Conversation with a Food Blogger: Healthful Pursuit
By Alexis Nilsen
Healthful Pursuit is a blog filled with allergy-free recipes created by Leanne Vogel, recipe artist extraordinaire. In Leanne’s world, “restriction” is a four-letter word and food allergies are celebrated. Leanne has spent over a decade shaping her views on food and wellness after struggling with an eating disorder. She hopes that by sharing her personal experience she can reach out to others who are suffering. Based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Leanne is also a certified holistic nutritionist. She delivers comprehensive meal plans, personal development strategies and innovative recipes for anyone looking for a little help in the kitchen. Her biggest lesson is to let kindness into your kitchen and love into your life with simple ingredients and delicious food.
What is your favorite meal of the day?
First meal, my blended coffee! Coffee with healthy oils, a touch of cinnamon and a dollop of full-fat coconut milk. So frothy, so delicious. It brings a smile to my face every morning.
What’s an ingredient that you just can’t live without?
I go in waves. Right now? My answer would definitely be red palm oil. Have you tried it? It’s a plant-based saturated fat, very similar to coconut oil in its health benefits, and is so delicious used as oil for roasting vegetables. It makes a fabulous base for soup, too. Makes the flavors pop!
If you were stranded on a deserted island what two spices would you want to have with you?
Dried spices – chili powder and cumin seed. You can make anything with those two. Together, or apart. Fresh herbs – cilantro. There’s rarely a day I go without adding a bit of fresh cilantro to something.
Where is your favorite place to shop for ingredients?
I enjoy shopping at the local market, for the experience. Farmers, artisans, music, it’s beautiful. But it’s a far drive and can get expensive. For day-to-day shopping, I love Costco – they are getting in more and more healthy options now.
You’re a popular food blogger with thousands of followers. Is there a food blog that YOU follow?
As a health conscious food blogger, do you still treat yourself to guilty pleasures?
Of course I do! I firmly believe that the key to living a healthy life is the whole LIFE part. Life happens. Treats are part of it. I don’t see them as a negative thing, or guilt forming in any way. I follow a high-fat eating style – lots of nourishing fats from all sources. This way of eating is very satisfying. The fat essentially eliminates a lot of sugar cravings and keeps me level headed when it comes to treats. I do indulge, but only to my body’s limits. It’s really great!
What is your favorite late-night snack?
My favourite quick snack when hunger strikes is a touch of coconut oil, melted, and mixed with some shredded unsweetened coconut. Maybe a bit of cacao powder and a couple drops of stevia if I’m feeling crazy. So easy!
What are the biggest challenges and greatest rewards of being a food blogger?
Biggest challenge would probably be the hours. Running your own business is very time consuming; it’s a big commitment. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though. The greatest reward is that I get to help people, thousands of people, every single day. It’s so utterly rewarding.
Do you have any recipes that stand out for being epic fails?
Oh yes, I do. Every couple of months I share my “fail” recipes. The best from last year was when I thought I could make meat-free ground round with cauliflower. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten something so gross in my life.
What’s next in your career?
This is it! I’m living my dream.
Finally, can you share one of your favorite recipes?
Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean spending hours in the kitchen with complicated ingredients and tactics. I’m all about simplicity. And these No Bake Snickerdoodles from my Dessert Freedom Cookbook are a perfect example. Gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, paleo cookies ready in just a couple of minutes. No crazy sugar, either! Sometimes a girl just wants a cookie and doesn’t want to pull out the mixer, preheat the oven and wait for them to cool. That girl would love this recipe.
No Bake Snickerdoodles (Gluten free, Grain Free, Vegan, Paleo)
Makes: 6 cookies
Hands-on Time: 10 minutes
- 2/3 cup raw cashew halves
- 1/3 cup finely ground almond flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut nectar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon coconut sugar
- Add cashews and almond flour to your food processor and pulse until cashews are finely ground, about 1 minute.
- Add coconut nectar, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Pulse until combined.
- Pinch off sections of dough, about 1 1/2 tablespoons at a time and roll into a ball between your hands.
- Press onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Sprinkle with remaining ground cinnamon and coconut sugar.
Serve as is, or place in the freezer for a couple of minutes to firm up. Store in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Nutrients per cookie: Calories 147, Fat 10g, Carbs 12g, Fiber 1.2g, Sugars 6.3g, Protein 3.7g
Alexis Nilsen has a blog called Cow Crumbs. This princess is filling her paper bags with wholesome good-for-you ingredients, proving one recipe at a time that gluten-free can be so much more than rice flour and tapioca starch.