*let it shine* interview: lauren fowler of mindful meals

Let it Shine - Lauren Fowler
Let it Shine - Lauren Fowler

I am so excited to launch my "Let it Shine" interview series today with the ridiculously awesome Lauren Fowler of Mindful Meals. Lauren is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and in addition to her face-to-face work with clients in Vermont, she does nutrition coaching via Skype/phone with women everywhere who want to improve their relationship with food and their bodies. She also happens to be a kick-ass blogger/writer, and we're currently working on an eBook together that I can't wait to tell you more about in the near future.

Lauren has been a huge inspiration to me as I've committed to my blog over the past 6+ months, and I am grateful to now call her a friend. You can get to know Lauren a little in my interview below, and I highly recommend checking out her blog and newsletter afterwards.

Tell us a little about your background: What brought you into the wellness field, and what's your primary focus?

I grew up having several wonderful experiences of serving others, and I knew I would eventually go down the path of helping others. With the underlying interest in wellness, I chose nursing school. Luckily, I took a nutrition class my first year in and that just clicked for me, so I switched over to nutrition and became a dietitian.

 On the other side, part of my interest in wellness was always this desire to "fix myself." I was always serving others and trying to be the 'good girl,' smart, or other things while neglecting what I really wanted to do.

I started to collect this belief in high school that I wasn't good enough until I lost weight or had that bikini body other girls my age seemed to have. I started to count calories, restrict, and label my food as good or bad. My inner rebel showed up every so often and binged to help my body get the energy it was craving.

In college, I discovered Intuitive Eating, and it completely changed my relationship with food. I learned to listen to my body's cues, and the years since then, I've dived into what it really means to live a life from my heart and intuition on all levels. I now primarily work with women with eating disorders or disordered eating to help them heal their relationships with food, and it's the most fulfilling work I can imagine doing.

When you think of your "inner light," what does that mean to you, and what role does it play in your life and work?

My inner light is my intuition. It's what guides me to live a life aligned with my values and from my heart. I tend to be an indecisive person (don't give me the choice of what movie to watch!), but when I take a moment to ask my heart and intuition what to do and actually listen, I can make a clear decision.In my work with women, I'm helping them heal their relationship with food, but it's really about helping them find deeper connection with themselves. By building a loving relationship with themselves and honoring their needs and desires, their relationship with food shifts as well.

What are a few of your rituals or practices that help you stay inspired and connected to yourself and your purpose?

My magical mornings! I give myself time in the morning to do a short yoga flow, meditate, and usually read or journal for a bit. It starts my day on a positive note and helps me ease into the day. Writing in a journal or on my blog has always been one of the best ways to express myself, so I try to write daily for inspiration and connection.

 Moving my body really helps me stay connected to myself, especially in a yoga class or out in nature.

So often these days, we only get the "highlight reel" of others' lives via Facebook, Instagram, etc. If we could see you at some of your "real life" less-than-perfect or mundane moments, what might we see?

My work-from-home outfits. On days I'm not seeing clients, you can typically find me in yoga pants, a messy bun, and pink slippers. 

While I love cooking and trying new recipes, most of the week I'm not cooking extravagant and Instagram-worthy meals. 

And yes, I eat emotionally sometimes :) It's a totally normal thing to do.I savor red wine and cheese just because I want it, and somedays I'll enjoy chocolate if I'm having a bad day. The point is I don't allow guilt or shame to ruin my experience.

What's one of your favorite breakfasts?

Omelets with lots of veggies and fruit on the side!

And how about lunch/dinner?

I love curries - Mango Coconut Chicken Curry is a favorite.

What is your favorite way to move your body?

Yoga or anything outside in nature - hiking, running, walking. Oh, and dancing!

3 items you always have with you (beyond wallet/keys/phone!)

My new amazonite mala bracelet, tea, compassion

What are some of your absolute favorite fictional books, movies, and albums?

Harry Potter! I remember picking up the new books and reading them for like 3 days straight until it was done. (I'll take this as a reminder to read more fiction!)

I'm not a huge movie person, but I love shows. Some of my favorites are ALIAS (love spy shows!), Orange is the New Black, New Girl, and The Americans.

Which podcasts, books, courses, or other resources have had a real impact on your life?

Intuitive Eating really started me on this path, and I return and re-read that book every so often. Always new pieces of gold to pick up!

 Geneen Roth cracked me open as well, into the spiritual and emotional side of eating. Before that, I tried to look at things through a purely 'logical' perspective. Others I love are Brené Brown's books, the Jess Lively podcast, and Isabel Foxen Duke for a whole new perspective on body image that isn't talked about often.

 Lastly, journaling! Having a space to openly and freely express my thoughts, feelings, and whatever comes up is huge. It's my space to explore things on my journey and on my time.

What can you tell us about your offerings and any projects that you're working on? And how about a few of your favorite Mindful Meals blog posts?

Well, Valerie and I are working on an eBook together that I'd say is pretty amazing so far! 
I also coach women one-on-one on healing their relationship with food, and you can learn more about that here.

Here are a few posts to get to know me as well:The Seven Truths about Weight Loss All Women Must Know The Movement Revolution: 5 Ways to Find Body Love + ConnectionMy Simple Nutrition Philosophy


Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin, LMSW, is a Primary Therapist at The Ranch residential treatment center, where she works with eating disorders, addiction, trauma, and co-occurring mental health issues. Valerie focuses on a holistic treatment approach of mind + body integration, using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), somatic and bioenergetic therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), psychodrama, 12-step, and shame resilience. She is also a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist (CSAT) Candidate. Valerie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Master of Science degree in Clinical Social Work at the University of Texas in Austin. She is an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Nashville, and emphasizes spiritual exploration in her work with clients.