WCW Interview: Hannah Davis
Vegan-inspo alert! So I was super lucky to have the chance to chat with the health food guru, world traveler, & Instagram aficionado Hannie, also known as @hannahh_davis on Tumblr and Instagram. Interested for more? Read on fam.
Vegan and Body Positivity:
So, I feel like my first question for anyone who has a lifestyle that cuts out certain foods is – why? I was especially interested in Hannah’s choice to go vegan because I’m high key obsessed with ice cream and dropping it seems almost equivalent to the end of the world. Hannah shared, “HAHA I don’t think you understand that EVERY person says they can’t give up ice cream or cheese before they go vegan and then they do! There are tons of vegan ice cream brands or vegan cheese. I decided to go vegan because (like many girls… or guys) I really had struggled with disordered eating and restricting my calories for a long time and I was sick of it. I had started seeing a lot of videos on youtube about girls who had gotten rid of their eating disorders through eating a mostly whole food vegan diet because you can eat as much as you want without gaining a ton of weight and eventually you can learn to eat normally again. After being vegan for a month or two I quickly started caring a lot more about the well being of our planet and the animals and they is a huge thing that has kept me vegan.” Hannah also added that if you are considering the vegan lifestyle, it does take a few weeks while transitioning because your body is giving up the kinds of foods you’re used to. She also said that transitioning is a learning process and easing into it can lead you to the greatest success in this lifestyle change, as it can be overwhelming at first.
For me, my issue isn’t necessarily giving up the food (other than ice cream) it is more of making it over just picking it up from a restaurant. As a student, I’m always stress eating and getting the quickest meal I can find, which tends to also be the most unhealthy meal. So, following Hannah I notice that she has a TON of
photos of food on her Instagram and so I asked her about cooking and she shared, “For me it is a great stress reliever. Where I live, restaurants honestly have no idea how to cook a decent healthy meal so I knew if I wanted to start eating healthier I needed to learn to cook for myself. Every person has to eat so no matter how busy I am I always take the time to relax for a sec, get a little creative and cook myself something nice that’s going to fuel my body to keep it doing whatever I need to be doing. Once you start cooking you really learn what foods you do and don’t like and how to combine them and you just become your own little greatest chef!”
Whenever I interview someone, I always ask questions that relate to them but also that are about important topics to me. Self love and body image are two topics that are huge to me because growing up those are two things that I have struggled a lot with. Hannah shared her views stating, “Self-love is so much more than what it seems. Two people could have the exact same life; the one who loves them self could enjoy it, make the most of every situation and have great relationships with their friends and family. The person that doesn’t love them self is going to constantly be wishing they had a differently life, they are going to get in meaningless fights much easier and most of all they are going to have a dark relationship with the image they see in the mirror. I think loving our self became a whole lot harder when social media was created. We are constantly looking at people who have a more picturesque life that we do. Social media is amazing and I love it because it has given me a lot of opportunities I wouldn’t have had without it and it can really push you to want to better yourself but it can also make you sad and unhappy if you take it to seriously.”
Following this question, I asked Hannah to share advice that she would give to girls who aren’t comfortable with their own bodies. “I would ask them about their favorite memory or the hardest they had ever laughed or ask their best friend or family what they love about them. NONE of these answers would be centered around their appearance because nothing in life that truly matters to them revolves around these things. The people who are truly happy don’t have problems with they way they look because no
matter how good you look, there is always going to be something to improve. Stop wearing makeup for a month, get used to the way you look naturally. First of all, you will save so much time, and secondly you will realize that you actually look pretty good without makeup and its more fun to just feel extra hot when you wear a little to do something special. At first it feels weird, and then you get used to it. 99% of the time you see me I am dressed in the most comfortable clothes in my closet and I am not wearing makeup. People have no idea who I am at Michigan State, they have no idea where I have traveled or that I am vegan or what I look like with makeup, so every time I talk to someone I know it is 100% genuine and I honestly love that feeling. I am enough to these people that laugh at my jokes and who smile at me or talk to me in my classes and that is so awesome. And to all the people who think I am weird that’s FINE too, they don’t know what they are missing for judging me because I don’t spend 30 minutes making myself look nice everyday. So that’s my advice, get comfortable with yourself because you are awesome and what you look like doesn’t contribute to that,” Hannah shared.
Travel. How do you travel so often!? I love to travel, and as everyone knows, it’s expensive as HECK, so when I see people jetting off to random places all the time I’m just like “wtf how”. I asked Hannah how she does it and she said, “WERK WERK WERK WERK WERK!!! Literally just listen to Rihanna’s song and then book a trip! JK.. BUT I work + save. I don’t buy clothes or anything I don’t need. I live at home so my parents pay for most everything I really need and then I am able to save a decent amount of money just working a few days a week as a waitress or nannying or whatever work I can find. For me I love spending time cooking, so packing a lunch everyday is a super easy way to not spend money eating out. Plus, I don’t drink or do drugs so I’m not wasting my money on that stuff either.”
