Being Healthy & Happy Don’t Have to be Mutually Exclusive: Here’s Proof with Talia Pollock
Talia Pollock from Party in My Plants is out to prove that healthy and happy do not have to be mutually exclusive. She’s here to show you how healthy can be fun, funny, and totally delicious.
Being Healthy & Happy Don’t Have to be Mutually Exclusive: Here’s Proof with Talia Pollock
Talia is all about helping you never having to choose between feeling good and feeling happy, and to help you do the healthy things that make you feel, look, and live your best without it totally sucking.
We’ll talk about her balanced approach and how she brings the fun and joy to everything she does in this funny and lighthearted conversation.
Today’s guest is out to prove that healthy and happy do not have to be mutually exclusive.
She’s here to show you how healthy can be fun, funny, and totally delicious.
Today we’re talking with Talia from Party in my Plants, (yup, Party in my Plants).
Talia has a website, an upcoming cookbook, and a podcast all about helping you never again having to choose between feeling good and feeling happy, and to help you do the healthy things that make you feel, look, and live your best without it totally sucking.
She’s also hilarious and has a background in stand-up comedy, which is completely fascinating and totally refreshing to talk to someone who’s in the wellness space about food in a really funny, lighthearted way.
I was a guest on her podcast recently, and it was one of the funniest interviews I’ve ever done. (check it out here!)
We’ll talk about her balanced approach and how she brings the fun and joy to everything she does.
On how Talia got to where she is:
Talia has been on all sorts of major platforms spreading her message.
One of Robyn’s favorite things about Talia’s past experience is her background as a stand-up comedian.
And Talia loves comedy, she loves making people laugh, she loves connecting with people through laughter– it’s the number one way she bonds with people.
Talia started college aspiring toward magazine journalism, she loved writing and was planning on pursuing that.
And then, her sophomore year, she discovered the humor column in her school’s newspaper, just spread out on the ground of the cafeteria.
She saw this newspaper that headlined, “Everybody Becomes a Doctor When I Get Sick”, and she loved it.
She read the article laughing out loud, feeling like the author was in her head, and that’s when she decided she wanted to do this.
She then pivoted her entire life to be focused on humor and comedy versus writing journalistic facts and interviews.
Talia realized there’s an industry around writing thoughts that other people can relate to and then laughing about it because you’re both going through the same experience, and that’s what she took on.
She switched her major to television and film and hit the ground running.
She interned for College Humor and Happy Madison, which is Adam Sandler’s production company, she worked for David Letterman, she did stand-up throughout New York City, and she was just so in it.
But then at the same time, she was struggling with her health and wellness.
She was trying to find a way to get better after struggling all through high school and college, just feeling like crap and having terrible immune issues.
But she was on a journey to heal herself.
The two worlds collided when she was in LA interning for Happy Madison.
After her internship one day, she discovered a place called Planet Raw, which was the first raw, vegan meal she had ever had, and was the first thing she had eaten in eight years that didn’t make her feel completely terrible.
She jumped head first into green juice, it was long before almond milk and coconut milk were sold in grocery stores, so Talia was at home cracking open coconuts with machetes.
But she was living a dual life, because comedy is not a notoriously healthy profession.
Instead, she’d go into these nightclubs and perform for people who were all drinking beer, smoking, eating chicken wings and whatever white creamy sauce you dip chicken wings into, and there she was on stage making jokes about getting to the front of the veggie burger line.
She needed her lives to stop being so separate; she couldn’t live this dual-identity, so she combined them, which led her to where she is now.
Then, Talia discovered health and wellness and she learned the entire way of plant-based eating and it healed her.
It completely transformed her body.
But, she was then stuck between this place of an obsession and admiration of healthy living and healthy eating and this industry that isn’t notoriously healthy, whatsoever.
She couldn’t just keep having one foot in each door, so she opened her own door and that’s how she created Party in My Plants and inspires people to take care of themselves through humor.
On Talia’s evolution of eating:
When Talia learned about Planet Raw, a raw, vegan restaurant, she had no idea what vegan even was.
She bypassed vegetarian, she bypassed vegan, and because it was her first experience with food that didn’t make her sick, she became a raw vegan.
She did fine with that in sunny LA, but when she went back to snowy Syracuse to finish her senior year, it was very hard to do the whole green juice, dehydrated crackers kind of life.
But it was all she knew so she forced it on herself and in the process, had to completely turn her back on a social life.
And this is when she became was she calls a “health nut hermit”, because as she was drinking her green juice, she didn’t realize that she could also drink sangria or boxed wine at parties.
So instead of even trying, she quarantined herself and completely turned her back on her social life.
She ended up graduating healthier than ever, but more unhappy than ever.
So, Talia went into the world in search of a better way.
Slowly, she evolved out of the raw veganism into just veganism.
But then she started to notice when she would go out to dinner with her now husband, she would start to crave the fish he had on his plate.
