I am so excited to have Dani on the blog today. I met her last year at the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico and was really impressed that she was there to learn about health and was also studying to become a health coach. The reason I was really impressed by her was that she was actually a full-fledged model and was actively pursuing a healthy lifestyle in an industry that has a bad nutritional rap. I am really happy to share some of Dani’s insights because this girl travels all the time, is on the go, is up at all hours of the day and braves crazy weather as part of her modelling career. If she can be healthy, you can too!
Dani, what does a typical day look like for you and how do you incorporate healthy habits (exercise, healthy food, time for friends/family)?
Every day is different in my line of work. Sometimes I’m working, other days I have castings where I’m running around the city seeing different clients. I like to start my day by giving myself 1-2 hours to wake up. On most mornings, I have a routine of oil pulling followed by 2 glasses of water while I look at my favorite blogs and read the news. Breakfast is the meal I look the most forward to, and I feel the most important because you’re giving your body the essential nutrients needed to begin your day. Trust me, some days last a long time for me so I have to start them off right! I also love mornings because I feel it’s when you are able to set the intentions for your day to come. Getting a workout in the morning is important too and I like to aim for an early start so I have the rest of the day to enjoy and not worry if I can’t fit it in. I grew up playing sports, so every day I like to do something active whether it’s Pilates, working out with my trainer, yoga or playing a sport with friends. Sometimes the best exercise comes from goofing around with a basketball and good friends!
Have you always been a healthy eater? If not what changed?
I have always been relatively healthy; eating organic and growing/preserving our food was a big part of my childhood. Both of my parents are health conscious and played sports, which also really helped. It wasn’t until I spent a few months in Australia where I really started to gain a stronger interest in learning more about health and wellness. Every restaurant I went to there was so healthy and I began to copy the recipes; I felt so good with what I was eating. I equated restaurant food with not being healthy and sometimes had difficult times making sure I ordered the most nutritious choice from the menu in the past. Things have changed so much for the restaurant industry now. People want healthy choices.
How do you incorporate fashion and healthy food into your life?
Living in NY makes incorporating fashion and food into my life very easy. I feel like I live in a city where the introduction of new health food originates! Every month it seems there’s a new health food store, restaurant, or new line introduced. There are numerous events marketing health and wellness so it’s easy to keep up with any developments. It seems like being healthy is really starting to popularize.
What inspired you to go to the Ann Wigmore Institute and also to enroll in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition?
My good friend was talking about Ann Wigmore and ironically enough, we ended up attending an event which handed out a flyer for the institute. This was only one week after she’d mentioned it. The next day, I booked my ticket and we left the following month. It was a great experience where I learned so much!
I was inspired to take the IIN course after watching, “Food Matters”. I was just so confused as to why we were subjected to GMO’s, big Pharma, and other issues ruining our food supply; I needed to learn more. There is so much happening behind closed doors that are harming us and I feel education is the key. Knowledge can give the power of choice.
Have you coached other models OR how do you inspire others to be healthier?
I have lived with younger girls in model apartments and always love to offer help with shopping for healthier foods, learning new recipes, or just giving some tips that I use myself. I don’t like to ever be pushy as people have their own way of doing things. Offering to answer any questions and modeling a healthy lifestyle is more effective.
I would love to coach models but because my schedule isn’t stable right now, I couldn’t give the consistency needed and this wouldn’t be fair. As for now, I’m trying to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible so the doors can open for helping people in the future.
What is your favorite healthy breakfast recipe or other recipe?
I have so many favorite breakfast recipes! This one is an easy chia seed super food pudding full of nutrition and simple to make. Every place I have to travel has bananas and the other ingredients are easy to pack so I can count on this recipe wherever I go:
Easy Chia Seed Super Food Pudding
- 2 tbsp Chia seeds
- 1 Banana
- ½ cup Almond milk
- 1 tbsp of preferred nut butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
*if available I like to add hemp seeds, berries, maca powder, cacao, or any other goodies
- Soak chia in almond milk for 10-15 minutes
- Add in sliced banana, nut butter and cinnamon.
- Eat and enjoy! Mmmm
I also love this Warm Quinoa Salad!
Food is fabulous and so is fashion. How can fashion and clothes make you feel better about yourself?
Confidence. When you wear clothes that you feel confident in, you feel better about yourself. This goes the same for what you eat. When you’re eating healthy and wholesome foods that your body responds well to, you also feel confident and I think that is very important. Feeling great on the inside and outside.
What are your favorite activities to reconnect with the earth and environment?
I just started volunteering for New York cares, which is a charity that takes action against social issues in NYC. There are so many activities to get involved in here which makes you feel so great to be a part of. I have played sports with children and done some gardening so far, and both have been incredibly rewarding for me. I also love to go hiking and be in the great outdoors; with being from Canada, this is a huge part of feeling grounded. Being in nature is embedded in me. Of course with enjoying the earth and environment as much as I do, it goes without saying that I try to leave a small imprint on this big city. Recycling, buying used and asking myself if I really need something, also make me feel grounded.
What is your guilty food pleasure? Why?
Anything Coconut. Coconut butter is my all-time favorite indulgence right now, I could finish off a jar easily in one week! I love it because it’s just sweet enough, is a healthy fat and makes me feel satisfied.
On that note, I should grab a fresh-off-the-tree coconut while I am still here in Puerto Rico!
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