Talking Food and Fitness with Mega-Yogi, Rachel Brathen


(Ben Kane/StyleCaster)

A life motto (and Instagram bio) that reads “I just want to do yoga, drink wine, and save all the puppies,” makes Rachel Brathen a very popular woman in the realm of digital fitness. She’s the name—and super-bendy body—behind @yoga_girl on Instagram, a phenomenally successful account followed by over 1.7 million people who adore Brathen’s candid, authentic approach to social media.

Earlier this year, she also launched a Kickstarter project to cofound, a subscription service providing access to virtual yoga classes fronted by famous teachers, counseling, and advice on body image from experts. The initiative swiftly skyrocketed past its funding goal of $108,000 to a whopping $430,000—support that makes Brathen’s Kickstarter startup the most funded yoga campaign of all time. Oh, and this overachiever’s also a New York Times best-selling author. And she’s only 27.

Still, Brathen begins each day by scaling back to basics: hot water with lemon, yoga, green juice, and oil-pulling, and she follows a strict vegan diet packed with healthy vegetable soups. We caught up with the famous yogi to take a detailed look at her food and fitness diary.

yoga girl

(Yoga Girl)

For breakfast I had:
A cup of hot water with lemon before my yoga practice, and a big green juice made of kale, spinach, apple, lemon, and ginger afterward. A little later I snacked on a fruit salad and had some green tea in front of my computer. I get up early and like to spread my breakfast out in the morning!

For lunch I had:
Homemade carrot soup; I make a huge pot of soup every week and keep leftovers in the fridge for an easy lunch. I’m in a bit of a soup phase now, I’ll admit. The carrot soup I make is vegan, full of goodness, and so incredibly delicious—and super easy to make. I love to make big batches of food in the evenings that I can easily heat up for lunch.

For dinner I had:
Veggie sushi: miso soup, edamame, a veggie roll, and avocado nigiri.

Today I snacked on:
Green tea, pomelo (one of my favorite fruits), and lussebullar, a Swedish Christmas bun with saffron that we eat all throughout December. I make mine vegan, and I whipped up the first batch of the season yesterday! If you’ve never had one, I suggest you give them a try; they’re my favorite Christmas treats.

My go-to healthy drink is:
I drink mostly regular water throughout the day, sometimes with a squeeze of lemon. Other than that, green juice and coconut water.

The one thing I would never eat is:
Meat. Never ever.

My favorite workout is:
Yoga! A sweaty vinyasa class is my all-time favorite way to move.

My guilty pleasure food is:
I don’t believe in guilty pleasures; I just believe in pleasure! Indulging is important. I’ll have to say chocolate—I can’t live without it.

The next big health and fitness trend will be:
That’s hard to tell as trends within health and fitness change so quickly and often. I’m a big believer of slow, sustainable change toward balance. Mindful workouts would be a wonderful new trend I think. Even yoga these days is becoming increasingly harsh and demanding, and going back to basics is so important: taking deep breaths, listening to our bodies, and being kind to ourselves. How about we make that a new trend?

My favorite healthy restaurant is:
I love Café Gratitude and True Food Kitchen!

yoga girl

(Yoga Girl)

My favorite healthy snack is:
Pomegranate: It’s like nature’s candy.

Some of the fitness blogs I love include:
I love the blogs on OneOEight—they’re a mix of yoga-specific blogs and tools for self-healing.

On Instagram, I’m obsessed with following:
Ringo the Gringo—go follow him and you’ll know why!

The three ingredients you’ll always find in my kitchen are:
Chia seeds, coconut oil, and raw cacao.

My biggest health tip for travelers is to:
Plan ahead. I always scout restaurants and cafés before arriving in a new destination so I know where to go. Also, ask to have a fridge put in your hotel room—nine times out of 10 they will, and that way you can easily stock up on healthy snacks.

My signature healthy dish is:
I make a ton of soup. Carrot and ginger soup is one of my favorites these days, and I just put a recipe up on the blog for green pea and mint soup.

The health app I couldn’t live without is:
Peace Alarm. It’s a very simple meditation app that helps you stay mindful, timewise, during your meditation practice.

The top three songs on my workout playlist right now are:
“Light” by Dr. Toast, “Opus One” by Russ Liquid, “Station” by Låpsley.

The best part of my job is:
Meeting people who are dedicated to living life to its fullest potential. My [yoga] students inspire me every day.

I start an average day by:
Oil pulling—and yoga, of course!

My favorite activewear brands are:
I love Beyond Yoga and Teeki.

My winter health tip is:
Start each day by doing something that makes you feel good. Don’t just rush out the door—make sure you dedicate time to you. If that’s yoga, meditation, lighting candles for a mindful breakfast, or having a mini dance party in your living room before you hop in the shower, just do at least one thing that’s dedicated to making you feel good. It will help you set the tone for a happy day!

yoga girl

(Yoga Girl)