Hey Veggie Lovers! I can’t believe it’s already February! This year is just racing by at lightning speed! And there’s only a month until my birthday! Uh-oh!
Today I have a special treat for you: an interview with Canadian blogger, Miss Gabby Ouimet of The Veggie Nook! I love Gabby’s blog. She is studying to be a holistic nutritionist, so she has plenty of great advice to share, she features fantastic recipes (she’s shared one of her smoothie recipes below), and she is one of the hosts of Healthy Vegan Fridays, where bloggers can link up to share plant-based recipes. She and I have both commented that half of the time we feel like we’re reading our own writing when we read each others’ blogs. I’m sure you’ll be as inspired by her as I am.
+ How would you describe your diet?
GO: I follow a plant-based, wheat-free diet centered around fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes and small amounts of soy and natural sweeteners. I eat a lot of organic and focus on pure, natural foods. I try to always make sure I eat a nourishing diet but I definitely have treats- red wine, beer and chocolate are my favourites!
+ What is your favorite veggie, and how do you like to eat it?
GO: That’s a really tough question because I really love so many! If I had to choose I would probably say broccoli. I love sauteing it lightly with garlic followed by quickly steaming it in the same pan. It’s a great compromise between the 2 techniques- you get a little browning on the outside with a tender inside.
+ What was/is your biggest motivator for changing and maintaining your eating habits?
GO: My initial move to vegetarianism and eventually completely plant-based eating was motivated by environmental concerns. I think though what has really made it stick is how great I feel when I eat a whole foods, plant-based diet. I feel lighter and cleaner! I notice when I stray a little and eat crappy foods, that I feel crappy inside. That really helps me stay on track.
+ What’s non-negotiable for you in your diet?
GO: Greens and healthy fats. Greens are a super economical superfood and I try and make sure I eat multiple servings a day. Healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado and oils like flax and coconut help me feel satisfied, add a ton of flavour and provide extremely important nutrition to help me look and feel my best.
+ Describe what an average day of eats looks like for you.
GO: I usually start my day with either a green smoothie, lately they have been apple-based, with flax, maca powder and either some nut butter or coconut oil, porridge especially in the winter or toast with avocado. I might snack throughout the day depending on my hunger level and energy and that usually includes fruit and nuts, a small smoothie or hummus or avocado with gluten-free crackers. Lunch is usually a huge salad with legumes, seeds, sea veggies and an omega-3 rich dressing. Dinner varies, but always involves a whole grain or starch, quinoa and sweet potatoes are my favourites with tons of veggies and a protein! I always have something sweet too- usually a homemade goody or dark chocolate. I also drink tons of tea- black, green, herbal, etc, I drink it all!
+ How do you like to get your sweat on?
GO: Yoga is my absolute favourite. I do a lot of home practice now since my student budget doesn’t allow for too many classes. I am a workout video junkie as well- I love Jillian Michaels! And I have to mention walking s well- walking around my neighbourhood or anywhere I have to go throughout the day. I love exploring.
+ What is a natural beauty product you swear by?
GO: Coconut oil. This stuff is seriously amazing. Not only does consuming it help soften your skin and strengthen your hair and nails, but it’s an amazing moisturizer and hair styler.
+ What steps do you take to try to live a greener life?
GO: I would say eating a plant-based diet is the major one, but I also be sure to choose natural and vegan personal care products and I make a few myself including oil as a facial cleanser, coconut oil for moisturizing and hair styling and cornstarch and cocoa powder for dry shampoo. I am pretty big into home remedies and avoid conventional medicines when I can- honey (if you eat it) is fantastic for burns and healing. I also do many of the traditional ones- public transit, I carry my own water bottle, recycle and I am trying to reduce my plastic use by switching to glass storage containers.
+ What are your favorite books or blogs about healthy living (physical, mental, or spiritual)?
GO: I love the Thrive Books from Brendan Brazier, Crazy Sexy Diet and The China Study. In terms of blogs, I read so many it would be hard for me to pick favourites. But I will give a shout out to Oh She Glows, Making Love in the Kitchen and Joyous Health. All run by Canadian women (like me!), Oh She Glows really helped with my transition to plant-based eating and Making Love in the Kitchen and Joyous Health helped me recognize the healing power of foods and re-evaluate the rest of my life from my personal care products to my mindset.
+ What inspires you the most?
GO: I am inspired the most by the people around me, friends, family and strangers. I see the way people suffer mentally, emotionally and physically and I know that so much of it could be improved through diet and lifestyle. I try to live as holistically and healthfully as possible so that maybe I can inspire some changes in other people in turn. This is the big reason I am currently working towards becoming a Registered Nutrition Practitioner so I can help people even more.
+ What is the best piece of advice you have for someone looking to live a healthier life?
GO: It’s all about baby steps- make small, easily achievable changes, one at a time and eventually you won’t even recognize your past diet and lifestyle. I certainly didn’t start eating and living this way overnight. It has been a gradual process for years and I am still tweaking.
Before I go, I thought I’d include a recipe for one of my favourite smoothies, which can be found on my blog. This is a fairly typical breakfast for me and it keeps me going all morning!
Brain and Beauty-Boosting Blueberry Walnut Green Smoothie (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Soy-free, Raw)
This smoothie is beautiful, delicious and oh so healthful! Included in this smoothie are the lovely super nuts, walnuts, which deliver loads of antioxidants which I talked about here. They boost brain power and are full of healthy fats to help you get your glow on! There’s also some blueberries for added antioxidant punch and some maca which I discussed here which is great for regulating hormones! Toss in some greens and spirulina for a serious phytonutrient punch and you’ve got yourself one super-power smoothie!
Makes 1 smoothie.
1/2 a fresh, ripe banana
3/4 cup frozen blueberries (I used wild blueberries)
1/4 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup water
7 walnuts (soak them beforehand if your blender isn’t too powerful. My Magic Bullet didn’t need them soaked)
2 huge handfuls baby spinach
Optional additions (but highly recommended):
- 1/2 scoop favourite protein powder (I used the Sunwarrior Warrior Blend in Natural flavour)
- flax seed
- 1/2 tsp maca powder
- 1/4 tsp spirulina or more
Put all ingredients into your blender and blend away! I like to top mine with fruit and granola (this is my favourite) and serve in a bowl!
Thanks so much Lindsay for having me here and I hope to see some of you over at my own blog!
Bio: I’m Gabby of The Veggie Nook and I am a 20-something girl from Kingston, Ontario, Canada. I eat a mostly vegan, plant-based diet with as much whole, unprocessed food as possible, with some treats and decadence in between. I have a background in Kinesiology which is what first sparked my interesting in nutrition and healthy living and from there my passion for food grew. I started reading tons of food and nutrition blogs and found yoga which completely changed the way I relate to my own body. I knew I wanted more knowledge and found that conventional thought didn’t always quite align with my own beliefs. So after a stint of living overseas I decided to pursue an education in Holistic Nutrition, which I am currently completing in Toronto. I started The Veggie Nook as an outlet for me to discuss all things food and healthy living and it has grown to being a space filled with friends and inspiration.
Check out previous Veggie Interviews:
- Tara Bliss of Such Different Skies
- Jia Ni Teo of Healthy Happy Abundant
- Sonnet Lauberth of For the Love of Food