Stephanie Kazolides is a woman on a mission. With each post on her blog, she aims to educate and inform readers about the best foods to try and help you ‘make the right choices when it comes to living a healthy, happy, balanced life.’ Here I delve into what led her to starting on this path of health and clean living, as well as her inspirations when it comes to recipes.
You started out doing photography, what interested you about this work and eventually led you to changing paths (food/health)?
I found photography at quite a young age where I would play around with analogue, and every time I travelled would be obsessed with capturing the culture and the local people. After studying Sociology at University, I realised that there was so many social issues across various cultures that I wanted to document and shed some light on, and photography was the platform and creative medium I wanted to use! My passion stemmed from wanting to create positive social change and expose social issues through spreading an education on various topics that were going unnoticed in the mainstream media. After about a year of starting out as a freelance photographer and at the same time completing my MA in Media & Communications, I came to realise how photojournalism today was a really over-saturated market due to the Internet and it was going to be a tough struggle to make a decent living from it! After about a year doing commercial jobs, around the same time I changed my diet to plant-based, gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. It was a really strange but amazing experience where within six weeks a lot of health issues I had suffered with all my life like acne, weight gain, digestive issues and fatigue went away and I felt like a new person from the inside out! I realised then, that this was exactly what I wanted to educate and talk about – because if there was one fundamental thing that most of us across cultures share, it’s that we struggle understanding how to eat right because we’re not taught it properly at school and the health industry is feeding us a bunch of conflicting and confusing information every day! So basically – it sort of happened naturally, it wasn’t planned. I think the change of path found me!
Why did you transition to the topic of health and nutrition most particularly?
I transitioned to the topic of health and nutrition because all my life it was an important part of my happiness without me even really realising it! I found it really difficult to eat without feeling sick afterwards, or have enough energy, or feel confident and happy in my own skin. As I entered my mid 20’s and still suffered so many of the same issues I had been promised would disappear after adolescence it became increasingly frustrating and uncomfortable and affected my every day life. I was always on this constant journey of finding out what foods worked best for me, how I could get fit, how I could combat my anxiety and so on. I never imaged it would become my career path, but once I felt the benefits of eating right and how it can literally transform your life in all sorts of ways I realised that your health, and starting with nutrition is essential to being happy!
Where do you get inspirations for your recipes from?
My amazing grandma who has been cooking Greek food all her life. My mum who knows how to cook pretty much any kind of dish from any culture and make it look effortless and of course the internet that is bursting with food porn! The rest is trial and error and tweaking lots of recipes that I find from all these different sources to make them my own.
In terms of diet, you have taken up the whole foods plant based way of eating, has this made a big difference to your way of life? compared to how you ate before….
YES!! It made such a big difference to my way of life that I chose to make it my career and share this way of eating with more people hoping to inspire them to eat more plants too. When I ate a lot of animal protein like eggs for breakfast every day and chicken for lunch, fish for dinner – I felt incredibly tired all the time and bloated! My skin was awful and my weight was always fluctuating. Eating whole foods, and less animals and more plants changed my life from the inside out. It’s hard to express in words, but it’s the kind of thing that when you try it out for yourself you just feel very in tune with your mind and your body. I think the key here is to eat NATURAL foods because that’s what nature intended. We are not meant to consume chemicals, but sadly it’s in everything we eat today.
By creating your healthy and nutritious eating blog which features lots of creative ways to eat using various exotic fruits/vegetables, what do you hope to achieve in doing so?
I want to inspire others to eat healthier by showing them that healthy eating isn’t what we think it is: boring salads. I hate the dieting industry and the fact that millions of women are out there struggling to find a way of eating that will make them skinny, when mostly it diminishes the enjoyment for food and creates unsustainable weight goals.
Can you talk about one of your favourite recipes?
My kale salad with sweet tahini dressing is probably one of my favourite recipes because it’s one of those meals that is so healthy but so delicious! I’m not one to go out and order a salad at a restaurant because most of the time they are lacking a good, healthy dressing and are really bland. This Kale Salad tops most salads I have ever tried and makes healthy fun! The dressing is ridiculous. It’s all about the dressing!
In your spare time, what hobbies do you have (or taken up)?
– Yoga has become a huge part of my life and transforming into more than just a hobby!
– Being a beach bum is probably my favourite thing to do ever since I moved to Spain. I can spend hours in the ocean.
– Spending time at markets is a big love of mine too – I love shopping locally, whether its for food or clothes, jewellery etc. I find a lot of inspiration in meeting locals who have created things by hand, they always have an interesting story.
– Watching documentaries!
If you were to be stranded on a desert island, what 5 things would you have with you and why?
– My yoga mat for daily practice
– My boyfriend for company and love
– Pair of swimming goggles for underwater swimming
– A hair tie because I just can’t live without one
– Water – for obvious reasons
Is there a country you have travelled to where you recipes have been inspired?
I haven’t had a chance to travel much since I began my own business, but last year I went to LA and their vegan, health food scene is so big that I explored lots of places and picked up lots of inspiration! They do some amazing things, and I will never forget eating the best vegan nachos ever. I just can’t remember the name of the restaurant where I had them!
What advice would you give to anybody who is thinking of changing their diet…what is the first step?
I think the first step is to start to get to know your ingredients a bit better and be more mindful of eating processed foods! It’s so easy to think we are eating healthier than we actually are because lots of brands out there label their foods with things like NATURAL, when there is nothing natural inside the packet. So my advice would be, start by buying unprocessed, unrefined, natural ingredients and begin cooking more meals from scratch! This eliminates restriction and boring diets. It’s the first, fundamental part of eating right. Think foods that haven’t been tampered with and you can pronounce of the name of. Except for Quinoa, of course.
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