Liv For Luxury is known for fashion, and beauty content, but we’ve always wanted to create a space where we could introduce more topics just as compelling to our readers. Covering subjects like healthy eating and fitness is something that we’ve started to incorporate, and definitely, want to expand upon. But, in order for us to feel 100% comfortable covering these subjects in greater depth, we wanted to find experts in the fields to help us better educate all of you. That is why we’re very excited to announce a new series that we have deemed, “The Contributor Series.” The Contributor Series is a collaboration with experts in their trades, from chefs to fitness gurus, to offer you with the top suggestions from the masters of their trades. To make each post exciting to read and informative, each article will be presented as a “how-to” post, where the expert will walk me and you through the topic of the series. We’re starting the series off by sharing contribution posts from some of our favorite chefs, food bloggers, and fitness junkies as frequently as possible. We would love to hear your feedback and ideas on topics regarding food, healthy eating, and fitness!
As you all know the topic of food and cooking are not only some of my favorite things on this planet, but they are also topics that I am always eager to learn and understand more about. I love speaking with like-minded people that share similar interests, opinions and passions for food and the powerful effects it can have on the body. There’s so much we can learn from each other! If you’re like me and scour the internet for healthy recipes that are not only delicious but also picture perfect…look no further. So, who is the first Cooking Contributor for our new Liv For Luxury series, you ask? She’s strong, dedicated, funny, and has her own unique style in the kitchen. Not only is she an amazing cook, but the refined sugar-free icing on the gluten free and dairy free cake is that she’s an Olympic bronze medalist in the heptathlon. It doesn’t get much cooler than that. I couldn’t be more thrilled and honored to kick off this series with the incredibly talented Brianne Theisen-Eaton!
left: Blueberry Chia Smoothie
center: Vanilla Coconut Cashew Ice Cream
right: Avocado Potato Salad
Hailing from Canada, Brianne is an Oregon-based food blogger who has been passionate about food and healthy eating ever since her time as a full-time Olympic athlete. As an athlete, she would constantly read books to better understand the effects of food and invent new and healthy recipes for herself and her husband Ashton Eaton, who just so happens to be an American track and field athlete and two-time Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon. As you can imagine, her health and what she chose to fuel her body with (and her husband’s) during training and competing had a huge impact on their performance.
For the past 10 years, she dedicated her life to winning an Olympic medal. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Bri got an agent, signed a contract with Nike—yes you read that correctly, NIKE, and set off to make her dreams come true. In 2016 she won an Olympic bronze medal in the heptathlon. I remember watching Bri during the Rio Olympics and thinking what a badass she was. My brother and I also would follow Ashton’s workouts on the Nike Training App and look forward to newly released workouts. But, her dreams couldn’t go on forever and after the Rio Olympics Bri and her husband decided to walk away from the sport. She felt like she achieved all that she wanted to and it was time for a new journey. One year later, Eaton was born.I’ve been following Brianne’s @weareeaton Instagram account for a while now and when I found out about her new blog, I was literally counting down the days until the launch date! Ever since, I’ve been trying Bri’s unique recipes and I’m completely obsessed! I find myself waiting for new blog posts every week because I sincerely enjoy reading her informative and charismatic articles. Her writing style is very conversational and it makes Bri’s readers feel like they know her on a personal level.
Stock your pantry with nuts, seeds and nut butters! – Find out why here!
What I love most about her blog and her recipes is that basically all of them keep my dietary restrictions in mind, so I’m free to try any one of her recipes! This is how Bri and I connected, as we have similar beliefs in food and how beneficial food can be for your body. Her blog’s mission statement is something I live and breathe: making everyday foods healthy! We both understand how different foods can impact the body, the importance of reading food labels, understanding ingredients and deciphering what’s good and bad. Eaton is all about creating healthy dishes, understanding how different foods work in the body, breaking down common misconceptions about food, like “nuts make you fat“, and lastly enjoying real food without the guilt! In just a few months of reading Eaton and getting to know Bri personally, I’ve already learned so much from her and I can’t wait to share Bri’s knowledge and delicious recipes with all of you. We asked Bri a few questions, so you could learn more about what fuels her passion! Here is a bit more about this Canadian Olympian turned food blogger.
Q: What made you decided to take the leap from Olympic athlete to food blogger?
A: To be honest, I was scared shitless when I retired from track and field. It was my whole world, it was how I identified myself – as a professional athlete, and I had no idea what I was going to do next. Ashton told me to think about what I was passionate about besides competing, and I knew right away it was healthy food and sharing my knowledge I’d learned over the years of being a professional athlete. So I thought, “What the hell, I’ll give that a go for a while and see what happens.”
Q: Where did you learn your cooking skills?
A: My family is very food oriented. My mom’s side of the family is Ukrainian, so life on that side revolved around homemade food soaked in cream. We also had a lot of home-cooked German meals on my dad’s side of the family, and my mom always cooked every day for our family growing up. She made a lot of your typical comfort foods: lasagna, bacon and eggs, grilled steak, PB&J’s, burgers, tuna casserole, chili…But meals were always homemade. We hardly ever went out to eat. She passed down a lot of her “easy to make” meals to me but I slowly learned different ways to cook just by experimenting.
Q: Who and what inspired you to become so passionate about food and creating healthy recipes?
A: During my sophomore year of college, I made the World Championships as a 20-year-old. This is when I began to show a lot of promise as a world-class athlete and started to take all aspects of training more seriously, including my recovery and nutrition. So I guess you could say the drive to become the best heptathlete in the world “forced” me into cooking and eating healthier. When I couldn’t stand eating the bland chicken and steamed veggies anymore, I would look for ways to make some of my favorite childhood comfort foods healthier. This is when I really started to have fun cooking because I could be creative and actually enjoy the food I was making instead of feeling guilty for eating something unhealthy.
