Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the Sahara Desert recently (unlikely) you will have noticed a shift in the types of food we are consuming, a shift in our approach to health and wellbeing through food, and a shift in the types of eateries that are shooting up all over the place.
I can’t say exactly what or who has sparked this shift but we are genuinely thinking about how our food choices are affecting us and the planet we live on. If it says ‘organic’ or ‘free range’ somewhere in the name of our food it generally means we’re doing the right thing. Being conscious about where food comes from, how it is prepared, and how it affects our body, mind and soul has become somewhat of a fashion trend.
There’s fancy organic cafe’s sprouting in grungy old buildings in unexciting industrial areas, there’s food trucks cruising around cities serving fresh and alluring meals in vacant car parks and then there’s the new breed who are doin’ it to’ themselves and posting mouth-watering evidence of it on social media. Miss Brenda De La Piedra falls into this DIY category.
Brenda goes by the moniker One Hungry Mamior if you are the Instagram way inclined (likely) she’s known as @onehungrymami. If you know her you’ll know that she is many things! A mum, a wife, a nurse, a Peruvian spunk rat, and an insane multi tasker. Addicted to a good food related challenge, Brenda decided to send herself down the grassy path to veganism about 9 months ago.
Now.... I love a nice juicy Hungry Jacks Whopper from time to time (my mouth is watering just thinking about it) but the earthen combinations Brenda produce’s seriously get my tastebuds dancing. She makes zucchini spaghetti dishes, vege nori rolls, yummy fresh salad jars, quinoa stuffed tomatoes, the best looking desserts and smoothies, and her creations are filled with all the colours of the rainbow. ROYGBIV, eat yo’ heart out.
(clockwise) Avocado Ice Cream Pops with Strawberry Sauce,
Quinoa and Sweet Potato Patties with Siracha Mayo and Salad,
Lime and Stawberry Mousse with Almond and Date Crumble,
Zucchini and Carrot Noodles with Spicy Coconut Curry Sauce.
I got the chance to ask the mamacita a few questions about her passion for food, the challenges of eating a plant based-diet and how her particular approach to food has impacted her mind, body and soul.
First of all, what is One Hungry Mami all about?
Initially OHM started as a way of documenting my experience of adopting a plant based diet. It was only meant to be for 12 weeks but now, 9 months later, I’m still at it! Apart from giving me better health, both physically and mentally, it has also awakened a passion for healthy food that I guess has always been there. My long term plan is to do some study in this area and I’m currently working on a web page that makes it easier to find the recipes. This may take a while as I’m computer challenged!
Where does your passion for food come from?
Being Latin American, I guess that passion for food is intrinsic. Peruvian food is delicious and is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the most diverse. So I draw on my culture and my family for ongoing inspiration. As a child growing up in the jungle, I was lucky enough to always have different types of fresh produce available. I didn’t know what McDonald’s was until I came to Australia at 9 years of age. We always cooked everything we ate, and grew some of our own fruits and vegetables. We also had chickens, ducks and so, as far back as I can remember, I’ve always known that food is important and should be treated with respect. My fondest memory is sitting with my family around the brick oven, roasting plantains and eating them with freshly made peanut butter that we had ground up.
You seem to have an understanding of which produce combines well together. How do you gain your knowledge about fruit and vegetables?
I think it’s like with any passion. If you love it, it just comes naturally. Not being afraid to try new things helps and I’ve always been game. I think having been exposed to wonderful and weird cuisine has helped me not be afraid or hesitant. I mean, guinea pigs are a delicacy in Peru, so is eating flying ants! Yes, I have done those things. Of course, things are a bit different now since I’ve excluded all animal products, but I have the fundamentals and just about everything can be ‘veganised’.
Do you find anything challenging about being vegan?
Eating out can be a challenge.The amount of times I’ve been out to a restaurant, even after asking if they do a vegan option, and they have sent me something sub standard is astonishing! How can you stuff up vegetables? Therefore I try to only frequent places that I know are good and are actually vegan friendly. There are some wonderful places in Sydney that do this really well. More often than not though, I prefer to prepare my meals so that I know exactly what goes into it. I also don’t eat gluten and prefer my food raw so I’m sure I’m a chef’s nightmare when I walk through the door!
How has having a plant-based diet impacted you?
It’s the best crazy idea I’ve ever had! Apart from providing me with a creative outlet, it has improved my health immensely. I have so much energy, I sleep better, my mind is still super busy but I don’t feel overwhelmed. Best of all, I’ve met some really cool like minded individuals through IG and FB who have been supportive and a constant source of inspiration. I am amazed at how big the community is and it makes me so happy that there is such a massive interest in healthy living. Regardless if you are strictly plant based or not, healthy, clean food is the way to go.
Below is Brenda’s own recipe for her Ombre Ice cream so you can make it at home for yourself!
Ombré Ice Cream
Serves 1 (about 800mls)
1/3 cup frozen blueberries
2 frozen bananas
1/4 of a small beetroot, peeled
2 frozen bananas
1/3 cup frozen raspberries
2 frozen bananas
Blend each layer separately in a high speed blender, to ice cream consistency. Place each layer in a serving glass and serve. Top with your fruit of choice. I used kiwi fruit. I have to say, the beetroot layer was my favourite!
To know more about Brenda’s journey head to her blog, where you’ll also find a bunch of green and fruity recipes.