Therese Elgquist is a food creator, cookbook author and food stylist. Among other things, she writes the delicious recipes on Food Pharmacy’s blog, is responsible for cooking at Yogiakademin and has published the books "The New Green Salad" and "The New Green Protein". On Instagram, she runs the account @plantbasedbythess where she shares plant-based food creations that makes your mouth water. We managed to get an interview with this inspiring woman who gives us some insight into the fairytale land of the plant kingdom. Plus we find out the benefits of a plant-based diet and why mindful eating is so important. Of course, we also have time to discuss sleep, morning routines and the weekend’s best breakfast.
When did your interest in food begin?
I have always been interested in food and it played a central role during my upbringing. I grew up with social gatherings such as Saturday breakfasts, picnics in the woods and excursions but it was in high school that I one day woke up (read: was saved) and felt that I wanted to eat all the vegetables I came across.
After high school I did an internship at Ica’s customer magazine Buffé, then I realized that you could actually work with cooking, photographing and styling food. This was exactly what I wanted to do. I started freelancing and in recent years I have arranged lectures and workshops, blogged, made podcasts, styled and written cookbooks. There are so many different projects where food is a central part and today many people are interested in food and health.
Describe your food philosophy
I want to share the benefits with plant-based food in a fun and exciting way. Today, there are so many rules and cues that tell us how to eat and what to avoid, but I don’t think that leads us anywhere.
One of my strongest driving forces when it comes to plant-based food is sustainability and the totality of the food. Today, our relationship to food is quite distorted. We do not think about where it was grown, produced and how it was transported. If you give a thought about how the food came here, I think more people would choose organic.
Food should nourish us, but should also be appreciated. Today we often eat in between meetings, in front of the TV or with music in our ears. It's a shame. I want to inspire people to have a different relationship to food and be more present, mindful when they eat. Let the meal be a little holy.
Why do you think you should eat a plant-based diet?
There are several different aspects – taste, health, the environment and the economic perspective. It is good to receive all the vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers but is also good for the intestinal flora that keeps us healthy. The intestinal flora actually affects both our mental and physical health.
What is the most common misconception about plant-based diets?
That you don't get enough protein, which is not true. As long as we eat enough food that is varied, it is extremely difficult to suffer from protein deficiency in this part of the world. For example, there are men and women in the in the elite sports world, who only eat plant-based diets.
That people do not feel full is about the feeling of satiety being somewhat distorted. Many people think that satiety is the feeling when you start to feel bad and you almost have to squat off the table. But satiety translates to the feeling of not feeling hungry.
When does your alarm clock go off? What does your morning routine look like?
The alarm clock goes off between 05.30–06.00 and I have the phone set to airplane mode. I like waking up to a brand new day where everything is calm and quiet, and do not want to receive any text messages that can burst my morning routine bubble. I usually make tea, light candles, meditate 5-20 minutes and exercise. In the bathroom I dry my hair, run tongue scraper, oil pulling and lubricate the body with oil.
When do you go to bed? What does your evening routine look like?
I try to go to bed no later than 22.00 on weekdays. I always think I should read in the evenings, but it never works. When I put my head against the pillow, I fall asleep immediately.
What do you have on the nightstand?
I actually do not have a bedside table. Otherwise, it would have been very messy. I have a small shelf above the bed with books, my Ayurvedic oils and a small succulent. Above the bed hangs my dream catcher.
What are your top recommendations for a good night's sleep?
Trying to unwind before bedtime – go for an evening walk and turn off social media. It's nice to clear your head. A recommendation is to use oils, it is cozy to feel for example lavender scent when you go to bed. And eat something good a few hours before bedtime!
True or false - eating in bed is a big no-no?
I love eating in bed!
Who would you like to cook and have dinner with?
Jamie Oliver! That would be awesome! And herbal of course!
Recipe Buckwheat and carrot porridge (2 servings)
1 dl oatmeal
1 1/2 dl buckwheat (soaked overnight, or at least 8 h.)
3 dl water
2 dl unsweetened almond milk
2 unpeeled carrots, finely grated
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
A pinch of salt, preferably unrefined
Apple and lingonberry compote (Swedish apples and lingonberries boiled in a saucepan)
Pour the oats, water, milk, carrot and spices into a saucepan – bring to the boil. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Rinse the buckwheat and pour into the saucepan to simmer for another 1 minute. Stir to get a creamy porridge, add a little more water or milk for the desired consistency. Salt to taste. Let the porridge cool and top with good toppings!