Welcome to Eat Sleep Instagram, our weekly series of conversations with photographers behind the most drool-worthy Instagram accounts about how they're navigating the digital age, deliciously.
This week, Taste Talks contributor Mackenzie Anne Smith caught up with healthy eating guru, chef, and nutritionist Miranda Hammer (@thecrunchyradish) about the art of the marble backdrop, moving from the hospital life to the blogging life, and writing for Vogue.
Taste Talks: What is Crunchy Radish, and how long have you been at it with the blog, Instagram, etc.?
Miranda Hammer: Crunchy Radish is a clean-eating healthy living site. I started my blog when I was in graduate school studying to become a registered dietitian five years ago. I was taking a good amount of science based classes and needed a creative outlet to showcase my evolution in the kitchen. I have a background in dance, and once I stopped dancing to focus on my career in nutrition, I used cooking as my creative outlet. What started out as a hobby chronicling my kitchen experiments has turned into a full-time job. After graduate school I worked as a clinical dietitian at a hospital in the Bronx and really relied on my website to maintain balance in my life.
I left my "real" hospital job a year and a half ago, gave my site a facelift, and really dove full-throttle into working on my site and business. I was also building my private practice, writing about nutrition and health for various websites, and working on recipe and content development for brands.
I joined Instagram immediately after I got my first iPhone, five or so years ago and then started using it as a brand building tool around three years ago.
Taste Talks: About how much time do you spend on Instagram every day?
Miranda Hammer: It varies depending on what is happening in my day—if I am promoting new content, writing, or working on recipe development. I am trying to have some boundaries in my usage. There for sure have been days where I feel nauseous from the constant scrolling, but I try and keep it to under an hour a day, spread out throughout the day —I think. I actually have no idea! I should time myself one of these days. Instagram is my largest platform and has brought me such amazing opportunities, so for that I am grateful for it.
Taste Talks: Does using Instagram play into your business as a registered dietitian or do you see your blog and your instagram account as two separate entities?
Miranda Hammer: Being a registered dietitian brings much more credibility to what it is that I am writing about and showcasing and allows me to contribute to other platforms utilizing my knowledge base. It took a good amount of school and a residency to become an RD.
In terms of creating beautiful healthy food to present on Instagram, many people are capable of that and are creating incredible things on the platform. But, to discuss nutrition, how nutrients work in the body, and weed through all the nutrition noise, I rely on my site to do that.
Instagram is more "nutrition light," providing quick inspiration as well as a place to show where I am eating, traveling, and maintaining balance. My site it more the heart of things, where I can write and discuss nutrition, cooking tips, as well as how to lead a balanced lifestyle.
Taste Talks: Does having 58k followers feel different than it did at 25k, 10k, 1k?
Miranda Hammer: Now I am more focused on staying on-brand. Maintaining a specific aesthetic and voice. I am also more cautious about tagging and shout-outs, since I value my followers a great deal and I hope they trust my judgement. When my following was smaller, I think I was more willing to post whatever and whenever I could and was not as focused on a specific look and tone.
Taste Talks: What are some of the coolest opportunities you have experienced after having amassed such a following?
Miranda Hammer: For sure my partnership with the Natural Gourmet Institute. I was able to attend the Chef's training program which was a life changing and incredibly valuable experience that I will carry with me for a long time. Also a breakfast feature I did for Vogue was pretty awesome. It finally made me realize that I must be doing something right!
Taste Talks: What are some of the downsides of managing an Instagram account with a lot of followers?
Miranda Hammer: I put a lot of pressure on myself to try and create new content that is inspiring and visually appealing. I also put a lot of pressure on myself to keep trying to grow the brand and amass a stronger and larger following. But I am working on boundaries and not feeling like I need to document every meal and every experience. We live in a time where we are viewing the world through our phones. It's important to try and put the phone into your back pocket and just live your life!
Taste Talks: Tell us about your process for Instagramming a picture of food.
Miranda Hammer: It may look like I have a beautiful marble countertop, but in reality its just a marble serving board that I use as the base of most of my shots. I shoot everything with natural light and will typically place my cutting board on top of my trash can under my kitchen window to get a natural look. Secret's out! My husband is also an expert avocado slicer, which always helps to seal the deal.
Taste Talks: Any advice for someone working to build a following on Instagram?
Miranda Hammer: Find your voice, find your audience, and find your niche. Be social (pun intended ;) ), talk to your community and interact with people to see what others are doing and what they want to see. And be grateful. I am so thankful for the amazing community of Instagram. Although it does drive me crazy and I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the platform, I am so thankful for the incredible opportunities that I have had to meet amazing people and work with fantastic brands.