Today: I’m arguably Taylor Swift’s biggest fan. I remember the first time I heard one of her songs.“Teardrops On My Guitar” played on the speakers at my community pool in 2007 when I was 12. I had a big crush at the time, and I felt like she was taking the words in my brain and singing them out loud. Later that year, I performed “Our Song” at a talent show concert. I grew up with Taylor, and I’m unabashed in my fandom, although I know she hasn’t always been perfect. I wanted to feel close to my favorite star on her birthday, so I decided to eat and workout like Taylor for a week in the lead-up. I dove into interviews and articles to glean information about her wellness routine and created a schedule meant to mimic Tay’s. Here’s how it went.
Location: New York, New York
Occupation: Health writer
7:45 a.m.: To get in the mood on the first day of my Taylor Swift diet, I decide to start the morning listening to an old favorite, “Mine,” on Spotify ($9.99/month). I hit play and hum along while I walk to the subway. When I get off the train 30 minutes later, I realize it’s been playing on a continuous loop for the entire ride. I’m 100 percent in the spirit now.
WebMD interviewed Taylor Swift about her approach to healthy living way back when I was listening to her music on an iPod, rather than my phone. In the story, Swift explains that she takes an incredibly balanced approach to eating. "During the week, I try to eat healthily, so that means salads, yogurt, and sandwiches," she said. "I try to keep it lighter, but it's nothing too regimented or crazy." Then she says that on the weekends, she treats herself to comfort foods like burgers, fries, lattes, and ice cream.
I love the deprivation-free approach. In fact, it echoes many of the things I’ve heard from nutritionists.
It’s a weekday, so I eat a Siggi’s raspberry yogurt ($1.49/carton) for breakfast. It’s a little sweet to the first taste, but pretty delicious after a few bites. Normally, I eat a rice cake with peanut butter or oatmeal, so this breakfast pick is a little lighter. We’ll see if yogurt is enough to get me through the morning.
1 p.m. — In a 2012 interview with Bon Appétit, Swift said that her biggest food revelation was learning how to grill. “I love to make burgers, grilled chicken with different marinades, garlic green beans, carrots and broccoli,” she said.
I personally could live off nothing but chicken (although I’m trying to cut back on meat, to be more eco-conscious), so this past weekend I marinated some in red wine vinegar and soy sauce, then grilled it. Today I brought it in for my lunch, along with a side of Brussels sprouts.
I bought the ingredients for this lunch from Trader Joe’s a little over a week ago. I spent $67.26 on that grocery shopping trip, which is a little high for me (too bad I’m only borrowing T. Swift’s diet, and not her wallet); usually I spend about $40 a week.
9:30 p.m. — I get home late from a work event and I’m a little sleepy, but I tell myself that the highly productive Taylor Swift would make the most of the gym across the street from my house. (My membership is $25/month, thanks to a Black Friday deal.) It closes at 10, so I hustle over there and do about 15 minutes on the treadmill.
In her WebMD interview, Taylor said: "For me, running is about blasting a whole bunch of new songs and running to the beat. It's also good because it makes me find a gym wherever I am.” I try to channel this energy, and I jam out to one of T’s more underrated songs from the Fearless platinum edition, “The Other Side Of The Door.”
Daily Total: $103.74
12 p.m. — Popeyes sends someone in my office a box of chicken strips, mashed potatoes, and fries for lunch to share. As the smell drifts to my desk, I thankfully remember something Taylor Swift said in her Vogue 73 Questions interview. After being asked what her favorite food is, she called chicken tenders “what I wish I could eat every day.”
I grab some chicken and bring it back to my desk.
6:30: It’s time for a HIIT workout. I was invited to a Nike class (free, since it’s for work) to try out their new model of training sneakers. It’s a great class, and back home I end up Googling Taylor’s typical fitness routine. I come across one move that’s allegedly responsible for her (amazing) legs and decide to give it a try. It’s called the “froggy.” I roll out my favorite Lululemon Reversible Mat (which I bought years ago for about $68) and lie on it stomach-down. Then I place a ball between my heels, and lift my lower legs off the floor, raising my knees as high as possible while trying to keep the ball stable. It feels a little awkward, but I can already tell it’s doing its sculpting work.
