Name: Katie Brown
Age: 28
Location: Richmond, VA
Occupation: Sales Rep, Health & Wellness Blogger/Instagrammer @realfoodwithgratitude and Barre Instructor
Why we chose to feature Katie: Katie is as real as it gets. She preaches balance on her blog and shares tips for living a happy and healthy life.

What is your health story?
I took the idea of college to next level aka being able to eat and drink WHATEVER AND WHENEVER. Lots of late nights, no sleep, cafeterias, SO MUCH processed foods and alcohol and not really being active. But, I had a good time so I don’t technically regret it; I am just glad I am not that way anymore. After I graduated, I knew my lifestyle had to change but along the way I developed this mindset of “healthy during the week” and “eat whatever on the weekends”. That transformed into a super disoriented way of looking at food where I restricted almost everything during the week; carbs, going out to eat, anything that remotely seemed unhealthy and I tried to eat only salad and protein but limiting my intake and then by the time the weekend came around I was so hungry, there was lots of unhealthy choices and alcohol consumption.

I have always loved cooking since I was a little girl, as my brother is a chef and my mom was a wonderful cook and taught me so much but with this disoriented mindset, I lost sight of that and just tried to limit my calorie intake. I started obsessing about no carbs. I was always in this short-term battle with myself to lose weight during the week, weighing myself to “drop some water weight before the weekend”. On New Year’s Day, this year (2017) I woke up with the revelation that something needed to change. I knew I had so much more potential and wanted to be happier, feel better and somehow set myself free. That is when Real Food With Gratitude formed and things have just snowballed from there.

Since then, feeling good is what matters. That means, figuring out what foods fuel me, make me happy and allow me to be my BEST self. That takes time but it sure is worth it. I have been eating more than I ever have, I tend to not restrict myself anymore and I actually feel better about my body than I have in 10 years. That is what life is about. BALANCE, FUEL, FOOD and LOVE for yourself!

What is your favorite Health Warrior Bar?
Peanut Butter Cacao Superfood Protein Bar & Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bar

When do you find yourself reaching for one?
Late afternoon or before a workout

How did you get introduced to Health Warrior?
Since Health Warrior is headquartered in Richmond, I have seen them around for years so I have picked them up here and there and its been my one go to bar for years!

How often do you work out and what do you do?
I shoot for 5-6 days a week. Mostly hot barre and about one hot yoga class and I participate in the Richmond November Project every Wednesday morning.

What’s your biggest workout tip?
Find something you enjoy doing. It doesn’t always have to be in a gym. I haven’t been inside a gym in 3 years (and I’m ok with that!).

Who do you look for for motivation?
Myself and the friends I have made at my yoga/barre studio. They push me to get to class when I need that little extra motivation.

What is your go-to quick meal?
Homemade chicken tenders with roasted potatoes/sweet potatoes and roasted veggies or a random protein and veggie stuffed in a Siete Tortilla.

What is your take on organic food?
I feel like the word “organic” has become a just huge buzz word for people to assume it means “healthy.” I honestly don’t care if something if organic unless I know I’m eating the skin or outside of it aka I follow the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 (the 12 most contaminated and sprayed fruits and veggies, and also learn the safest 15 to eat aka which foods are best to buy organic).

When do you feel most like a warrior?
When I am teaching a barre class, cooking, or after plating a meal that I know im proud to fuel my body with (lame I know!).

Tell us some random facts about you!
I have 2 half-brothers that are 10 years older than me and I grew up as basically an only child on a farm outside of Richmond with 2 donkeys!

I also am obsessed with Bulletproof Coffee, a read yelp in my free time, trying new restaurants and going to cute coffee shops makes me giddy.

Current workout pump up jam?
My all time fave workout song is “I Cry” by Flo Rida or “Work” by Rihanna.

What’s the last book you read?
Big Little Lies by Liana Moriarty and currently reading Eating on The Wild Side by Jo Robinson to learn why our produce is the way it is, how to pick the most nutrious food and why. It’s a game changer.