In Her Shoes: Laura Lea Goldberg of LLBalanced
In this inspiring interview, Laura Lea Goldberg of LL Balanced, shares her healthy eating tips + favorite natural products, and advice for dealing with anxiety, making home cooking easier, and living a balanced life.
Welcome back to the In Her Shoes series, where we share inspiring interviews with influential experts in health, nutrition, and lifestyle.
Whenever I meet healthy, beautiful, successful women, I’m always dying to know what it’s like to walk in their shoes. What do they eat? What products do they use? What’s their routine? I’m obsessed with other peoples’ stories and love sharing uplifting women with y’all!
Today we’re chatting with Laura Lea Goldberg, certified holistic chef, founder of the recipe blog LLBalanced, and author of The Laura Lea Balanced cookbook, complete with over 120 healthy, approachable, comforting, make-ahead recipes.
You might also remember her as the winner of the #RRSummerBlender Smoothie Contest I hosted earlier this year.
GETTING TO KNOW Laura Lea Goldberg
I first learned about Laura Lea’s booming food biz when I came across her gorgeous Instagram feed–she’s an IG Stories whiz and I quickly fell in love with her kind spirit, delicious recipes, and if I’m being totally honest, her flawless skin.
After that, it seemed like Laura Lea and I were soul sisters–she then appeared on my personal doctor’s new podcast (The Dr. Taz Show), and then I got a pitch in my inbox about her new cookbook. I discovered we both had a love of kitties, long walks outside (and battles with anxiety and panic attacks), and chef-driven restaurants–in fact, I later learned that her husband is a partner in one of my favorite spots in Nashville (Pinewood Social), which I had written about many times back in my restaurant writing days.
She had gone to the culinary school I’ve been thinking about attending myself for so long (Natural Gourmet Institute). Laura Lea kept popping up everywhere in my life, and I for one, couldn’t have been happier about it.
One of the things I admire most about Laura Lea is her balanced approach to food (and life!)–she doesn’t shun gluten, dairy, grains, soy, sugar, or whatever is trendy to eliminate right now. She doesn’t follow some extreme, restrictive diet. And most of her food, like I hope R+R’s recipes are, is delicious first, and healthy second.
Healthy food you actually want to eat, is the way I see it. I love the way she uses flavor-packed spices and innovative cooking techniques to create the tastiest meals. And I love her approach to life, as well–combining holistic, natural remedies with Western medicine when needed. It’s exactly how I try to approach my own life, too.
Needless to say, I couldn’t be more excited that Laura Lea is here with Root + Revel–dare I say, this may be my very favorite IHS to date!
So let’s get into it; let’s take a peek at what it’s like to spend a day walking in Laura Lea Goldberg’s shoes.
WHAT ARE THE FIRST 30 MINUTES OF YOUR DAY LIKE?
Oh goodness. First things first, I roll out of bed, brush my tusks and drink a bunch of tap water in the bathroom—we have a Krystal Kleer all-house water filtration system, which is amazing!
Then I crawl back in bed and take in the beautiful scene around me. I allow myself a moment of gratitude for the light, the coziness, my husband, the fact that I simply woke up!
I then spend about 20 minutes responding to DMs on Instagram before heading to the kitchen. Depending on the morning, either my husband or I will take out the puppy and feed both animals. Before starting to make breakfast, always I grab my 32-ounce mason jar from the fridge, which is filled with Strawberry Lemonade Go Everly drink mix, as well as fresh lemon juice. I sip on this while I make a smoothie for my husband, then it’s time for my own NOMS!
SHOWER TIME! WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO PRODUCTS?
This is my current line-up: I alternate Zenagen Revolve Shampoo & Juice Organics Coconut Repairing Shampoo every other day. Zenagen has really helped grow my hair longer! I also adore the Acure Clarifying Shampoo—it smells heavenly.
WHAT’S YOUR TYPICAL BREAKFAST?
I have different breakfasts almost every day, but they have a similar theme…slightly sweet over savory, complex-carb based with plant protein and healthy fat.
Some go-tos are the LL’s Daily Green Smoothie from my Cookbook turned into a smoothie bowl, or a piece of Dave’s Killer Bread with Thrive Market almond butter (my fave; get an extra $20 off your first THREE orders with that link) and cinnamon.
I also love overnight oats and yogurt bowls—currently, fresh berries, granola and Siggis Triple Cream Raspberry is my favorite combo! In the winter I love the 10-Minute Whipped Banana Porridge from my cookbook.
Oh and with granola, I ideally make my Apricot & Olive Oil Clusters…but I also adore Purely Elizabeth Banana Nut Butter grain-free granola. I also make a lot of healthy baked goods for my website like my Blueberry Peanut Butter Crumble Bars, so I’ll treat myself to one of those with some fresh fruit like strawberries with cinnamon or a whole peeled and segmented grapefruit.
ARE YOU A TEA OR COFFEE DRINKER?
I LOVE coffee. Unfortunately, it doesn’t love me back, giving me some major jitters…even a few sips! So I am a tea gal.
