SLT instructor Amy Paulin has experienced first-hand the transformative potential of healthy eating. "My whole life I've always struggled with anxiety, and tried so many different things to help manage it," she says, adding that it always seemed to come back.
"About a year ago, I started researching how the mind and gut are so closely related and immersed myself in all-things plant-based," Paulin says. What she learned inspired her to move toward a more whole foods, plant-based diet to see if that could help manage her symptoms. "One day, I decided it was time," she says. "I quit all animal products cold turkey—ha!—and never looked back." While various eating plans can affect different people in different ways, Paulin says this was the lifestyle change that most profoundly affected her mental health. "I also found other benefits, including increased energy and increased muscle mass," she says.
It's a good thing she's feeling energized. Paulin is an instructor at what many say is one of the toughest workouts in the boutique fitness world. SLT—an acronym for Strength, Lengthen, Tone—launched in 2011 in New York City, and has since expanded to Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The brand's newest studio is in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Paulin moved from Chicago to be an instructor there.
Even though the south doesn't exactly have a reputation as a wellness epicenter, Paulin has relished in finding her ways to stick to her whole foods, plant-based diet. "Since moving from Chicago to Raleigh, I've definitely been able to up my produce game," she says. "North Carolina has so many local farms with amazing fresh produce. It's definitely added more flavor in the kitchen! For someone who loves cooking and baking as much as I do, it's been a game changer."
Here, Paulin shows what a sample day of eating looks like for her in her new city, including what her hectic workout schedule is like.
Keep reading to see what an average day of eating and working out looks like for SLT instructor, Amy Paulin.
Workout schedule: Not surprisingly, SLT is my primary way to exercise. I get my strength training and cardio in this all-inclusive workout. Lately, I've been at the studio a lot taking other instructors' classes so that we're ready for the new studio's grand opening. Besides that, I typically go for a walk after dinner with my nine month old labradoodle, Harley, and my husband, Patrick. It's great to have that time together as a family to not only be active, but chat about our days.
I pretty much always start my day with coffee with a splash of almond milk. To eat, my go-to breakfast is oatmeal topped with chia seeds and walnuts—for extra fiber and protein—and banana, raisins, and cinnamon. The toppings really step it up, both taste-wise and nutritionally.
One of my fave lunches is a whole wheat wrap with refried beans, sautéed spinach, and corn with cashew queso on top.
There's a healthy grab-and-go place near the SLT Raleigh studio called Kale Me Crazy and I'm a regular there. They have amazing smoothies! As soon as I walk through the door, they start making my order: the "Recovery" smoothie, made with half vanilla, half chocolate vegan protein powder, banana, cherries, cashews, coconut yogurt, and almond milk.
On this day, I had a Thai coconut curry soup with bok choy, tofu, and rice noodles for dinner. It was loaded with veggies, full of flavor, and absolutely delicious.
I love baking and you'll never enter my home without seeing a huge plate of something sweet I've whipped up. The Vegan 8 is my favorite blog for sweets. Currently on my kitchen table is a plate of homemade vegan cinnamon rolls.
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