Carly Johnson Brawner is a holistic nutritionist and wellness enthusiast living in sunny Austin, TX. Frolic & Flow came to fruition through Carly’s experiences healing from autoimmunity with real food and targeted wellness practices. She currently works with clients to help them optimize their overall health, improve their autoimmunity, and learn the foundations of living in a state of balanced wellness.
The pillars of Carly’s approach are rooted in the individuality of her clients, functional nutrition and experience. She does not use a one size fits all approach and prioritizes the most up to date science, research and protocols as the foundation of her work. Carly’s goal is for all her clients to learn that a healthy, beautiful life exists with simple tweaks and substitutions and without major sacrifices.
Carly’s healthy recipes have reached thousands of people through menu consultation, brand collaboration, instagram takeovers, and various lifestyle and wellness publications. She is a foodie who loves to enjoy and share delicious creations for various occasions and dietary needs. For brand collab, see here.
Prior to Frolic and Flow, Carly worked as the operations manager at a leading health tech company in Los Angeles. She was a health volunteer in the Peace Corps where she focused on health education, food security, and decreasing Mother to Child HIV transmission in rural African. Carly was certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and received her Bachelor of Science from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
How i got here
I’ve been so many places on the health spectrum. So many. At some point, probably where you are right now. It wasn’t until my body forced me to question my health, the food I ate, and my lifestyle that I had to examine the foundation of my health and make some changes.
Through a Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis diagnoses my relationship with food completely changed. I went from a year of feeling lethargic, unmotivated and plagued by brain fog (and not knowing why) to energized, positive, and active – like myself again. What was the biggest factor amongst medications and various doctor appointments and advice that pushed me beyond my fatigued state? A major dietary shift. I cut out the processed stuff, became aware of how certain foods helped me feel my best and of those that did not, and prioritized nourishment over getting my next sugar fix. Food changed my health and I became so passionate about feeling great that it also changed the trajectory of my career and my life mission.
I’m now a holistic nutritionist and health coach advocating real food and helping people improve their lives by improving their health. An abundant, balanced life free of food drama and harmful habits has not always been my reality. In fact, far from it. In my lifetime, I’ve been unaware, confused, trapped and indifferent to health. Here is a glimpse of my past relationship with food and what some of my habits used to look like… can you relate?
- I was a sugar addict. I unknowingly relied on sugar to get me through the day. Kind Bars and non-fat strawberry yogurt was a typical breakfast, sandwich for lunch with a gooey cookie for dessert, trendy acai bowls with granola, cold-pressed fruit juice (marketed as healthy but packed with the sweet stuff) or chocolate as a snack and a big burrito with chips and salsa and pasta for dinner. I needed something sweet as a part or after every meal. Froyo was dessert whenever I could get my girlfriends to join me. I had strong cravings, mood swings, spells of tiredness and very low energy… This all seemed normal.
- I prioritized food labels over ingredients. Anything labeled non-fat was OK for my shopping cart and sugar-free items were a green light as well. I had zero idea that most of the food I purchased was full of vegetable oils, chemicals, preservatives, and artificial flavors. I didn’t know to diligently check ingredients! Much of the food I ate came in bags, boxes, and pouches and were not fresh or from the earth. I was buying what I craved and what tasted good, giving little consideration to healthy choices.
- I paid zero attention to how specific foods made me feel. I ate indiscriminately – gluten, dairy, sugar, coffee, eggs, soy, vegetable oils, processed foods, never knowing that some of these foods were causing inflammation in my body, joint pain, acne, and lethargy and contributing to my thyroid autoimmunity (not all the foods mentioned cause inflammation for everyone — we are all different!). I never considered that the food I chose to eat made such an impact on how I felt, the internal state of my body, and my mental well being. When your everyday state, even when subpar, feels normal, it’s hard to recognize the need for change.
- I ate the same meals over and over again. With very few kitchen skills, branching out further than Trader Joe’s frozen turkey meatballs over spinach was tough. Some of my repeat offenders can be considered healthy but eating the same foods over and over (without lots of variety) creates nutrient deficiencies and an imbalanced microbiome.
- My lazy eating left me victim to blood sugar spikes and crashes. If I didn’t have food in the house or feel like making a meal, I would just skip it (or use sweets as a meal replacement). Trust me, this wasn’t a healthy type of intentional intermittent fasting. My blood sugar and energy levels were super high and also super low.
A lot has changed for me over the past decade. I view eating and nourishment in a completely different light, feel great, and value my relationship with food and my body. I could never have imagined that a personal health crisis spurred the learning, change, and knowledge that prompted me to have a career in the wonderful world of wellness. I’m proud to say I’ve worked with various clients aiming to improve issues from digestion, type 2 diabetes, eating habits, weight loss, autoimmunity, etc. and am grateful this is work I get to call my job.
WHAT CLIENTS ARE SAYING
“Carly’s take on nutrition and food has changed the way I think about my health. For so long my life was all about calories, eating as little as possible, and working out militantly to stay thin. She helped me understand the science behind maintaining a healthy weight. I’ve lost and kept off 15 pounds working with her. Thank you so much for all your help! “ – Megan, Houston, TX
“She has changed the way I live with my autoimmune disease. My symptoms have reduced. I now know foods that I should avoid and my digestion is no longer a pain point on a hourly basis. She helped me transition to the Autoimmune Protocol Diet when I had been intimidated by it for months.” – Debra, Westlake Village, CA
“We have learned so much. Before working with Carly I had no idea that ingredients were important. I was feeding my kids things like canola oil, chemicals and dyes and didn’t know it. Carly taught me why certain foods are harmful and helped me find pantry substitutions we both felt good about. The food I choose to buy has drastically changed.” – Amy, Austin, TX
“Carly simplified healthy eating for my husband and I. I now connect that what I put in my body correlates to how I feel. She is positive, warm, and never makes you feel bad for things you don’t know or like to eat. I would highly recommend working with Carly!” – Kate, Fort Worth, TX
“You helped me understand how to improve my diet and lifestyle for my Hashimoto’s. We both have the autoimmune disease and I felt like you understood what I am going through because of that. I’m happier than I have been in two years and know my improved health is part of that.”- Hope, Houston, TX
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