Day on a plate with Danielle Johnson: Graphic Designer & Barre Beauty

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Danielle embodies beauty from the inside out. Lucky for me, I get to be around her contagious spirit every day (we're coworkers). I'm constantly in awe of her pursuit of healthy living. Whether it's adding peas to her guacamole or making her own green tea toner, she always surprises me with a fun twist on self-care, whether it's in the kitchen or in front of the mirror. To no surprise, she took me up on my offer to share her healthy wisdoms with all of you, too. 

Take me through a typical day on your plate. 

I like to meal prep on Sunday for the week so I have breakfast and lunch packed and ready to go the night before. A typical breakfast for me is something already assembled like a protein smoothie, smoothie bowl or anything easy to plate up at work after my bike ride into the office, or some kind of morning workout. My current go-to breakfast is a baked sweet potato topped with nut better, bananas, chia seeds and a little cinnamon. I like to coat a few sweet potatoes with coconut oil, cover them in foil and bake them in the oven. I’ll then save them for breakfast or dinners during the week.

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Lunches usually consist of a salad in a jar or buddha bowls. I like adding chickpeas, tahini lemon dressing, nuts or nutritional yeast for added protein and flavor.

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Dinners is my cherished time in the day to experiment in the kitchen for my boyfriend Frank and I. A few of our favorite dinner recipes from the last few months have been homemade black bean burgers, Moroccan chickpea stew, frittatas, spring rolls and this salad loaded with grilled summer veggies and balsamic lime vinaigrette. We recently loaded up the 5-star rated cauliflower crust from Trader Joe's with veggies and loved that too! 

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What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Mixing sweet and savory food feels like a rewarding treat while at work. My go-to-snacks are nuts and a handful of fruit, apples and nut butter or rice crackers. A switchel drink (get a simple recipe here) is also a special pick-me up. It’s made up of a concentrated mixture of apple cider vinegar, ginger juice, lemon or limes, honey or maple syrup (optional) mixed with carbonated water. I like mixing it with Coconut La Croix.

What’s your beauty routine and some products you swear by?

Apple cider vinegar takes the cake. I love its health benefits for inner and outer beauty. It’s economical, antibacterial, helps with digestion and boosts energy. I drink it everyone morning by mixing around 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with lemon juice and warm water. I also swear by a homemade toner recipe by using apple cider vinegar. I grew up with problematic skin but since incorporating a few of these inner and outer beauty rituals my skin has become less unpredictable with minimal acne flare ups. Though the years of figuring out how to manage my skin, I’ve discovered wearing less make-up, only hypoallergenic, and making sure it is all wiped off at the end of the day is key. I use hypoallergenic face wipes to clear off any oil, makeup and dirt, followed by Cerave foaming cleanser, apple cider vinegar toner, and rosehip oil. Ill switch between an unscented moisturizer and rosehip oil and the beginning and end of the day.

Green Tea Apple Cider Toner Recipe:

¾ cup brewed green tea, cooled

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

15 drops thyme e ssential oil in medium bowl

Step 1.    Combine the tea and vinegar

Step 2.    Add the essential oil and stir to mix well

Step 3.    Transfer the mixture to an 8-ounce spray bottle

This is great for problematic, acne prone skin. The tea and vinegar serves as an astringent to close pores and fight oil. Thyme essential oil has disinfectant and antiseptic properties.

Products I love:

  • Cerave Foaming Cleanser
  • Aveeno face wipes
  • Dermablend concealer
  • Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
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How do you stay healthy at home? 

Cooking is my favorite past-time at home. Experimenting in the kitchen is the way I get to create with my hands each day outside of my day creating things on the computer during the day as a graphic designer. It’s a joy for me to be able to share meals with others.

Having a container herb garden is easily accessible and adds to the experimental fun in making meals. No meal is left uncovered with a handful of herbs. My favorite additions to any salad are basil, chives and mint. And for heartier items like sweet potatoes, I love, love adding rosemary. Our frittatas or vegetable egg hashes are usually topped with thyme, rosemary, parsley and chives. Herbs make any dish feel more visually appealing and special. It’s easy to foget that they actually each have their own unique health benefits. I look forward to the day when a backyard will allow me to upgrade to the rewarding challenge of container beds and raising chickens.

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Plants are my little children for now until the real ones come along ;) I find, it’s a calming chore and makes our home feel more relaxing and comfortable to nest in.

Rolling out my yoga mat at home for a quick vinyasa flow sequence, stretching or doing some light lifting for even 15 minutes helps jumpstart the mornings when I’m not able to bike or visit a barre or yoga class. I learned to not feel guilty if 15 minutes of movement in the morning is all I have time to fit in. Even that little bit of movement and meditative time seems to make me more alert and positive during the day.

As a graphic designer, you spend a lot of time at a desk. How do you make time for activity in your day?

Thankfully we have standing desks as an option for portions of the work day. But that doesn’t fix the need I feel to just move. I have to get up and move around every hour. I feel like my work and energy level is much better if I do take 5 minute breaks. If I’m feeling stuck creatively, I’ll just walk outside or in the skyway for 5-10 minutes. Getting fresh air everyday is something my body and mind crave.

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What kind of workouts do you find most effective and why?

I really enjoy barre and yoga. I find that group fitness classes keep me accountable and help push me in the ways I might not do in my at home workouts. I think it also helps to ensure I am practicing these movements safely thanks to corrections from the instructors. Class Pass has been a fun way to experience different workouts and studio communities. I love the variety this option offers. Variety in classes keeps me motived and excited the most. For at home workouts I like Niking Training Club or doing the basic moves like push-ups lunges and squats.

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