Easy living is a blog series featuring interviews with amazing nutrition and wellness experts who love what they do and inspire others to be better every day.
Meet Breena Wallace, Chicago-based RDN with a Master’s degree in Science in Clinical Nutrition, founder of BWell.
I met Brenna on Instagram after I checked her free e-book on plant-centric breakfasts (hello pros of social media 👋). The book was so creative and beautiful that I immediately offered her this interview. Being nice, kind and incredibly supportive she said “yes” right away! And convinced me one more time that dietitians are the friendliest professional community! 😉
Young inspiring professional, Brenna is literally spreading positive vibes around her. By creating content, she strives to help more people to live healthily and feel their best. Her blog and social media are great sources for a daily dose of healthy lifestyle inspiration as well as plant-based recipes, nutrition articles, and professional advice. This interview is truly genuine and filled with wisdom.
I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I do.
If you had to define all that you do in a title, what would you say?
It’s so difficult to actually capture all the amazing things that dietitian’s do! But if I had to make it into a title I would say I inspire and lead others in living happier and healthier lives.
What do you enjoy the most in your profession?
The change and impact that I get to make in people’s lives are so infectious and rewarding. I have seen many tears and smiles and it never gets old when people have that lightbulb moment and are able to make sustainable changes.
It never gets old when people have that lightbulb moment and are able to make sustainable changes.
How did your healthy lifestyle journey begin?
Mine began in high school! I have heart disease on both sides of my family and became a pescatarian when I was 15! I started researching online and learning more about healthy swaps — I even made my parents switch to almond milk (amongst other things)! At that point, I wanted to be a Spanish teacher. Then I took chemistry and was obsessed! I knew from then on I had to combine this passion for health and science into something I could use to educate others towards living their happiest and healthiest life.
How would you describe your philosophy on being fit and healthy today?
I would say my philosophy is all about listening to your body and giving back to it. It wasn’t until I established my own self-love and body positivity that I was truly able to understand how to listen to my body and give it what it needs and deserves.
I would say my philosophy is all about listening to your body and giving back to it.
What is your personal definition of happiness?
Good health, good family, good friends, good attitude
Have you found your formula for keeping a life/work balance? If so, please, share!
To me, it’s all about surrounding yourself with people that lift you up, support you and your work, and choose happiness. This allows work to be appreciated and life to be uplifting!
What is your morning routine? (if you have one) If not, what’s your favorite way to start a day?
I get up, reflect on my to-do list for the day, make coffee, wash my face, apply my vitamin C serum and eye cream, and drink my coffee while I get ready. Once I am ready I like to go through some of my daily affirmations and mantras, then I am out the door! I like to start my day with a workout, like Core Power Yoga Sculpt, but if that is not possible due to work hours I will stick to the routine above!
What is your favorite way to unwind after a long day?
After a long day, you can find me lying on the couch, catching up on my Instagram feed with a glass of red wine and a chick flick (Legally Blonde preferably). I also really enjoy journaling and meditation! I use Moodnotes and love it!
We all go through challenges — the stress and hardships. How do you deal with them?
Through breath. Yoga taught me how to use my breath in handling any tough situation and it helps me SO much. I used to not believe in it until I practiced it consistently. Other than that, I usually handle it with journaling, dancing it out with music (Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Demi Lovato, you name it) or watching an old show that I’ve seen a million times yet still makes me happy (How I Met Your Mother is my go-to!).
Yoga taught me how to use my breath in handling any tough situation and it helps me SO much.
What makes you laugh, and smile?
Lots of things! Yoga, good food, friends, and family. I mostly get really excited and happy when people stop caring and are their true selves. Seeing how it changes their perspective and attitude towards living life is incredible.
Who or what gives you the most inspiration?
