We at Love Child, love any reason to share a wellness routine that might positively impact the life of even one our readers. We shared our Acai bowls for your pregnancy cravings last summer, our obsession with paleo-inspired food trailer turned brick and mortar Picnik and coming soon, we’ll share our interview with Rachel Musquiz, owner of tumeric-based food truck Curcuma. Today we are turning our wellness attention tpo Avalon McKenzie, a senior designer for Whole Foods Market who has followed a vegetarian diet since middle school. Avalon invited us into her home to share why she chose this lifestyle, how it influences her personal style and beauty routines, and shared resources for any of our readers who are interested in learning more about becoming vegan. As Avalon puts it, feeling and looking good starts from the inside out. Photography by Katie Jameson

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO PROFESSIONALLY, PAST AND PRESENT.

I’m a graphic designer and illustrator. I went to Parsons School of Design where I studied Communication Design. Right now I work as a Senior Designer for Whole Foods Market. Before that, I worked for Free People, at the Urban Outfitters headquarters in Philly.

WHERE ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES IN AUSTIN TO FIND A VEGGIE MEAL? HAS THIS BECOME EASIER IN RECENT YEARS?

I think Austin has always been a pretty veggie-friendly place. Sometimes it means there’s only one or two options, but you can make it work. Bouldin Creek, Casa De Luz and Mother’s will always be vegetarian favorites. I love Bufalina as well. They have a delicious marinara pie and they’ve always been really accommodating in making any pizza without cheese.

LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR WELLNESS ROUTINE. HOW AND WHEN DO YOU FIND TIME?

Gosh, I’ve been kind of lazy lately. I grew up playing every sport, and as an adult, I’ve always found a way to be really active. It’s the best stress relief. My only rule is that it has to be fun. Once something get’s boring, I switch. I really love Barre3 and Ballet Beautiful. I also love yoga, but sometimes I need more activity to make my mind slow down. I enjoy running, and got super into it, running my first half marathon, but I have to admit that Texas weather is not the best for training. A marathon is still on my bucket list.

WHAT ITEMS ARE ALWAYS STOCKED IN YOUR REFRIGERATOR?

I always stock an abundance of fresh produce. I really think feeling and looking good starts from the inside out. I usually buy the produce that looks most delicious and create recipes around it. Other than that, alt milks, kombucha and lots of condiments!

FAVORITE ON-THE-GO SNACKS?

Lately I’ve been obsessed with watermelon radishes and sliced carrots with lemon hummus. Otherwise, I’ll grab a piece of fruit. Apples are my favorite, but when they’re not in season, I’ll opt for whatever looks fresh. Dinner is definitely a ritual, so I usually try to snack less and save my appetite for mealtime.

YOU’VE BEEN HARD AT WORK COOKING DURING OUR PHOTO SHOOT. WHAT ARE YOU MAKING AND CAN YOU SHARE THE RECIPE?

Sure, it’s Red Lentil Dal!

4 1/2 cups water

2 cups red lentils

3/4 cup lite coconut milk

1 tbsp red curry paste

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp salt

Black pepper to taste

1-5 Thai chili peppers (optional)

Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Basmati rice:

2 cups water

1 cup basmati rice

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp earth balance

Boil the water and lentils. Combine coconut milk, red curry paste, salt and spices, and add to the cooking lentils. Add black pepper and chili peppers to taste. Serve with basmati rice.

FAVORITE RESOURCES?

I love Mind Body GreenWell & GoodKris CarrTara Stiles, the Sun Potion instagram, Into the Gloss, Love & Lemons and the Free People blog (they have surprisingly great wellness content). For general foodie information, I love The New Potato and The Kitchn—If I have a general kitchen question, like how to make a certain sauce, I almost always go there. For podcasts, I really love The Rich Roll podcast. He’s a vegan ultra-marathon runner, and he interviews all kinds of guests. I also really love Cherry Bombe radio and Tastes of the Past.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE. 

Tough question! I think I’d describe my style as simple with artsy details and lots of denim and vintage. 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR AVALON?

Right now I’m mostly focused on my artwork. Hopefully the future will present new and fun opportunities!

For more on Avalon, follow her on instagram at @avalonmckenzie and on her website at www.avalonmckenzie.com