Yoga is mostly known for its asana practice - the physical practice on your mat. It is SO good for exercise, flexibility, and for your physical body overall. BUT, this wouldn't be a YogiOakley blog post if we didn't mention yoga off the mat, right?! Yoga is also in our minds and the choices we make everyday. Yoga is a true practice, something we have to work on daily.
Yoga calls us to take care of & love our bodies. Yoga therefore, can come into play through the food choices we make daily. Yoga reminds us to find balance.
Enter: one of my FAVORITE blogs and an old sweet friend, Our Balanced Bowl.
First of all, Haylie is such an amazing & caring individual. I met her in college and have watched her thrive (though social media) since then. I want to be Haylie when I grow up. Secondly, and as it relates to this post, we were able to interview this strong woman behind OBB and get to share it with YOU!
Our Balanced Bowl teaches us about finding balance, love for our bodies, and how to make some BOMB food (for real, we have one of her recipes at least twice a week).
This month we are focusing on learning how to love our bodies, JUST in time for the holidays & this interview with Haylie was perfect timing. Read more below and make sure you make it to the end for some yummy meal ideas.
So tell me a little bit about Our Balanced Bowl and what it means to you.
Haylie: So Our Balanced Bowl, is a blog, mostly a food blog, where I share recipes and some lifestyle content to try and uplift those who may be struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating and I try to tell my story of my own personal experience with that, and how I learned to maintain this life of balance. I hope that my recipes can inspire people to know that, to be healthy, there's such a spectrum of that. And it's not just about maintaining this goal weight, but it's both combining physical and emotional health and how important that is, to just make sure that you're not just all the time eating these 10 calorie kale salads, or whatever, but really encompassing so many different foods, because food is such a life giving thing I mean, literally and it nourishes you both physically and mentally.
So I just really want my recipes to be that balance of it's okay to have, pizza or coffee cake or a muffin or a cookie and you don't have to feel bad about it and then feel like you need to compensate with eating kale salad, if that makes sense.
Yes, I love that. Like that's considered yoga, when you're bringing emotional and physical health together. You're doing yoga.
So can you talk a little bit more about what led you to start it? What inspired you to start your blog?
Haylie: Yeah, so as you know, my background is in social work, and I'm pretty sure like most people in our social work program, if you ask what's your ultimate career goal or like, what do you want to do, so many of us I feel like would just say I want to help people in some way. And in college, my goal was to get my MSW and then work in a hospice setting with the elderly, because that's what my mom's background is in. So that's what I wanted to do. But then I met my husband. And my last year of college was a year of long distance with him. And I just knew that I couldn't do another year of long distance. If I got my MSW, I wanted to get it at App. So anyways, I moved away from Boone, which is my hometown of my whole life, and did everything. Like nobody would hire me with just a BSW, it seemed. And so I worked in coffee shops, and just did these different jobs. Finally, Ben was like, you know, this is maybe our one chance for you, because Ben owns businesses. He's an entrepreneur. So he was like, we don't have kids right now, we're not as poor as we were when we first got married. So this is maybe our one chance to start, for you to try this. I've always wanted to be able to tell my story. Because I did lose a lot of weight about halfway through my time in college, and I did develop an eating disorder. Through that, I just really learned so much about myself and what to eat and what not to eat. But not in like a oh, that's bad for you type of eating. More, I shouldn't eat this, because it's really processed, and probably not actually good for my body, if that makes sense.
When I was losing weight, or trying to lose weight, I would eat so many Lean Cuisine, frozen meals, and just all this stuff that was like low fat, low calorie. But then I found that I made the switch in my head that food, actual food, food is meant to sustain us and give us energy and it's not the enemy. And that was really pivotal to me in regards to my disordered eating. Then also my faith as well. I really began to grow closer to the Lord. And that really helped me in my journey to know that my value is not placed in my weight, or what I see in the scale, or how I look in the mirror. Because I already know that I'm that God sees me as his beautiful daughter.
So that really was very life changing to me as well and to make a long story short, I wanted to start Our Balance Bowl to share my story, and hopefully share the recipes that I had grown to love that actually incorporated whole foods and actual vegetables.
Do you think that Our Balanced Bowl has helped acted as your own personal reminder of finding balance and loving yourself?
Haylie: Yeah, I think so. I mean, it can be difficult, especially with these upcoming months, since the holidays are coming. And I know I'm going to be doing a lot of baking. And sometimes, you know this as a social worker, like healing is never a linear thing. And it's always changing. And there are times when I do get triggered by certain foods or this and that or I do feel like I’ve over indulged almost to the point of binging on a certain food. And I think that the blog really has helped me remember what I came from and where I started, and how I've made it this far. So I don't I don't want to give up now. You know, if that makes sense. I need to just keep on keeping on. And even though there are days that it's hard to remember, that balance is attainable. It's okay, I can give myself grace. That's what I really love about your mission. I know we'll talk about that a little bit later. But just how being able to have like that forgiveness and grace for yourself is so important.
So what is balance to you?
