Meet Michelle Chen, the vegan dessert guru behind @run2food on Instagram!
When did you start to follow a vegan diet and what inspired you to go plant-based?
I went plant-based on Christmas Eve in 2015. I worked at a health food café during my summer holiday and the chef was vegan and really good at cooking vegan food. I was curious and started asking more questions and doing my own research and I’ve never looked back since.
Was it difficult to move away from meat and what tips would you give someone who wants to eat more of a plant-based diet?
I was actually that weird kid who loved eating fruit and vegetables, so the transition
to a vegan diet was quite easy for me. Growing up in China, plant-based protein options like tofu and legumes were already a big part of my diet and something I enjoyed eating. The only things I struggled with initially were egg and dairy products in common desserts, but I quickly found ways to make my own vegan versions which were just as delicious. Click here to check out my blog with my top tips for ingredient swaps!
My tops tips for eating more plants
Figure out your why
In order for any change to happen and for you to commit to it, your brain needs a good reason to do it. Whether it’s for ethical, health or environmental reasons, definitely figure out your “why” first.
Adapt your favourites
With a little bit of tweaking, most traditional recipes can be adapted to being plant-based. Give yourself some extra time to when planning and cooking and be open minded. There are lots of plant-based meats, milk and cheese options available too, which is helpful for the initial transition. However, it’s still a good idea to try incorporate colourful, whole, plant foods to help meet your nutritional needs.
Connect with other like-minded people who support your goals
It could be on the internet, a local community group or even a family member or friend. Aside from the accountability side of things, it’s always more fun doing something when others are doing it too as you can exchange ideas and feel like you aren’t doing it alone.
Where do you get ideas for your delicious recipes from?
I draw inspiration for my recipes from several places. Sometimes it could be something I eat out at a café/restaurant or a treat I see in the cabinet. Sometimes I walk through the supermarket and get reminded of sweet treats that I used to love as a kid and feel inspired to go and make my own vegan version. Other times it’s childhood Asian dishes I used to love and I feel inspired to create and share these with my community.
What’s your favourite vegan treat and why?
My favourite vegan treat would need to be my snickers slice! I love anything with peanut butter, caramel and chocolate, it honestly is the best dessert flavour combo in my humble opinion. This slice is always incredible when put on a warm bowl of oats as the heat melts it and it becomes incorporated into the oats as a gooey delicious mess!
What are the three essential ingredients you can’t live without and why?
My three essential ingredients would be nuts, protein powder and chocolate. Nuts are amazing for adding crunch and can also be blended to make nut butters which adds a creamy richness to treats. Protein powder is so versatile in dessert recipes in terms not only adding protein content but also adding flavour and texture. Finally, chocolate makes every treat better and the way to elevate any treat is to coat it with a drizzle of vegan chocolate. Coconut oil is an awesome ingredient to help create vegan choc, click here to check out my Healthier Rocky Road recipe.
What are the three essential kitchen items you can’t live without and why?
A high-speed blender
The best investment ever if you want to make super thick smoothie bowls or use it to break down nuts, make nut butters, protein balls, date paste etc.
Because how else am I supposed to make a good old vegan brownie?!
Silicone baking moulds
These saves me the effort of having to grease/line individual moulds plus they’re great for oven use or fridge use as the treats just pop out of them super easily