What A Professional Dancer *Actually* Eats In A Day
Over the past ten years, as a professional dancer, I’ve spent a lot of time on tour — performing my way through six continents and even living in New Zealand for a bit, too. Recently, I anchored myself back in New York City for a very exciting reason: to join the stellar team at FORWARD_Space in cultivating a one-of-a-kind dance and wellness experience. We are located in the Soho neighborhood of New York City and offer up 50-minute sweat sessions rooted in dance, music, wellness, and sweat.
As a founding instructor and community manager at FORWARD_Space, I spend countless hours a day dancing and sweating. And when I’m not doing that, I’m in meetings with the team or responding to emails from our headquarters. This job is a dream and I am truly grateful to be part of such a unique space.
Since I am exerting so much physical energy throughout the day, keeping myself fueled is a priority. A few other things factor into how I eat: I am non-stop busy, which means I dine out a lot, and I prefer a vegan diet because my entire body feels better when I do. That doesn’t mean that I subsist only on bird seed and kale, and trust me, I get my protein. I also LOVE “junk food.”
Check out what a recent day looked like for me.
Today, the first class I teach is at 9:35 a.m. Teaching requires a tremendous amount of physical energy, so I don’t eat much beforehand. For me, a full stomach doesn’t pair so well with a high-energy sweat session. After I wake up, I have a glass of water and take a shot of apple cider vinegar mixed with cinnamon, lemon, and pineapple juice. ACV detoxes your liver, and adding a little juice sweetens it up and keeps my blood sugar level — so I have energy to dance my way through class!
I’ve just wrapped teaching FORWARD_Fire — our 50-minute class that incorporates 2- and 4-pound weights for supreme sculpting benefits. Now I need to refuel! I walk two blocks to Juice Press for their delicious Blue Magic smoothie. Not only do I love the name, but it also has 20g of protein (pea and hemp) along with maca root and spirulina (which makes it that cool blue color) to help me rebuild my muscles. One little trick: I get ½ cauliflower and ½ banana to cut down on the sugar.
I’ve spent the past few hours responding to emails and I need something that requires chewing — did I mention how much I love to eat? Luckily, I keep a jar of Teddie’s crunchy peanut butter and a sleeve of rice cakes in my desk drawer. I love Teddie’s for three reasons. First, there are only two ingredients: peanuts and salt. Second, they are based in Massachusetts, where I was born and raised. Last but not least, I’m simply obsessed with peanut butter — the rice cracker is merely a vehicle for it. I’d eat it by the spoonful, but I’ve decided not to show that side of myself to my coworkers… for now.
Right down the street from FORWARD_Space is a mediterranean spot called Cava. Because I eat mostly vegan, I pick up a salad with lentils — an awesome source of protein. I also add in almost every other veggie they have, including pickled onions for some tangy goodness. But before you roll your eyes at how healthy all of this sounds, know that I tack on an order of their pita chips. They are deep fried, salty, and blow-your-mind addictive — think crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. At the checkout, I also pick up a vegan chocolate chip cookie. I’m gonna save that for later when I get a sweets craving.
I know I just ate lunch an hour ago, but I need a snack. As an instructor, I’m dancing and pushing my body to the max multiple times a day, which means I am constantly hungry and needing to refuel. This is true for the entire team at FORWARD_Space. Because of that, we have a snack cabinet that includes Skinny Pop, Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, and — my personal fave — Hippeas in the Vegan Cheddar flavor. No joke, I recently polished off two big bags in a single day. We’re having a team meeting to go over the details of a private event, so I pull out all the snacks we have and go to town.
Our meeting just ended and I need a quick hit of caffeine before teaching my next class at 6:35 p.m. I like to stop eating 90 minutes before a class — otherwise I’ll feel nauseous. I make a mad dash to Matchaful in Soho to grab a matcha latte made with oat milk. It’s full of lots of good-for-you things like cordyceps, an adaptogenic mushroom that helps with cellular repair.
Tonight’s FORWARD class (our signature class) was EVERYTHING — the music, the dancing, the people in the room. To stay hydrated and make sure I don’t crash after my post-class endorphin rush, I grab a coconut water. My favorite brand is Harmless Coconut water. I love the taste, the sustainability practices that the company employs, and its naturally pink color is exciting, too.
After a long day, I’m craving a warm, comforting meal. Recently, on my way home, I stumbled upon a spot called Ramen Hood and am HOOKED! It’s a vegan ramen spot based in L.A., and currently operating as a pop-up in New York. Tonight, I opt for the Spicy Ramen with extra mushrooms for a bit more protein. I get it to go and eat it in silence at the little table in my living room. I spent so much of the day being social and listening to loud music, both things I love, but taking the time to reflect over a warm bowl of noodles is the perfect way to wind down and connect back with myself.
It’s definitely time for that cookie I’ve been saving. A good chocolate chip cookie is like a classic white t-shirt, simple and flawless. I appreciate that Ovenly uses just the right amount of dark chocolate and a little sprinkling of sea salt for contrast — it really is the perfect way to end my day.