SZL: How did you get into healthy eating? Is it something that you've always been interested in?
CR: Not really - I only started becoming more interested last year when I was feeling bloated and tired all the time, and decided to have a go at being vegan. I had no idea where to start really (I was one of those people who believed a vegan diet was all about salads and beans!) I started by googling and came across a few good blogs, but now I completely rely on Instagram - endless options for amazing food!
SZL: Are you vegan? If so, for how long? What inspired you to become vegan?
CR: Yes, I am vegan. It's nearly my 1 year anniversary (in 2 weeks time!). Last year, I felt so unhealthy, I was eating so much rubbish (conventional chocolate, cake, biscuits, basically sugar). I have no self control - I can't stop at one! So I thought I'd try the non-processed, vegan lifestyle for a week and really thought I would fail after a few days! But that week became longer and longer and now it's nearly a year. I'm loving it! It really makes me think about food and become more creative, which makes it fun.
SZL: Your creations are so healthy, how do you overcome cravings?
SZL: Are there any foods that are on your absolutely forbidden list?
CR: Obviously, being vegan, I don't eat meat, dairy or eggs. But I have also adopted a clean diet too - I don't eat refined sugars, gluten or oil (except for coconut oil). That might sound quite restricted, but it works for me and I find it makes me more creative with food! I do try to not be obsessive about it - for example, eating out can be rather difficult, so I have to relax the rules a little!
CR: I don't find that I get cravings! That might sound weird, particularly as I love sweet food. But if I feel like eating chocolate or cake, I can - I just make sure it's healthy! I make chocolate "nicecream" (bananas and raw cacao powder) or "chocolate" (coconut oil and raw cacao powder), amongst other treats.
SZL: What is your must-have gadget for the kitchen?
CR: My Vitamix - I use it at least once everyday and really can't live without it anymore!
SZL: Your creations are almost like an art form. Do you ever make anything that's not beautiful?
CR: Yes! Sometimes I can't be bothered and just throw some vegetables into a bowl. But really, making something pretty is all about including a lot of colour. And a lot of colour means lots of nutrients and vitamins - so really it's a win-win!
SZL: Do you have any advice for our readers?
CR: If you are looking to eat more healthy food, Instagram is really a great place to start. There are many accounts that have fantastic ideas to keep your meals fresh and new. I rarely eat the same thing twice, which sounds so odd, but there are so many possibilities! Anyone would get bored eating a green salad everyday - healthy food is much more than that!
- Maria Vasylivna