Q: Where do you look for recipe inspiration?
A: I follow a lot of different food bloggers: Oh She Glows, Rachl Mansfield, Running on Veggies, and also just from looking at old recipes my mom gave me and thinking “how can I make this healthier?” Also if we go to a really good restaurant, I’ll take a picture of meal descriptions and try to recreate them at home, maybe with different ingredients if they aren’t already healthy.
Q: Could you tell us a little bit about your diet and the rules you live by when it comes to healthy eating?
A: I’ve tried to really simplify my diet because I used to feel overwhelmed by all the advice out there. Now I typically follow 6 simple eating rules:
- Reduce the Sugar – eliminate all processed sugar and only eat foods sweetened naturally with dates, maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar.
- Full Fat Everything – get rid of the low-fat yogurts, milks, crackers, cookies, etc.
- No Refined Carbohydrates – quinoa, whole wheat, and brown rice pastas, etc.
- Protein is King – try to eat protein at every meal and snack
- Limit Liquid Calories – drink as much water as you can and limit the amount of alcohol, juices, and sodas you’re drinking – even diet sodas!
Typically, I follow the 80/20 rule. I eat healthy food at home 80% of the time but don’t stress too much if we go out to eat or go to someone else’s house for dinner and they have pie with processed sugar in it.
Q: What are your essential ingredients that you always keep on hand in your kitchen?
A: I always have:
- Greek yogurt
- Almond milk
- Fizzy water
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, dates, coconut sugar
- A variety of nuts & seeds along with chia and hemp
- Olive oil and coconut oil
- 4 flours: white whole wheat, coconut, oat, almond
Q: What is your favorite guilty pleasure recipe?
A: Macaroni and cheese while watching Shrek. Don’t ask me why but every time Ashton and I got home from a grueling 20-hour travel day after being halfway across the world for 6 weeks, we’d grab our Annie’s Mac & Cheese, sit our asses down on the couch and watch us some Shrek. Must have just been a comfort thing.
Q: What is one of your favorite restaurants that you would recommend?
A: I LOVE The Kitchen by Kimbal Musk. It’s not really a huge chain, but I think they are in a few cities across the US. It’s farm to table with super fresh ingredients and delicious food.Q: Favorite meal of the day?
A: Breakfast by far. Bacon, eggs, quiche, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, eggs benny, COFFEE…I mean it’s all just so good. Plus, I’m always so hungry when I wake up in the morning.
Q: Favorite kitchen gadget?
A: That is really tough between my food processor and my Vitamix. I feel like I couldn’t really get by without either of them, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be the blender.
Q: One ingredient you couldn’t live without?
A: Dates. I date sweeten the crap outta everything.
Q: Favorite dessert?
A: Any kind of pie and ice cream.
Q: Favorite holiday?
Q: Favorite season?
Q: First concert you ever attended?
A: Rascal Flatts.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: The 13-year-old me would say Titanic because that’s when I fell in love with Leonardo DiCaprio. The me today would say Argo.
Q: Favorite food?
A: I like caesar salad, A LOT…
Q: Least favorite food?
Q: Favorite color?
A: Black because it’s always flattering to wear.
Q: Can you speak another language?
Q: What is one cause that you care deeply about?
A: I’ve gone to Africa with World Vision a number of times and have seen the huge impact they are having on providing clean water to undeveloped areas. Ashton and I have a sponsor child in Kenya that we go and visit every year.
Q: One sport you love besides track and field?
A: To play: volleyball. To watch: football.
Q: When you were competing, what did you do to celebrate a win?
A: Eat a whole shitload of dessert and probably some kind of fruity candy because that’s my biggest weakness.
Q: If you could eat one thing forever, what would it be?
A: PB&J toast.
Q: One word to describe your feelings after winning a bronze medal at the Olympics?
Q: Who is somebody you would like to meet?
A: Leonardo DiCaprio.
Q: What does your ideal date night with Ashton look like?
A: Dinner and a movie. We’re lame AF.
Q: Favorite go-to outfit?
A: Oh I’m such a jeans, t-shirt and baseball hat kind of girl. I have the worst sense of fashion ever. I need Liv to help me BADLY! (I’m here for you Bri!)
Q: Favorite curse word?
A: When I need something powerful: f*ck. What I say all the time: shit.
Q: What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been?
A: Dubai. Just so different than I expected it to be.
Q: What’s one place you are dying to go?
A: New Zealand.
Q: Morning, noon or night?
A: I’m a morning person
Q: Favorite cuisine?
Q: In your opinion, who is the best athlete in the world?
A: Woman: Nafissatou Thiam. Man: Ashton Eaton. I know…I’m biased toward both but I do believe if either of them changed places with any other athlete, they would be well rounded enough to be able to do a better job at the other athlete’s sport than the other athlete would be able to do at the heptathlon or decathlon.
I hope this Q&A session gave you a peek into the life of Bri, and allowed you to learn more about her! In the meantime, be sure to visit Bri’s blog, Eaton, to try some of her tasty healthy recipes. I recommend reading her article “WTF?! A Marathon??“ to hear about what she has been up to. You can support Bri in her upcoming marathon by helping her raise money to provide 60 people in African with clean water! It is for an amazing cause I would love to see my friend reach her goal. You can donate here! Stay tuned for part 2 of the Cooking Contributor series where Bri will share her expertise and some of her delicious recipes. From sweet to savory dishes, Brianne Theisen-Eaton is a true master of her craft.