Wellness is a major buzzword these days, but it can mean a little something different to everyone. Does it stand for self-care and restoration, or is it more about strength and endurance? So, we created a series breaking down the healthy habits of local influencers and entrepreneurs, allowing them to define what wellness means on a personal level.
29-year-old Natalie Knowlton, one of the founding sisters behind lifestyle blog and online macaron bakery We the Birds, has stuck to the same morning wellness ritual for the past decade. “It helps reduce anxiety going into my day,” says Knowlton. “I get my best work done in the morning hours — the calm before the chaos.”
We caught up with Knowlton in between French pastry crafting at the sisters’ minimalistic East Dallas headquarters to see how the stylish influencer and entrepreneur incorporates wellness into daily, frenzied life.
You say you’ve had the same morning ritual for 10 years. That’s commitment! What’s the drill?
Wake up to my first alarm, stretch in bed and do a quick sun salutation. Then I cleanse my face and start my breakfast ritual. It’s always lemon water, French-pressed coffee, a green smoothie (ginger, spinach, berries, almond milk and apple cider vinegar), gluten-free avocado toast with a fried egg and turkey bacon.
As a business owner, how do you work to minimize stress and keep the calm?
I struggle with slowing down and centering myself, but I do make a concerted effort to stop, reflect and pray before every meal. I figure if I can stop working to make a quick meal and eat, I have a minute to give to God and myself. I also remind myself to smile randomly. I’m convinced it sends a signal to the brain to make me feel happier.
Doing what you do, you must be constantly tempted to indulge. What helps you stay motivated to eat healthy?
My lack of exercise lately has motivated me to maintain healthy eating choices. I never regret eating healthy because it’s rewarding, and I feel good when I eat well. As for working out, my motivation is this terrible lack of energy I’ve been experiencing without it in my life. Also, my mood is never as good as it is when I’m active.
Any tips for making healthy choices when you’re out to eat with friends?
I am gluten- and dairy-free, so that helps eliminate a lot of things, but I usually aim for balance when I eat out. Most entrees are laden with butter (especially fish), so I usually opt for a few small plates or pick a lean protein as my main course. Also, being on a budget helps eliminate most of my temptations.
If you need that jolt of energy, especially after that lunchtime lull, how do you get it?
I move a lot. Even if it’s a day where I don’t leave my office, I make sure to get up and walk around or clean something or just do something to mentally take a break and be active. I drink tons of water too. I panic if there isn’t water nearby.
If I can get a workout in, I’ll run. I love running outside because it forces me to breathe fresh air, move my legs, and slow down my mind.