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Here, the blogs you should be reading right now with recipes and tips from their creators.
The Blog: Grace Rusch of The Sunday Table is obsessed with finding ways to make gluten-free, plant-based foods extra delicious.
I'd love to know more about what it means to become a holistic nutrition consultant. How would you like to use this training?
The program to become a holistic nutrition consultant is different from a that of a registered dietician or a naturopath. The concept, however, is similar. The focus is on a diet consisting of whole foods, regular exercise and promoting a stress-free lifestyle. All of which allows us to create a wellness program tailor-made for the individual based on their food sensitivities, interests, activity level, family situation, budget, etc. My goal with this training is to share what I've learned to educate and empower as many people as possible, in whatever context. Food has the ability to heal and a well-balanced diet can help alleviate symptoms and side effects of nearly every bodily disease. I wish I could continue to have a three-hour lecture every week for eternity to learn more about healing the body from the inside out.
You use lots of different seeds in your cooking. Why do you love them—both from a flavor and a nutrition perspective? What are some tips for using them more often?
I sprinkle seeds into my smoothies, oatmeal, non-dairy yogurt, baked goods, granola bars, soups, really any dish. The coconut hemp cereal is one of my very favorites. I made the switch as a teen from peanut butter to sunflower seed butter after experiencing terrible migraines. A jar of this vitamin E rich spread doesn't last long at my house. Chia seeds are slowly making their way into regular rotation. I'm also a big fan of sesame seeds (high in calcium), flax seeds (a great source of omega-3s and fiber) and pumpkin seeds (rich in vitamin A and iron).
What other so-called "super foods" do you love and how do you use them?
Spirulina and other green powders (like Amazing Grass) can be a great way to get in more greens which are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They can take some getting used to but are worth it. I'm really enjoying maca these days which helps increase energy. Lately I'm sneaking turmeric into every dish to help reduce inflammation. Camu Camu, packed full of vitamin C, is a new powder I've been mixing into my daily green drink. Seaweed is one of the best sources of minerals in the world. I love to add seaweed into spring rolls, fried rice and soups.
If it's not too personal, why do you choose to follow a largely gluten-free, dairy-free and plant-based diet? When do you deviate? What are the challenges and how do you overcome them?
When I started to get really into cooking in college and deepening my knowledge of nutrition, I opted to eliminate meat and dairy from my diet. I followed that diet for about five years. During that time, I did a two-week cleanse as part of my first post-college job and discovered I was sensitive to gluten. Although it took me about a year to fully commit to eliminating gluten from my diet, I felt so much better without it. Through my coursework to become a holistic nutrition consultant, I realized that while I thought my diet was healthy, I was seriously lacking some vitamins and minerals. I've successfully reintroduced animal products into my diet, with the exception of dairy, seriously upped my vegetable intake, welcomed super foods and have stayed free of gluten. This I feel is the right diet for my body to keep me happy and healthy. It does have its challenges when it comes to eating out, catered work events or being a dinner party guest. These are times in which I may make an exception, choosing of course the option that will allow me to feel nourished with the least repercussions. Typically, in these scenarios, I'll make my food sensitivities known ahead of time, prepare a dish to share or come prepared with snacks hidden in my purse to carry me through.
What food blogs are you super excited about right now?
Boy, I could name so many! Recently, I've been enjoying Dolly and Oatmeal, A Couple Cooks, A Thought for Food, Naturally Ella and The Fauxmartha. I've made a lot of dishes over the years from of The Year in Food, Happyolks, The First Mess, Sprouted Kitchen and Cookie and Kate.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.