I have a ton of inspo in my life, but I will give you a few faves!! First is my mom, she carries herself so strongly and gives everything to make sure those around her are supported and happy. I hope to be half the woman she is someday! Next, I am so inspired by Jonathan Van Ness (JVN)! I recently started watching Queer Eye and his positivity and his ability to be unapologetically himself are so infectious. There are so many amazing dietitians that I am inspired by on Instagram as well — Lili Hayim, Keri Glassman, Maggie Michalczyk, and Carolyn Brown to name a few!
What, in your opinion, are the main characteristics of the healthy diet for an average person?
A well balanced, plant-based diet supplemented with regular physical activity and a healthy outlook on life. I also think the Meditteranean diet is a great and sustainable eating pattern! I personally hate using the word diet.
A well balanced, plant-based diet supplemented with regular physical activity and a healthy outlook on life.
What is your advice on how to keep a balance between eating clean, living healthy and staying away from developing orthorexia?
With diet culture today, it is super hard not to become obsessed or establish restrictive eating patterns — media is so confusing for people with all these fad diets! It hurts my little dietitian heart. I think I will go back to body positivity on this one, it’s all about understanding your mental and physical wellbeing and ensuring that you are listening to your body and giving it what it needs. I don’t believe in following fads or labeling food as good, bad, or clean! Food is fuel and healthy living starts with trusting your body and the direction it will guide you.
It’s all about understanding your mental and physical wellbeing and ensuring that you are listening to your body and giving it what it needs.
What is your opinion on detoxes and cleanses?
They don’t work! If your liver and kidneys are fine, then your body takes care of all the detoxing and cleansing for you. People love the quick fixes and advertising that come with these, yet, they are always then influenced to reset and go back to start them all over again! Sounds pretty sketchy to me!
Being a licensed dietitian what are your thoughts on some social media “wellness experts” without credentials? Does it impact the well-being of people following?
A handful of them is great! But most are not. Online nutrition courses and certifications do not teach people anatomy, physiology, chemistry, biochemistry, and other very important nutrition-related science. These wellness experts can promote restrictive eating patterns for their followers, especially when they are following fad diets (*cough cough food combining*). Think of it this way — I would never go to a dentist for a haircut, so why go to someone else than a dietitian for nutrition advice!?
Think of it this way — I would never go to a dentist for a haircut, so why go to someone else than a dietitian for nutrition advice!?
What’s your favorite quote or mantra you can’t live without?
My favorite quote is “dreams don’t work unless you do”. I have had this in my head since high school! I also have been wearing a mantra band for a few years now that says “Que sera sera” on it, which in Spanish means “what will be, will be”.
If you have any health and wellness related books, authors you admire, please share! (Feel free to include blogs, documentaries, or Instagram accounts)
I am honestly a little boring when it comes to this, I don’t read a lot of nutrition books, but I want to start! Going right from undergraduate school to graduate school made this goal a bit difficult but I plan on starting soon! My favorite Instagram accounts are @thewellnecessities, @carolynbrownnutrition, @nutritiouslifeofficial, and @rachaelsgoodeats!
Name a few of your favorite restaurants, cafes, or coffee shops in Chicago?
My absolute FAVE was Booth One in the Ambassador Hotel but they JUST closed it recently… I am so sad still! Other than that, my favorite dinner/date night spots are Gilt Bar, The Franklin Room, The Kitchen, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, Dee’s (get the cold noodles, trust me), and BLVD. If you’re looking for a super cool, speakeasy cocktail lounge head to Violet Hour in Wicker Park! For a more vibe (and delicious fries) my go-to is Butcher & the Burger. My favorite places to work remote with a nice cup of coffee are Claridge House, Foxtrot, and Heritage Coffee.
What is your favorite breakfast recipe?
My favorite breakfast recipe is my vanilla protein chia seed pudding with fresh berries & nuts on top! If I am on the go I usually grab a chocolate Orgain shake and a Kirkland Signature cookie dough bar.
So where can everyone keep up with you to learn more?
You can follow me on Instagram @bwellrdn, like me on Facebook and/or join in my exclusive Facebook community for recipes, tips, tricks, freebie handouts, group accountability, and more! Otherwise, visit my website www.bwellrdn.com!