#MyBlogLife: We Meet Blogger Aoife Howard AKA The GoodFood Goddess

When Aoife isn't blogging, she's busy studying Medicine and here she fills us in on all the lovely, delicious things we should be eating.

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Name: Aoife Howard
Age: 20
Studying: Medicine
Blog: thegoodfoodgoddess.com

What camera do you use and how do you take such beautiful photos?

I use a Canon 100D. Even though I’ve had it for about six months, I’m still not completely sure how to use it, so getting the right shot is definitely a trial and error process. My top tip would be to find good lighting, ideally natural sunlight which is easier said than done in Ireland.

How has studying medicine helped you understand food?

I guess it has made me appreciate the benefits of eating well. As they say prevention is the best medicine and while diet can’t cure illness, it can affect your likelihood of developing many conditions such as type 2 diabetes and even certain forms of cancer.

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What does a day on your plate look like?

During the week I usually have porridge topped with spiced almond butter, fruit and a little sprinkle of gingernut granola. Then when I have more time at the weekend, I love things like baked beans or my baked pear and hazelnut porridge.

For lunch, I usually have a salad which can vary greatly depending on what I have in the fridge. On Sunday, I’ll make up a salad dressing which I keep in the fridge for the week, something like a tahini or Asian dressing.

For dinner, I love my warming courgette and butternut squash tagine or a really simple teriyaki glazed salmon with lots of vegetables. I’m such a snacker too so I’ll often have things like hummus, roasted chickpeas or nuts and fruit to nibble on. If I want something sweet, I’ll have a chia and cacao ball (which I keep in the freezer) and at the weekend I’ll make something like an apple and raspberry oat crumble.

What are your favourite recipes to make?

One of my current favourite recipes to make is my kale, Brussels sprout and sweet potato salad which has an amazing maple tahini dressing that I could literally drink! I also really love my chocolate brownie cake recipe and my raw salted caramel cheesecake.

Are you a vegetarian?

I’m not a vegetarian but I base my diet around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans and pulses. I also eat a good deal of fish which I love, especially oily fish. I try to view things like fish and eggs as an accompaniment to my meals rather than the main focus. My diet isn’t perfect but for me it works.

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Easiest but most delicious recipe?

I love making my avocado, roasted red pepper, hazelnut pesto. It goes so well with everything, it’s especially lovely over ripe avocado and only takes seconds to make.

How often can you eat the healthy but delicious treats on your blog?

Personally I like to have little treats often, rather than eating too much in one go. There are recipes on my blog for things like my cacao and chia balls which are the perfect size to have with your cup of tea. There are also more indulgent recipes like almond butter mars bars and raw white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake,  I wouldn’t recommend eating them for breakfast though!

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How long before you started to see an improvement in your skin after changing your diet?

I know that diet won’t help everyone’s skin, but for me it really made such a difference. I honestly began to see an improvement in about four to six weeks.

Did certain foods help?

Incorporating good fats into my diet really helped. I added in things like nuts, nut butters, oily fish, chia seeds and avocado. I also slowly increased not just the amount of vegetables I ate, but the variety too.

Do you ever eat bad foods anymore?

I feel like my taste for certain foods has changed. I don’t really crave the foods that I used to love, like really sweet things and jellies. I think you have to find what works for you. I’m happy making my own mars bars rather than buying one. You have to find a balance and it’s different for every person.

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Is it expensive to eat clean?

Eating well isn’t about eating expensive super powders and exotic superfoods, but rather about returning to basics and eating fresh whole foods. In Ireland, we have so many of our own inexpensive superfoods like oats, carrots and beetroots.

My shopping is always based around vegetables, fruits and whole grains which are inexpensive as well as things like beans and pulses which are wonderfully economical sources of protein. I also make my own nut butters which are obviously cheaper than buying them and really simple to make.

Five healthy things we should do every day?

  • Eat breakfast. I know not everyone agrees with this but if I don’t have breakfast I can’t function and the only thing I can think of is food.
  • Carry snacks. I always have some almonds or a piece of fruit floating around my handbag that way I never get too hungry.
  • Get a lunchbox. Making your own lunches is such a great way to make a simple but meaningful change in your diet,
  • Freeze extra portions.  I always have extra portions of soups, stews and curries frozen so all I have to do is defrost it and I have a nutritious dinner in seconds.
  • Drink water. It’s really easy to carry bottled water around with you to sip at during the day. I often find that what I think is hunger is actually just thirst.

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What’s holding us back from losing the weight we want to shift?

I think our increasingly busy lifestyles are often at fault and quite simply conspire against us when it comes to leading healthy lives and shifting that extra weight. That’s why with the blog I try to post recipes that are simple and don’t require loads of ingredients or time. I want to show that often it can be just as quick to make something nutritious at home as it is to get a takeaway.

Five ingredients we should make sure to include in our shop or have in our cupboard?

Olives, tomato puree, spices, tahini and oats.

Wanna be a part of #MyBlogLife? It runs online weekly and in the magazine monthly, too. To be considered, you need to have a personal blog. Join STELLAR’s Facebook group, open to all personal bloggers, or drop an email to info@stellar.ie, telling us why we should feature you.