and how to live a healthy, curated life!
Q. How did you get started in nutrition?
As a kid I was solid 50:50 on either becoming an orthodontist or a florist but that was never meant to be. Growing up we cooked a lot in my family. My Grandpa was with the State Department so my Dad grew up in South East Asia while my Grandma threw the prerequisite diplomat-wife party after party. Between the two of them, I loved everything about food and I’m pretty sure I was the only kid at my elementary school with pita bread and nori. My grandma is also a physical therapist and personal trainer. I still idolize her. I still totally want to be my grandma when I grow up. And after a random high school nutrition class where I realized food and medicine could come together I was sold. I applied declared to college in Dietetics and Nutrition and never looked back.
Q. You make healthy foods look and taste delicious, but what’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
The only thing I honestly feel guilty about is my love of paper towels.
When it comes to food I honestly believe in balance. I don’t feel bad about eating a cookie or whatever it is I’m choosing that day. Food tastes gross if you feel guilty. But as far as my ‘moderation’ food choices? Please create a buffet of lobster rolls, pizza, and all the cheeses (except Danish blue cheese). Also, thanksgiving stuffing.
Q. What’s your favorite recipe you created and why?
There are a few I always, always go back to. But I definitely fall in love with newer recipes for weeks at a time:
(See more of favorites here: http://healthfullyeverafter.co/recipes/ under ‘all time favorites’)
Q. Quick tip on making it easier to source good, healthy food
I think part of it is not fighting your current habits. Just meet yourself where you are. If you have zero time to shop, have your groceries delivered to your house or order a meal ingredient delivery package. Or if you hate to cook, find 10 amazing places you can always find healthy food near your work and home. I think it comes down to self evaluation and research. My personal habit is a CSA subscription that runs May-October, weekly Wegmans runs and hitting the farmers market.
Q. What is your go-to food blog and/or cook book?
The best cookbook of all time is Joy of Cooking, 1990’s edition. The 1970’s edition has things like ‘how to skin a squirrel’ so not so much that year. My favorite food Instagrams/blogs are random Scandinavian people!
Q. What are your favorite places to dine at around DC/Nova?
I’m really specific where I can find the best of the best. Kafe Leopold in Georgetown never lets me down for lunch. For burgers Melt in Leesburg is the best burger I’ve ever had in my LIFE. Ice cream: Rocky Point Creamery in Tuscarora, Maryland. I also have a love affair with Cava.
(Photo byBob Updegrove)
Q. Fun fact about you…
My wedding bouquet and flowers had vegetables in them (see above). Holly Chapple is the most amazing floral designer ever. She called me the night before the wedding and was like “How in are you on this idea?” and I told her to go crazy. You can see the bouquet here.
Q. Celebrity chef you admire and why?
Two part answer: I love Elie Krieger because she’s a dietitian but I think David Chang is a bad ass and I want to be friends with him.
Q. Beverage of choice?
Seltzer water, super cold. Also cucumber, herbs, vodka and seltzer if it’s that kind of evening. During cooler months I go for a black walnut bourbon cocktail.
Q. Who is your business inspiration/mentor and what have they taught you?
The girls I share my Georgetown studio with inspire me daily. They’re bad ass business women and since I’ve known them I’ve really grown in how I think about business.
Q. Where do you see yourself/business in 10 years?
That’s so hard to say! I see how my goals and business have changed year to year as I streamline where I want to be and I’m really excited to see the changes as time goes on! One of my long term goals that never changes is that I’d love to do a book.
Q. What advice to you have for others looking to start their own business or blog?
Evaluate your goals and yourself before you jump in. What’s your motivator? Because if it’s making money, you’re going to need something more to sustain you through the lean times. You need a reason to keep going. Once you have that part figured out start as soon as possible. The best time to start was yesterday. I finally started doing YouTube at the start of the year despite wanting to do it for a full two years before hand. Think how far along that project would have been by now!
Thanks so much to Carlene for taking the time to share some of her business and food inspiration! It was an honor and we look forward to seeing what’s ahead for this girl – we know there is nothing but success in her future! (All photos unless noted are by Carlene Thomas).