If you want to know where all of the cool moms in LA hang out, work out, meditate, and have play dates you would want to be besties with Natalie Alcala. The senior editor for Racked LA and founder of the members-only Fashion Mamas, FMLA continues to introduce us to the hottest spots in LA for health and wellness. Join us as this vegan mama takes us on her park play date with her dapper little vegetarian dude, Diego.
1. Tell us a little bit about what you do and about raising Diego…
I’m the senior editor of Racked LA, a digital platform dedicated to fashion, shopping, and beauty. I’m also the founder of FASHION MAMAS, a members-only network for influential mamas working in the fashion, design, and entertainment industries.
Diego is constantly on my hip at work events and festivities; he’s my #partybaby. I love showing him my world and having him meet new people. My friends laugh about how his social calendar is more exciting than their own!
2. What does healthy living mean to you? How does that influence how you raise Diego?
Healthy living means making conscious choices. We have so many amazing resources today, so why not utilize them? We only buy organic in our household, and all the products I use on Diego for his skin, hair, and more are eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and baby-safe. I am a very thorough label-reader and make sure that all items we support are in line with our healthy living requirements.
3. Living vegan is one of the healthiest decisions you can make. Can you tell us a little bit more about your decision to be vegan and raise Diego on a vegan diet and how it is going so far?
Years ago I made the decision to be vegan and gluten-free—it was for a combination of health and moral reasons. It works for me and I maintained the lifestyle through my entire pregnancy. When Diego was born, I’ll never forget being in the recovery room and hearing the nurses rave about Diego’s glowing skin. It made me so proud of my decision; if only the anti-vegan pregnancy naysayers could have heard them!
Diego is vegetarian, and although he does eat gluten (he loves his whole wheat bread!) and some cheese and eggs, everything he puts into that tiny stomach of his is organic. His daily diet consists of iron-enriched almond milk, brown rice or quinoa pasta, high protein legumes or beans (he love lentils and chickpeas), avocado, tons of veggies (he’s currently into spinach and jicama), lots of fruit (his first word was “Apple” and he eats more bananas than a monkey!), and various organic veggie patties made with as little ingredients as possible. If the label lists too many foreign ingredients, it’s not going in my shopping cart.
Diego may eat super healthy, but I definitely let him enjoy lots of delicious treats, like cinnamon banana bread, raw almond butter spread over warm mini waffles, and vegan ice cream—something we love to indulge in together!
4.As the senior editor for one of the top fashion and lifestyle magazines in LA you have a fabulous, but busy schedule. How are you able to manage meal prep for Diego? What are some tips or tricks you can offer on how to eat healthy as a busy family?
It’s all about planning ahead. On Sundays, I always make a big batch of his favorite grains and pastas and place them in glass mason jars with storage lids.
Everything goes into the fridge so his nanny (who is also my mom!) can easily scoop items on his plate for his lunches alongside fresh veggies, beans, and some type of sauce—his current jam is this soy-free Miso Ginger dressing we get from the farmer’s market. Breakfast is easy because he loves his organic banana after his warm cup of almond milk. It’s the cutest ritual.
5. As a mom on the go, what are some of your favorite snacks to bring for yourself and Diego. What snacks are always in your backpack?
Diego is a major snacker and demands them often, so in addition to an abundant fruit basket I always make sure to have a pantry full of his hand-held favorites: oat bars, fruit leather strips, freeze-dried fruit snacks, and organic puffed cereal. Those items go into my backpack whenever we hit the road.
As for me, I’m a smoothie addict, so I make them daily or buy them from my favorite LA spots, like Glow Bio on Melrose, Earth Bar on Santa Monica, Just Served Here on West 3rd Street, and Moon Juice in Silver Lake. I share Diego’s love for bananas and always pack one in my bag, too.
6. Can you list off some of your favorite natural products you use on Diego? What do you use in the bath? What do you use for sunscreen and lotion etc?
7. You have a bangin body, tell us all of your secrets? Do you have a workout routine? What do you do to keep your mind and body in shape? Any favorite wellness spots in LA?
Thank you so much! I love working it because it allows me to focus my mind on one thing for an hour. And sweating truly does release endorphins, which really lift your mood. I go to two places religiously: Pure Barre in Hollywood and Hot Pilates in West Hollywood. Pure Barre is gets me long and lean, and Hot Pilates is where I go to sweat my face off while getting toned and working in some cardio.
8. What are some of your favorite spots to hang out or grab a bite to eat in LA?
9. At 19 months Diego is already a little fashion icon. Tell us more about his style. What can he never have enough of? What are some of your favorite pieces from Noble Carriage right now?
Yes, the #DressingDiego hashtag is becoming a thing—who knew I’d love styling a little boy so much? He can never have enough jogger pants and varsity jackets. I love Gray Label, and Mini Rodini, and Popupshop, all of which I discovered on Noble Carriage! For shoes, it’s AKID and Nike all the way.
10. What has been your favorite part about motherhood thus far? What is your secret to doing it all in style?
My favorite part is watching this tiny human that used to live inside me growing into a smart, strong, funny, charming, charismatic, and curious individual. It’s so magical to watch the world through his fresh eyes. As for my secret, it is all about support and encouragement. That’s the great thing about FASHION MAMAS—we’re a tribe of like-minded women who all have busy lives but still have the time to cheer each other on.