Wellness warrior, yogi, smoothie bowl extraordinaire, plant-based goddess, wife, and soon to be mama bird, Alexandra Dawson never ceases to impress and inspire us. Alexandra has perfected the beauty of simple and stunning food photography that keeps her audience anxiously waiting for what she has in store next. Over a short time she turned her website, inmybowl.com, into a go-to for brands as large as Whole Foods. As humble and kind as ever, she shared with us how she turned her passion for nutrition and wellness into her full time career and love. Queue Alexandra…
- You have nearly 70,000 Instagram followers. When did it hit you that all of the sudden your all-natural feed was going viral?
My website InMyBowl.com and Instagram @TallulahAlexandra both began in late 2013 as personal projects during my post-baccalaureate program in nutrition and dietetics. With the intention of becoming a registered dietitian, I began the platforms as a portfolio for future me, a reference of recipes and cognitions that I could later share with my patients and clients during counseling sessions.
Although my initial intentions and wildest dreams were never to have such an immense following, both In My Bowl and Tallulah now both serve as internationally celebrated resources and hubs for whole body, holistic wellness. I’m really not sure when the definitive moment took place, when they transformed from personal platforms to public hubs, but I accredit the growth to just being myself, and being myself consistently – keeping my photographs, cognitions, captions, everything, as genuine and me as possible. I’ve also always acknowledged that plant based eating can feel very intimidating and limiting for the everyday eater. My prerogative has never been to push or convert anyone to one way of being, instead I’ve always strived to make more healthful options less daunting and more captivating so every eater can feel like health is accessible to them as well. I think that’s been very well received.
- You went to school to study Neuropsychology with a concentration in eating behaviors. When did you decide that you wanted to focus on a vegan lifestyle and sustainable living? Why?
I’ve 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. Studying neuropsychology and eating behaviors during my undergraduate program, and then going on to complete a post-baccalaureate in nutrition and dietetics, I developed a passion for preventative medicine, most specifically the power of unprocessed and natural foods and their abilities to keep us well. With that in mind, I shifted my lifestyle away from processed options and instead focus on filling my bowl with more nourishing meals made from real, unprocessed ingredients.
I’ve been a plant-based eater, intentionally, since 2009. I identify much more with the term plant-based because my diet is free of processed and synthetic foods. With Oreos, Bacon Bits, and macaroni and cheese widely available to the vegan community, “vegan” is far from synonymous with healthful and nourishing. I also used the term plant-based because I don’t like putting such a definitive label on myself; plant-based feels more inclusive!
- Do you find that this is an easy lifestyle to maintain in Washington, DC?
It hasn’t always been the easiest, in Washington, DC and even when I was living in New York, but I think that’d be true for anyone venturing into something ‘new’ and different from the mainstream. Over the past almost eight-years I’ve definitely had to develop strategies for navigating restaurant menus, gatherings, and dinner parties that have made eating out a much more positive experience. For example: because I tend to steer clear of ‘vegan restaurants’ in lieu of ‘regular restaurants’ with inherently plant based options, I always check the menu before making a reservation to be sure there’s something I can have. If it doesn’t look like options are available (or if there’s an option I think can be tweaked), I make sure to call ahead to let the chef know my dietary restrictions and thoughts. This gives the restaurant more of an opportunity to plan for me so I’m not putting them on the spot so last minute, and also allows them the time to do some creative brainstorming.
- What is your favorite restaurant in DC and why?
The Red Hen, especially after the sun’s set – my husband Andrew and I celebrate every special occasion and milestone at their table. There’s something so inherently soul-nourishing about their cozy ambiance and handmade pastas, packed to the brim with seasonal vegetables.
- Your recipes and blog have been recognized by Thrive Magazine and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop,and have led you to collaborations with Whole Foods Market and Jose Andres. What would be your dream collaboration? And what would you make?
I’ve been immensely inspired by chefs and bloggers like Jamie Oliver, Yotam Ottolenghi, Anna Jones, Sarah Britton, and Heidi Swanson – creatives and creators truly celebrating seasonal, real, and accessible ingredients and recipes. Collaborating with any of them on a seasonally inspired menu for a big communal-table gathering would be a dream.
- What are you looking forward to for In My Bowl in the future?
In My Bowl and Tallulah have always served a resource for holistic and plant based wellness, but also a live documentation of my life and everyday. With my husband and I expecting our very first little babe in less than eight short weeks, I intend to not only continue what I’ve always been doing, sharing my recipes, cognitions, and self, but on growing my community to include mama and baby bird nutrition, family accessible recipes, and little tidbits on building and fostering the holistic home and self. Health and wellness belong to everyone, everyday, always.
- Now for the fun ones… if you could be a piece of salt on any DC restaurants dish, what dish would it be? Why?
Not to over-fixate on The Red Hen, but ohmygosh, have you SEEN (or tried) their lemon-yogurt pound cake with lemon curd, toasted almond gelato, and almond crunch!? Andrew orders it after every meal; it is one of the most stunning, moist, and decadent desserts I’ve seen in the city – not to mention I’m the worlds biggest fan of lemon cake. I’d love to be a speck of sugar on that dish.
- What songs do you love to cook to? A little beet (if you will), to get your creative kitchen juices flowing!
I am no fun when it comes to music – I am the dork that falls helplessly in love with one song and listens to it on repeat for days (weeks). Right now my life’s been playing out to Patty Smith’s Because The Night.
We were so excited and honored to learn more about what the future has in store for Alexandra and InMyBowl. Stay tuned for more #girlboss stories….