I am inspired by the many woman I meet in my line of work, like Ally Walsh. It's no surprise that this fellow Westsider, who has graced campaigns for companies like Marc Jacobs Swim, Covergirl and Adidas, takes pride in how she looks— she embraces the challenges that come with her career and knows the key to overcoming them is to do everything in moderation. Ally has been a friend of mine for many years now. I find her to be a true inspiration. She's also ridiculously beautiful and I couldn’t wait to see her in a DAWN dress. Ally was kind enough to let me tag along with her on a trip to her local farmer's market where she shared with me the creative ways she maintains her well-being.
Story and Interview by Miwa Sakamoto
How has modeling affected your lifestyle?
Modeling gives me freedom. I have time and mobility that allows me to travel and spend time doing things I love. My career gives me incentive to take care of myself and look good. I have always enjoyed the means to a healthy life which helps with my career because eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle makes me more confident in my work.
What made you decide to go on a raw vegan diet?
I became a vegetarian after reading Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. I learned how animals are treated in our food and agriculture industry—and then I went vegan. I started working part time at a raw foods restaurant and became obsessed with that world—the prep, the recipes, the ingredients. I wanted to learn all about it. And, eating the food made me feel great!
What has the transition to incorporate non-vegan foods back into your diet been like?
I transitioned back because there were a few vitamins missing from my diet. I actually started craving red meat after 8 years! Ultimately, I've never been the kind of person to restrict my body and what it's telling me so but the key words are balance and moderation. Red meat and fish aren't constant, but every now and then I indulge. I don't eat poultry, pork or dairy because I don't crave it.
Take us through a typical day for you: What do you eat? How do you exercise?
My morning starts the night before! I really enjoy making overnight chia seed oatmeal. It's delicious and filling and you can add all kinds of super foods for different flavors.
Ally's Chia Seed Oatmeal:
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp coconut flakes
1 tsp maca
1 cup of almond milk
1 tbsp of almonds or pumpkin seeds
Add fruit like bananas, figs and blueberries.
A dash of cinnamon
Mix completely. Then let it sit overnight.
When I wake up I make coffee in a French press and I cut up apples and eat them with almond butter. Then I take a walk to the Santa Monica Pier and back (about 3 miles round trip). When I come home, I enjoy the chia seed oatmeal and go about my day which usually consists of castings, photo shoots, or a day off to enjoy the beach, a hike, or one of LA's many amazing museums. I almost always find time for a yoga session and I usually go at least 3 to 4 times a week. For lunch I enjoy making big salads with fresh organic greens and different herbs such as rosemary and basil. I usually add avocado, radishes, sweet potatoes, pepper, salt and coconut oil. For the dressing, I use a combination of oils (olive, flax) and lemon juice. For dinner, my favorite meal is grilled salmon, roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and roasted kabocha squash with coconut oil. For dessert I love the tiramisu from Cafe Gratitude.
What does being healthy mean to you?
Having balance and moderation and getting outside. With food, putting strong restrictions on yourself can result in feelings of guilt if and when you break the rules. I don't rule out breaking my diet's limitations on special occasions with loved ones. Being healthy also means incorporating exercise. Going for a walk in nature always makes me feel good, and doing yoga consistently keeps me strong, toned and confident.
What's one of your New Year's resolutions?
To maintain mindfulness every day. And to go on a road trip to New Mexico with my boyfriend!