Trip review. Looking for a destination to hit up when you DO get that money? Hannah opened up about her favorite places that she’s visited so far, “I love living in Australia because it is comfortable and similar to America but prettier and warmer, at least nicer than Michigan. I love my friends there (THEY ARE AWESOME) BUT I also love Bali because the food is amazing and it’s beautiful and calm and the vibes there are just sooo chill.”
Solo travel? Finding someone to travel with you and waiting for them to save the money can sometimes lead to you never making it to your destination. Solo travel can be scary, but it’s also an insane way to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Hannah shared, “Pretty much everywhere I have gone, I have gone alone. I think you really push yourself to go out and see things and talk to random people as much as possible. You really have no other choice but to be adventurous when you are alone because you don’t have anyone else to entertain you.”
Traveling as a whole is one big learning experience. You’re thrown into the world and expected to figure shit out for yourself as you go, and that’s why so many people are drawn to it. It’s a complete, 100% adventure. It changes who you are, how you view things, and how you see the world around you. Everyone has different perceptions and so I asked Hannah to share the impact that traveling has had on her, “That’s a really good question; traveling helps you to realize how many different ways there are of doing things and how many different norms there are. Growing up in a small town or in the same state or country your whole life it is so easy to think that the way you do and see everything is correct but when you travel you meet so many different people and see things done very differently than what you are used to. It really opens your eyes and most of all you realize what you like and don’t like and that it is okay to be different because some of the most amazing people you will meet traveling are totally different from you.”
I also asked Hannah about her travels and her drinking habits. She had made a post on Instagram about how alcohol is a personal decision and if you decide not to do it, then good for you, and if you decide to do it, that’s fine too. After asking her to do the interview, Hannah also offered to share more about her decisions on alcohol, “Before I started traveling I never really liked drinking and I would usually avoid it at all costs but maybe once a month my friends would convince me to do it so I would and the next day I would always really regret it. A few months before I went traveling I stopped drinking all together because I was just sick of it and how it made me feel. A few people acted like that was so strange so I never really told anyone I would just make excuses why I couldn’t go out. Then when I got to Australia I went vegan and that put me in another minority. After Australia I went to the Thai Fruit fest in Thailand, which is a vegan cycling festival. Virtually EVERYONE there didn’t drink and was obviously also vegan so I felt so normal and everyone did things and had fun without needing alcohol and it really made me feel a bit more comfortable with the fact I didn’t drink. It’s fine if you like to drink but people so often tell me that they don’t actually like it that much they just do it because there friends do and for those people… Alcohol is not doing anything positive for your body or your brain, you can still have fun, in fact maybe more fun without alcohol because everything you are doing is real and it doesn’t need a stimulant to make you act a certain way. Plus the next day you feel great and you can still be productive.”
Social media, as Hannah stated earlier, has a tendency to show us the beauty of people’s lives so you begin to think that they are perfect. Unless you know that person or they share something about what they’re going through on their social media, you have no idea what is going on in their lives. I asked Hannah about any monumental struggles or hardships that she had and how she dealt with it and she opened up sharing, “Having an eating disorder was probably the hardest thing I have ever been through. I really haven’t publicly come out to say that but I’ve hinted at it in several of my posts. Having an eating disorder is more than just not liking the way you look, it really effects your thoughts constantly and makes it really hard to be social. My grades also really suffered my second year at University because I really didn’t care much at all about school because of how effected I was by my ED. The day I went vegan was the day my recovery started. Almost a year later I’m able to eat intuitively and my focus has greatly shifted off ED thoughts and onto my goals and schoolwork and having good relationships with the people that surround me.”
Hannah then went on to share advice for others dealing with eating disorders, “More people have an eating disorder than will say they do. If this is something you are struggling with I would tell you that it’s okay, this is not your fault, but you are the only one that can make the choice to overcome your eating disorder. The first steps are to try and eat normally again. It is definitely normal to want to overeat for a while and I think it is important to let yourself do this. Eventually once your body is used to eating enough you wont feel this urge anymore. Life is about so much more than worrying about what you are eating all the time and how it will affect your appearance. Going vegan really helped me to feel good about the healthy foods I was putting into my body, even when I was eating lots of them. On a vegan diet you naturally have to eat more food because it is not calorically dense so a large veggie feast is pretty much what you need everyday regardless of who you are or your circumstances.”
I’m always curious as to who is the rock behind each person I interview, because you know there is always someone who holds them up and inspires them each day. Hannah shared who she looks to for advice and guidance, “I usually turn to my sister and my mom. My mom is the more logical and conservative thinker and my sister will usually just tell me what I want to hear with pretty good reasoning. So then I usually consider what they both say and make my decision for what I think is best for me. I usually go with what my sister tells me because she knows I can usually do whatever I’m dreaming up and she doesn’t have the mothers bias (mothers bias is something I made up for every mom who just wants their child to sit at home and not do anything that has even a 1% chance of something bad happening).”