From building her business, Simply Real Health, to creating simple recipes + cultivating self-care rituals, to how she authentically inspires the women around her to live a life that is healthy – physically, emotionally and mentally – Sarah Adler keeps it REAL and is one babe we cannot wait to introduce you to! We had the honor of having Sarah as the Lifestyle Expert for our Holistic Skincare Guide and her real-life insights, practical tips and personal story are incredibly powerful. So go grab yourself a matcha (or maybe make one of Sarah’s infamous clean cocktails!) and get ready for some serious inspo from our newest #ppbabe.
Stories are so powerful and we can’t wait to hear yours, Sarah! Take us back to the beginning – what inspired you to do what you’re doing today? And what does “Simply Real Health” really mean to you?
To quote the great Lady Gaga, I was born this way. But seriously, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always been obsessed with being healthy. Like, at age 7, I loved going to the health food store with my (hippie) parents to pick out all my healthy snacks for the week, counting down the days until I turned 12 and was allowed to go workout at the gym, and reading nutrition textbooks & diet books for fun, the same way my friends would read their teen magazines.
What started out as a side passion and hobby didn’t take long to turn into a full-blown obsession. By high school, I remember starting to get anxiety over social situations– going to the movies, sleepovers with friends, Friday pizza nights—because I was so concerned about all those things ruining my healthy diet. Unlike every single one of my friends, I knew I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted: I’d always had a slower metabolism, and a naturally more athletic build and womanly body type for my whole life, so I knew that I had to be more careful about paying attention to what I ate, and never missing a workout. Fast forward to college, and this mentality only got worse. The more I read, the more I became my own test case: I’d try every single diet, fad and trend: vegan, vegetarian, low carb, high protein, YOU NAME IT.
I was always searching and hoping to find the one perfect way to eat.
By my junior year, I got the chance of a lifetime– to study abroad in Italy. And I almost didn’t go on the trip, because of how much anxiety I had about the food. Everyone had told me (in amazement, like it was the best thing in the world): like, all they eat is pizza and pasta! And wine. And coffee. And gelato, after every meal. In my head, I was freaking out. Where would I workout without any gyms? Where would I get my protein bars? How could I count my calories/carbs/protein (or whatever I was counting that week) when I couldn’t read the Italian labels?
And then, it happened. A day I will never forget. I was sitting outside for lunch one day– having ordered a water and salad with no dressing on it, feeling victorious about not ordering a pizza that day like everyone else. The salad was so dry and so bland, and I found myself looking around at the other tables. I saw these two Italian women sitting across from me, sitting in the sunshine. They were laughing and catching up, each with a glass of wine, a salad and twirling their pasta.
There was no talk about how many carbs they were eating, or how they were being “bad” by having a glass of wine at lunch. They were purely enjoying both their food and the moment and each other, so fully. With zero guilt. Zero calculating or measuring. But even more so? They were enjoying just being with each other: connecting, catching up, and being fully present in that moment. I had never really seen anything like it. I remember thinking: I don’t think I’ve ever had a meal like that in my life. Where I wasn’t counting, measuring or calculating in some way. I had so many voices in my head, that I had never actually thought about food as a life force— a beautiful, enjoyable part of life.
I had a terrible relationship with food but didn’t realize it until that moment.
I was so wrapped up in the American diet & fitness culture, I had been missing the whole point: that food is a beautiful thing meant to help you nourish yourself in so many more ways than just physically. And that it was so much more than about being perfect.
That moment changed my life. Because I wanted what they were having– more joy, more presence and more connection with people and with my body too. To have meals like that, that were about nourishment on an entirely different level. So, I then became obsessed with real & unprocessed food. To eat like the Italians eat.
It changed everything. In my body, yes, but also in my mentality as well. That it wasn’t about being perfect– it was about eating food that served you in multiple ways: physically, mentally and emotionally too. About the experience of food, and finding joy and pleasure with it too, which is just as important as it is being healthy. And about going back to the basics.
Because that shift in mentality (and food) changed my life. It made food so much easier to figure out, and then actually enjoy.
That was the beginning of Simply Real Health. Because once I experienced that shift for myself, I was able to say goodbye to all diets. To all trends. In every way, I became determined to teach as many people as possible what a better way to live it was.
While your business is called “Simply Real Health”, your passion and expertise extend far beyond food. You teach on purpose, mindfulness, mental health, and so. much. more. Can you expand on that and explain your approach to creating a truly healthy life?
To me, the definition of healthy is being healthy physically, mentally AND emotionally. You need all three components to create a grounded and complete healthy lifestyle that lasts, instead of a quick fix, an ALL or NOTHING mentality with our food, which is how we’ve all been raised. Everything I do and teach has the foundation of real food, made super easy and super simple, because that lays the foundation for everything else.
So, my approach to food and life is the same: it’s simple, it’s real, and when done intentionally, creates true health– physically in your body, but also mentally and emotionally in your head too.
It’s the perspective and philosophy I was so far from in my own life, for most of my life: that healthy eating is easy, that it’s not about being perfect. It’s about being tuned in to yourself, in all the ways.
Starting your own business is no joke! You’ve not only started a successful company, but you’re doing what you LOVE and are impacting women in powerful ways. We’d love to know what you’ve learned along your entrepreneurial journey and any practical tips you could share for others on that same path (or those who are contemplating it!)?
Oh my gosh. Do we have 5 hours? (kidding…. But only kind of). Starting a business has been the best thing I have ever done, but it has been the biggest journey into my own personal development and growth. No one tells you that! At the end of the day, my advice is always this: feel the fear, and then do it anyways.