I’m currently obsessed with the Kirkland Matcha Green Tea, which I order on Amazon…I don’t know that it’s the most “perfectly clean” product, but it is the only green tea I’ve found that never gets bitter.
I’m also really into the Four Sigmatic Chaga Mushroom Tea to start the day. It helps clear my mind and sharpen my focus, with a mild boost of energy.
I’ve also been making a little “elixir” with 1/2 teaspoon each of Gaia Golden Milk and Sun Potion Mucuna Pruriens and a splash of unsweetened Forager Cashew Milk. This gives me a little mood boost and helps balance my hormones.
WHAT’S YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE?
I really don’t have a strict routine. Overarchingly, I stay away from high-intensity workouts and extended cardio. I’m naturally prone to stress, and that kind of exercise increases my anxiety and puts me in a cortisol & adrenaline-pumping state.
Instead, I take long daily walks, do yoga a few times per week and occasionally a Barre3 class when I want a bit more sweat! I’ve also recently started weight-lifting using Whitney Simmons YouTube workouts, and I am really enjoying feeling stronger!
RELATED: THE BEST FREE WORKOUT VIDEOS
TIME TO GET READY! WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO BEAUTY AND SKINCARE PRODUCTS?
I love giving my skin as much “fresh air” as possible, and I do think that’s one of the reasons I don’t experience breakouts or other skin issues. I’m also addicted to my Babo Nutri-Sooth Lip Treatment with SPF 15—it has the loveliest opaque tint and it isn’t greasy or sticky. I wear that pretty much all day everyday!
I’ve also tried to move away from most traditional perfumes, and instead I use AuraCacia Grapefruit Essential Oil on my wrists and under my ears. Putting that on in the morning after a shower is incredibly refreshing and prepares me for a lively day!
If I do wear makeup, this is a run down on my natural makeup routine:
- Cocokind Organic Full Brown Balm
- Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer Color #2
- Gabriel Cosmetics Concealer Light to Medium Skin
- Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation Cool 1
- Gabriel Cosmetics Dual Powder Foundation
- Mineral Fusion Eye Shadow Trio Rose Gold
- Gabriel Cosmetics Blush Apricot
- Mineral Fusion Brush Flawless
- Mineral Fusion Volumizing Mascara, Jet
WHAT’S IN YOUR MEDICINE CABINET?
My regimen varies quite a bit. I’ve been working with a functional MD for the last two years, David Haase at the Maxwell Clinic here in Nashville. He’s helped guide me through a supplement routine, and we adjust it as necessary.
I definitely DO NOT want anyone copying what I take, because it is extremely personalized—the wrong supplements can be harmful. Most of my supplements come from Dr. Haase’s line Health Tools, and I currently take the Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement, Vitamin D, and Multi-Vitamin. I also take Be Biotin daily, which helps strengthen my nails and hair.
On the medicine front, I actually began taking Celexa for anxiety about 6 months ago…I have an entire YouTube video about my experience if anyone wants to check it out. It has completely changed my life for the better, and I am an advocate of combining holistic/natural medicine and Western medicine, when appropriate.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ON-THE-GO SNACKS?
I love bars, but I’m pretty darn picky about them—I try to look for bars that have at least 5 grams of protein and less than 15 grams of naturally-derived sugar per every 200 calories. There is no science behind this; it is simply the ratio I’ve come up with that makes me feel best!
Currently, I’m into Go Macro Bars Peanut Butter Bars, Le Bars (made here in Nashville!), RX Blueberry and Maple Sea Salt Bars and Say Yes to Real Food Black Sesame & Sea Salt Bars. I also love Epic Uncured Apple Bacon Bars and Brad’s Cheddar Veggie Chips. And I’m addicted to (organic) apples year-round and often throw them in my purse if I’m going to be out for a little while.
RELATED: SAVVY SWAPS FOR HEALTHIER SNACKS
WHAT’S A TYPICAL LUNCH LIKE FOR YOU?
Honestly, the only typical thing about my lunches is that they’re usually leftovers of dinner the night before! I’m really into batch cooking, so I’ll make 2 recipes that offer multiple servings and enjoy those throughout the week.
Some of my recent favorites are my Wild Rice Lentil Veggie Burgers (from my cookbook) with balsamic roasted Brussels Sprouts and my Sesame Tofu Eggplant Bake over rice or quinoa and some sautéed greens from my garden.
I’m also smitten with Siete Foods Tortillas and Guiltless Goodies “Hippie Tortillas”, both are grain-free and delicious. I’ll wrap just about anything in them—leftover roasted chicken with avocado and mustard, egg salad, roasted broccoli and hummus.
WHEN YOU’RE GROCERY SHOPPING, WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU AVOID ON THE LABEL?
The only things I consistently stay away from (and there are even exceptions to this), are vegetable oils like canola, corn, soybean, safflower & sunflower. I also avoid partially or fully hydrogenated oils, but I rarely see those in anything I might pick up at the store.
