Andrea Hannemann's Advice on Being an Expert in You
By Roger Kamholz
Better known as EarthyAndy, lifestyle blogger Andrea Hannemann shares plant-based recipes, her commitment to green living and her aspirational island lifestyle with her husband, Shem, and their soon-to-be three kids.
Following @earthyandy’s journeys — from Canada to Hawaii and from two kids to three — manages to be inspiring, beautiful and informative. Life and Money by Citi recently asked her about her lifestyle, her home in Oahu,HI, and sharing her diet with her family.
To get to the place you are today, you say you had to become “an expert in you.” How would someone else do that for themselves?
Andrea: The best advice I would give to someone on becoming an expert on themselves would be to take the time to learn how to listen to their body and recognize internal cues. The easiest way for me to do this was to eat simple, natural foods to help eliminate sugar, salt and fat cravings. Otherwise, my body might be saying, “I need cheesecake or a soda!”
Eliminating processed foods and processed sugars and eating “clean” for a few weeks helped me feel how my body reacted to certain foods. If I found something that didn’t agree with me, I eliminated it from my diet. The thing that helped me the most was learning to listen to my body and seeing what worked for me and expanding on that day by day. Every one of us is unique and if ultimate health is important to you, it’s worth it to take the time to become an expert on you, once and for all.
You’ve gone through a major transformation in the way you eat and conduct your life. What’s been the key to sticking with your new regimen?
Andrea: I feel the best I have ever felt in my entire life! It took almost a year of feeling sick and struggling with energy levels every single day. I look back to that time of my life and I am so grateful for the health that I enjoy today. That is what motivates me to continue taking caring of my body.
What’s a common misconception about veganism? Before you adopted your current lifestyle what was your “take” on a plant-based diet?
Andrea: People often think that eating a plant-based diet is restrictive, confining or boring. I would say that I saw veganism as a healthy way of living, but I always thought that animal protein was essential to a “balanced” diet until I read The China Study (a nutrition study). It changed the way I thought about food, my health, and how to maintain a balanced diet.
How have your kids taken to eating plant-based, and how did you get them to join you?
Andrea: Our kids love the way we eat, and it's fun having them help in the kitchen and teach them how food can help our bodies grow strong and healthy. Ira is 5 right now and is so curious about where things come from and why we eat what we eat. Often before eating something he’ll ask, “Is this healthy?” Getting the kids in the kitchen is fun and important for them to understand where our food comes from and how it benefits us.
If you have one shot to convince a meat eater to go plant-based, what are you cooking?
Andrea: Vegan tacos, for sure! We have a good friend of ours who is from Venezuela who taught us how to make beans the way she grew up with them and they are insanely good. We make a big pot of them just about every week. We also make a plant-based cilantro sour cream that is soooo good on anything, and we prepare the vegan tacos with chopped red cabbage, fresh salsa, rice, and sliced avocados on soft corn tortillas. I promise you right now they wouldn’t even notice the meat is missing!
What’s an easy, healthy, go-to afternoon snack you recommend having around?
Andrea: A great snack that is fun to make with the kids and that kids love are date balls. They are really fast and easy to make — just five ingredients. You can refrigerate or freeze them and they’ll be good for a few weeks but they never last longer than a day in our house.
You’ve built this large social following over the years. As it’s grown bigger, how has what you share changed?
Andrea: When I started @earthyandy, it was to journal my health journey and to follow people whom I could learn from. I feel so grateful that I have been able to add to the community, help people, and share my experience and what has worked for me. I share what means most to me and what I believe can be a help to others. I love to share recipes, my family, our travels and whatever might benefit someone else who is looking for support on living a healthy lifestyle.
What do you want to be doing five years from now?
Andrea: I love being a mom, and our boys are everything to me! I am 9 months’ pregnant right now with our third son who will be born in just a few weeks. I imagine in five years I’ll be pretty busy with the boys and that is exactly what I want to be busy with.
Take us to your ‘happy place.’ What would we see, hear and experience? What do you do when you’re there?
Andrea: Aww, my happy place. You would see my family and the ocean for sure with a big beach and beautiful waves in every direction. You would see fresh fruit with hiking trails not too far away. You would hear laughing and playing and the sound of the ocean. We would be having fun in each other’s company, telling stories and laughing. What I do when I am there is everything, but nothing really specific. I surf, I play with the kids, we swim in the ocean, we run through the trees and tall grass, we lie in the shade of a tree or umbrella, we make food, we laugh, we nap, we talk, we just live it up and take it in.
Roger Kamholz creates content for Citi’s Global Consumer Bank and has written about dining and travel for more than 10 years.
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