I really hope that you have been enjoying the inspired series on the blog so far, this month I had the honour to interview Tayler McKellop or as you may know her on Instagram as cleaneatsbytay! Tayler is a college student attending school in NYC (literally my dream!), her uplifting and inspiring attitude is contagious and her genuine spirit shows throughout her gorgeous feed. Tayler is a great role model for students trying to eat a healthier and more plant-based lifestyle by her easy and approachable recipes that she shares daily. Although Tayler’s foodie pics are gorgeous, her positive community is not limited to just nourishment, she often discusses mindfulness and being kind to your body; something that is so important to embody a healthy lifestyle! I hope you find Tayler as inspiring as I do and don’t forget to show her some love on Instagram. Also a huge thank you to Tayler for letting me interview her!
Name: Tayler McKellop
Where are you from?
I lived in Dallas, Texas for the first 16 years of my life, moved to Southern California during my junior year of high school, and now I’m going to college in New York City.
What inspired you to start cleaneatsbytay?
My mom is a health nut just like me so I’ve always had some sort of knowledge of what’s healthy and what’s not. But in my first year of college I lived in the school dorms where being on the meal plan was a requirement. The food was so terrible, I honestly ate a salad with an apple and peanut butter for lunch and dinner every single day. There were practically zero healthy options and everything came from either a package or can. Just a few months before moving back home for the summer, I started to get SO excited about being able to cook again and somehow came across the health/food community on Instagram and fell in love. I followed a few accounts and would just sit and drool over their yummy looking food whilst eating my sad dining hall salad. I would see their recipes and think “I could so make all of this!” and told myself that the day I moved back home I would start my own food account, and that’s exactly what I did! That was at the end of May 2017.
How did you come up with the name?
I am awful at coming up with usernames for things! I’ll seriously spend hours trying to come up with something clever. The original name, which lasted about a day, was “wholeeatsbytay” but just didn’t sound right to me. So cleaneatsbytay was the next one up and it stuck!
Where do you get all of your amazing recipe ideas from?
Honestly, I make most of them up! I get a lot of ideas when I’m out walking or sitting in class and immediately have to write them down in the notes app on my phone or in my journal. But following so many amazing food bloggers definitely keeps my mind inspired and if I see someone make something that looks super yummy I’ll put a little spin on it!
You often talk about mindfulness, when did you start to become more mindful/what inspired you to become more in-tune with your mind and body?
This is definitely a recent thing I’ve gotten into, but it has already changed my entire life. My very first semester of college was a pretty negative one. Not only was it emotional being on opposite coasts as my family, but my dorming situation at the time caused me unfathomable amounts of stress. It just was not healthy. Second semester comes around and I have a different living situation, I’ve adjusted to being away from home, and I started taking yoga for my required P.E. credit. Even though the class was somewhat of a joke, it actually did introduce me to the entire world of mindfulness and just letting go of unnecessary burdens. After the semester ended, I had started my food account and began taking regular yoga classes on my own and my interest in mindfulness continued to expand. Just recently I started meditating and it has turned the way I approach and handle things so much. Up until 3 weeks ago, I had never meditated in my life but now I cannot imagine going a day without it. I am so excited to see where this journey will take me and to see how much more I can grow in my mind and body awareness.
What is your favourite way to get your body moving?
Yoga is my absolute favorite activity. It strengthens and lengthens your muscles, gets your heartrate pumping, and leaves you with a major yoga-high…what more could you ask for?
What is your food philosophy?
My food philosophy is that you will never feel or perform better than when you are putting real, whole foods into your body. I truly just want people to experience how amazing natural food tastes and the appreciation that you will have for your body once you start to give it the best fuel possible.
What’s Your Typical…
I change it up between oatmeal with fruit and nut butter, toast with lots of yummy toppings, a dairy-free yogurt bowl (again lots of toppings), and on the rare occasion something savory like a veggie-loaded omelette.
A big bowl of cooked veggies, leafy greens, some type of grain, and plant-based protein (lentils are my favorite) is normally what I have for lunch just because it’s so easy to throw a bunch of stuff I have prepped into a bowl.
My absolute favorite snack is super crispy toast with peanut butter and a chopped up frozen banana. You have not lived until you’ve tried it!
Honestly, I make gluten-free pasta with veggies almost every night. I like to use brands that use legumes like chickpeas, black beans, or lentils to make their noodles so that I’m basically just eating a major source of protein but in pasta form!
Who inspires you?
My mom, always. She is my absolute best friend and we know each other better than we know ourselves. She is so strong and loving, I’ll always look up to her no matter how old I get.
What brings you joy?
So many things. To name a few: reading, yoga, going to the movies, riding my bike, diving under the huge waves in SoCal with my sister, laying in the sun, and going to Whole Foods.
Describe your perfect day:
Waking up to see the sunrise, maybe 30-40 minutes of meditating and stretching, getting back in bed with a huge bowl of oatmeal, some green tea, and a book, then heading out for a sweaty yoga class, eating a bowl of veggies and some type of plant-based protein for lunch, then hanging out with my dogs and family the rest of day, maybe riding bikes or walking around!
Perhaps, we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done – Rudy Francisco
You live in New York City, what are some of your favourite cafés that are a must if in your city?
I don’t eat out too often, I love to cook and eating out just costs so much, but a few of my affordable, healthy faves are Sweetgreen, by Chloe, The Butcher’s Daughter, Chalait, and Beyond Sushi.
Coffee or tea? Tea
Yoga or cardio? Yoga
Spicy or sweet? Oh god. Sweet I guess!
Juice or smoothie? Smoooothiee
Warm or cold breakfast? Warm – I’m all about cozy vibes especially in the morning.
Get Tayler’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe Here!