Getting Passionate About Plant Based Food With Therese Elgquist
Wanting to help celebrate the release of her second cookbook, we asked one of our favorite plant based foodies, Therese Elgquist, to let us in on the magic of cooking with veggies.
Therese Elgquist is keeping herself busy writing cookbooks and magazine articles, creating, styling, Instagramming and holding workshops and lectures on plant based food – always trying to come up with new ways of spreading the word about her life’s passion. We met this summer at a yoga retreat in France where she worked as head chef, and I tried to work on myself. This is how I got to experience the magic of her plant based food philosophy first hand, and let me tell you: I’ve never eaten so well or felt so good in my life.
Today is the launch day of her second cookbook, The New Green Protein, which is filled with delicious, contemporary recipes that really dashes any belief that you can’t feel strong, healthy – or full – living on a plant based diet. We talk about everything from food obsessions to mindful eating and how to waste less food.
How are you, and what is going on in your life right now?
– I feel great! I’ve probably had the best summer of my life; traveling, experiencing, spending a month in France, connecting with new people and old ones, doing what makes my heart bounce, feeling love, spending time with my family and other loved ones, running and doing nothing at all. I’ve felt more, been more grounded, dug deeper, dreamt bigger and been more at ease then I have in a long time. Now I’m really looking forward to the rest of this year, and a bunch of really exciting projects.
Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do!
– My name is Therese, but people call me Thess, and I’m a plant based cookbook author, food creator, writer and entrepreneur who loves to inspire others through the plant based food and lifestyle that I’m more than passionate about. I cook what I’d describe as nutritious, fun and delicious food, and I want to show as many people as possible that plant based food is really unpretentious and filled with wonderful flavors, textures and colors.
– I’m also really in to health – the whole spectra from the food I’m cooking and eating to being active, self care regimes, natural beauty, meditation and spirituality. Everywhere I hang out, I keep sharing my passion, ideas, thoughts and tricks on plant based food and health, and everything else that revolves it.
What is your food philosophy?
– Food should be enjoyable and nutritious – not about rules and diets. Use food as a key to finding your optimal health without it bringing a load of stress. It’s about nourishing and tasteful plant based food that is accessible yet new-thinking, delicious yet unpretentious, and exciting yet simple.
– Plant based may mean different things to different people, but what we do know is that for our health, the health of this planet, the animals and – not to forget – our creativity and taste buds, plant based is a good thing; and there is a whole world to explore!
How did you find your way into this way of cooking/eating?
– I’ve always loved to cook and eat food, even though I was very picky growing up. Fast forward to one day in high school when I basically woke up and was craving all the vegetables in the world. That’s when I started cooking with vegetables, and have been hooked ever since. For the past 10 years or so, I’ve been cooking and eating this way, discovering the magic plant based food has to offer and how well it makes me feel.
– A few years after my “discovery”, I was studying Media and Communications/Strategic Communication, and for my last term I interned at Swedish food magazine Buffé. There and then I realized that there are actually people working with this; writing about food, cooking, shooting, creating, talking, trying out, experiencing. That’s when I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do.
“I want to show as many people as possible that plant based food is really unpretentious and filled with wonderful flavors, textures and colors.”
What does mindful eating mean to you, and why should we all practise it?
– Mindful eating has really helped me improve my relationship with food and how I eat; to enjoy and appreciate it. For me, it’s about slowing down, being more conscious about the food I’m eating and all its characteristics. By practicing this way of eating you will most probably appreciate food even more, while at the same time helping your body to better absorb all the nutrition in the food. Also, you’re more likely to eat the amount of food that your body is really asking for, opposed to overeating. But do note that it’s not at all about following a diet or not eating even though you’re hungry – it’s about getting to know your body, its signals and mechanics.
What are your best tips for how to avoid throwing away food?
– Think outside the box and explore new and different ways of using the ingredients. Try to make several different things with the same ingredient throughout the week. That way the possibilities are endless, and there will always be something you can cook. When it comes to leftovers I try to make new things with it, for example: if I made roasted root veggies yesterday, I might make a root veggie soup today, topped with some leftover quinoa from two days before. That’s how I cook all the time.
What is a sustainable food consumption to you?
– It’s about eating seasonal, choosing local produce as much as possible, and not throwing away food. It’s also about not overeating or over-consuming. What I mean by this is: as we have food around us pretty much all the time, we tend to eat more or less all the time without really paying attention or questioning if we really need all that food. Then it’s also about choosing plant based food, exclusively or in large part, as it in most cases have less of an impact on the environment than for example animal produce.
– The not-throw-away-thing is about not throwing away leftovers, but it’s also about using the entire produce. For example: did you know that you can use the broccoli stem too, not only the florets? All this is much easier to accomplish if you’re flexible with your cooking. That is, cooking according to what’s in your fridge or what’s available in the grocery store instead of what you planned for this day last week.
What is your current food obsession?
– My all-time favorite food obsession is nuts and seeds – as butter or in its natural form. I have it with everything. Other than that I’m really craving beets and kale right now. Preferably baked beets and kale chips with some beluga lentils, some kind of coleslaw, creamy hummus and toasted nuts. My obsessions changes with the seasons, and after a summer with lots of light greens I’m really looking forward to all the veggies autumn has to offer.
Finally: What’s up next?
– My second book The New Green Protein is out in just a week [August 28], so it’s quite a lot of work revolving that. Then I have a couple of really exciting meetings during the upcoming weeks regarding a project that is still to be kept a secret. In these weeks I’m also setting my intentions for the rest of the year – both personally and for my business. That’s a way for me to see where I’m heading, manifesting my dreams and make sure I do what I really want.
– In September I’m off to the Stockholm archipelago for a couple of retreats, kicking off an autumn filled with workshops, photoshoots, writing, cooking and other fun things!
Stay tuned for an exclusive preview of the Golden Millet Porridge recipe (pictured above) from The New Green Protein, coming up here on Make it last later this week!
The New Green Protein by Therese Elgquist. Bonnier Fakta, 2018.
No Plastic Straws All Summer. Are You Up for the Challenge?
Let's save the environment – one plastic straw at the time. Here's how to stay off the single-use stuff this summer (and beyond).
Learning Scandinavian Minimalism From Interior Designer Elisabeth Heier
Norwegian interior designer Elisabeth Heier is one of our biggest inspirations when it comes to timeless and long-lasting style.
New Podcast and In-Season Veggies with Plant-Based Chef Therese Elgquist
When the brilliant mind behind Plant Based by Thess releases a podcast on sustainability, we'll obviously have some questions.
Editor's Letter: A Tribute To the Emmas and Gretas
"Emma relates to the planet, and to existence–things larger than our own lives–more hands-on than I will ever do."