Because the best things in my life have come when I follow that motto. Fear isn’t bad, it’s just a sign that you are outside of your comfort zone. Which is where the real magic usually happens. That yes, it can be scary or unknown or vulnerable, but at the end of the day, we only have this one life to live. So you might as well spend it doing what you love, and betting on yourself over and over again.
Congrats on the release of your second cookbook, Simply Real Eating! Can you take us behind-the-scenes and share how you create your recipes, what foods are staples for your family and your go-to meal (or morning bevvie!).
Thank you! Yes— this book has been 3 years in the making from start to finish, so it’s so amazing to finally have it out in the world! This book has such an important message behind it: that in order to create a healthy lifestyle that lasts, we have to 1) eat REAL FOOD and 2) create a few simple and joyful rituals around it to make it something that becomes a normal part of our lives. It’s about food + mindset, recipes + practices. You need both, in my opinion, and for both to be super easy so that you’ll actually do it, even when things get busy.
This book is a collection of both, for our daily life: morning recipes and rituals, lunch-lady recipes and rituals, dins to win recipes, easier entertaining, healthy cocktails, desserts, etc. All done with simplicity and joy.
That– and I am probably the laziest cook you know.
So when I create recipes, my thought is always this: how can I make this the easiest, most simplest version— with all the flavor and deliciousness but in the least amount of time possible, with the least amount of ingredients possible. And all real food, of course. Some might call it lazy, but to me, it’s the only way to eat healthy in the midst of a busy life— to keep it simple. So you can get back to the things that matter to you in life. I call it my 5 x 15 rule: 5 ingredients or less and 15 minutes or less. Both cookbooks are inspired by my method in that way.
So many of my own recipes come from my own cravings, or travels– of how can I take a concept that’s delicious but upgrade it? So that it’s all real food, veggie and nutrient-packed, and without all the complication.
In our house, we do a lot of one-pot or one-pan meals: lots of soups, big salads, roasted veggies, and things I can make ahead of time.
While you’ve built your business around helping women to cultivate healthy lives, can you share a day-in-the-life of Sarah Adler and spill your own personal wellness rituals? From starting your day to prepping for sleep, we’d love to know what self-care practices + PP skincare products have become staples in your daily life!
As a busy working new mama this year, and full-time entrepreneur, self-care and having tiny rituals and practices to help me come back to myself is so important to me. It may look a little different than it used to (i.e. in shorter, quicker spurts), but it IS a steady and consistent force in my life, just like real food is. Both act as my grounding rods, even when things get busy.
I have full videos of both my morning and night routine on Instagram because I am such a fan of both, but here is a little summary:
In the morning, I get up, tongue scrape, oil pull as I put on my contacts, and then try to squeeze in a quick 20-minute workout downstairs so I can break a little sweat and get my endorphins going for the day. It’s my time to get centered and get into the right headspace for the day. Lately, I’ve been doing a quick dry brush with my PP dry brush (so good!) and take a quick shower with a few drops of eucalyptus or spearmint essential oil (do it, it’s so good). Then, I go get my baby and get him ready for the day, playing and reading and just in full mom mode. At some point in there, I do a quick spritz of my face with the Primally Pure Everything Spray and the Cocoa Lip Balm (I’m so thankful for this company that I can spray my face then feel totally fine about kissing my baby all over, without a second thought). Then I do a quick gua sha with my PP gua sha tool (my new fav thing)! Then downstairs we both go to fill up our water bottles and make my morning bevvie (Sarah’s Everyday Matcha Latte in the new book), while I make him breakfast.
At night, it looks like this these days:
Put the cutie baby down for bed. Then run gleefully for the shower (yes, again, it’s a new mom’s happy place) or, if I’m lucky– a full bath. Water is such an energetic shifter for me, and the 5-10 minutes it takes totally changes everything for me mentally. If I have time for a bath, the PP Flower Bath salts are my favorite, plus a drop or two of frankincense or lavender essential oil. No matter if it’s a bath or shower, I lather my face up with the PP Cleansing Oil to let it sink it while I steam. Or if I have some extra time, I’m obsessed with both the PP Clarifying Face Mask and the PP Plumping Face Mask, so I’ll do one of those and let it sink in while I wash the day away.
When I get out, I use one of the amazing PP Body Oil (I love the Jasmine one) or the Vanilla Almond Body Butter (saved my life in pregnancy and postpartum). Then I use either the Plumping Serum if I’m feeling a floral scent or the CBD serum if I’m feeling like more grounding on my face— both are sooooo good!. Then it’s time to put on my (dorky) blue light blocking glasses and catch up on work/slack/emails (not glamorous but #reallife and #workingmomlife). At least 1 hour before bed though, I do make sure I am off my screens, drinking some ginger or chamomile tea, and in bed to read and wind down before 10:30pm.
Your enthusiasm for life, your authenticity in your work and your commitment to your family is SO evident from just a simple scroll through your IG feed. Especially as a new mama, how do you stay soulful + heart-centered and maintain balance in the midst of it all?
I think so much of it is knowing yourself best. Knowing the things you need to thrive, knowing your body and what it needs, and knowing that you don’t need to do everything — just do the things that matter (to you, your body, your health, your family and your energy). Because there is always time for the things that matter– you just have to be ruthless about or let go of the rest.
There are so many things I DON’T do, so that I can pour more time and love and attention and focus on the things that DO matter. As women, I think we need to hear that more. No one is doing it all, and perfectly. But you can figure out what matters most, and do those things, with love and joy.
A healthy life requires it.
And it requires being fully present in whatever moment you are in. I’m so thankful to be able to partner with a company that feels the same, and has so many beautiful options to give us these moments to rest, check in and return to ourselves. The world needs more of that, now more than ever. As well as women rising up for themselves, their families and the future, in big and tiny ways.
Photography by Stefanie Johnson