Lindsay is passionate about her plant-based, low-fat diet. Along with the Happy Herbivore blog, Lindsay has authored two successful cookbooks and offers meal planning services for both individuals and families. Most of her recipes come together in twenty minutes, making them accessible for busy home cooks. She uses mostly whole, unprocessed foods, and refrains from adding fat to the meals she prepares.
Why did you and your husband choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle?
Initially I was motivated by the plight of farm animals and the amazing health benefits associated with a plant-based diet. My husband, on the other hand, was more drawn to it from an environmental aspect and we’ve since rubbed off on each other. Now we’re both motivated by our health, the animals and the environment. Eating a plant-based (vegan) diet has truly changed our lives.
Is it difficult to cook without using oils and butter? Which ingredients do you use as substitutes?
It’s very easy. Instead of oil I saute in vegetable broth or water and I bake or broil instead of frying. With baked goods I replace butter and oil with applesauce or pumpkin most of the time, but have also used shredded zucchini and beans (Yes! Beans! It’s amazing how well they work). I find cooking this way also allows for a greater depth of subtle flavors. Oils and butters tend to coat the tongue, so it’s a little like tasting food with a glove on. Once you take them away, the components in the dish really shine.
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When Jacqui isn’t running Slide Sideways, a graphic design and handmade goods business with her husband, she’s a freelance photographer/stylist and recipe developer. Her blog Good Things Grow is focused on seasonal, whole foods, with recipes that are meant to be shared around the table. You can also find her work in the Meatless Monday column at Martha Stewart’s Whole Living blog.
What is your favorite season to cook in?
Definitely the current season we’re in. I love when the end of summer flows into the beginning of fall. Here in the Pacific Northwest our climate is typically a lot cooler year round, with August reaching its peak, so we still get all the tomatoes, berries, and peppers along with the apples, winter squash and root veggies. It’s so much fun and easy to cook with such fresh and seasonal produce.
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Tina is a cookbook author, full time writer and blogger, and is certified as a personal trainer. With a passion for fitness and food, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a top priority. Tina is not a fan of dieting, so her weight loss tips encourage permanent lifestyle changes, as opposed to depriving yourself. Through Carrots ‘n Cake, the title of both her book and blog, she encourages a balance of “eating your carrots and savoring your cupcakes, too!”
Describe what a normal day of eating is for you.
A normal day of eating for me involves lots of whole foods. I eat a Paleo-esque diet, but I’m not super strict about it and allow for splurges every now and then. For breakfast, I usually eat a two-ingredient pancake with almond or sunflower butter. Lunch is a salad with chicken or Curry Tuna Cakes or Spaghetti Squash Pancakes. Dinner is usually meat and veggies. Some of my favorite dinner recipes are Gingery Broccoli and Beef and Dry Rub Steak with Avocado Salsa. Sweet Potato Wedges are also a weekly staple in my lunches and dinners. For snacks, I like sliced banana with nut butter and protein shakes made with coconut milk and vanilla-flavored egg protein.
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Anjali grew up a “whole wheat” girl, but married a “white bread” kind of guy. Hoping to prove that nutritious food could in fact be delicious and desirable, she taught herself how to cook and successfully transformed her husband’s eating habits. Through her blog The Picky Eater, Anjali shares her passion for healthy, tasty cooking.
How do you define yourself as a “picky eater”?
When people think of being a “picky eater,” they think of the little kid who doesn’t want to eat anything except ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I define the Picky Eater philosophy as being something very different. Being a “Picky Eater” is about being mindful of what you put into your body and consuming processed foods in moderation. Eating healthy is usually associated with tasteless food, but to me, Picky Eating is healthy eating that’s delicious, easy to make, and satisfying.
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Kate is a self-taught photographer and cook from Oklahoma whose passion for food inspires readers to step into the kitchen and start cooking. With a focus on whole food, the recipes she shares on Cookie and Kate are both nutritious and fun to make. She believes in keeping food as close to its source as possible and features exclusively vegetarian fare. Cookie is her friendly canine companion and “chief crumb catcher.”
What does “whole food” mean to you and why is it important to you to eat this way?
Whole food, to me, basically just means real food that is as close to its source as possible. In other words, whole food is minimally processed and doesn’t contain unnecessary junk like preservatives, chemicals or pesticides. Naturally, whole foods are better for us, too. Whole grains retain the nutrients and good fats that processing removes. And fresh, quality ingredients taste better! You can make an incredible meal with just a few great ingredients. That’s why I say my blog “celebrates whole foods,” because I believe that food should both delight the senses and nourish the body. Whole foods can do that.
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After gaining inspiration from healthy blogs, Gina Matsoukas embarked on a major lifestyle change two years ago. Ever since, Gina has been an avid runner and a healthy eater—with a healthy blog to match. Gina’s goals don’t stop at her own body. She created Running to the Kitchen to share her healthy lifestyle and to demonstrate the possibilities within reach for everyone. With each post, she inspires others with her wholesome recipes, exercise musings and excitement for healthy living.
What are some of the healthy blogs that inspired you to adopt a healthier lifestyle?
