Elizabeth Mitchell of @whatlizloves is a plant-based Perth foodie, and creates the most incredible savoury spreads. This month, Elizabeth created some delicious Cocobella recipes for our January Recipe Series, including Vegan Popeye Pancakes with Herbed Jalapeño Cocobella Yoghurt and Veggie and Tofu Laksa. We caught up with Elizabeth to find out more about her where she draws her inspiration and how she manages to juggle all her passions.
Hi Liz, thanks for chatting to us! Your feed is packed with incredible meals and recipes ideas. Is it right that you’ve been plant-based for just over a year? What was the catalyst for you making this decision, and where did you look for inspiration and education with regards to food and nutrition?
Hey Team Cocobella! No worries at all. Aww thank you, I’ve actually been vegan for almost three years now! but it’s gone so quick. The determining factor for making the switch to go 100% plant based was actually my health, my Naturopath recommend I cut out all animal products to heal my “leaky gut” and after being vegetarian from the age of 4 and then conducting my own research I couldn’t go back. I love reading up on health related topics whether that be in an article, books or purely an online source.
How do you stay active? Do you prefer indoor or outdoor activity? And what’s your favourite post-work ritual?
My excuse for not doing much exercise is that my work is generally very physical! Other than that I love to go for long walks whether that be at the beach or park along with the occasional yoga, pilates or barre class- I much prefer low intensity activities, I tend to crave a big bowl of steamed greens after a work out and a hot bath with Epsom salts.
When you have a full day of study and university ahead, with no time or access to a kitchen to prepare something fresh, what’s your go-to to pack for lunch and snacking throughout the day? Do you have some favourite recipes you often prepare in advance for on-the-go nourishment?
I’m actually not studying at all as of this year! Which is super exciting, it was just getting too much with my work load and I really want to focus on my freelance career this year. Although for the last few years I was purely doing online units (generally at night after working a full day… it completely drained me) but I used to drink copious amounts of green tea to get me through those late nights! I tend not to be a coffee drinker unless I really need one, usually if I hit a real slump mid-afternoon I’ll lean towards a long mac with a dash of almond milk or an iced one with lemon. Generally speaking, I prefer to snack on ‘whole’ foods so fruit and vegetables, my favourites at the moment are carrots with hummus and apples with almond butter. But if I need something a bit more satiating I do tend to lean to saltier foods like corn chips with guacamole or hot chips are my kryptonite… I actually rarely prepare my own lunch! Its always been the one meal I struggle with, having the motivation to make/decide what I want and working on the road a lot. Means its always easier to pick something up, As It can generally be your only opportunity to stop somewhere for the day. But I love staying hydrated throughout the day with coconut water!
When you’ve had a big day, how do you best relax? Are there some foods you like to prepare that help you unwind?
Haha if I’ve had a long day I usually just want to shower, eat and go to bed! So I’d probably treat myself to some takeaway… I’ve recently discovered all the great places with vegan options in my area, Pizza or Pasta always hits the spot, I definitely crave carbohydrates when I’m tired!
When it comes to eating out in your home town of Perth, what are your favourite places to visit? We’d love to hear your favourite brunch, lunch and dinner haunt!
Ooh I definitely have my GO-TO’s top four would have to be:
- Manna Wholefoods (South Fremantle – A little health food store and café where they serve food by the plate full for a reasonable price, you can catch me here for lunch followed by some grocery shopping at least a few times a week…)
- The Raw Kitchen (Fremantle- An 100% plant-based restaurant where the focus is on healthy and sustainable living! They also have a cute little store and serve vegan alcohol and house brewed kombucha)
- Nood café (Leederville- definitely somewhere newer to the scene, but actually the closest to where I’m living now…Their meal plans, catering and takeaway packs are second to none!)
- Loving Hut (Victoria Park- an international franchise, that serves all those things you think you’d “miss out” on as a vegan…they do a gluten free curry pie that has my name all over it)
Could you share the top five Instagram accounts you love and are inspired by?
