Alyssa Rimmer is the mastermind behind the blog Simply Quinoa. Her blog is dedicated to healthy recipes with a heavy emphasis on quinoa. All of the recipes are delicious and good for you so we decided we wanted to find out more about Alyssa and her blog. Hopefully our interview with Alyssa will inspire you all to get creative with healthy ingredients!
When did you initially turn to healthy eating or is it something that you grew up with?
Healthy eating has always been an important part of my life. Growing up in a small town in Vermont, we had a lot of access to local produce and my parents made a point of incorporating fruits, vegetables and whole grains into our meals. It wasn’t until after college though that I really started to understand what healthy eating truly meant.
I was struggling with stomach pains and decided to remove gluten and dairy from my diet. My food world turned completely upside down, but my symptoms went away. And so I started teaching myself to cook.
In the beginning, I was still eating a lot of processed foods – pasta, crackers, cereals – but as I became more comfortable in the kitchen, I began incorporating more whole food, fresh produce and local meats into my diet. I instantly noticed that I felt better in my own skin, my digestion was back on track and the rest is kind of history!
All of your recipes seem equally delicious! How do you come up with so many new ways to use quinoa?
Thank you! My inspiration comes from a variety of places really, but I’d say the most comes from cookbooks, magazines and Pinterest. I spend a lot of time browsing and will end up picking different pieces of a recipe and bringing them together to create my own spin. I also live in New York City where there is so much amazing food, so I will sometimes also pull my inspiration from meals I’ve had at restaurants.
What is it about quinoa in particular that you love so much?
My favorite thing about quinoa is its versatility. There is so much you can do with it and to me, it never gets boring. From breakfasts, to salads, to burgers, all the way to desserts, it’s fairly simple to sneak some quinoa in. And what’s great about that, is you get the added nutritional value of the quinoa into your meals (and even sweet treats!).
Do you think that becoming a food blogger has changed the way that you think about what you eat?
I do. Since becoming a food blogger I have found that I push myself a little more to get outside my comfort zones. I also think that it’s helped expand my palate. I used to be kind of picky, or would eat the same thing almost everyday, but now I love so many more types of food and am much more adventurous when we go out to eat.
What advice would you give to those just starting out on their healthy eating journey?
Take it slow. If your current diet is really high in processed foods or you don’t currently eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, start with just one meal of the day. I always suggest breakfast because I find it’s the easiest since you can whip up a really nourishing smoothie that is filled with fruits and vegetables. Once that starts to become more of a routine, move on to your other meals, making sure you’re eating at least one serving of fruits or vegetables at each meal. As that becomes more comfortable, you can start increasing the amount of vegetables and decreasing the more processed or refined foods like pasta, rice, potatoes and meat.
Do you have any tips for how you take such beautiful photos of your recipes?
Photography has been a long process for me and the biggest thing I’ve learned is that you need to have patience. It’s not something you can simply pick up, start shooting and expect to suddenly have amazing photos. You need to practice, learn how to use your camera, and understand your light. Light is the most important aspect of photography, so I always recommend that people play with different lighting situations so they can start to see how it affects their photos and find a style that works for them. I always shoot with natural light, but for example, I need to change the time of day of shoot my photos depending on the season. If you’re new to photography, take a few hours and play around with shooting a bowl of fruit. Test different angles, different spaces in your home or studio, different settings on your camera, etc. and you will start to get a sense of how light works.
Which of the recipes on your blog is your absolute favourite?
Oh man that’s a really tough one! Can I pick my top three? For breakfast it would have to be my Maple-Pecan Quinoa Breakfast Bowl because it’s comforting, perfectly sweet and packed with nutrition. For dinner, I’d have to go with my Quinoa Pizza; I’m an Italian girl at heart and really miss a good slice of pizza! And for a sweet treat, I’d have to go with my Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies; these are a recipe that I come back to over and over and over again and every time they get absolutely devoured.