A Quick Bite with Natalie Decleve
When Natalie Decleve isn’t contributing to Harper's Bazaar, PopSugar, or mindbodygreen, she’s dressing the men and women of NYC and LA. But when this private stylist and journalist has time to herself, she’s sharing everything food, fashion, and travel related with her fans at NattyStyle.com.
Bowery Farming sat down with Decleve to learn more about her commitment to making “a naturally natty lifestyle” approachable for fans. Read below to learn more about Decleve in the second installment of our Q&A series, A Quick Bite, which features inspiring individuals in food, tech, and wellness who are rethinking the future of their respective industries.
Your Instagram bio says it all: “insatiable wanderluster; sustainable stylister.” As someone who has been on the road for the past few years, oscillating between LA and NYC, what do you eat when traveling about town?
I am both a health nut and a foodie, so I always try to strike a balance by finding the freshest local goodies wherever I go. I love trying new restaurants and indulging in whatever will be the most delicious, so the rest of the time I try to eat a very veggie heavy, Mediterranean diet. When I am actually on the road (or an airplane), I try to pack my own salad or stop by the Delta or Amex lounges because they always have super healthy options and my nightmare is getting stuck with airplane pasta! You'll almost always find an apple, a bag of almonds or some kind of crispy bean situation in my bag.
You’ve shared that your upbringing in California exposed you to a lot of different foods from a young age. Then later, in adulthood, you had your own period of dietary struggles that led you to learn more about our food system. What did you learn during this time that surprised you the most?
I think that the source of food plays a huge role in both general nutrition, and also the sensitivities that more and more people are facing in our society today. Unfortunately, a lot of American industrial agriculture is structured for profit more than longevity or health and so the grains, dairy, and meat we're eating today is nowhere nearly as nutritious as that of our parents and grandparents. If more farmers went back to the old school ways of crop rotation and multi-crop farming, I truly believe we'd have way fewer allergies and sensitivities in our population.
When it comes to newer agricultural methods to address these issues, Bowery Farming is great at maintaining nutrient density because of the short farm to delivery window, and the water saving techniques make the entire operation super sustainable. I would love to see more of this type of farming in our future.
What, if anything, do you think could use improvement for the next decade?
We are in the midst of a food epidemic. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to navigate the food industry. Not enough people have access to clean and nutritious produce, our meats are contaminated and the information provided is hard to decipher. Education and access to quality food is critical. It’s great that Bowery Farming is thinking about these difficult problems and providing access to fresh, local produce, year-round.
Let’s talk about sustainability. You’ve been an early adopter for sustainable fashion and clean beauty brands – who excites you in this space? Do you see any parallels between the fashion and food industries? Has your interest in beauty made you a savvier consumer when it comes to food?
People are becoming more interested in the sourcing of any product they consume these days, be it beauty, fashion or food. As the realities of global warming, overpopulation and pollution gain attention, the responsibility comes down to the consumer to demand better options and more transparency. Reformation is so popular (and I love them!) but I've been discovering lots of others lately, most recently I'm digging Nanushka. 8 Faces is basically like the ultimate superfood of all-purpose body balms. I approach food and cosmetics much with the same ethos: if an ingredient is not doing something beneficial for me, I don't want it at all. No fillers, just the good stuff!
You have a weekend in – what are you cooking?
A while ago I learned the perfect slow scramble from the chef at Egg in Brooklyn, and it began a love affair with perfecting my version - usually with herbs. Otherwise, it depends hugely on the season and whether I am in NYC or LA! In LA, the farmers markets are epic. Like, heirloom tomatoes for $1/lb. It's amazing what a difference it makes when everything is so bountiful, fresh and cheap. Suddenly I get way more creative, whereas in New York I feel more limited to staples I know that I can always get from Trader Joes or Whole Foods. So come winter in NYC, I’m especially grateful to Bowery for being seasonless. I don't cook much meat, but I'm a master of salads and homemade spreads like hummus and tzatziki. For dessert, I love tricking people into eating my vegan chocolate pudding...which is basically avocados, pure cacao powder and maple syrup. Shhhh!
What are your go-to salad ingredients?
I love a chopped salad, so I often buy whole ingredients and then slice everything on my mandoline to keep it quick and easy. Some faves are cabbage, celery and radish plus fresh herbs like cilantro or dill. If I'm feeling lazy, Trader Joes also has a great mix in the salad department called the "Healthy 8" which I love to throw on top of greens. I love chickpeas, jarred sundried tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts and I often chop up wild-caught sardines or tuna as well for a dose of Omega-3s and protein, and pumpkin seeds add a great crunch. Sometimes I'll crumble up some seaweed snacks on top for saltiness and minerals like iodine.
What is an unconventional ingredient you think every home cook should have on hand?
Ooh! I love nutritional yeast. I put it on roasted kale, sprinkle it on salads or gluten-free pasta anytime something needs a little umami. People say it tastes like parmesan... I would liken it more to a cheddar flavor if anything, but it's packed with B vitamins and more nutritious than most real cheese. I'm also addicted to fresh ginger in and on everything.
How do you define wellness?
Living a lifestyle that allows you to thrive physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
What’s your Bowery green of choice and what are you making with it?
I love the arugula because it’s so delicate yet flavorful, but the butterhead is a surprise winner for me. It’s such an impossible lettuce to wash when you buy a whole head and it’s usually all giant and floppy. Bowery’s leaves are perfectly crisp for serving with minced chicken larb as lettuce wraps.
Natalie Decleve contributed to this article in her own personal capacity. The views expressed are her own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bowery Farming, Inc.