Healthy Habits with Sarah Crowder


This is part of a series of interviews I'm doing with creative entrepreneurs who I find inspiring. I was curious to know how they incorporate healthy habits into their work + life blend. I figured you were probably curious too, so I'm taking one for the team and having great conversations with amazing bosses so I can share them here with you. (Hard work, right?!)

My intention with these interviews is to showcase bosses NOT in the health and wellness industry and shine a light on their habits and routines that help them stay healthy as busy bosses. So, tell us a little about yourself and what industry you're in?

I'm a food photographer and recipe developer, and I work primarily with small-batch producers. The drive down the road that led me to what I'm doing today was fueled by a love of food, particularly the story behind how it gets to our plates, and before becoming a content creator for food businesses I was an organic vegetable farmer. My clients hearten and invigorate me with their thoughtful contributions to sustainability, our knowledge of culture and history, and the availability of interesting and exciting flavors.

You recently did a sugar detox that I organized inside our Being Boss Clubhouse. Was that insanely hard to do when you're working with food all day? How did that experience change your relationship to your work?

It was weirdly not hard at all! I didn't follow it 100%, since I did have to taste non-compliant foods as part of my job, but I think I was honest with myself about when breaking the rules was warranted. The experience taught me how helpful it was to have guidelines in place about what I can and can't eat, especially during the week, and especially on shoot days. 

Shoot days can be long and draining, so it's easy to grab whatever is most convenient, but following my own rules helps me make better decisions. The week before the sugar detox I had two chocolate shoots, so you can imagine what was most easily accessible when I got hungry in the middle of the workday - I felt so shitty by the end of the week. During the sugar detox, I did a shoot that partly revolved around recipes using boxed cake mix, and simply having those self-imposed rules about what I can and can't eat made it easy to take a few minutes to find something more wholesome to eat.

And since participating in the sugar detox, I don't crave sweets at all! This is the first time in my life that I'm one of those people who skips dessert not out of self-control, but because I don't even want it. I might be having a minor identity crisis over it.

As you know, my tag line is health fuels hustle. Tell us how you prioritize your health so that you can be a total boss every day? (And surround yourself with delicious eats!)

My biggest health priority is sleep, because without enough of it I can't be creative with my work or patient with my kids. Plus, when I'm tired my face looks sad, and then I don't feel boss at all. For me, getting more sleep was about deciding it was important enough; once I did that, it made the decision to close the laptop, book, whatever, and go to bed really easy.

Making time to prepare my food is a big one, too. When I don't prioritize cooking, my relationship with food usually suffers, along with my energy levels and mental clarity. 

Are you the type of person who thrives on habits and routines? If so, what are your top habits that make you feel like a total boss?

Absolutely. Besides getting enough sleep and cooking good food, the below habits are what make me feel totally boss. When these start disappearing from my schedule, it's a big red flag that I'm spiraling into overwhelm and need to get my shit back in order.

Getting up before my kids. I love to be in control, which is practically incompatible with parenting. My best coping mechanism is to get up before my kids so that I at least feel in control with this one thing. I decide when I wake up. (<--Can you sense the neurosis?) 

Meditation. This is a relatively new one, but it's been a game-changer for me. When I meditate, even for just 10 minutes a day, I'm more patient, less anxious, and just overall happier. I use and love the Headspace app.

Coffee. Taking the time to make a really delicious cup of coffee is embarrassingly important to me. The ritual is such a pleasure, and I tend to save it for after I've dropped my kids off at daycare so I can enjoy it without distraction. My husband roasts the coffee beans at home, and I usually make espresso drinks. My preference changes over time, but right now I like to have either an americano or a shakerato (espresso shaken with homemade nut milk). I'm also fortunate to live in a city with lots of great roasting companies, so if I'm shooting on location or working in a coffee shop, I treat myself to someone else's brew.

I fully believe that indulging in less-than healthy-behaviors once in awhile can be part of a well-rounded healthy lifestyle. What is your number one less-than-healthy indulgence?

I've been staring at the screen for a solid five minutes, because I can't think of just one. They're all food though, so I guess I'd say generally my favorite indulgence is food that doesn't make me feel my best afterward but is a worthwhile experience in the moment. This is where the line between "good" and "bad" foods for me gets thick and gray, because eating is about so much more than nutrition - it's cultural, experiential, and emotional (and not always in a bad way). I don't think I would be my most joyful self if I put rules in place that didn't allow me to celebrate birthdays with cake, beach vacations with fried seafood, and milestones with too much champagne.

Are there any Sarah Crowder health tips that you want to spread the word about?

My #1 tip for feeling good is to eat more vegetables. I feel like the knee-jerk reaction when exploring diet as a solution to an issue is to look at what you can cut out, but I think at least as often it's about what you can add in. Have some collards with your fried chicken; toss some spinach into your pasta; pair a salad with your pizza. And the more I eat vegetables, the more I crave them.

Learn more about Sarah’s food photography and recipe development, check out her site here!

**The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

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