How Hollywood Singer-Songwriter Commits to Self-Love in 2020
We know how impossible making a sustainable lifestyle change can seem. Changing your behavior requires commitment, discipline, and lots of practice. We also know achieving your goals is a lot easier with the support and validation from others, which is why we love sharing how our customers and ambassadors have achieved their health goals using The 5 Commitments to Longevity. Taura Stinson is a special Nutrition for Longevity brand ambassador with a special story rooted in longevity.
Taura Stinson is a Golden Globes and Academy Award nominated songwriter, film composer, author, self-love advocate, and brand ambassador for N4L. She’s written songs for recording artists such as Raphael Saadiq, Kanye West, Earth, Wind & Fire, Solange, Kelly Rowland, and Jennifer Hudson to name a few. Taura is also the author of two books 100 Ways to Love Yourself Inside and Out and 100 Things Every Black Girl Should Know: From 0-100.
She received the ‘In The Margins Award,’ an annual award given to ten authors by librarians across the United States for her book 100 Things Every Black Girl Should Know.
Back in January of 2020, Taura reached out to our team in search of a health partner. She was looking for a company that could help her improve her health in hopes of avoiding the chronic diseases that have affected her family and live healthfully past 92 years old like her grandmother. We were so excited to connect with her as her goals for longevity really resonated with our values. It’s not everyday someone from Hollywood prioritizes their health span over his or her current body image.
For the last seven months, Taura has worked closely with one of our Registered Dietitians on diet, exercise, and mindfulness. Little did we know, a global pandemic was on its way. As she will tell you, it has NOT been easy. Despite COVID-19, the global lockdown, and the Black Lives Matter movement, Taura has stayed committed to owning who she is. She has found creative ways to stay accountable and has connected with others who share similar health goals.
We are excited for Taura to share parts of her story with you. We hope her health and self-love journey can help guide you during this unique time. A big thank you Taura for answering our interview questions! We are thrilled to share her experience, and perspective with you.
Describe what self-love means to you?
In short, self-love means having respect and compassion for the person you see in the mirror. It means learning to hold that person in the highest regard while feeling happy and whole with who you are.
When did the concept of loving yourself and putting yourself first become important to you?
My Mom always instilled self-love in me as a little girl, but along the way I rebelled, and had to re-learn how to “love” myself through the eyes of someone who didn’t love himself… imagine that. It took years to undo those “beliefs.” Transformative books like The Four Agreements and Yesterday I cried gave me the perspective I needed to recalibrate my self-value system. However, I was still in that toxic environment, and was emotionally, mentally, and physically worn. My immune system was weak, and I ended up in the hospital with food poisoning. I was extremely mindful of the fact that I needed to leave my partner, or I would not survive, so I finally chose myself. That was 12 years ago.
Have healthy eating habits and exercise always been an important part of your life?
Yes, and no! My Mom stopped cooking beef and pork when I was 12, but growing up, my family ate two ways: to survive, and to celebrate. Both were delicious, and made with so much love, but they were not necessarily healthy. I developed a love for cooking early on. I was the friend that cooked for everyone when we hung out, but “healthy” was not the main priority. The same goes for fitness. My junior high school gym teacher allowed me to literally skate laps instead of running for my final. I am still learning how to make exercise and healthy eating a part of my life. N4L makes it easier.
What has your health and wellness experience been like in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is the epicenter of body issues. That’s just my humble opinion, but come here and you will see. Everything is naturally ‘perfect’, nipped and tucked, or ignored. I fall into the ‘ignored’ category. We don’t exist in most department stores. The average size woman in America is 16 and there is only one department for us in stores, if any… but do not get me started. The health community here is unparalleled. There are healthy choices in most every restaurant, and our grocery stores have fresh, organic fruits. In addition to N4L, I get fresh produce from a friend’s daughter; her garden nourishes our tribe. However, it’s much easier to choose cookies than it is a green smoothie or antioxidant bowl during the pandemic, but I am learning lots about discipline.
How has Nutrition for Longevity impacted your health and wellness?
N4L has helped to cement the idea that we do not base our value on the scale. I am also learning that a slow and steady pace is far more important than quick fixes that almost always come back as pounds with a few friends in tow. Years ago, I lost a massive amount of weight. Nearly 80 pounds, and I looked great, but I felt awful. You could see it in my skin and eyes then, but now my skin and hair are reacting to the nutrient-dense foods that I eat in my meal kits. I lost 20 pounds the first couple of months on the program, but more than anything, I feel good and know that those 20 pounds are gone forever. The weight loss stalled due to my complete and utter fear of the outdoors (thank you COVID19 media). I am overcoming that now with walks around a lake. My walks are beautiful and refreshing. N4L has also taught me how to cook new foods I have never even heard of.