Some of the first healthy living blogs I read were Kath Eats Real Food, fANNEtastic Food and Daily Garnish. Those were just the tip of the iceberg though, there were hundreds that I found through those girls that I could literally get lost in for days at a time. I’d look up after starting to read one and realize it had been an hour. Total time suck. But those initial three really opened my eyes to healthy food and making exercise fun again.
How has writing a blog helped you keep up with your own health and wellness?
I first started Running to the Kitchen because I wanted to help inspire others by telling my story through healthy food and workouts. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much I’d be inspired myself to constantly keep up with it. I have a Google Reader filled blogs with that range from healthy eating to fitness to baking. All of them inspire me in one way or another on a daily basis. I just joined a CrossFit gym that opened nearby, something I would never even have heard of if it wasn’t for blogs. I’m also part of a group called FitFluential that has over 800 ambassadors, all of us “fitness minded” in some way, shape or form. It’s a group that connects on different social media platforms and events and has been such a huge source of inspiration for me, whether it’s in the form of an impromptu workout, a creative recipe or help with blogging related things. At the risk of sounding completely lame for talking about people (most of whom I’ve never met) this way, blogging has helped me feel like part of community that continually supports my health and wellness efforts.
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Coupling healthful recipes with stellar photography, Edible Perspective’s Ashley McLaughlin sees food not only as something to eat, but something beautiful to look at as well. With a passion for recipe development in particular, she focuses on vegan and gluten-free combinations that are completely natural. With her dSLR camera by her side, this blog is Ashley’s way of documenting and sharing her wholesome recipes.
How did Edible Perspective come to be?
Edible Perspective actually started to avoid boredom. Nearly 3 years ago, my husband and I decided to make a cross-country move from Charlotte, NC to Denver, CO. He was unemployed and I was ready for a change, so we decided to make the trek out west. We lived with Chris’s brother and wife for the first four months and searched for jobs day in and day out. Chris was looking for a job in Civil Engineering, and I was on my way to becoming a licensed Architect. While job searching I decided to cook for the family each night as a token of our appreciation for letting us stay in their home. I knew absolutely zilch about photography and a little bit about cooking. After previously writing off Chris’s “fancy” dSLR camera, I decided to pick it up and start documenting my creations. Since that day my life has been anything but predictable.
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Charity Mathew’s decision to cook and eat well isn’t just a personal goal; it’s a mission that she has for her entire family. After serving as Vice President of Digital Programming at MarthaStewart.com, she now lives with her three-year-old, one-and-a-half-year-old and newborn in Rome, Italy. She dreams for her children to eat real, natural, “often organic, rarely processed, sometimes ethnic, food,” and her cooking is fresh and honest as a result. Her blog, Foodlets, documents that dream as she posts her favorite kid-friendly recipes and family anecdotes.
How did Foodlets come to be?
It’s an idea I’ve had for a long time; I’d meet people with remarkable kids who seemed to be fearless little eaters. Something about that seemed amazing to me, even before I had kids of my own. Now that I do, eating together, with an emphasis on healthy, whole food has become the priority I always hoped it would be. But it’s a lot of work and not always easy. Some dishes are met with cheers while others get crossed arms and a frown. Usually someone spills their milk and the floor is always peppered with peas but the moment you hear a 3-year-old say “Mmm. This is a good meal,” “Thanks for dinner!” or my new favorite, “This is magical,” it’s all worth it again.
I know I’m not alone, so I wanted to start a website where I offered my greatest hits but also honest (and hopefully funny) accounts of crashing and burning big. Eventually I’d like to have much more interaction with other parents, amassing a great collection of user-generated recipes and tips, all tried-and-true family favorites from around the world.
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Lisa’s Vegetable Quesadillas on Whole-Wheat Tortillas
Lisa Leake is the woman behind the popular blog, 100 Days of Real Food. As a mother of two, she and her husband pledged to go 100 days without highly-processed or refined food in 2010. Since then, she has challenged others to follow her family’s healthy lead by taking a 10-day pledge or committing to “100 days of mini-pledges.” Her blog offers tips on meal planning, packing school lunches, shopping for real food and more.
Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your commitment to real food. Why did you start and how did you decide on the 100 day pledge?
Like many others I always knew eating whole grains and vegetables was supposed to be good for you, but the problem was I never truly understood the “why” behind this advice. I became intrigued by the topic after seeing Michael Pollan discuss where our food comes from in a TV interview, and then I went on to read his book In Defense of Food. What came next was a huge wake-up call for our family when I realized what I thought were healthy food choices were actually highly processed and not good for us at all. It wasn’t easy at first, but I felt compelled to completely revamp the way we planned our meals, shopped for food and cooked.
I also felt compelled to spread this important (and shocking!) message to others, which is why we decided to create our 100 Days of Real Food pledge. Cutting out highly-processed food was honestly not easy for us at first and even kept me up at night. I thought my kids might starve if Goldfish, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and Gogurt were suddenly out of the picture. So once we figured out how to realistically make the transition to real food it just made sense to share our research, tips, recipes and experiences with others to hopefully inspire them to do the same.
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