Plant-Powered Peeps: Meet Nicole Joy
I am a sucker for recipe books. An addict. Lord forbid you ever enter a book store with me, as you won’t be able to get me out for at least an hour whilst I stalk the cooking book and health related aisle. And so it was with great drool worthy pleasure that I spotted Nicole’s brand new book, entitled “Why It’s Perfectly Acceptable To Eat Dessert for Breakfast”. Hells to the yes we want to eat dessert for breakfast! I’m a total sweet tooth (you know how some friends are all about the chocolate and sweet treats, others are all about the chips and dip?). So when I finally got my hands on Nicole’s book I was hooked, devouring every word and gorgeously styled and photographed image. Two words = Food Porn.
What also really took me was reading about Nicole’s personal story. It mirrors what I think a lot of young women go through in our day and age, being negative perceptions of their ever-changing body (ie why does that lump have to land there instead of here?). A desire to control this process and make sure you are living up to society’s ideals inevitably translates to one’s relationship with food. I’ve been there let me tell you, and it was not a happy place. I also think I can count more friends who’ve had similar issues than those who haven’t.
Nicole ended up trapped in this same restriction/binge cycle that many fall into, and felt terrible as a result. Going low carb one day, then blowing out the next. I really enjoyed reading Nicole’s words as she is so super honest, open and lays it all out on the table. It can be a pretty uncomfortable topic for most women, the old food/weight debacle, so I have the utmost respect for Nicole writing all hers down in print.
Back to that glorious book, it contains 40 guilt-free recipes, all plant-based (hooray), gluten free, dairy free and with no added refined sugar. The photography is just stunning, it would make the absolute perfect gift for a girly baking friend. You can order Nicole’s book as a hard cover which I always love, but if you’re overseas or are into the mobile age, then just download it as an ebook onto your tablet or smart phone (to grab it, click here).
Without further adieu, meet Nicole…
Why did you decide to turn to a more plant-powered organic lifestyle?
Purely due to the simple reason that I felt so much better! I am not a strict vegetarian and I buy organic when I can, but I have really lost the taste for meat, plus I don’t feel that great after I eat it! (I still eat seafood though). Vegetarian cuisine is so much fun – I love finding alternatives to popular meat products, the possibilities are endless when you have an abundance of natural foods from mother nature to work with!
How has your health (physical and emotional) changed since then?
I could honestly say that I don’t think I have ever been more healthy than I am right now. I just feel great, 99% of the time. Sure I have my down days (we all do!) but for the most part, I just want to jump out of bed each morning and get stuck into what the universe has waiting for me! Increasing my vegetable intake with such simple things like a green smoothie every morning and including more grated vegetables on top of my salads has definitely worked for me.
What does a day on your plate look like:
- Green Smoothie (kale, baby spinach, banana, lime & coconut water) + an omelette with loads of vegetables, OR
- A nutty muesli with fresh seasonal fruit and a dollop of natural/coconut yoghurt sprinkled with chia seeds, flaxseeds or LSA
- Salad wrap and a piece of fruit, OR
- Baby spinach salad with chickpeas/lentils
- Steamed vegetables or a big salad and occasionally either an egg or sometimes a small fillet of fish, plus some quinoa or sweet potato if I am hungry!
Mid Morning-Afternoon Snacks
- Avocado on crackers, Protein Balls, or hard boiled eggs
Now, your favourite foodie indulgence…
My desserts of course! It’s hard to go past my chocolate hazelnut truffles – hello Ferrero Rocher (you can get the recipe for these babies in Nicole’s ebook here). However, every now and then I will have something that is NOT one of my treats – I’m a sucker for a good pannacotta!
What do you think the biggest fear or misconception is about going more organic or plant-based?
Most people will worry about the protein content in plant based foods, but I think enough research has been done to dispel that theory! Ultimately it comes down to the individual, some people will respond well to meat in their diets, some won’t. I encourage people to at least give it a go and aim for a meatless Monday once per week. It’s also important to realize that not every dairy/cattle farm implements the same practices (you know those awful videos we have all seen). There are some very reputable farms using organic and sustainable practices that keep their dairy ‘happy’ – so I think it is up to the individual to choose responsibly here.
What’s your approach to balance & moderation in life (and/or food)?
It’s ALL about balance baby! Rather then labeling something as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for you, (which inevitably triggers feelings of guilt if you go for the latter) ask what your food/chosen activity will do for you? Does it make you feel good? Make you feel energized and empowered? If not, think about limiting whatever it may be and doing MORE of what makes you feel good, energized and empowered.
You’ve been given permission to raid the Be Good Organics stock room – what’s one foodie product and one beauty product you’d nab?
Would you like to share your favourite plant-powered recipe with us?
Yes – this recipe comes from my brand new recipe book (click here to get it). It’s a favourite of mine and a perfect treat for any time of year. The recipe is very forgiving, so will allow substitutions to suit your dietary requirements.
Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
Strawberry Coconut Fudge Slice
- 1 1/2 c almonds
- 1/4 c desiccated coconut
- 8 medjool dates pitted
- 8 large strawberries halved
Strawberry & Coconut Fudge
- 1/2 c coconut butter
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp coconut nectar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Line a small tray with baking paper and set aside.
- In a food processor, process almonds and coconut until crumbly. Add dates one at a time, and process until no large chunks remain.
- Pinch the mixture together between your fingers - if it holds its shape it’s the right consistency. If not, add 1 Tbsp cold water at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Press mixture evenly into the prepared tray and cover the base with the strawberry halves. Place in the freezer while you prepare the fudge.
- Choose a small saucepan and a stainless steel bowl that will sit comfortably over the top (or a double boiler if you have one). Melt the coconut butter over low heat, then add the coconut oil (I did this all in my Thermomix using the 37 degrees setting).
- Once completely melted, take off heat and whisk in coconut nectar and vanilla. Whisk vigorously! A fork just won’t cut it here, otherwise the coconut oil will not combine with the other ingredients. (Again I just blended everything straight in the Thermi).
- Taste - sweet enough? Adjust if desired. Remove prepared base from the freezer and evenly pour fudge mixture on top. Place in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm to touch.
- This strawberry coconut fudge will keep in the fridge for several days (if it lasts that long!). Otherwise slice it into individual servings and put them in a sealed container in the freezer for up to three months. Simply pull a few slices out the day before you need it.
- Make it nut-free: use sunflower or watermelon seeds in the base instead of almonds.
I’m currently enjoying these delicious treats for afternoon tea with a mug of Hazelnut Teeccino.