Wellness guru and natural beauty sensation on the healing powers of food, staying motivated to make change and why exercise is her cure-all
by Colleen Crivello
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Often, with what we do here at MINIMODE, we meet women (men too!) who are really championing life. While the rest of us are still figuring things out they’ve managed to discover a true path of happiness and to say that Andrea’s life is inspiring as such would be an understatement. Living an idyllic life in Hawaii – or at the very least, idyllic to me – days are spent surfing, mixed with a little bit of working on her popular wellness site Earthyandy.com and evenings spent cooking. Sold! Where do I sign up?
Mama to two adorable surfer boys, Tama and Ira and married to her sweetheart, she’s on a mission to spread goodness fueled by two things “eat to live not live to eat” and “trust in Nature!”. After discovering the impact food had on her own body, Andrea set out to tell the story of her personal wellness transformation – we can all take note as there’s definitely room for improvement – and the healing powers of food after years of seeing doctors with no answers.
Join us for a peak into the charmed life of Andrea as we chat about finding her true love (and how she knew almost immediately), finally discovering health through a plant-based lifestyle and tips to getting your kids excited for veggies. @earthyandy
On your journey to discovering wellness through food:I found my success when I went completely plant based. I ate fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and starches such as potatoes and rice for months. I followed a High Carb Low Fat Plant Based Vegan Diet (how is that for a month full haha! ) This is where I found my successes. It made the world of difference! I was monitored by a doctor the whole time and can happily say that I am a new person as a result. I am no longer on medications and I no longer have the health issues that use to haunt me on a daily basis! I now incorporate more processed foods here and there like chips and baked vegan goods and feel just fine but I definitely recommend eating as pure and gently as possible.
Advice or inspirational story for someone looking to transform their life through food: I wish I could post the pages of emails I’ve received of success stories siting this very thing! Food is our fuel, our livelihood and has more power than we tend to give it credit. I wish I figured this out years and years ago. Trust in nature! It’s real! It’s very very real. If you think about a vehicle, it only takes gas. If you start putting in foreign things into your gas tank it would break down very quickly. Our bodies are more resilient than a vehicle but those foreign substances that we ingest can catch up and do some major wear and tear on our bodies over time. I once heard a saying from my chemistry teacher in high school who told us one day that he eats to live not live to eat. There’s so much truth in that! This mind-set can make for some major lifestyle changes that can easily be incorporated into anyones life and make some major positive differences which will result in a better quality life! Consistency is key…
On life in Hawaii: Our days somewhat revolve around the weather and surf! If there is surf we try to find a way to get in the water. Most every day we‘re at the beach even if it‘s just for 30 minutes and a quick dip! I feel like the day isn’t complete if we don’t walk across the street and soak in a bit of beach. I always think my kids will sleep better too if we do that! But as far as our routine…
I wake up around 5 am to get work done before the kids wake up at 6:30 am. I then make breakfast for us, usually a smoothie or smoothie bowl with toast for the kids and hubby. We ride our bikes to drop Tama off at school, go check the surf, head home and usually go for a run with Ira or a hike, something active and then to the beach with some friends and swim with Ira. For lunch I’ll make a big salad, and eat a bunch of fruit like mangos. Ira then takes a nap, and I’ll clean my house, maybe get some more work done, etc! Then we go pick up Tama, have a snack like a smoothie or some fruit or veggies, maybe a granola bar, skate a bit or play soccer, go to the beach, surf, homework, make dinner and then just chill or go back outside and enjoy the night until the kids go to sleep!
True wellness means: Balance! To have balance in your life. I believe in a holistic approach to health which means to be mindful of yourself, of nature, of others, to address your feelings, to accept the bad and the good and to treat every opportunity as a learning experience. I believe in approaching life with an open mind and heart. I think you know when you have true wellness when your heart feels at peace. 🙂
On the start and end your day: Food wise? Always a tall glass of filtered water with lemon and a spoon full of molasses! After an hour I’ll make a large green smoothie and drink that for breakfast! For dinner we usually have a big one pot kind of meal like soup or curry with a big fresh salad with some rice or quinoa ! We keep things pretty simple but just make sure it tastes amazing! We love Thai influenced dishes, Mediterranean and Spanish the most!
