Inspiring Health Pros
Lelan Davidson – Founder of LeBars
Lelan is hands down one of the nicest people I’ve come around in a long time. She is so down to earth and easy to talk to. When I met Lelan it was pretty clear we both had a love for all things wellness. We decided to grab a drink at a local coffee shop and had a great time bouncing wellness thoughts off of each other from diet trends to what beauty products we love to our favorite wellness podcasts. Lelan and I still love to have our regular meet ups and going to some cool wellness events together. I am thankful for Lelan’s friendship and I am so grateful to be able to share more about her and her story on how she lives a healthy life. AND if you have never had a Lebar, well then you just need to jump on over to her website NOW and order one…no, no 10 of her delicious bars. You will love them and I know you will love her!
What is your occupation?
I wear many hats! I have a Master’s in Education and worked at a school before leaving to start a granola bar business (Le Bar). And because I love being busy, I also work for a food blogger and a university.
How did you choose this career?
I loved education, but I wanted something with a more flexible schedule. I had been making granola bars for myself and sharing with co-workers, and I decided that it was the right time for me to pivot. My happy place is in the kitchen creating things, so it only makes sense that I finally made a job of it.
What do you love about what you do?
I love the people that I meet at farmers markets the most. Seeing someone’s eyes get big after tasting my bars for the first time is why I keep going back to the kitchen. I also love the flexibility and the fact that I can work when my little one is sleeping—that’s hard to beat!
When you first started living a healthy lifestyle, did you have a mentor or did you find more success doing it on your own?
Early on in my health journey, I was on my own not because I was having more success that way, but because the changes I was making were small and incremental. I first started by moving more. I built up my endurance and was running a lot and then I started trying new foods—not always the healthy foods, but trying new foods expanded my palate, Eventually, I started adding in more vegetables and healthier fare. Since moving to Nashville nearly a decade ago, I’d say the food blogger I work for is my biggest mentor. The recipes she develops are at the intersection of health food and home cooking. You don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything and you’re nourishing your body at the same time.
What pushes you out of your comfort zone?
My husband pushes me more than anyone I’ve ever met. He’s the one that encouraged me to pursue my business and is my biggest cheerleader. He’s the one that asks challenging questions that gets me thinking deeper and questioning the status quo. He also taught me to love game night and for that I’m eternally grateful…although I’m still working on being a gracious loser!
What kind of workout do you do, how many days per week do you workout, and for how long?
Once upon a time I was a dedicated runner—7 miles a day at least, rain or shine. Now, I’m a fair-weather runner, and run 3 – 4 miles about once a week. I’ve found some really great barre classes that kick my butt. I also go to 4 – 5 one-hour barre classes each week. Barre has really helped with toning, posture (I felt like I was becoming a hunchback, and barre has been great for retraining my posture), and lower back problems (caused by a lack of core strength) after pregnancy.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
Breakfast: Coffee, all the coffee. I always say I’m not going to buy another pack of coffee once I run out, but I have very little self-control when it comes to coffee. Then, I’ll try to have something with protein, whether it’s an apple and peanut butter, one of my granola bars, or a low sugar smoothie. Unfortunately, I can’t eat egg otherwise that would be my go-to.
Lunch: Typically, some sort of leftovers, but if I don’t have leftovers, I love an O’Dough’s Everything Bagel Thin with a smear of hummus, some mashed avocado with lemon, and Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning. If I’m lucky I’ve got a piece of bacon to top it all off.
Dinner: Grilled salmon, roasted potatoes (sweet with chili powder or white with more Everything but the Bagel seasoning), and roasted vegetables. It’s so simple, but somehow it never gets old and reheats easily. I’ve also gone through phases where I’ll meal prep on Sundays and not have to worry about cooking during the week.
Snacks: Anything peanut butter or a small portion of leftovers
What inspires you to live a healthy and active life?
I want to stay healthy and active in hopes that I can be healthy and active with my family many years from now.
How do you stay motivated on a daily basis?
Honestly…the gym has childcare, so that a real motivator some days! I also just feel better physically and mentally when I move my body, and I think it makes me a nicer person. The results I’ve seen with improved posture and less back pain also keep me going back.
How do you handle unhealthy cravings?
I typically indulge—a little ice cream never hurt anyone! That said, I am all for trying to find healthier versions of the things you love, and I believe that’s easier now than ever before. There are some fantastic ice creams that you’d never know were lower in sugar and dairy free.
I wasted many years feeling guilty about things I ate, and life is too short. I feel better when I don’t deprive myself and don’t beat myself up about the things I eat. If I have ice cream one night, it doesn’t mean that I have to have it every night. It’s doesn’t make me any less healthy, and it doesn’t derail me. It’s taken a long time to get here.
What would you say is the key to balancing it all?
A support system. Not every day is balanced. Some days I’m stressed with everything I need to do and others I’m so bored I’m reorganizing the pantry for the fifth time this year, but in the end, surrounding yourself with people (virtually counts) who love and support you will help you through the days when you feel like everyone is demanding something from you.
What is your favorite workout apparel?
I really, really want to be a minimalist, so I am not an authority on this category. That said, I love my Girlfriend Collective leggings. I replaced every pair of leggings I owned with 5 pair of GF Collective. They are made from recycled water bottles, so I’m also saving the planet. 😉
If you could only pick one exercise or movement to do everyday that would be amazing for your body, what would it be?
I think a plank works so many parts of your body if done correctly, but I’d probably personally choose to go for a run and get some fresh air and vitamin D.
What advice would you give to people to be their healthiest and best self?
Give yourself a break, and don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you ate past the feeling of full or ate something you told yourself you shouldn’t or wouldn’t just take everything in stride. Ask yourself, “Am I moving in the right direction?” You don’t have to be dogmatic about everything you do, but are you moving towards rather than away from your goal? You want to make sustainable changes, and learning how to deal with hiccups along the way is a key step to long-term success.
Please share your favorite healthy recipe.
BBQ Chicken and Mashed Cauliflower Casserole
3 cups pulled chicken, shredded or chopped into ½” pieces*
3 cups kale, thinly sliced into ¼” strands
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into 1” florets
2 Tablespoon butter or coconut oil
¼ cup almond milk or unsweetened milk of choice
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon molasses
1 Tablespoon tamari
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
2 slices cooked bacon, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large (9×13) casserole dish.
Steam cauliflower florets until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and press with a towel to remove excess water. Add to a mixing bowl.
Mash or use a handheld mixer to break up the cauliflower. Add butter, milk, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper.
Add the kale to the mashed cauliflower and toss to wilt and incorporate. Spread evenly in the bottom of the casserole dish.
In the bottom of a bowl (you can use the empty bowl you mashed the cauliflower in), whisk together ketchup, molasses, tamari, and balsamic vinegar.
Add chopped chicken and toss to coat. If you want to, start with less BBQ sauce and add to your liking. Layer the chicken on top of the cauliflower.
Top with cheese and/or bacon, if using.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until heated through and cheese is bubbling, if applicable.
* You can either purchase a rotisserie chicken or bake one yourself. I love the Thomas Keller recipe for roasting a chicken. It’s foolproof!