The Healthy (Conscious) Interview: Allison Day of The Yummy Beet
One of the most important aspects of eating well is cooking well. I can share all of the nutrition information in my brain but if you don’t know…and I don’t share…how to turn that into a yummy meal, it’s all for not. Which is why I share recipes on this site – and why I am happy to share this month’s interview with you.
I haven’t met Allison Day in person but I know her excellent site, The Yummy Beet, for it’s awesome plant-centred recipes. We also share a book editor, and Allison’s first book, Whole Bowls, is launching April 5th. So it is the perfect time for Allison to dish (!) on what feeds her.
When did you first fall in love with food?
It was a very slow start: I was in my twenties. I started cooking (extremely simple things) when I was much younger (11 or 12), but it wasn’t love, just something to do. Developing a healthier relationship with food and enjoying a mostly plant-based diet sparked the fire for me. I love to eat, and I eat very well––my food choices just happen to be quite good for me (except maybe my pistachio gelato fixation and penchant for pie, but I’m all about balance). When I discovered I didn’t have to compromise great taste to eat healthfully, it was a turning point.
What is your typical morning routine?
I’m an early morning girl. I’ll wake up between 6:30 and 7:30am (without the alarm, though I set it just in case), go downstairs to my kitchen, drink a few glasses of water, and make coffee. Good coffee is essential. I find I do my best (or at least, most focused) writing in the morning, so I’ll tackle a project right off the top with my coffee in hand. This can include writing a blog post for Yummy Beet, working on a magazine article, or picking away at copy for my cookbook.
What three kitchen tools can you not live without?
Things I use every single day: a Global chef’s knife, large wooden cutting board, and bowls (of course) in all shapes and sizes.
Name the five plant foods you think everyone needs more of in their life.
Chickpeas: The most versatile, delicious, economical plant-based protein around. They’re full of protein, minerals, and fibre, and can be used just about anywhere in the kitchen––hummus, stews, soups, roasted––even in desserts; in fact, there’s a chickpea cookie dough recipe in Whole Bowls that’s a big hit with little ones (okay, and adults).
Raw Nuts and Seeds: Chia, almond, hemp, walnuts, and more, they’re rich in healthy fats, protein, minerals, and deliciousness. They’re easy to incorporate into your daily diet, too; you can toss a handful in a small baggie for a snack on the go, sprinkle some on salad for crunch, or stir into whole grain muffin batter. I started eating raw almonds in high school and haven’t looked back. I think they’re a great beauty food, keeping my skin lovely and soft.
Beets: Roasted beets are a true treat. Sweet and earthy, I enjoy them tossed with olive oil, balsamic, and sea salt as a quick side, or used as a vibrant topper for cooked lentils. I roast a week’s worth at once and have them handy in the refrigerator for my meals.
Quinoa: The original fast food, it cooks up in 15 minutes. I always have this in the pantry as a base for a quick, satisfying dinner bowl––just top with roasted vegetables and you’re all set.
Medjool Dates: Squishy and sweet, medjool dates are a fibre-packed fruit that taste like caramel. When I’m experiencing a sugar craving (which happens most days, if I’m being honest), I stuff a date (pitted) with almond butter and sprinkle with cinnamon––so good! If I’m feeling dangerous, a few dark chocolate chips on top turns that into a next-level bite. I’ll also add dates to sweeten a smoothie, chop and add to grain pilaf, and use in Moroccan-inspired vegetable stews.
Creating yummy, plant-centred recipes is your day job…so what is your go-to recipe for yourself after a long day in the kitchen?
If it’s not the recipe-testing leftovers from that day, it’s pasta. Pasta makes me deliriously happy and relaxed. I prefer a variety I can twirl. To sauce it, I’ll use pesto I’ve made and stored in single-servings in the freezer. I always go for a whole grain spelt, kamut, or brown rice noodle for more nutrition and a nuttier, more complex taste.
Get to Know Allison:
Yummy Beet Blog