There’s only one word to describe Kayla’s content: refreshing. I’ve been admiring her vibe from afar for awhile, and for good reason. She manages to keep the mood of her food light and bright, while also maintaining a genuine dialogue with those who follow along. Her food is veggie-focused, inspiring, and simple yet elevated. I couldn’t wait to get to know her better – and once you read this feature you’ll be glad that you did too.
I officially made the switch when I was in university taking my Bachelors degree in Health Studies. I honestly had always kind of geared towards veggie based dishes, as I never liked meat very much growing up. I was super picky when it came to meat, the taste and texture just never really agreed with me. Anyways, while in university I learned about the environmental impact of animal agriculture and how we may be able to more efficiently feed our growing planet with a plant-based diet. That was the kicker for me. I felt that by eating a vegetarian diet, it not only helped me personally, but could also have the potential to create change on a global scale.
It sounds like learning about the environmental impact of animal agriculture really sealed the deal for you. You mentioned that this change to a vegetarian diet also helped you cultivate a healthier relationship with your body. How did that happen?
I used to struggle with disordered eating. I would starve myself and religiously count every calorie. I would eat things that may be low in calories but not actually have much nutritional value to them. My sole focus was on my weight and I never seemed to feel well. But once I started eating vegetarian (mostly vegan) I just felt so much more purposeful. I became passionate about how food affects our health, not just for weight loss, but how it physically and mentally makes you feel. I was struggling with stomach aches almost daily, but eating mostly vegan aided in almost eliminating those. I am definitely one of those people who thrives on a plant-based diet! I noticed that by naturally eating mostly plant-based, I was easily maintaining a healthy weight without having to worry about counting calories. I became passionate about cooking more and including as many vegetables as I could into each day.
It’s amazing how you’ve created that valuable connection between what you’re eating and how you feel. I love the importance you place on not just how you look on a certain diet but really how you feel.
You’re a mom of two young boys, and I know little ones can be picky eaters! What do they love that you make? What have you found to be a struggle when it comes to getting your kids to eat healthy?
Some of my kids’ fave meals are: broccoli – my kids are obsessed with it, it’s definitely my go-to vegetable for them. Lentil Bolognese spaghetti (I make a wicked hearty tomato sauce using lentils, grated carrots and zucchini). Tacos! – we use gardein veggie ground “meat” or even cauliflower rice as the meat base with spices like cumin and paprika. The kids love to add their own toppings like shredded lettuce, cucumbers and cheese, they love being part of the process of making their food. They love my healthy chocolate energy bars. I pack them full of flax, chia, hemp hearts, lots of nuts, oats and coconut and of course, some cocoa and mini chocolate chips. A win-win. Sometimes it can be a struggle as my boys have different tastes. So often, one kid will love what I’ve made, while the other wants nothing to do with it. It can be difficult finding a healthy meal that they both want at the same time, lol
Ah, of course it would work out that way, wouldn’t it! I love to hear that your boys love broccoli, and that enjoy other favourites like tacos and bars with a healthy twist.
But your kids aren’t the only ones you share your love of nutritious, delicious food with. You also do a “Monday Meal” – Can you tell us what that is and why you do it?
My Monday Meal came out of a more efficient way to cook for others. I have a lot of requests to private cook in people’s homes, but I can only fit so many clients into my day (plus I am really trying not to work “full-time” while my kiddos are so little). With my Monday meals, I am able to make a huge batch of meals and feed many different people. I come up with a different healthy and delicious plant-based meal each week that people can preorder and pick up on Monday. I love getting others excited about eating plant-based food. I’m obsessed with making healthy plant food taste amazing!
Well I’ve seen your dishes – those who get to experience them weekly are lucky indeed! What’s your go-to dish to bring to a potluck when you really want to impress the guests, but you don’t want to spend all of your time and money creating it?
Kale, roasted brussel sprout and balsamic blackberry salad. It’s a quick and elegant looking salad that impresses guests!
No doubt! I bet guests are stunned by both the flavour and your presentation. Now, this year has just begun, but I’m all about looking forward. What do you see for The Roasted Chickpea in 2019?
2019 is all about action for me. Last year was all about baby steps. But this year, I’m taking on larger projects and opportunities that I may have been scared to embark on previously. I hope to get my meals into some local stores and markets so they are more accessible to the public. I’m doing some cooking and food prep workshops, larger catering events and I’m also focusing a lot more on my website and online facets of my business.
Wow Kayla – that’s amazing! I can’t wait to see how you continue to bring your vibrant, gorgeous veggie-forward cooking to the masses. Thank you for helping us get to know you a little better. I can’t wait to see you accomplish all of your goals this year!
Check out Kayla’s website: www.theroastedchickpea.com
Follow her on Instagram: @theroastedchickpea
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