“FOR ME, BEAUTY PRODUCTS ARE A WAY TO BE CREATIVE. I’M NOT HELL BENT ON THEM BEING 100% NATURAL, I CARE ABOUT EFFICACY,” says Eva Alt, the 23-year-old social media editor for Glossier. “It’s great when we use products on our skin that are from the earth, but there’s a lot of advancement companies have made that we can use too. For me, nature and science make the best combo.” It’s this pragmatic approach to her beauty regimen and philosophy on nutrition that makes Alt’s approach to wellness quintessentially millennial–take what you like, leave what you don’t. We caught up with the former ballet dancer who casually whipped up raw tahini chocolate in her charming jewel box apartment on the outskirts of Chinatown. Read on to hear more about Alt’s underground dance routine, mouth-watering vegetable dipping sauce and which self-tanner beats all.
Video by makeitnice
When did your interest in wellness begin?
Growing up as a dancer, you have to know what food makes you have energy. But I was raised on essential oils and things like that. My mom made her own almond milk before that was even a thing.
When did your interest in wellness relating to food begin?
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s subacute thyroiditis while I was dancing and was losing weight super rapidly. I was actually at my lowest weight, 85 pounds and had no energy. I stopped eating gluten and dairy and I was paleo for a while. Everything that I put in my mouth had to be medicine. I had to rebuild my body and actually I had a better instrument than before I was sick.
How would you describe your diet now?
I’m happy with a plate of vegetables but I also eat what I want. I recently started to introduce gluten. I started with sourdough bread because it’s cultured and I’ve felt fine. I haven’t eaten any processed flours but it’s nice to not restrict yourself but I do see a difference when I eat foods that are more rich in protein and fats.
Do you avoid anything?
The only thing that really fucks me up is dairy but ice cream is my favorite food so I just have to pick and choose my moments. Van Leeuwen makes the best, vegan ice cream.
What’s currently your favorite workout?
I dance in Chinatown every other Thursday. My friend Lauren Gerrie who is Marc Jacob’s chef teaches the class with an amazing floral artist Marissa Competello of Metaflora. It’s a bunch of creatives and anyone can come. Each time we learn a choreographed dance. It’s influenced by Ryan Heffington who teaches class in LA. He’s incredible. He choreographed that crazy Kenzo video. I also love yoga at Sky Ting and Model Fit.
What has dancing taught you about taking care of your body?
I learned how to take care of myself. When you’re dancing professionally, you get one day off. Usually in a performance season, it’s Monday. So on Monday, you spend the entire day rehabilitating and taking care of your body so that you can get on stage the next day. It’s a lot of icing, gyrotonics, cross-training, pilates, massage therapy, ice baths and rolling out. I would have to make sure that I was okay for the rest of the week and I would have to go to bed early.
Take us through a day in the life of food?
In the morning, cold brew with Califia Farms Almond Milk every day, all spring and even winter. We have it on tap at work. That’s my drug of choice. Then I have an apple with almond or peanut butter. In the summer, I roll out a bed and I go to Little Canal to get a coffee and then to one of the Chinatown markets for my apple. I bring it back here and I already have peanut butter or almond butter, which I get the fresh ground from Whole Foods. Sometimes I put in vanilla protein, pumpkin pie spice, cacao and sea salt. It tastes like cookie dough. I also like Dudley’s for breakfast.
For lunch, I’m good about bringing my food to work. If I’m lazy, I just bring a piece of toast and a six-minute egg—the middle’s still kind of runny and an avocado. If not, I’ll go to The Smile. I eat the banana bread from The Smile for breakfast all the time. It’s gluten free and really good. It still has a lot of sugar but it’s so, so good. I also like By Chloe. I get the kale Caesar and sweet potato fries.
For dinner, I’ll sometimes do Souen and get the cornbread and the macro plate always. Charlie Bird’s one of my favorite restaurants. Octopus is probably one of my favorite foods and the one at Kiki’s is really good.
Do you make dinner at home?
I love to do steamed veggies and greens and a dipping sauce. The sauce is miso, tahini, a splash of apple cider vinegar, a splash of soy sauce and a tiny bit of almond milk, which makes it kind of creamier, then, a tiny bit of maple syrup or just like one drop of stevia to cut the vinegar. Then, you whisk it up. If you want it thicker, you can put a tablespoon of nutritional yeast in it. You can dip broccoli in it. I also put it in my salads.
Where do you go food shopping?
I go to the Chinatown market. You don’t know what vegetables you’re eating. It’s such a mystery. I love the Japanese yams and you can’t get them anywhere. That and Chinese broccoli. You can get a fridge full of things for like $20. Nothing’s organic but everything’s local. I also go to Whole Foods once a week too and stock my fridge with things like miso, tahini and nut butters.
Do you drink green juices?
No, because I’ve had issues with my thyroid and green juices are goitrogenic.
What about smoothies?
For my smoothies, I like to put in frozen cauliflower to make them creamy without the sugar. I learned that trick on Instagram. My favorite smoothie is chocolate mint. It’s almond milk, ½ an avocado, ½ a banana, vanilla protein, two drops of peppermint oil, a handful of cacao nibs and a little bit of the cauliflower. You can add a little spirulina if you care about the color.
What about self-care?
I love taking a really amazing bath. I’m obsessed with CAP Beauty Captivator Love Bath. It’s all essential oils. I always had to take baths for ballet with Epsom salts. Susan Kaufman is an amazing brand. With body care, I tend to be more natural. I use a natural deodorant.
What are your favorite beauty products for summer?
There are only a few products I would say that are like Darwinian. Christophe Robin Purifying Salt Scrub for your scalp is a clarifying shampoo and your hair feels like baby after. Everyone just wants their hair to look and feel like it did when they were five. I’m really into self-tanner in the summer. I love Vita Liberata. It was developed by an Irish woman. I trust a fellow pale person because some of them are too dark. I have white sheets and there’s no transfer. Clarins self-tanner drops are concentrated and you add them to your moisturizer. For bronzer, I like Chanel Soleil Tan. It looks like a hockey puck. You’ll never run out of it ever.
Chocolate Tahini Protein Chocolate
*edited from recipe on Into The Gloss
“It’s really easy and it feels like I’m doing a good thing–I just think of having it instead of a supplement because you can put just any Chinese herb, protein, or even collagen in it. I can even eat it for breakfast.”
– 1/3 cup raw cacao powder (I use Cacao Magic from The Philosophie, it has things like hemp, Reishi mushroom, and maca in it)
-1 scoop chocolate Vital Proteins collagen whey
– 1 tbsp. maca powder (yes, more maca. Energy!)
– 1 tbsp. lucuma powder (I like the flavor, tastes like cookie dough)
– 6 tbsp. coconut oil, melted (add more if you want a thinner consistency)
– 1 tbsp. maple syrup
– 1 tbsp. cacao nibs
-1 spoonful of tahini (for drizzling)
– Stevia to taste
– Sprinkle of sea salt (I use the pink himalayan variety from CAP Beauty)
1. Mix all dry ingredients together well
2. Add melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and stevia and mix well
3. Drizzle tahini on top and add an extra sprinkling of pink salt if you like. (I do)
4. Cover plate with plastic wrap
5. Pour mixture onto plate
6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
7. Break into pieces and enjoy!