Remy is the blogger behind the vibrant and inspiring Veggiekins Instagram page and YouTube channel! We chatted to Remy about her inspirations, lifestyle and blog...
My blog Veggiekins is largely based around vegan food and food inspiration for healthy meals. It has slowly become more of a reflection of my other interests as well, like lifestyle, yoga, wellness, fitness and spirituality (e.g. crystals, essential oils, meditation) and life in New York City and wherever I travel!
When did you start food blogging on Instagram and what inspired you to start?
I actually started my blog by accident. I made the instagram account when I was working with a nutritionist to restore weight when I was struggling with an eating disorder. We used it to work towards accountability, making sure I ate meals according to my prescribed meal plan at the time. I connected my Instagram to my Facebook account and it followed all my friends, so the secret was out but since I still had to use the account, I decided to make my food prettier and more decorative so that at least it was somewhat interesting to look at! Through hashtags I also found not only a vegan community but also an eating disorder recovery community so I didn't want to lose that either. The more people that followed, the more I felt accountable to eat. It was almost like if I didn't post three meals a day, I felt like I would let someone other than myself down, so in a way it really did help to keep me on track.
How long have you been vegan and what inspired you?
I've been vegan now for just over 2 years. Initially it was a very selfish decision, to improving my health. I had always struggled with stomach pains and I decided to give dairy-free a try, seeing as many people have an intolerance to dairy. I happened to find a lot of vegan recipes and after about a week I decided to cut all animal products, just to try. When the week was up, I tried to go back to having small amounts of animal protein but immediately felt the difference in my body and couldn't give up feeling so great and healthy. I've been vegan since then! Of course, the more I immersed myself into the vegan lifestyle and community, the more I learned and it only helped to reinforce my reasons for being vegan. I became more interested in the environment, animal rights, and health and nutrition. I didn't go vegan to recover from an eating disorder but I did find that it helped my recovery because it gave me a reason to feel good about eating. I knew that my food choices were so much more than just eating, it was eating for the planet, for animals and humanity.
What are the biggest challenges and greatest rewards of being a food/lifestyle blogger?
The biggest challenge is probably that I can actually be quite picky! Sometimes I want to garnish my food for photos, but know that I won't actually enjoy it if i do... For example, I really dislike cilantro, but I know that if I make tacos and want to photograph them, it does add a really nice touch!! I also always have extra food, especially when I am recipe testing. Usually I'll just save it for leftovers, or give it to friends but when it comes to dessert.... I might end up eating dessert for meals sometimes oops!
The greatest reward is when someone reaches out to me and tells me that I've somehow made an impact on their life, no matter how small. It could be that they decide to have a healthier meal once in a while, or that they try out a vegan restaurant, it's just a really rewarding feeling to be able to have a positive influence in some way.
When you're not blogging, what do you like to do in your spare time?
When I'm not blogging I'm usually out in nature. I live in a city and I am very much a city girl who enjoys busy, fast-paced life but I find real happiness in the ocean, mountains, forests, just being out in open air-there's nothing like it. You can also often find me at yoga classes, the gym, art galleries, the farmer's market, or traveling somewhere new. I love to travel whenever I can because I was raised moving frequently and have just become so accustomed to it!
Your photos are always styled so nicely, what tips and tricks can you share to assist in creating such great images?
Thank you! I think having good lighting is 90% of taking a great photo. It brings out the colour in your food, the contrast, the textures, and makes for the least amount of editing afterwards (if any!). If your photo situation is dark, you can also brighten up a space or an image by adding in pops of white. For example, a white tee shirt as a background will reflect any available light, or throwing in a white tea towel in the corner of your shot will also brighten up the entire shot. Also, it can be tempting to go overboard with colours and toppings for decoration, but oftentimes less is more. Sticking to one main colour, or 2-3 is better than having too many, and toppings are often more beautiful when used delicately rather than overwhelming a dish. Lastly, using beautiful produce will make a beautiful dish so much easier to achieve! But then again, all healthy food is beautiful!!!
You’re lucky enough to live in lively New York! What is your favourite thing about living there and where is your favourite place to eat?
I love the energy of the city. I don't think there are any other cities that have the same high energy and pace of life. Things are always changing, there is always an endless list of things to do and try and I've lived there for so long but I know I'll never come close to trying every single restaurant, visiting every gallery, neighbourhood, store etc. It's not a huge city, but it's full of life! I also love that it's a real mix of people from all over the place. Having grown up internationally, I feel most comfortable being around a diverse group of people and you can definitely find that in New York.
My favourite place to eat is... this is a hard one. I would have to say Peacefood Cafe is one of my favourites because the dumplings there are amazing! They also have great salads and nourish bowls so I love that it's delicious vegan food, but you still leave feeling good because it's healthy too. And of course because I have a huge sweet tooth, all their dessert options and baked goods are a plus for me. I also love 00+co, a beautiful pizza restaurant by Matthew Kenney, which is all vegan and such a lovely dining experience.
When I'm in a more indulgent mood, I'd go for Champs Diner which has classic diner foods like pancakes, chicken and waffles, all the things you'd never think vegans could eat--veganized and Screamer's Pizza which has the best New York style veganized pizzas.
Your Instagram feed is so bright and beautiful! Where do you source all of your fruit and veg from?
Most of my fruit and veg come from the Farmer's Market, or this organic farm delivery service that sends fresh fruit and veg from the local community farms weekly. When I am in New York, most of my staples come from Trader Joe's grocery store, and the other half comes from the farmer's market which I think is just so much fun to visit. All the colourful foods and sort of odd, beautifully strange produce usually comes from the farmer's market and I really love supporting small farms too. I've come to make friends with a lot of the farmers too and they really have taught me a lot about different produce and variations, as well as how to pick better produce in general!
What’s your favourite go-to breakfast?
I have 3 go-tos and all are sweet :P Oatmeal with berries of some kind, oat pancakes or nice cream.
If you could live off one ingredient for the rest of your life what would it be?
I'd have to say sweet potatoes!!!
You serve up some pretty amazing dishes in our Coconut Bowls! What has been your favourite so far?
My favourite is probably soba noodle salad! For a while I used to reserve my Coconut Bowls for nice cream and smoothie bowls, but I think the bright colours of the salad really pop against the dark coconut shell :)
What is your favourite thing about your Coconut Bowls?
I love that it's eco-friendly. Over the past few years I've really tried to modify my lifestyle and work towards becoming more zero-waste and green so Coconut Bowls are perfect in that sense. They are also really lightweight, and great to travel with which is important for me. Because I spent a lot of my life growing up in Thailand, they also really give me a sense of home in a strange way.
Be inspired and follow Remy's journey over at @veggiekins