When I’m done, I eat more of my meal-prepped chicken.
Daily Total: $68
Daily Total: $68
12:40: I had coconut Siggi’s for breakfast ($1.49), and order in a Sweetgreen kale, chicken, and sweet potato salad ($13.88) for lunch to keep up with Taylor’s nutritious weekday meal philosophy. However, soon after eating, I start to feel very sick.
I start thinking about what could have possibly caused it, and I realize that the chicken I ate last night was about six days old. Did I actually food poison myself in my quest to be healthy? Sometimes actions with the best intentions can really lead you down a dark and stormy path. After a Tums and a few hours, I feel better.
7:30: I decide to go for another run, but I’m SO sore from my workout and my froggies. I do a quick mile and a half outdoors, and then go meet a friend for drinks. In her Vogue 73 Questions interview, Tay also reveals that her favorite cocktail is vodka diet coke. However, I don’t drink pop of any kind (I hate the taste and feel like the chemicals are eating my stomach tissue, although that is not backed by science), and I don’t feel like drinking straight vodka. I decide to skip this one and drink wine instead. I think Tay would be down with this choice, because when Ellen DeGeneres asked Taylor on her eponymous show what she’d bring to a friend’s dinner party, the “Lover” singer answered: “White wine.”
Daily Total: $15.37
12:30 p.m. — It’s Saturday, and I go to the Upper West Side to run some errands. To get in gear for them, I stop in a coffee shop and order a pumpkin spice latte ($5.45). It’s been long documented that Tay is a fan of PSLs. In 2014, Cosmopolitan called out a now-deleted Tumblr post Tay wrote about fall, in which she called out the lattes and “not caring when people make fun of pumpkin flavored stuff cause you LOVE IT and are happy it's all the rage.”
I haven’t had a PSL in years and it’s much sweeter than I remember. My first gulp is basically just whipped cream. Not a bad start. As I continue to sip, though, I realize there’s an artificial quality to the drink that makes it taste like a wannabe pumpkin pie… But it’s clearly not an actual pie. But it also is certainly not coffee. I wonder if my tastes are maturing as I age. I used to be the “pour a pound of Splenda into your coffee” type, and now I just take it with a splash of oat milk. I guess this is adulthood.
At this point, I just wish I could have a real dessert and not this latte. Up until now, I’ve never questioned Taylor’s tastes, but I am not really into this.
1 p.m.: I go to Trader Joe’s to pick up ingredients for more Taylor Swift-approved recipes I want to make this weekend ($42.63). I couldn’t find buckwheat flour so I head a few blocks down to Whole Foods to see if they have some, hobbling awkwardly through the giant store with my two large Trader Joe’s bags dangling from arms, which are feeling abominably weak at this point.
You won’t believe it but even Whole Foods doesn’t have buckwheat flour, which Taylor calls for in a crepe recipe she told Bon App she enjoys. I’m feeling a little let down, but I see that they do have buckwheat pancake mix. I grab it from the shelf.
The mix, along with a few other things I couldn’t find at TJs, costs $14.17.
8 p.m. — I bake a chai tea eggnog sugar cookie recipe of Taylor’s that I found in Seventeen. According to the magazine, Tay once shared the recipe on her old Tumblr blog. She basically just personalized a delicious Joy The Baker sugar cookie recipe. Her variation involves dumping a chai tea bag into the batter and mixing it in. She also calls for an eggnog frosting.
I spend hours baking them and chilling the dough while also watching The Irishman on Netflix. They honestly come out better than anything I’ve ever baked. They’re incredibly moist, and sweet — without making you feel like you’ll get a cavity.
