When we discovered Natalie Kelley, the blonde blogger behind the foodie, fitness, wellness and lifestyle blog, Blonde Gone Clean, we knew we had to share. From running half marathons to whipping up tasty treats in the kitchen and nerding out about all things nutrition, Natalie has found her own unique way of showing that college can be healthy, and that healthy can be delicious! You have to check out her blog and her awesome Instagram @BlondeGoneClean!
Tell us a little about yourself? Have you always been interested in healthy living?
I grew up living a pretty healthy life, as health is something my family values and my parents instilled within me at a very young age. We made fresh juice every week and almost always ate homemade family dinners. We bought our produce at the farmers market, I danced multiple hours a week starting at age 3, and started working out at the age of 12. But, I didn’t truly dive into such a healthy lifestyle until after my freshman year of college. I started training for my first half marathon and experimenting healthier eating, which brought me to start Blonde Gone Clean. I realized I had a bursting passion for fitness and nutrition and I wanted to share that passion with others. Since starting my blog, I dove deeper and deeper into this lifestyle and my passion and interest grows stronger every day. I now not only run, but am very dedicated to weight training. I’m also experimenting in the kitchen more frequently because of a long list of food intolerances that I discovered over the last year and a half. Healthy living is a neverending journey for me!
How did you start Blonde Gone Clean?
I had so much passion for fitness and healthy eating that I finally decided I desperately wanted a platform to share with others. I actually started it as a partnership, but it has been a solo venture since December 2015. I didn’t really know what I was starting when I first created Blonde Gone Clean and it has been so amazing to see it grow and transform as I have grown and transformed as well.
What would you say your mission is?
My main mission is to show people, especially college-aged students, that healthy living is easy and fun. I want to inspire others to commit to living healthier, both mentally and physically. I don’t want people to only think of healthy living as green juices and hours in the gym. Healthy living is also thinking positively, loving yourself and honoring your body. Also, as I mentioned, I have a seemingly endless list of food sensitivities, and my mission is to always be honest about that and lend a helping hand to anyone else who also struggles with gut health.
What is your goal for Blonde Gone Clean? Where do you see it going?
My goal is to simply keep growing it as much as I can and reach as many people’s lives as possible. It would be my dream to grow it big enough that it can be a source of some income for me one day so that I can keep putting my heart and soul into it, even when I’m out of college.
How do you balance school, everyday activities and your blog?
Balancing being a fulltime student, working on campus, avidly working out, being the president of my sorority and blogging is definitely a handful, but I love every second of it. That’s another aspect of healthy living that I strive to help others’ understand — healthy living encompasses living a balanced life as well, and the only way to stay balanced is to find healthy ways to relieve stress, to stay organized and to learn time management skills. I am extremely organized and plan ahead so that I can juggle all that I do and so that I can do all of it to the best of my ability. I wake up at 5 a.m. to workout before class, I meal prep on Sundays and I use my planner religiously. Even with everything I do I rarely get overly stressed because I always feel mentally prepared for what each week has in store.
Any tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle on campus?
My biggest tip is to just jump in and commit to living a healthy lifestyle. Living a healthy lifestyle is about making it a habit and the only way to do that is to commit to it every day. Another big help is to make healthy living a priority — schedule in your workouts as if they were a class or meeting that you wouldn’t miss, make time to go grocery shopping each week to keep fresh produce and healthy options, and set aside an hour or two on Sundays to meal prep. It may sound time-consuming, but it saves so much time in the long run. Being prepared is another huge proponent — I always keep healthy snacks in my backpack so I’m not forced to buy something unhealthy at Starbucks or the vending machine. I always have healthy meals prepped in my fridge so I always have a healthy option even on the busiest nights and I plan out my workouts for that week on Sunday so that it’s easier to get my body up and going early in the morning!
Do you have a favorite power food/recipe that you can share with us?
My favorite healthy food products would have to be RX bars, Larabars, Salad Power juices and Wild Friends peanut butter packets. My favorite healthy recipe of my own would have to be gluten free/vegan/refined sugar-free chocolate peanut butter pancakes. They’re packed with protein, healthy carbs and superfoods. For dinner, I love my meatless chickpea meatball recipe. Both can be found on my blog under ‘Recipes.’
Do you have a quick go-to recipe for when you are in rush but starving?
If I don’t have something prepped for breakfast, lunch or dinner and I realize I have to quickly get out the door I have a few go-to’s- for breakfast. I love blending a smoothie because it’s super quick to make and I can drink it on the go. I love adding greens, frozen fruits, vegetables, plant-based protein powder, almond milk and coconut butter or nut butter so that I have a balance of protein, carbs and fats. People have the misconception that smoothies can’t be filling, but trust me, if you add the right ingredients it can power you for a few hours. When I’m in a rush for lunch I love making a quick egg and veggie scramble and pairing it with toast (I love using Mikey’s paleo English muffins). I love adding in spinach, goat cheese feta, and mushrooms into my scrambles and topping my toast with homemade hummus or Kite Hill almond-based cream cheese. I typically have my dinners prepped, but if I don’t and need something quick I’ve been making bone broth veggie soup. It takes about 10 minutes to cook and is SO delicious! All you have to do is heat up about ½ a cup of bone broth and ½ a cup of water, chopped up carrots first (they take longer to cook), and then add in chopped up zucchini, green beans, tomato, kale and about ¼ cup of chickpeas. I also sprinkle in some turmeric for added health benefits!
How do you motivate others?
I hope I motivate others by being positive and honest. I try to be very transparent with my readers and followers and I hope that through my fitness and health journey I have inspired them to take care of their body and mind and love themselves fully.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying?
“You don’t have time, you make time”
“Workout because you love your body, not because you hate it”
“Anything that costs you peace is too expensive”