Tuesday, 11 June 2013

We tend to get sick of people that post ‘what they had for breakfast’ – but now there’s one exception. 

Laura Bennington (@thatswhatshesays), Gold Coast local and cuisine queen, has recently become famous for her breakfasts-to-die-for and healthy-eating inspiration.

We had a chat to Laura about how she creates these treats, perfectly balanced between tasty and nutritious, and here’s what she said…

How long have you been creatively cooking for and why did you start?
I’ve always loved cooking since I was little but I have to admit it was a lot of toasted sandwiches and wild experimental pastas when I first begun. It wasn't until around two years ago when I felt myself feeling very sluggish and lethargic all day that I realised something needed to change. I watched a few documentaries on the food industry and read a few books on how food affects your mood, body and emotions and ever since then I’ve become a changed woman. 

How would you describe your cuisine style?
I’ve been a vegetarian for over 5 years now so a lot of my diet is fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, spices and super foods. I love cooking healthy lunches and dinners but my forte is definitely breakfast!  Start your day with positive thoughts and a deliciously nutritious breakfast and you can't go wrong. My breakfasts are often fruit based using a whole range of organic ingredients.

I try and buy bulk of my food from local farmers markets to limit the amount of chemicals in my body and support local business. I’d like to think that my style is clean, natural and very experimental.

What inspires your creations?
I like to take my time preparing and presenting my food, it’s almost like my own kind of art form I guess. I get my greatest inspiration from what fruits are in season and their colours. I love using glasses and jars because they're almost like a blank canvas ready to fill with colourful fruity goodness!

I follow a lot of health and home blogs to look for inspiration but what’s more inspirational than just grabbing a whole bunch of ingredients and getting messy the kitchen yourself!

Favourite ingredient? Favourite recipe?
My favourite ingredient has definitely got to be the humble banana - high in potassium and magnesium, lowers your blood sugar levels, rich pectin, acts as a prebiotic, counteracts calcium loss, high in antioxidants and they also help overcome depression due to high levels of tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin, in other words the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter.
They are so versatile and make the best snacks, smoothies and ice cream, what’s not to love about that! 

My favourite recipe changes every week or so, but at the moment I’d have to say it’s the "Life Changing Loaf" by Sarah Britton aka my new roots on Instagram. It’s a loaf of bread that uses whole grains, nuts and seeds. It’s high in protein and is incredible high in fibre. Gluten free, vegan and can be made completely sugar free. Everything is soaked first for optimal nutrition and digestion and I really recommend everyone check it out because I simply can't get enough of it!

What have been some of your highlights so far?
My biggest highlight so far would have to be the support and kind words from my friends on Instagram and those close around me. I didn't want to be 'that person' taking photos of everything that went into their mouth but I really do take pride in what I make and I thought sharing it would hopefully inspire others to do the same, which I think it has.

I also entered a competition with Jt's Coconut Essence with one of my coconut smoothie bowls and ended up winning $1000 worth of Jt's coconut products, hence why everything I make is accompanied with either coconut water or oil - that was pretty damn cool!

In your personal opinion, what is the best way for young people to make a habit of healthy eating, especially when fast-food is too often a common choice?
I think the best place to start would be to simply educate yourself, there’s so much knowledge out there on the web, so you don't have to study nutrition to know that a piece of fruit is better for you than a chocolate bar. I’d also highly suggest to stock your fridges and cupboards with plenty of fruit and veggies that way anything processed or 'bad' is out of sight, therefore out of mind.

Spend mornings at the local farmers markets and get your friends around to experiment making smoothies and power bowls . Visit your local health stores, vegan cafes and vegetarian restaurants, you would be surprised at the range of yummy products they have that are so good for you.

Start swapping foods, rice for quinoa, chocolate for cacao, milo for maca powder, ice cream for frozen fruit and white bread for whole grain bread. It really does come down to education, once you know what food does on the inside you will change your whole perspective and once you start feeling the difference both physically and emotionally there will be no turning back.

What are your future goals, do you see yourself taking your cooking further?
The future is such a large place and I’d be pretty stoked to see myself taking cooking further. I’d love to do a nutrition course, own a raw bar, run a fruit cafe and have my own range of home made organic products but it’s a step-by-step goal and a lot of planning out.  For now I’m pretty content with practicing my yoga, discovering who I am and continuing to learn as much as I can about health and well-being. 

My first priority is going to be my happiness and surrounding myself with optimistic people and positive vibes :)

Follow Laura @thatswhatshesays for mouth-watering visuals and culinary inspiration

Written by Natalie Lane


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