On surfing: Yes! Definitely my favorite past time here.
On your kids surfing and when you began to teach them: Tama my 7 year old is amazing! He has no fear. Ira is 3 and he’s enjoying me pushing him into tiny ripples that he can ride into shore and jump off. It’s really cute! We just always have boards in the water. First they want to use their body to catch the shore break, and then boogie boards, and then they start trying to catch waves and stand on their boogie boards and then they just start wanted to fool around with a surf board! If they’re interested they are really interested. 🙂
Your biggest wellness struggle: Salt and Vinegar chips as well as chips and salsa! Seems innocent but I could literally eat that every day if I am not careful (haha)! I guess that’s better then the struggles I used to have which included a serious addiction to chocolate and drinking coke for breakfast! Those are a thing of the past now (haha)!
Beliefs around food trends:I say, stay away from all food trends and start putting energy on becoming an expert on YOU. Do lots of research and have an open mind. One day it just dawned on me: ‘man’ claims this/that and is creating formulas which get put it into packages of all shapes and sizes, why is it we put more trust in that over the whole foods that come straight from the earth. Surely what’s formulated in ‘nature’ is what’s best for us, right?! I believe in trusting in nature, getting educated and becoming an expert on oneself.
To de-stress:Just being in the present and making sure I have my priorities straight! Basically realizing I’m stressing and taking a step back. I know my kids are number one. If they’re happy, I’m happy. If I start getting caught up in other things I reevaluate whats really important and take a beat. Work and life will always have stresses so for me it’s a matter of being a problem solver and not wasting energy and my emotions on being stressed… and if I could, I would get massaged all day long (haha)!
I also try to always do something for myself… some form of exercise is my cure all. I love to run the beach and swim plus if I ever get the chance to do some yoga, I’m stoked!
Your boys understanding of the power of food and how you’re teaching them: I have fun with it! Boys are so literal so I say things like: “Did you know broccoli makes you run faster?” or “Did you know carrots make you do bigger ‘airs’ on your skateboard?” or even “ Did you know fruits and veggies make you grow taller and make you stronger?” I have them help with our garden, shop, cook, make recipes and make it their own. I aim to make the kitchen an inviting place to be. I want them to have a good relationship with the food that they eat and the more I share with them the more they learn – it just becomes the way of life.
Tips for moms looking to raise their kids in a plant-based lifestyle: Be patient, have fun with it and know it won’t happen over night. If they’re used to certain foods it’s for a reason. It’s what shows up in front of them. Be consistent and before you know it, those foods will become their normal and even loved! I started by making the decision to buy organic wherever possible, then I decided I would use only produce before opening anything packaged or canned.
Another trick I find helpful is I put the vegetable in front of them by itself without the rest of the meal. Once that’s finished, then I move on to serving the rest of the meal. I have found that this helps a lot! Know it’s impossible to compete with ice cream and cookies so it’s much easier if it’s out of the house or very hidden. After a few days they will forget about it, and after a few weeks their taste buds will change! This is when it gets much easier!
On creating your recipes: I‘ve had an interest in cooking and creating in the kitchen since I was a kid. My mom made everything from scratch so I‘ve always been comfortable in the kitchen and I love to play with flavors! I learned how to cook and bake over time through YouTube, my mom and just messing around! And BTW, not everything I make turns out well, it’s a process! I don’t post those things (haha)!
We’re obsessed with your stunning food imagery – on the top things that you’re making now: Thanks!! Anything I make can be done anywhere just swapping ingredients from time to time. If I use mangos, someone else can use peaches kind of thing 🙂 I think its good to eat what’s local and in-season. My recipes are very easy to swap ingredients 🙂
Your kids’ favorite recipes: Smoothie bowls!! In particular Acai bowls. We eat Acai almost every day! They also love date balls – which have replaced cookies in our home.
