Sabrina Rudin - Keeping it clean in Aspen, CO

Image by Jessie Chaney

The idea of “clean” has transcended our lives in almost every aspect. And, all of these facets have different layers of importance to those who seek a more conscientious lifestyle. Clean food, beauty and household products are just a handful of the categories available. What do you do when you think one of these areas is lacking? 

Ambitions and perseverance drove mother and entrepreneur Sabrina Rudin to fill a missing piece in her Aspen lifestyle - a spot that served up delicious plant-based and nourishing food. Her dedication to a conscientious living and her focus on supporting local agriculture plays a large part in the drive she has to move forward, building her brand and bringing her concept to those outside of Colorado. 


How did plant-based make its way into your diet? How do you navigate it with your kids - do they experiment outside plant-based?

I was raised plant-based by forward thinking parents. My mom had terrible allergies in her twenties and changed her whole diet and lifestyle when conventional approaches didn’t work for her. She went mostly plant based, began juicing and sprouting and felt the profound impact on her health. I ate mostly vegetarian as a child but she would introduce some sustainable seafood or pastured local turkey when she thought I needed it, she wasn’t dogmatic and because her vegetarian meals were so dynamic I always felt satisfied and fell in love with a foundation of veggies, fruits, beans and grains.

As I got older I continued to follow this lifestyle and eat intuitively, for me, being plant based is what resonates but I make sure to listen to my body. After my first son was born I was very depleted and I took too long to follow my cravings and eat some wild salmon because I thought it wasn’t in line with my philosophical beliefs.

I follow the same principles with my boys, they thrive on a plant-based diet but I also offer some bone broth, fish and turkey when I feel they need it. My older son is four and a half and recently decided that he doesn’t want to eat animals and calls himself vegetarian, I try to honor his choice and just make sure he feels nourished and nurtured with a variety of nutrient-dense foods. I also talk to my boys a lot about where our food comes from and how it’s grown, that way when they do make choices out in the wild, I’ll have laid the foundation!


What was the number one challenge you had to overcome opening Aspen’s first 100% organic eatery and juice bar?

Well the first challenge was that I’d never started a business let alone a restaurant, so I had to convince everyone (but mostly myself) that I knew what I was doing! Luckily I was able to surround myself with a team of very knowledgeable and generous people who taught me and experimented with me while we were creating Spring Cafe. It was a steep learning curve and it took us about 3 years to find our footing but I’m so grateful I took the leap. I’ve always wanted to start my own business and I truly love feeding people plant-based and nourishing food, especially during this time when tapping into the our body’s own immune response is critical. 


In addition to food, you’re also involved in the arts, and have a passion for music. How do these three facets of your life lift you up on a daily basis?

I never thought that I’d be in the food world, I’ve been a singer-songwriter for most of my life and after college I took time to record my first EP. I played shows in NYC and Aspen and thought I’d pursue that dream for a while. I was also working closely with refugees being resettled in NYC and knew I wanted to go to grad school eventually to study international relations. I moved out to Aspen after college, met Michael (who would become my husband) taught snowboarding and worked on my music, but I was frustrated that I couldn’t find food to fuel the activity -driven lifestyle. That’s how the idea for Spring was born. I’ve always been someone who relies heavily on my intuition, it wasn’t my plan but I just had a feeling in my gut that I should pursue it.

I stayed in Aspen another season, went to grad school back in NYC and then opened Spring Cafe. I never think of music as my passion and Spring as my work, and I feel so incredibly grateful to be able to do what I love to do. I still write music and sing (mostly for my kids) and I know that when it’s time to return to that I will but for now I’m focusing on building my brand and opening Spring Cafe Aspen in NYC.


Raising your family in a conscientious way, what do you look for when shopping for clothing and accessories?

My first non-negotiable when shopping for clothes is that they are vegan. I’m flexible with our food choices but not with clothing because I firmly believe that fashion should be cruelty-free. I also care deeply about fabrics and the ethics and sustainability involved in making clothes. For my kids I look for organic and Oeko-tex certified fabric so I know that they aren’t absorbing harmful chemicals, pesticides and dyes into their skin. I think a lot of brands are starting to embrace vegan and sustainable fashion for both grownups and kids and I love finding those brands and supporting them. 


All artworks start with a blank canvas of some sort. What do you wear when you're creating magic in the kitchen? What kitchen mess would you confidently create without fear in our white Oxford?

I love to be comfortable when I cook, lately that means a bathing suit and coverup straight out of the water with my kids or a cozy pair of sweats and a cropped t-shirt. I don’t like to wear jewelry when I cook because I get messy and work with my hands a lot so I try to keep it simple and clean.

I’m usually always making a salad, smoothie or juice for someone in our family. I’d definitely where a Mother Oxford first thing when I get out of bed as I head into the kitchen, I think that’s such a great look; a white-button down and a cutting board full of luscious fruit. I don’t even mind if it splatters, that’s the joy of eating mostly plants, even the stains are beautiful. 

Make sure to follow Sabrina @springbysabrina for tips raising a family in a conscientious way. Plus, check out @springcafeaspen for all things organic & plant-powered in Aspen and beyond.