Aflete loves chocolate, maybe almost as much as Sarah – the young lady behind Holy_Cacao on Instagram where she shares her love of all things sweet and delicious with over 25,000 followers.
We are committed to bringing you the most exciting and interesting people in the social sphere sharing food, health and fitness inspiration so Aflete took the opportunity to catch up with Sarah and find out more about the woman behind the indulgent and delicious pictures on Instagram.
As incredibly delicious and unhealthy as all these treats look, Sarah is actually incredibly talented in creating health conscious treats without compromising on flavor.
Enjoy the interview…
Q Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do for anyone who hasn’t come across your Instagram before?
My name is Sarah, I’m 16 and I’m from Australia. I love chocolate, movies, writing, chocolate, travelling, running and chocolate. I got into health and fitness just over a year ago when I decided that I was tired of feeling uncomfortable about myself and that I was going to make a change to my lifestyle. I’ve had my ups and downs but it was one of the best decisions of my life. Plus, somewhere along the way I developed a love of healthy cooking which I took to Instagram last January!
Q Where did you develop your love of cacao?
I’ve always been an enthusiastic chocolate fan, ever since I was little. When I made the decision to lead a healthier lifestyle, however, to be honest I thought that I’d have to give it up. But after doing a little research and checking out my local health food store, I discovered cacao! Not only does it have a fuller and richer flavour than normal chocolate, cacao is minimally processed, raw and contains far more antioxidants than any other food. Thus these health benefits combined with its utter deliciousness cemented cacao as an important and my favourite part of my diet.
Q Is cacao your favourite or are there other sweets you like just as much?
Anything cacao is hands down my favourite thing to eat, but my other favourite sweets are treats made with dates like date-caramel and sticky date pudding as well as bananas!
Q You are very young (16 years old), most people your age have no idea about cooking and food – when did you start and why has it been beneficial for you to take an interest at a young age?
I used to bake sometimes with my mum when I was younger, but I started cooking myself a year ago. I believe that it’s very beneficial for teenagers to learn to cook healthy meals and treats as it helps to set them up for adult life. Young people often reach for pizza and fast food because they have no experience in the kitchen, so I believe learning to cook at an early age will encourage healthier adult lifestyles. I know personally that being able to cook for myself has given me a greater sense of responsibility and individuality.
Q Your creations look like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate factory – where do you get your inspiration for such aesthetically pleasing deserts?
I get my inspiration from Instagram, foodie magazines and my favourite blogs- but I always love to put my own twist on everything. I love to experiment with colours and textures, and have gradually found what works and looks best on camera. Generally I start out with whatever food I feel like (whether that’s pancakes or ice-cream) and then I go a bit overboard with the toppings! It’s definitely the most fun part!
Q Your desserts and treats look like they would be so unhealthy – how do you go about recreating delicious treats without the naughtiness?
“Healthi-fying” desserts is possibly my favourite part of my cooking. While most people love ice-cream and cupcakes, these foods aren’t the best for our bodies. So making these treats with healthy ingredients is great because you get the taste without the hidden nasties. When I recreate a certain recipe I like to first research the internet for ideas and then think about what healthy substitutions could be made and what flavours would work. This doesn’t always work out the first time around, but with practice and trial and error I’ve certainly gotten better!
Q Many people think low fat / “healthy” versions of treats just don’t taste as good as the real thing. What is your philosophy on this?
They’re right. I’m serious, I mean… of course a cookie made from flour and butter won’t taste the same as one made with almond meal and coconut oil. That being said, I’ve had vegan brownies that taste ten times better than their sugar-filled cousins. It’s all about getting used to the different flavours and textures, and realizing that how it makes you feel on the inside is the most important. It’s also important to figure out what works with you and what you like. Once you grasp these concepts and become accustomed to these ingredients, I can assure you that you’ll choose a healthy treat over its fatty counterpart any day.
Q Is it hard to be a fitness enthusiast like you but also have a sweet tooth?
Not at all! My sweet tooth used to limit my and make me lethargic, but I’ve learnt to work with it to discover heaps of energy! I believe that my smoothies, bliss balls and protein brownies are what help me to do as much exercise as I do. There has been mixed nutritional opinions in regards to sugar as of late, but for me, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am without my healthy, sweet treats.
Q How has social media helped you?
Instagram has definitely been one of the driving forces behind my health journey. It’s motivated and inspired me, and I’ve also made friends along the way!
Q Why do you choose to share you creations and recipes online?
I used to search the internet for ages for the recipes I needed, but this was often rather difficult. So I started to make my own, and after perfecting them and taste-testing with friends and family, I thought it would be a good idea to go online! A blog was too much work at the time, so I decided to go with Instagram. Helping people and seeing people recreate my desserts is just the best feeling, and that’s what keeps me doing what I do.
Q Your food is much more than just food, it’s so beautifully creative, indulgent but incredibly healthy too – what impact do you hope to leave / how do you hope to inspire people?
I’m just so flattered that anyone enjoys my posts to be honest! I started it as a bit of fun, and I hope that one day it could be more than that too. I truly hope that my posts can bring a smile to someone’s face and inspire them to lead healthier lives. But ultimately I want to impart the message that while health is such significant part of our lives, inner happiness is the most important. It doesn’t matter how many green smoothies you drink or how many calories you burned if you don’t enjoy life and aren’t happy with who you are as a person.
Q How would you feel about a social platform exclusively for food, health and fitness? Do you think it would have any benefits over the existing social media experience that isn’t specifically for that audience? Would you want to use it?
I would love that! I absolutely love Instagram for its food, health and fitness community, but it would be awesome to have another social media platform for motivation! I think that targeted posts and content that are specific to the user would definitely create a more valuable experience.
Q How can people see more of you and your incredible recipes?
At the moment I am only on Instagram, but I hope to expand to a blog in the near future! So in the meantime, check me out at @holy_cacao.