I've known the beautiful and talented Diana Cardenas for years as the chicest member of the Equinox early morning crew. It takes a special kind of dedication to get up and train at 5am and to do so with a positive attitude of gratitude. Balancing a career in fashion, a fitness regime and a personal life can be challenging. So when I stumbled upon her food blog The Health Snob I was truly impressed. Her recipes are healthy, practical and mouthwatering. She was kind enough to share some of her favorites with me and some wisdom from her personal journey. Check out our interview and be sure to follow @thehealthsnob on Instagram.
1. I am impressed that you find the time to cook and share such amazing recipes. How and why do you make time for your fitness and nutrition regime?
Well, when I started working at my current company I became victim to stress and exhaustion and working super long days. I then started to slack off on my workouts and diet. I gained a lot of weight and I wasn’t happy with myself physically or mentally. So a few years ago I decided it was time to get back on track and start building healthy habits again. Trust me, meal prepping takes time, but if you dedicate a few hours on the weekend you can have so many easy to grab items throughout the work week. As far as working out it is definitely not easy getting up that early to get to the gym, but I know that after work I won’t have the energy, so getting up early works best for me. And you really should do what works with your schedule. And make sure to make it your priority at least a few times a week. I make time and try to prioritize my fitness and nutrition because it really helps me feel great both physically and mentally. I have so much more energy and mental clarity when I workout and eat healthy and not to mention my skin has cleared up a lot and my digestion has improved dramatically. I also really enjoy cooking and exercising that it doesn’t feel like a task to me. It is just the lifestyle that I enjoy.
2. How did The Health Snob come to life? Who and what inspires your recipes and tips?
The Health Snob came to life a few months ago. It is something I had been wanting to do for a while. It was just hard to find the time. I unfortunately have a lot of digestion issues and a few food allergies. I have always struggled to figure out how to cook something that wouldn’t bother my stomach, but was also nutritious and healthy. When I finally got the hang of it I started making things for pot lucks and friends. And I started getting tons of requests for recipes so I decided it was time to start the blog and share my recipes so that other people with similar digestion issues, could find inspiration to cook for themselves. And to show people there are ways to eat healthy without sacrificing flavor. I find a lot of recipe inspirations from two bloggers that I follow: Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows.
3. What are your absolute FAVORITE three recipes from your blog?
Currently my Pistachio Matcha Vitality Bites, Curry Salmon Rice Bowl and Breakfast Tacos are my favorites. The Pistachio Matcha Vitality Bites are so tasty and so great to store in the freezer. The salmon bowl is also delicious. Salmon is definitely my go to when it comes to lunch. It is so versatile and easy to cook and not to mention full of healthy fats and protein. And lastly the tacos. I have a taco addiction so you can never go wrong with healthy tacos, especially for breakfast.
4. For those who want to cook or meal prep more, do you have any advice on how to get started?
Start easy and keep it simple. Make sure to buy some Tupperware for storing and start by picking a few of your favorite salad greens, vegetables, grains, and proteins. Also make sure to learn a good and simple vinaigrette recipe to always keep in your fridge. My go to is olive oil, mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. If you like roasted vegetables like me roast a big batch with some salt and pepper or simply steam or cut them up raw if thats your thing. Then cook up a batch of grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc…) and store in container. Then figure out what you like as far as proteins (fish, chicken, eggs, tofu, etc…) and simply make that as you please. Then just make yourself some salads or rice bowls for a few days for lunch and you’re good to go. For example I like to roast sweet potatoes and beets and toss them in a green salad mix with grated carrots and sliced Persian cucumbers. I then grill up two or three salmon fillets with salt and pepper on my grill pan and add that to my salad with a side of my homemade vinaigrette.
Another really good tip is to stock up on some essentials and always keep them in your house. I always keep egg whites, eggs, oatmeal, quinoa, cans of tuna, nuts, baby carrots, frozen broccoli and spinach. You can easily whip up a breakfast, lunch or dinner with any of these ingredients in case your schedule gets hectic and you don't get a chance to meal prep or grocery shop.
5. Sometimes people with such a dedication to health and wellness can face criticism and resentment from people who may not understand or possibly are jealous or struggling with their own issues. Has this ever happened to you? How do you deal with that?
This unfortunately happens to me a lot. It is actually very sad that people are so critical of others and don’t understand the struggle that some people go through whether skinny or not. People are constantly telling me that I’m too skinny, that I need to eat more, that I looked better before and most recently I was told that I was becoming anorexic. It honestly is very hurtful to hear these things, because I have come such a long way in terms of my fitness and nutrition and work really hard to be where I am. It really used to bother me a lot more and hurt my feelings and self esteem, but I luckily don’t resent people nor hold grudges so I am able to move past these comments. I have learned to love myself and feel great in my body and I know that I am really healthy and strong, so I have learned to ignore the hateful comments and try to not let them bother me. However, I wish people would be more sensitive to these things. We live in such a critical society where everyone strives to look perfect and is already really harsh on themselves. We shouldn’t criticize and bully each other. We should motivate one another and be supportive. And if you feel like someone does have some sort of health issues there is a way to approach that situation in a supportive and concerning way.