Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Ellie, I am a 24-year-old nutritionist and dietitian from Australia. I run an Instagram and blog called Elsa’s Wholesome Life where I share my healthy lifestyle, recipes and travels.
I saw that your philosophy is “Eat More Plants” – can you elaborate on that and why it is your philosophy?
Well, during university one of the key nutrition problems that was highlighted was that only 5% of Australians eat the recommended number of vegetable servings. My philosophy to ‘Eat More Plants’ is basically just encouraging people at the simplest level to eat more plant-based foods. It is good for your health and the environment.
What are some of your top nutrition tips for somebody looking to lose weight?
– Watch how much you are snacking on.
– Eat less from a box and more from the earth – cooking and preparation are key.
– Eat smaller portions.
– Increase the vegetable serving on your plate and decrease the starchy carbohydrates and fatty animal proteins.
– Avoid thick sauces and dressings.
What does your current diet look like?
I eat a plant-based diet (vegan), so I eat lots of vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds.
My day on a plate looks something like this:
BF: homemade smoothie of banana, dragonfruit, pea + rice protein, cacao, kale, peanut butter, almond milk. OR homemade bircher muesli soaked overnight and topped with fruit.
L: a buddha bowl style salad. Plant protein such as tempeh or chickpeas, avocado, heaps of salad, fermented cabbage, nuts, tahini, and brown rice and to drink I might have fresh coconut water or coffee (long black)
D: homecooked soup, salad, or stirfry. I usually cook recipes that are in my cookbook, I have a few favourites, the pumpkin soup, pumpkin soba noodle salad, buddha bowl, or satay pineapple fried rice.
Snacks: I don’t snack too often unless I have time. If I do its usually nuts, fruit, maybe a bliss ball or an extra drink such as a matcha latte.
There was a phase where you were doing an honours thesis or doing dietetics placement fulltime for university, while also creating a cookbook – is there anything from that time that think would be beneficial to share?
Well, my honours thesis looked at entrepreneurial dietitian’s thoughts on the dietetics profession and education. It was really interesting as so many issues were brought up but also repeated by many of my participants. It was clear that the profession needs to continue to move with the times and be on top of emerging technologies such as social media, and that education at university needs to teach our future dietitians skills in these areas.
What are some easy breakfast options that you would recommend for people who are looking to try something new?
Homemade overnight oats or bircher muesli. It is so easy to make and really healthy. It’s also really filling and a great way to start your day.
Is there any nutrition advice that you give which surprises people?
I mean not really, because my advice is rather bland and boring, I don’t offer any miracle solution, no quick fix, what I offer is realistic and quite basic. Just to get back to the basics of eating real, whole foods, and prioritising preparation of your food and proper planning.
Do you have an opinion on whether Australia should have a sugar tax?
I think it’s a great idea, just like they did with cigarettes. I definitely don’t think it’s the solution. People will still purchase these things. But it will help, particularly it will help to start the conversation on this issue.
I also think the tax should not just apply to sugar-sweetened sodas but also flavoured milk, sports drinks, energy drinks, concentrate juices etc. Would be interesting to also look at taxing products with added sugars that do not drink, particularly things targeted to children’s lunch boxes (roll-ups, muesli bars etc) and using the tax to subsidise healthy food such as fruit and vegetables.