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The #LiveNatural Contest Winner: Meet Olivia!

By:  Ari  Bendersky  Abe's Market Contributor  April 22nd, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, to lead up to Earth Week, Abe's Market and our friends over at Greatist launched the #LiveNatural contest and asked people to show us, via photos posted to Instagram, how they #LiveNatural. The winner, the shot we felt would capture the feeling of living naturally — whether that was through food, travel, gardening, yoga, etc. — would win a $500 Abe's gift card. After receiving hundreds of wonderful images, we narrowed down the field — and trust us, it was not easy. But when all was said and done, one person, Olivia D., won us over and had us feeling giddy with excitement over her shot. But probably not as giddy as she felt during that jump in Honduras or when she got the news she had won. We chatted with Ms. Olivia to find out a bit more about her. We must say, we like her even more now. We think you will, too — unless, of course, you're jealous she won. We think it's time for you to just be happy for her!

Abe's Market: Tell us a little about yourself – what do you do … for work and fun?
: I’m a second year marketing major at Northeastern University, but currently am interning at a start-up company called My Move for six months. I’ve been dancing ever since I was three years old, from ballet to jazz to contemporary, and love to bust a move when a beat comes on! I have an absolute passion and heart for traveling, so much that I can say that my passport is almost covered with stamps from cover to cover. I’m obsessed with looking at food blogs and finding new and healthy recipes that I can make in my own kitchen!

Abe's Market: Where are you from and where do you live?
: I was born and raised in Houston. And now, I currently attend school in the heart of Boston.

Abe's Market: Do you remember the feeling when that photo was taken? What went through your head just before you jumped … and right after?
: I remember feeling that I was just flying in the air and I just felt so free. I knew that I wanted to do something crazy jumping off the platform and my sister recommended me doing that pose because I did that jump during one of my dance performances. When I was climbing on that ledge getting ready to jump, I was praying 1) that I wouldn’t slip and just fall off the ledge and 2) that my mom would be able to catch the shot in one try. And right after I hit the peak of the jump, I remember the fall being the longest fall in my life.

Abe's Market: What are some other ways you #LiveNatural?
: Every time I go grocery shopping, I always try to use reusable bags and shop around the perimeter of the stores. I love eating healthy and discovering new recipes that are good for me, but delicious at the same time. I actually printed Greatist's list of 83 Healthy Recipe Substitutions so I can easily swap not-so-healthy ingredients with healthier ones that are equally as delicious. Who would have known to use avocado in replace of butter or cauliflower for rice? Thanks Greatist!

Abe's Market: What's your favorite food (or type of food) – and what gets you excited to eat it?
: Oh man, why do you ask such hard questions? I’m a definite foodie and can’t limit myself to one food. But I would say after visiting my mom’s family in Vietnam, I can say that I fell in love with the food there: fresh-wrapped spring rolls, lavish amounts of herbs and greens at every meal, freshly squeezed sugar cane juice on the side of the road. Vietnamese food as a whole is so healthy and natural, but every time I can’t wait to take the first bite because all the sweet, salty, spicy flavors just explode in my mouth. I love it!

Abe's Market: If you could travel anywhere to do anything, where would you go and why?
: It may sound crazy, but it’s been a dream of mine to visit Madagascar. There’s something about it that’s just so fascinating, but so foreign and sparks curiosity because not many people go there. Just being on the island surrounded by native animals and wildlife of the region would be an amazing and memorable experience.

Abe's Market: Any idea of how you'll use the $500 on Abe's – anything you've had your eye on?
: Oh my, I don’t even know. I am definitely going to buy my mom something because she was the amazing photographer that captured that picture in one try. I’m seeing this more now, but I love when people take just common foods but add a little twist or pizazz to it! For example, chia seed peanut butter , quinoa chocolate , curry coconut bars? What? I’m excited to try them!

Olivia's photo wasn't the only one that caught our attention. From the hundreds of images posted on Instagram, there were a bunch more we really loved. The photos, in the slideshow below, truly capture the #LiveNatural spirit — from exercising on the beach and getting dirty at a natural mud bath to helping co-workers recycle and teaching kids the benefits of eating their veggies. Congrats to you these runners-up for living more natural lives. Keep it up!


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Ari Bendersky

Abe's Market Contributor

Ari Bendersky Ari joined Abe's Market after years of covering music, lifestyle, wine and food for the New York Times, AP, Rolling Stone, Eater, Huff Post and more. He lives naturally by biking, hiking, green juicing and avoiding high-fructose corn syrup at all costs.

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