And then in the morning, she would want his eggs, but she would talk herself out of it.
“You’re a vegan! That’s your identity!”
She fought herself for over sixth months before finally asking herself, “what’s the worst that could happen if I have egg whites?”
The world didn’t come to an end and she ended up feeling better.
So she started incorporating a hard boiled egg or some fish into her diet, and she started feeling stronger.
And now, her diet has evolved to what you would usually classify as pescatarian, but what she calls a “plant party diet”.
On testing the boundaries:
Talia really needed that vegan diet at that point in time to save her health.
Before then, she had no idea what she was doing, but once she infused her body with all of those plants, she felt and looked her best; she morphed into the ideal version of herself.
The label itself wasn’t a necessary part of that, which was something she had to learn.
In fact, Talia encourages everyone to not put on any label at all.
Her philosophy is to just eat more plants: just eat more of that life-giving food than you eat of life-sucking food (processed foods, chemical foods).
It removes any emotional layer, stigma, decisions, labels, identities, or pressure from it.
But we still see that all-or-nothing approach to wellness, which partly is because it sells, from a marketing perspective it’s easier to sell something when it’s in a box and it’s all or nothing, you’re in or out.
However, over time, research shows that that kind of thinking is really detrimental psychologically and it’s difficult to maintain long-term.
And then when you step into this grey area, it can be really uncomfortable.
So Talia just likes to focus on eating more plants, which is a really great place to start.
Everyday, every meal, every snack– are there more plants than crap?
That’s really all that Talia lives her life by and encourages other people to as well.
The vegan diet was very healing for her, but she also thinks it was, in part, because she was in a particular health crisis.
It might not be needed for every person who isn’t trying to heal themselves of health issues.
It’s important to distinguish between these: am I approaching food because I’m trying to heal a deep seated illness, or because I want to feel really good in my body?
They’re two different perspectives and even if you start from that first place of healing, eventually, as you heal, you might need to step out and be more flexible in your approach.
On pushback from the plant-based community:
When Talia realized the world wouldn’t fall apart when she started eating egg whites, for the first time after being vegan for four years, she went ahead and had gnocchi that was made with egg whites.
And it was a big enough thing for her that she pitched mindbodygreen an article about not being vegan anymore and how the world didn’t fall apart.
So she published this article called, I Stopped Being Vegan and the World Kept Spinning and she was excited, it was her first article on mindbodygreen, but she was not prepared for the backlash that she got.
For Talia, this “vegan” diet was more of a plant-based diet and it was really just for health reasons, she wasn’t changing her clothing and doing the other parts of being a vegan, she was just eating only plants.
So when she announced that she wasn’t vegan anymore in this article about the mindset and the experience, she got so. much. backlash.
Talia’s article got so many negative comments, which opened her eyes to the fact that there’s just a lot more attached to these labels than she had ever thought.
And that’s true for a lot of ways of eating, although veganism tends to be especially so.
There are chances to build a lifestyle or a group of friends around the way that you eat, so if you change, what does that do to your relationships and who you thought you were?
It might seem like it’s not that big of a deal, but it turns out that it really is.
On what eating more plants might look like:
“More plants than crap”: those are just words to live by, no box, common sense, no diet, just feeling better if you do it.
But it’s still really difficult, especially if you eat out a little more often, get takeout, or travel, our food system just isn’t set up for that.
Talia is lucky, because so it’s easy for her where she’s at in New York City.
But when she goes elsewhere, she has to deal with the same struggles that many of us do or would, it’s challenging.
But that’s the thing, keeping our phones charged is challenging, so we plan ahead if we’re going on a trip and bring a backup charger or situate ourselves by an outlet in a waiting area.
If we want something, we’ll think ahead.
And because eating plants does require some thinking ahead, Talia encourages people to do it with a happy face rather than feeling like it’s a burden or a stressor.
Ways to plan ahead:
If you’re going out for pizza, order every single vegetable on your pizza.
If you’re traveling, go on Yelp and look for smoothie places to help seek out some other plant-based options.
Identify the closest Whole Foods to wherever you’re staying and stock up.
Travel with apples and make snacks in advance.
If you’re stuck at a convenience store, look for the closest thing to a plant like roasted chickpeas, popcorn, or sometimes there are even apples.
Tips to avoid the all-or-nothing cycle:
The whole philosophy of eating more plants than crap still allows space for crap.
It’s all about just making the best choice that you can in that moment.
There’s no falling off the wagon, there’s no wagon, there’s no off track, no back on track, it’s just eating more plants in any given opportunity.
Talia thinks it’s incredibly important to not beat ourselves up with this on-track-off-track mentality.
“The thoughts with which we eat food affects our ability to digest and assimilate that food”.
So even if we’re eating the plants, but we’re doing it with resentment, stress, guilt, embarrassment, anger, or any negative emotion, that negative emotion is going to impair our body’s ability to make the best use of the healthy foods anyway, making it almost pointless.
