By Brooke Davie
Q: What was the inspiration for your blog and then your book?
I first started my blog (mydarlinglemonthyme.com) 4 years ago as a place for me to share my new-found knowledge on gluten and dairy-free cooking. It’s since become an extension of myself where I share my recipes, photographs, stories and philosophy of achieving a better life through nutritious, wholesome, real cooking.
Writing a cookbook is something I’ve always wanted to do, so when the opportunity arose I was beyond stoked! My life, upbringing and experiences were the main inspiration behind the book. My heart lives between its pages. I share childhood recipes, stories, recipes I’ve learnt from my Vietnamese mother-in-law, photos of my family and all sorts of information about allergy-free eating.
Q: Who is your target market and why?
I don’t write with a specific target market in mind, but I suppose you could say it’s anyone who loves great food that’s also good for you! My food is vegetarian, gluten-free and mostly dairy-free, but I try not to make a big deal about this fact and have many readers who are neither vegetarian nor allergy-free.
Q: Why do you think your blog became so successful?
That’s a hard question as it’s surprised even me. Many people do say that they love my flavoursome recipes, photography and honest writing style though…
Q: Do you have some success tips for others starting a blog?
I actually wrote a whole in-depth blog post about this, after I was asked that very question at the NZ Food Bloggers conference I spoke at a few years ago. You can read the post here.
Q: Have you always eaten healthy food in your life? Tell us about your relationship with food?
I grew up in a vegetarian household where nutritious eating was a way of life. After leaving school I went through a few phases of not eating so well, especially when I worked as a pastry chef and lived off all things sweet! It was after having kids and discovering our food intolerances that I really returned to super-healthy eating and now make most of what we eat from scratch. I have a great relationship with food (now!), I love sweet foods but don’t overdose in a big way. I also don’t feel bad having the occasional treat if I eat healthy the rest of the time. I think it’s all about balance.
Q: What makes your cook book different from the many others in the market place?
I don’t know of many other vegetarian and gluten-free cookbooks that are presented in the way that mine is. I like to think that it will appeal to everyone (not just vegetarians or people who eat allergy-free), through the design of the book and full page photographs of each dish. I also think that the fact that it’s such a personal book makes it very different to many others where recipes are the only draw-card.
Q: With so much information out there about what’s healthy to eat, how do we decipher what the best nutrition program is for us?
It’s so hard these days isn’t it?! My belief is that we are all individuals and this means no one healthy-eating plan will work for everyone. Learning to listen to your own body is the best thing one can do to figure out what does and doesn’t work for you. Just because someone touts that cutting out all sugars from their diet has changed their life, or eating only raw foods have worked miracles, sadly doesn’t mean this will be the case for everyone. It was only once we were diagnosed with intolerances that I really started to learn to listen to and trust my own body (having kids with intolerances make you learn even more!). Nowadays I know which foods I can eat all the time, those I can eat infrequently and others which I need to avoid at all times. By all means listen to others advice and try different things out (I do all the time), but essentially you have to do what works for you and your body.
Q: Do you feel fitness is important as well as food for a healthy life?
Absolutely. Even though talking about healthy food is what I do, I do tend to feel that some people focus solely on this and expect unrealistic results. It takes much more to lead a healthy lifestyle than food alone. Getting enough exercise, sleep, relaxation and laughter is often just as important as healthy eating in the bigger picture of life.
Q: Do you think it’s harder or easier for women to eat healthy?
To be honest I have no idea?! I’d say as a woman, eating healthy is probably more accepted in society, sadly (or not, depending on how you look at it!). But I don’t think gender has anything to do with whether it’s harder or easier to eat healthy. Anyone can make that choice.
Q: Does it get hard to maintain a clean and green eating philosophy when you get busy?
I think for many people this can be used as an excuse for sure. The trick to avoid this trap is to get good at preparing food in advance and planning ahead. I always have dinners in the freezer that I’ve prepared in bulk and frozen in small portions for those nights when time is just simply not there. I also have no problems with serving fried eggs or omelette alongside rice and a salad on nights when some would be tempted to grab take-away.
Emma’s blog can be found at www.mydarlinglemonthyme.com
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