Today’s Wisdomm Series features Talia Chai, a Toronto-based Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Clean Foods Chef and Yoga Instructor. She is also the author of Clean Eating Ebook – full of delicious dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free recipes.
I came across Talia’s website a few weeks ago and love what she’s all about. I love how she’s all about being authentic, removing perfection and learning to fall in love with yourself. Talia helps filter out all of the “crap” in your life to bring you clean eating, living and beauty – a perfect trio to help make you feel your best. She has so much wisdom to share and lots of tips on staying organized and stress-free. Read on!
Q: You have a lot of talents under your belt – holistic nutritionist, clean foods chef and yoga instructor. Why did you decide to go into the wellness field?
A: Thank you! From as far back as I can remember I planned on pursuing acting and dance as a career. I studied performing arts my whole life where I learned very quickly that my body was one of the most valuable tools I had. Keeping my body healthy became a priority from a very early age. So when I decided to move on from performing and begin a new career, it made perfect sense to transition into wellness to take my own health to the next level and eventually help others do the same.
Q: I love that you’re all about being authentic and in the moment – how do you make sure you practice what you preach? How do you stay in the moment?
A: For me, authenticity has come with age. I spent my twenties trying to figure out who I was, how I wanted to pursue my many passions and contribute to the world. I constantly doubted myself to try and please others and make sure I was liked. The older I got, the more life I got to live. I experienced pain and heartbreak. I took risks and failed. I also had some successes. Reflection and the desire to grow encouraged me to dig deep and learn through all of these moments. I began to listen to my inner voice – my intuition. I began to trust myself even if that meant doing things differently, having people disagree with me or maybe even being disliked because of my point of view.
Our differences are what make each one of us unique and beautiful. I can do a mediocre job by copying someone else or I can do an excellent job by doing things my way.
Q: Do you have any tips for how to stay in the moment when you’re under stress/anxiety?
A: The easiest way to deal with stress or anxiety in the moment is to breathe. When my mind starts rattling off a mile a minute and I feel out of control I take a moment to stop whatever I’m doing. I’ll inhale deeply through my nose for a count of 4, hold my breath in for a count of 4 and exhale through my mouth for a count of 4. I’ll repeat this breathing technique at least 4 times. It’s incredible how much breathing can quiet the mind, relax the nervous system and calm the body.
I think a lot of stress comes from over-identifying with fearful thoughts about the past or the future. Meditation is a great tool to use to separate our thoughts from our reality. It trains us to give less attention and credibility to those fears and to focus on what’s real – the present moment. Lastly, movement of any kind. Movement takes us out of our heads and into our bodies. For me, that’s yoga and dance but it could be anything – your favourite sport, going for a walk with a friend or trying a new class at the gym.
Q: Although you’re a health guru, you still must splurge on a guilty pleasure once and a while. What would that be for you?
A: I like to eat healthy food as much as possible because I truly enjoy it. When I grocery shop and cook my meals at home they’re always super healthy. That being said, when I’m out with my friends or out at a restaurant I eat whatever I want. I don’t believe that regular restriction is healthy in the long run because it can create feelings of guilt and shame surrounding the food we eat. I eat for pleasure and for health. I savour whatever it is I’m eating whether it’s a massive salad with greens, avocado and a tahini dressing or freshly baked chocolate cookies. The 80/20 rule can come in handy here. If you know that 80% of the time you’re eating vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, good quality proteins and tons of fresh water then the other 20% of the time (usually when you’re out or being social) you can eat whatever appeals to you most without feeling like you’re doing something wrong. But to answer your question, dark chocolate in all its forms is my favourite indulgence!
Q: How do you stay organized in your busy life?
A: My schedule changes every day and it can be challenging to get a consistent routine down. My morning goal is to get in a yoga class and a healthy breakfast. Usually a green smoothie or a kefir bowl with berries, chia and hemp seeds. Starting my morning off right can really set the tone for a successful day. I like to make lots of lists and get everything out of my head and onto paper. Each day I’ll assign myself three tasks from my master list. The key is not to make it too overwhelming by splitting one massive list up into tiny chunks. By the end of the week, I’ll have completed so much without feeling burned out.
Q: Traditional agenda or iCal/electronic calendar?
Q: When are you most productive?
A: I’m a night person and get some of my greatest ideas tossing and turning in bed. But I usually get my best work done in the mornings after a workout and breakfast.
Q: What’s your favourite room in your home? Why?
A: My kitchen. It’s probably the room I spend most of my time in. I love experimenting with new recipes, organizing my pantry and finding kitchen hacks to make life easier. It makes me very happy when I get to feed and nourish the people I love.
Q: How do you de-stress?
A: I like to de-stress by taking a hot bath with Epsom salts, baking soda and argan oil. Also by reading, listening to classical music and spending time with my family and friends. Nature helps me to de-stress in a huge way. In the warmer months, I like to hang out in the park or go for a bike ride by the lake. Journaling helps me get stressful thoughts out of my body.
Q: What’s your favourite yoga pose?
A: Downward dog – so many benefits from one pose!
Q: What’s your favourite item in your makeup bag?
A: That’s tough. I’ll give you my top three: Vapour Atmosphere foundation, RMS bronzer and Ilia lipsticks.
Q: Do you find it hard to have a work/life balance while running your own business? If you don’t, can you share some tips for finding that balance?
A: Because I have my own business, my work is built into my life. There isn’t really much separation. I make sure I take the time to get my work done but also to take care of my health and personal growth. As entrepreneurs, it’s so easy to let our own health and needs fall to the wayside. It’s important to define what success means to you. I want to be successful in my business but I also want to have a successful life – one where I get to be active, be present and spend time with people who I love. I also think it’s important to find a meaningful cause to give back to. I’m passionate about organizations like She’s The First that help to educate girls all over the world. Giving back to these types of causes through my business helps me to stay motivated and focused even on those not-so-fun days. It helps to create purpose in both my business and my life.
Check out Talia’s website here!