In what ways does the relationship you have with yourself impact your lifestyle choices?
People are complex beings, especially women. We have hormones and carry the weight of the world on our shoulders… in heels sometimes; so honestly the best choice for self-care is a glass of wine or chocolate. N4L hasn’t sent wine yet, but some kits include chocolates, and they are delicious. I chose N4L as a lifestyle choice, and I absolutely love it because I don’t feel deprived. I used to think that eating healthy equaled torture, but when you know better, you do better. Now I cook completely different. I have a vegetable with every meal and eat the rainbow with a variety of colorful vegetables on my plate.
I am doing all of this because I’m noticing a paradigm shift, and I am starting to like myself as a salad girl. If you’re NOT a salad girl, you know what I mean. You like, “like them,” but never eat them unless they are coming before a huge dinner at a restaurant. That was me, but now I am a “salad girl.” I eat the salads in my N4L kits, and I make them (salad dressing included) on the days when I cook for myself, and that my friends is a miracle! Ha!
You wrote a book 100 Things Every Black Girls Should Know. What are the most important lessons you hope women can take away from that book?
The cover of my book is a bit misleading. Everyone thinks it’s a children’s book, but the sub-title is 100% true. It really is for girls 10-100. I could have said girls and women, but honestly, I was speaking to the broken little girl inside of me and almost every other woman that didn’t hear the advice the first time around. There are 99 other take-aways, but currently #3 of Chapter 9 resonates deeply with me, and that is “Vote Like Your Life Depends on it”. Here’s an excerpt….
In order to change the narrative, we need to be in the book. Some men still see us as their subordinates. We need to make equality as clear as glass. It starts with your voice, your vote, and it’s your responsibility to uplift other women just like you! We need the White House to be clear! A transparent place that works for the good of everyone in this country and the only way to do that is to VOTE US IN… to be clear “Us” is anyone that believes in and stands up for racial and gender equality, social justice, and everything else righteous. #VoteUsIn
Why do you think it’s important for people to embrace what makes them unique?
It’s simple. If you don’t embrace what makes you unique, then you will strive to be like everyone else, which is impossible. We can try until the day we die, but you can only ever be yourself. You are the only you there is, and exploring that person is life’s greatest journey. You are so much more than what jeans look good on you, or what hair color makes your eyes pop. It’s more about what sets your soul on fire, what you would do for free, and how your unique views, gifts and talents can help to make the world a better place. It’s really a ripple effect. If you are happy with you, then the people that bask in your energy will carry your light with them, and pass it on, and on, and on.
The quarantine has made a lot of people feel lonely, do you have any recommendations for cultivating a sense of community at a distance?
Getting to know myself on a deeper level has been a huge take away from the quarantine. I’m very private but will share that I have a significant someone who was with me throughout the lockdown. We both found ourselves in two different corners of our little universe cooking up some of the best creative ideas that we’ve ever had. I co-founded a professional organization called Vitamin B20 with some of my best girlfriends. We created a virtual community of women to encourage lifelong friendships and inspire each other to live our dreams. Our group is made up of amazing women including a law student, a famous actress, two authors, a toy designer, a brand strategist, and me!
But I get not everyone is going to do that…some people don’t even entertain social media at all, and I get it…I am unplug and recharge all of the time. I recommend that too. Also, lots of Audible books, face time and long drives to nowhere.
Do you think that food has helped you connect with people outside of your regular social circle? If so, how?
Absolutely. I am more committed to a plant-based diet than ever before. It has inspired me to find new and amazing restaurants like Vinh Loi Tofu, a Vietnamese vegetarian café in Tarzana, CA. Every time I go there, I hug the owner because she helps me stay committed to my vision when the cupcakes are calling me. She tells amazing stories that center around food and relate them to life in ways that I’ve never considered before.
I also find myself chatting it up with vendors at the farmer’s market. A conversation about a recent harvest can quickly make a turn to a discussion about their daughter’s junior year at NYU. I would not have connected with N4L if not for my search for a sustainable whole food, plant-based meal plan delivery company. I am so glad I did. The relationship I have with Carley, the dietitian, and Jen, the CEO, feels more like a friendship than a partnership.
Your book, 100 Ways to Love Yourself Inside and Out offers several worksheets that helps the reader exercise self-love. Can you share a few with our readers who may be interested in beginning or refreshing their commitment to themselves?
Absolutely! Here are three of my favorites….
You can watch the video podcast with Jennifer Maynard, the CEO of Nutrition for Longevity, and Taura to learn more.
Thank you, Taura, for sharing with the N4L community, and for the work you do. We look forward to having you back on the blog sometime! If you feel inspired, you can get started with our custom meal plans today!