Haylie: Balance to me is cultivating a life that will kind of keep you steady and making sure that you don't burn out. I think it's being able to eat an entire pastry on your own and not feel bad about it or it is salad loaded with fresh veggies after a weekend of indulgent eating because you feel like your body is telling you - Hi, I need some nutrition. Even further past food, it's like being able to say no, to an invitation because you feel like you're exhausted or on the flip side, being able to say, okay, Haylie, you can do this because you've been sitting on a couch for too long or something like that.
So just being able to make those everyday decisions that like I said, that keep you going, keep you steady, and make sure it's not too far on one end or the other, but kind of just resting in a happy medium. I think that's really the key to success in at least how I found it in regards to eating and just life in general.
What does the future of Our Balanced Bowl look like? And what kind of inspires you to keep it going?
Haylie: I definitely want to keep you know, posting recipes regularly. When I first started the blog, I really talked a lot more about my eating disorder. I think there's like a blog post from years ago, that's titled like, five things that helped me stop binge eating, those types of things. I'd really like to get more back into those things. And one of my ultimate career goals is to write a cookbook, which would be really cool. (!!!!!!!!!! Yall, YogiOakley here, cannot WAIT for this!)
Can you talk about what self love and self acceptance is to you?
Haylie: Gosh, I feel like I could probably talk about this a lot, right. And it's still an everyday journey. But I think that self love and acceptance is just really seeing yourself exactly the way you are, and exactly the way you are made. And just truly loving yourself. Even with your flaws, and with everything about it, but just in all stages of life, seeing yourself and loving yourself. And I wish I could go back in time and tell like, my gosh, 18 year old self that before, I kind of went down the crazy road of trying to lose weight and stuff. But, you know, that was my path. Just basically saying, even when I’m 15 pounds heavier than I was at my lowest weight, I still want to say to myself, you're beautiful, your body's beautiful, or just those types of things. And it's hard to do on a daily basis. But especially we all have bad days where, you know, it doesn't seem like any clothes look right? Or, I know I've definitely experienced with COVID, maskne, is that what they call it? I'm just like, great. I'm like a full grown adult breaking out. Just to have that deeper connection with yourself, and just knowing that you are beautiful. And I know you feel the same way too, you have a lot of people around you that love you and support you. I think that it's just important and can be hard to attain.
Why is that so important to learn?
Haylie: I think that for me and my job, I'm constantly on social media, and it can be so exhausting. And we live in this super Instagram aesthetic based culture that makes like filters that fully alter your face and your body to make you have higher cheekbones or bigger lips or bigger eyes and that's the culture we live in. It is just very disturbing to me because I just want us all to just be happy in the body that we have and realize that we have, you know, strong, healthy bodies and we're each so unique and we're all meant to have a purpose in life and that that purpose is not to reach this like ultimate Instagram goals feed if that makes sense. And so by having a deeper connection with yourself and who you truly are in your core, I think it's just so much more important than the society we kind of live in. That is very special.
Can you talk about your journey to finding love, forgiveness and grace within yourself?
Haylie: I feel like some days, like I've already previously said, it can be harder than others. But I think it's a lifelong process. But I do know that giving yourself grace and forgiveness and love is the first step before you can even like, love and forgive anyone else. You can't ever pour from an empty cup. So filling yourself up with those positive, like mental attributes, I think is really important.
And I think, for me, giving myself grace is the days like I said, where I feel kind of like ugly or just don't like the way I see myself in the mirror. Giving myself grace when I snapped at my Ben for trying to help me with my recipe or something. But I'm really just finding acceptance and love in this stage of life and the body that I'm currently in.
Like I said, the lowest weight I ever got down to was very, very low. And because I'm pretty short as well, it was just kind of scary. So now it's been weirdly one of my 2020 goals this year was to eat more carbs. Five years ago, when I was tracking every single morsel I ate in My Fitness Pal on my phone, every calorie, I would have never ever said, oh, I'm going to eat more carbs. But now learning about your body and realizing what you need, is so much more important to me than losing weight or even maintaining a certain weight. I always said I wanted to be this specific weight forever, but then it's like, well actually, if my body, if my hormones are out of whack, or if I'm not feeling the best, maybe I need to eat more. You know?
As of Sept 24, 2020 - what is your favorite recipe on your site?
Haylie: That was hard to answer! It changes a lot. I feel so bad for Ben because I make these recipes and constantly, churning out new content. So I'll make a recipe once and who knows if I ever make it again, if it turns out? So Ben will have this favorite one and I'm like sorry! I think currently my favorite is this mexican street corn and chicken crowder. So it's tangy, and juicy, and creamy, and so delicious. It's based on a dish we had when we visited Mexico City.
I will say the one I cook the most from my blog are my black bean burgers. We make those every single Monday night! We’ve been making them since we started dating & it was one of the first recipes I posted on my blog.
YogiOakley’s pick: Taco Mac & Cheese Chili
How can we find you?!
Whew. So thankful to have such a positive light in my life reminding me of my worth & beauty. I hope this taught you more about finding that balance and adding nourishing your lovely body to your practice!
Comment below your favorite OBB recipe! I promise, you'll want to try them all.