I feel a little bad about staying in and baking when most of my friends are out drinking. But then I remember an unfortunate (and unfortunately named) parody song of Taylor’s (“Thug Story”) that she put out with T-Pain in 2009. She sings: “You can find me baking cookies at night. You out clubbing? Well I just baked caramel delights.”
I think she would approve.
Daily total: $62.18
8:10: I was hoping to drop into a SoulCycle class today, because Taylor Swift was once reportedly spotted riding there with Karlie Kloss. But I over-sleep. What can you do? It’s Sunday, and I know that Taylor encourages balance and self care. I give myself a break and decide to run three miles outside instead.
Taylor’s new holiday bop “Christmas Tree Farm,” just came out and I am living for it! I run through the park and truly feel the joy on this crisp morning.
11 a.m. — I decide to try my hand at those crepes. I assumed I could use the buckwheat pancake mix in place of the buckwheat flour the recipe called for. Yeah. About that. It did not do the same thing.
The crepe batter comes out way too thick. It also kind of looks like wet sand. Still, I try to make it work. My roommate says it’s just like eating a savory pancake with an egg on it. She is being kind. It tastes like a chalky, eggy piece of rubber. Still, I feel like it’s nutritionally sound, and I’m energized for the rest of the day.
Daily total: $0
5 a.m.: It’s going to be a busy day, so I get up extra early. I’m a little hungry, but all of my yogurt is at work, so I stick with toast and butter. I think TayTay would approve because Page Six (I know, an unlikely source) once reported that the star dined on only bread and water at a group dinner at Butter in Midtown Manhattan. Although the news outlet described the dinner with the verb “yawn,” I find this dish pretty fulfilling this morning.
10 p.m.: I get home and decide to make a honey mustard salmon and coconut rice dish that Taylor said she once made for a dinner party. I use a pretty quick and easy recipe, but unfortunately get distracted by an article on my phone and burn it all to a crisp. The rice is stuck to the bottom of the saucepan and the fish is charred. I’m tired and hungry though, so I decide to go ahead and eat some of it. The life of a star is not always easy to emulate.
Daily total: $0
9 a.m.: I decide to switch up my yogurt this morning, and try Hälsa plant-based yogurt ($2.29), made with oat milk. The consistency is a little thin, but I think if I ate it regularly I would get used to it. Unfortunately, this is the last day of my TayTay meal plan, and I plan to go back to oatmeal and rice cakes after this.
7:30 p.m. — To put a pin in my week, I decide to go to a class at Body By Simone in Chelsea; Simone De La Rue’s the one who created the “froggy” move that is (maybe) responsible for Tay’s legs. (For the record, Body By Simone wouldn’t confirm that TS was ever a client.) People Magazine, however, has written about the starlette attending class there, interviewing De La Rue herself for such an article in 2016.
De La Rue’s 'BBS method' combines HIIT, dance cardio, and light dumbbell exercises to tone muscles. The class I take mostly focuses on arms and abs strength training, using wrist weights, three- and five-pound dumbbells, and bands. First, we do dance cardio for a full song. Then one song targeting specific arm muscles, like biceps. We alternate between the strength and cardio training. It’s honestly one of the best classes I’ve ever taken, and I feel uplifted. And drop-ins only cost $35. I’ll be back. I could also totally see Tay enjoying this, but I also don’t know how someone couldn’t. The studio wall has a quote attributed to famed dancer and choreographer Martha Graham that I think T would identify with. “Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”
Daily Total: $37.29
Weekly Total: $286.58
Reflection: I’m “out of the woods,” after a week of attempting to live life like Taylor. Honestly, I’ve never felt better. I feel like my skin is clearer from eating healthier, my energy is higher, and I could actually go on living this way, thanks to weekend eating that’s not restricted.
IRL, though, I would never cook at home this much. It’s not my strong suit and I know it. I think it would be easier on my fire alarm and stomach if I just order in. However, I might break out that cookie recipe again soon.
As for the workouts, my soreness has subsided and I feel strong and sturdy. I vow to incorporate more dance cardio classes into my routine — I always forget how uplifting they can be.
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