For sure, most of these accounts are people I’ve also formed amazing friendships with;
- @minimalistbaker (a constant inspiration for recipes)
You obviously live a very busy lifestyle! Can you share some insights into how you plan your week? Do you have any tips for those hoping to embark on a blog and food Instagram, who are also studying something quite different, like yourself?
Ha-ha yes the work I do tends to mean I have super busy periods and then weeks of nothing, so it’s a fine balance. During the times I’m not so busy I’m conscious to create lots of content for those weeks were I’m doing 12hour+ days on set doing freelance fashion assisting and styling. I see my page @whatlizloves as just another creative outlet for myself! I enjoy cooking, and generally do it to relax so it’s the perfect balance. My recommendations to starting a food related Instagram page, would be only post what you genuinely like… and when you want to- don’t try force yourself into doing something you don’t enjoy.
We love hearing about how our Ambassadors consume Cocobella in their daily routines. What’s your favourite way to use Cocobella Liz?
Currently I’m obsessed with cooking using Cocobella, I used to think I was limited to just using the coconut water and yoghurt in sweet creations such as smoothies. But recently discovered how versatile it really is! And love using the coconut water in replace of coconut milk/cream in curries etc. along with the coconut yoghurt in dressings, dips or especially in Mexican dishes in place of sour cream
What are your favourite 5 ingredients to use in the kitchen and is there anything you make an effort to eat for nutritional value but find it difficult to enjoy eating on a regular basis?
Its so hard to narrow it down to my top 5 but here goes…
- Nutritional yeast (crucial to almost anything and everything, adds a “cheesy” flavour and is filled with essential vitamin B12)
- Potatoes – of any and every variety, I love sweet potatoes especially the purple skin/white flesh variety
- Figs are without a doubt my favourite fruit
- Avocados because avo?
- Anything Cocobella of course!!
I actually don’t really “hate” the taste of anything… perhaps the hardest thing (I’m slowly finding it easier) is taking blackstrap molasses for iron- I tend to dissolve it in some hot water with a slice of fresh ginger.
If it’s a special occasion and you feel like something a bit indulgent, how do you satisfy these cravings? Do you have a favourite naughty food or dish that you’ve found hard to replace being on a plant-based diet?
Ooh this really depends if I want something sweet or savoury- if its sweet I LOVE a good gluten free vegan chocolate cake!
If you were having some friends round for dinner, what would be on the menu?
A Mexican feast for sure! I recently made this for some friends and we had things such as a vegan cheese sauce, corn chips, tacos, salsa, guacamole, potato salad, slaw, tempeh, brussel sprouts and chilli beans!
What do you love most about creating and managing @whatlizloves? What would you say has been the biggest challenge for you in starting up and running your account?
Having an excuse to constantly eat out for sure! Haha and the lovely people and business owners I’ve met through the social platform. I don’t think I can name a challenging experience, as if I’ve every had enough I just log out for a few days. But I think it is also super important to remain authentic!
Are you a big fan of travelling outside of your hometown? Are there any Aussie and International destinations you’re dying to visit?
100% I’ve been fortunate enough to travel with my family from an early age and the last few years have travelled quite a bit for work! My next destinations I want to visit include India, where I’d love to immerse myself in their culture and complete some yoga training and New Zealand where I’d love to explore the vast land and perhaps do some hiking and site seeing. I’m also planning on travelling to Ireland to visit a good friend in Dublin and whilst I’m there I’d love to go back to London and Paris along with other European destinations such as; Amsterdam, Lake Annecy and Florence just to name a few Although I’ve already been to Europe and the US there are some specific places in each I’d love to go back to visit
We can tell you love food styling, what are your goals for this year with regards to @whatlizloves and are there any exciting projects coming up you’d like to share?
I sure do, as my job consists of styling clothes – it only feels natural to style food too! As silly as that might sound…people definitely eat with their eyes and how food is presented is the first element of experience. I’m happy for it to keep going as it is! There are a few cool collaborations in the works but nothing locked in yet- I know I am travelling again for work so can’t wait to share what I eat whilst I travel!
Thanks for chatting to us Liz!
Find Liz’s recipes for Vegan Popeye Pancakes with Herbed Jalapeño Cocobella Yoghurt here, and Vegan Tofu Laksa here.