You have to find a way to eat more plants with a smile and with ease and that comes from letting go of this white knuckling, wagon lifestyle.
The cool thing is, your brain does rewire and it becomes easier.
On adding plants to your breakfast:
Breakfast is where Talia usually gets her fruits in, and she’s actually not the biggest smoothie person.
Really she only starts her day with a smoothie if she worked out first and needs to replenish, otherwise they aren’t as filling without pumping them full of plant protein.
And you don’t have to drink smoothies to consider yourself a healthy eater!
Here is what Talia has for breakfast:
1 | Her protein waffles.
She makes these waffles just about every single day.
She mashes half a banana, mixes it with a third cup of egg whites or flax egg alternative, one scoop of Sunwarrior plant protein powder, some stevia to sweeten, a little it of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon or ginger.
Then she puts it in a waffle maker (or in pancake form) and she has the most filling breakfast.
She puts all the fruit on top of it, too, adding all sorts of berries or she’ll cut up an apple, or if it’s in the fall when it’s pumpkin spice everything she’ll smear some pumpkin puree on top of it with some nut butter.
2 | Coconut milk or almond milk yogurt (or goat yogurt if you do that).
If she’s in a rush, she’ll have some yogurt with all the fruits in that.
She’ll add some protein powder to it, which will really help fill you up, maybe a sprinkle of nut butter or granola (make your own granola or buy clean ones) and sprinkle with chia seeds.
3 | Chia pudding.
This is another great one to do in the summer.
Just make chia pudding and add in the same things as the yogurt, lots of fruit on top to get those plants.
4 | Toasted Ezekiel english muffin + smashed banana + sprinkled nut butter + cinnamon
On what’s coming up next for Talia:
Basically, Talia was just living her life and a woman at Harper Collins reached out to her to see if she was interested in writing a book.
After connecting and getting excited, the woman basically left Talia hanging for about a year.
After reconnecting, there was another lag in moving forward.
After reconnecting a second time, the woman told Talia that her audience was too small.
To be rejected because of something entirely out of her control was incredibly painful, but had already she decided that if they weren’t going to get back to her, she was going to self-publish.
She already had a proposal, she’d written the first chapter, so when she got that “no”, she pursued her own agent through some friends that had come on her podcast.
So she got an agent and then she shopped it around without any idea what to expect.
The whole process was incredibly slow, scary, and emotional and she really wasn’t sure where it would lead her.
But eventually, she got her book deal.
There’s a lot more to it (you can listen to it here if you want to hear more about the behind the scenes).
One of her coaches told her, “rejection is protection”, and it was something she learned during this process.
Getting rejected from certain publishers was the right thing to happen to lead her to an even better thing down the road.
And she just submitted her manuscript!
There’s such a lag between when the book is finished and when it’s actually in people’s hands.
She’s so excited to get this really chill philosophy in the physical hands of people, and she really hopes that her work inspires people to chill out while they’re eating just more plants than they do crap.
“I really don’t believe one should choose between their happiness and their health, so I believe you just want to eat more plants that allow you to do the other things in your life that you want to do”.
If you want to tailgate or hike or go play soccer, whatever you want to do, Talia believes eating healthier can allow you to do that and it doesn’t have to be a thing that you do instead.
Talia ended up finding a publisher who loves her for her numbers and appreciates her for her numbers.
Her publisher loves stories, narratives, voices, and unique perspectives.
It’s fantastic to learn in business that there’s always an avenue for you, no matter your numbers, but also in life.
“As long as you value yourself you’re going to find somebody else who values you too”
On what it really means to be healthy:
“It means doing stuff, such as eating more plants, or exercising, or taking care of yourself, with a smile on your face so that that stuff is actually worthwhile, positively affects your body, and so you can go out and do the things in your life that you want to do. It’s not doing healthy things in place of the things in your life that you want to do, it’s doing them to enhance the things in your life you want to do”.
Talia believes that it’s possible to drink green juice AND drink cocktails, that it’s do-able to eat quinoa AND online date and that it’s really OK to not eat dairy AND still go to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Being healthy and being happy don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
She’s spent years studying health and happiness. Talia is a professional plant-based chef and a certified health coach as well as a comedian, performing stand-up all throughout NYC and working for David Letterman, Adam Sandler and Collegehumor. She combined her two passions and talents (making someone LOL + making someone like kale) to help others transform their lives from pretty crappy to holy-moly happy!
Party in My Plants podcast #132 with Robyn Downs: What if gentle was cooler than perfect? And meal planning was sexy?!
Party in My Plants Protein Waffle Recipe
Perfect Chia Pudding
Talia’s book deal story (Party in My Plants podcast #85)
Podcast: Party in My Plants with Talia Pollock
Connect on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/partyinmyplants/
Connect with Talia on youtube