Being the natural beauty you are – tips and tricks that instantly refresh your look when you’re in a hurry: Awh thanks! Good hair, hydrated skin, bright eyes, toned body, these are the benefits of a balanced lifestyle! And in this case it takes no time at all to get ready 🙂 I am a pony tail or whip the hair to one side, brush my teeth and wash my face kind of girl. If I eat a bunch of salts and fats and feel bloated.. then I feel like I need to wear make up… but when Im eating good, skin is good, hair is good, it’s all good to go!
Recent health discoveries or beauty secrets that we should be in the know about: Hydration, don’t use salt and get outdoors! Salt makes you bloat and look puffy, hydration makes you glow and takes care of looking beautiful, and get outdoors it’s good for the soul and gives you a bit of color and brightness! All of this consistently paired with good eating habits is going to give you better results than any secret beauty trick.
Your morning and night skincare regime:I have a natural face cleanser that I use to clean my face and I use a vitamin a and e face ointment at night and during the day! I also always wear sunscreen on my face.
Your fitness routine:Whatever I can. I believe in moving your body in all ways. If I can surf I choose that! Other than that I’ll go for a beach run or take out the stroller and go for a hike! I have kids so I just try to break a sweat every day that I can whenever I can! My kids keep me active. We play a lot of sports and swim together. If I didn’t have kids, I would go to hot yoga every day and surf (haha)!
Daily uniform:Cut-offs from One Teaspoon (my favorite), slippers, bikini, pony tail and a tank top!
Your kids’ style: Grommies don’t need much. They mostly surf and skate so, their look consists of board shorts. Most of their clothes are hand-me-downs from our cousins, neighbors or the second hand shop 🙂
As a kid what did you want to be when you grew up:I originally wanted to be a garbage man to ride on the back of the truck! Then a farmer. Then a pro-surfer, then I thought I had to be on the Food Network and now I’m just stoked out-of-my-mind to be doing what I am doing and living the life I am living!
Hail from:The middle of Canada – like literally the middle – Saskatchewan! In the prairies (haha)!
On meeting your husband and how he proposed: He proposed to me after a week of knowing each other! We hadn’t even gone on one real date! We just knew. It was about 5 am in the morning, we’d been up all night and he just started to cry, told me he had fallen fully in love with me and wanted to marry me. I started to cry, we hugged and cried together and that was it – we knew! There was no ring! To be honest, I don’t think he even had 10 dollars to his name at the time (haha)! A a few months later and a month before our actual wedding day, he proposed with a ring. We were in Canada ( meeting my parents), it was the middle of the night and he carried me to this bench in the woods close to my parents house – in his bare feet and in the snow – and put me on a bench and proposed with a ring 🙂
The app that most changed your life:App?? Pandora! I don’t know. I opened an Instagram account to journal my health exploration and as a result I have been introduced to a world of amazing people that have been beyond supportive and encouraging. So, I would have to say that Instagram has literally changed my life!
A woman/mom leader that are most inspired by:Besides my own mom… this lady named Jolyn. She’s a family friend on my husband’s side. We became good friends – she has 4 kids, is in her late 50s and is just simply amazing. Her husband died of cancer when her kids were very young but she’s given the world to them, they travel the globe, she’s inviting to us all, her house is always open, she includes everyone and she is always at ease. You can talk to her about anything and she’ll never judge. I love that! I’ve just always admired her kindness and her chill approach to life even though I know her life wasn’t easy. I look up to her a lot!
On creating space for yourself: I go for early morning runs or I swim as far out as possible into the ocean and just kind of relish being alone for a moment. As a mom, your energies and focus are always on your kids and also your husband so I really enjoy moments of solitude when I can steal them. Its fueling.
On being a role model to your kids: More than anything I hope that they’re always kind and generous of themselves to others and learn to follow their dreams and work hard. I want them to have passion and really enjoy life. To be grateful for everything they have and to realize how lucky they are to live the way we do.