Tatiana Boncompagni is founder and CEO of Eat Sunny, a fresh, ready-made meal delivery service. Passionate about eating healthy and making healthy meals more accessible, she launched Eat Sunny to help change the way healthy food is marketed to women, eliminating the body shaming and negative self-talk that is often perpetuated. Boncompagni, a certified personal trainer and a holistic health coach, believes eating well should be both easy and pleasurable. The organic, nutrient-packed Mediterranean-focused cuisine is designed to nourish and fuel the body.
A veteran beauty and health writer for publications such as the New York Times, Elle, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue, she also developed recipes for Well + Good and previously served as lifestyle director for Self. Here, this mother of three shares her favorite healthy food and her secret for staying fit.
What is your go-to for de-stressing?
I do two things: I go for a walk in Central Park, and I listen to my music. I just zone out and look at how the light bounces off the buildings and on the water on the reservoir, and I think about all the things in my life I am grateful for and how far I’ve come in my life, all the things I’ve overcome to get to where I am. Then I come home, and I take an Epsom salt bath with my crystals. Sometimes, I’ll put in some flower essences. This routine grounds me and reminds me that whatever it is that might be going wrong or stressing me out, I’ll be able to deal with it.
Is there a specific fitness activity that you love and why?
My favorite fitness activity is running. I was a runner when I was young. I ran cross country and track and used to run around the lake near my house in Minnesota growing up. So, I think for me, when I run, it connects me to my youth and makes me feel free and happy. I really get an amazing endorphin rush. I run six miles twice a week for my mental wellbeing, 100 percent. The other days I do yoga, lift weights, and spin, but my favorite form of exercise is running.
What is your favorite healthy food, and do you have a favorite way of preparing it?
I love red cabbage! If you open my fridge, I always have a head of red cabbage. It lasts forever and is so versatile. I mostly eat it sliced into my salads—it gives great crunch—but you can also roast it or cook it on the stovetop with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. From a health perspective, red cabbage is full of antioxidants, such as vitamins A and C and anthocyanins, and it is a cruciferous vegetable, so is believed to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also a good source of prebiotic fiber, which is beneficial to the gut and immunity.
What is your favorite healthy beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), and do you have any insider tips for preparing it?
I make a pineapple-parsley-lime smoothie for myself and my kids about once a week. I love that they love it, because parsley and lime are full of vitamin C and pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that is great for digestion. I think it’s one of the secrets to my skin’s glow.
What person in wellness do you most admire and why?
I really admire Ashley Tyrner, the CEO and founder of Farmbox, which sends fresh vegetables to people’s homes. I met her when she was just starting the company and am so inspired by her success and mission. I am, like her, a single mom and have a similar mission of making healthy food more accessible to more people.
What do you think is the most overused word or words in wellness?
The word “clean.” It’s used with beauty and food and is my least favorite word in wellness, because it really has no real meaning, has been used by companies to market products to people, and I think is used to manipulate consumers. I take issue with the word because it suggests that other food or beauty products are “dirty” and therefore, bad.
Setting aside beauty, I don’t think we should demonize any food. I think all foods can be enjoyed in moderation, and we shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed by the food we eat. That really achieves nothing good. I think the words we use and the words we say to ourselves about how we eat matters. The self-talk around food is as important as what we eat. I think we should watch that even more carefully than we do, say, our calories.
Do you have a secret health or wellness tip you would like to share?
For women, lift weights. It makes a huge difference as we age. It’s good for our bone health, it’s good for our psyche (to feel strong and capable), it’s good to maintain our muscle mass, and it’s good to maintain our metabolism. I also have a theory that it keeps us younger looking because of the hormonal benefits—the hormones that get released when you engage in resistance exercise. Also thinking in terms of building muscle versus burning calories is psychologically healthy, too. My whole body changed when I started lifting weights, in a good way. I got my waist back after having three kids, and it’s much easier for me to maintain my weight with less struggle. Plus, I love feeling physically strong.
What brings you joy?
My children bring meaning to everything I do, watching them grow and evolve and experience the world. As a parent, for me, that’s the point of wellness, feeling good and aging well, so I can have energy and show up for my kids. I want to be around for them for a long time!