I stay away from packaged foods that seem unnecessarily high in sugar, regardless of where the sugar comes from. If I want a sweet treat, I’d prefer fruit or one of my homemade baked goods. In general, I focus on short ingredient lists full of easily-recognizable names. I personally eat a little bit of everything though–I eat dairy, gluten, grains, meat, eggs, fish and soy….I just make sure I’m eating the highest-quality products available and in moderation.
RELATED: WHAT IS REAL FOOD AND WHAT TO AVOID
WHAT’S IN YOUR PANTRY?
The first things I notice when I look at my pantry are 1) an entire row of raw nuts, seeds and grains like quinoa, farro and rice and 2) an entire row of Grapefruit La Croix, lol!
I also keep plenty of BPA-free canned staples around like Wild Planet wild tuna and salmon, organic chickpeas, lentils, black beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, pumpkin puree, Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo and full-fat coconut milk.
A year or so ago, I was lucky enough to work with the #girlbosses from the Home Edit to organize my pantry, and they created “baskets” for me that have been a game-changer. In my ‘Baking Basket’, I have Thrive Market Cacao Powder, Madhava Coconut Sugar, Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder, Trader Joe’s 72% pound plus chocolate and Shady Maple Farms Maple Sugar.
In my “Dinner Basket”, I keep my pasta—mostly Eat Banza, with a variety of shapes, Trader Joe’s Red Lentil Pasta and Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles. I also keep my leftovers grains in here, which don’t fit into the clear glass jars.
I have a snack basket, which has everything I listed for my on-the-go snacks, as well as Siete Foods Nacho Chips, Jackson’s BBQ Chips, GG Scandinavian Sweet Thins and some single-serving packets of my favorite Super Elixir Chocolate Protein Powder.
The last one is my “Breakfast Basket”, and it has Love Grown Foods Power O’s, steel cut oats, rolled oats & instant oats, Love Grown Foods Chia & Quinoa Hot Cereal, Mother’s Oat Bran and Sunday Morning Pancake Mix (made in Nashville and full of amazing whole grains).
RELATED: HOW TO STOCK A HEALTHY PANTRY
DINNER TIME! IF YOU’RE EATING OUT, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR ON MENUS TO STAY HEALTHY?
Well, we don’t go out to eat very often, so I’m usually less focused on healthy choices and more on getting exactly what I want. If I am really craving a burger or pizza, I’ll try to find a spot that uses high-quality ingredients, preferably from local sources…but then I will DIVE IN, even if the menu has “healthier” items.
However; when I am craving a nutrient-dense meal, I first look at the appetizers and side dishes. I find that they’re often light, creative and veggie-focused. I have happily made many-a-dinner out of sides and apps!
Something else I like to do is inquire into the fat use to cook my meat, fish or veggies. If the answer is a vegetable oil of some sort, I’ll request that mine be cooked with olive oil or butter. Most places are happy to oblige.
WHAT’S ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND?
My nightstand holds a stack of reading material, but it’s also home to my crystal collection, as well as some essential oils.
In the book department, I typically like to juggle one nutrition-focused and one fiction—I enjoy switching on different parts of my brain! Currently, I am reading Commonwealth by Ann Patchett and Farmacology by Daphne Miller.
I’ve also recently enjoyed Home by Marilyn Robinson and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari. I also adore the book Body Love by my friend Kelly Leveque, as well Kathryne Taylor of Cookie & Kate’s new cookbook, Love Real Food.
RELATED: 5 HEALTH BOOKS TO READ NOW
BED TIME! WHAT’S YOUR NIGHTLY ROUTINE?
I am such a stickler about my bedtime routine; it drives my husband crazy! I have had major insomnia in the past…as in, at least a decade battling with it. I’ve learned that the best way to ensure good sleep is to respect and adhere to a consistent nighttime routine. Ideally, I like to be in bed by 9:30 pm.
Before crawling under the sheets, I dab my wrists and ankles with Cedarwood and Roman Chamomile essential oils. Once in bed, I say my nightly prayers while holding my favorite crystal, which is Pink Tourmaline, a Libra birthstone (p.s. pink is my favorite color!). Then I grab whichever book speaks to me and start reading. Often, I’ve brought a small bowl of organic berries to bed, and I’ll enjoy those while I read. I’m usually droopy-lights-out by 10:15!
I don’t like to associate guilt with anything I love, truthfully!!! BUT I am sucker for anything Bachelor Nation, I must say/ I can get lost down the rabbit hole of bachelor/bachelorette Instagrams very easily.
FAVORITE HEALTHY INDULGENCE?
I can get DOWN with a healthy PB&J! I use Dave’s Killer Bread, very lightly, toasted, unsalted unsweetened organic PB from Trader Joe’s and St. Dalfour Strawberry Jam. Cut right down the middle :).
RELATED: THE 80-20 RULE FOR A BALANCED DIET
FAVORITE PRODUCT THAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO TRY?
Coconut butter (I’m sensing a theme here). It is truly divine in flavor and texture, and it’s fantastic for curbing cravings and balancing blood sugar. If you’re feeling the sugar-munchies, a spoonful of coconut butter can really nip that in the bud.
And that’s a wrap. HUGE thanks to Laura Lea Goldberg for sharing her story with us.
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust.
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I've linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.