I am way beyond excited to introduce this new segment on my blog. I just don’t even know the word for it.
Something I’m really loving about this whole blogging thing is the sense of community. We can contact pretty much anyone through social media, which means that it’s possible to start a conversation with people whose ideas or work really inspire us. While I’ve been setting up Nibl, I’ve met some really amazing people online. There are so many incredible people sharing inspiration, information and all-round magic online and I’d like to introduce some of my favourites to you!
I’m so thrilled that my very first guest is the very lovely Jessica Murnane from One Part Plant. We first “met” more than a year ago when I stumbled upon her blog, and submitted a tongue-in-cheek entry to a competition she was running. Within the space of a few emails, she kicked some serious butt from halfway around the world and inspired me more than she will probably ever know. From Chicago, she has played a big role in helping me get Nibl off the ground – so it is especially cool to be interviewing her around the anniversary of Nibl’s creation.
Five things I love about Jessica:
1. She is seriously gifted in the inspiration department. I told her (in maybe my second email) about how I wanted to start a blog and business, with the aim of inspiring people to improve their health through eating more plant-based food. I said that I was hesitating; I couldn’t get any momentum. And she told me to just do it; she said “People will see your passion shine through. Even if it takes time to get it to where you want it to be. And be good to yourself…So, should we set a date? But the end of the summer (her summer, my winter – this was in June 2013) – you will have a site to share?” That really made me think – whoa, this woman in Chicago is actually expecting me to do this thing! So I just did it.
2. Her recipes rock. She has a great e-book called A Year of Cookies (molasses oatmeal cream pies are very popular in my house), and her recipes for Mediterranean pie with baba ganoush and veggie caesar salad are particularly delish. (She also managed to sneak a smoothie recipe into her answers below). And her food photography is spectacular (all of the images in this post were provided by Jessica).
3. She’s everywhere – she’s on TV, she has a weekly podcast, she’s in magazines, she plantifies restaurant menus, she’s going to be in a documentary. She blogs, she tweets, she’s on facebook and instagram. I have no idea how she does it all. She’s out there – in a really good way.
4. She writes about more than food – her podcasts cover all kinds of topics, like creativity, and taking risks, and brewing beer! Her blog covers how to keep that holiday feeling alive, adoption, taking charge of your own health, filling your life with what matters most, and so much more.
5. She is really, really funny. And she loves hats.
I know, that’s more than five things. I could go on, but I have to stop. Over to Jessica:
1. How did the whole nutrition/wellbeing thing grab you by the horns?
I really did it out of necessity. If I’m being real, I really didn’t want to grab this wellness thing by the horns. I wanted to keep eating candy and frozen pizzas and call it a day. But when I was faced with a hysterectomy because of my endometriosis…something had to be done. I didn’t want the surgery, so I tried to fix my pain with good food (a plant-based diet). And it worked. Now, I can’t imagine eating any other way! It took time and some dedication to get here. But, man, it was all worth it.
2. What’s the essence of your message, in 10 words or less?
Spreading the good word on good food.
3. Favourite three plant-based ingredients, and why?
1. Nutritional yeast – because it really can make things taste cheesy
2. Almond butter – because dipping a stalk of celery in a jar of it has saved me many times from turning into a mean hungry person
3. Coconut milk – curries, chia pudding, whipped coconut cream…need I say more?
4. Are you a juice person or a smoothie person?
I just started switching it up! I used to be a FULL ON juice maniac. But lately I’ve been leaning more on smoothies. I think my body wanted a little change. My current favorite is acai, blueberries, celery, chard and coconut water.
5. Which of your recipes/blog posts are you most thrilled with and why?
The ones that people read. Kidding! No, I’m serious. But really, it makes me so happy when people are able to connect with something I wrote and maybe help them feel like they’re not alone. And then I don’t feel alone knowing there is someone else out there too.
6. Most food/wellness bloggers seem to be really busy people – what’s your secret to juggling all those balls?
Sometimes I feel like I’m dropping a lot of those balls. But lately, I’ve been trying really hard to just give myself a pass more. Be patient with myself. And be proud of what I’ve accomplished already. I’ve learned that most creative people struggle with not ever feeling like they’re producing enough (and good enough) work. I’ve been trying to be more mindful of what I have done and not all that I have to do. This is a work in progress.
7. Who inspires you the most?
Dan Jividen. He is the most patient, kind, thoughful, funny human being on the planet. Which is a boring answer for a blog interview, because he’s not on social media and doesn’t have a website. No links to click! But sometimes you can catch a glimpse of him on my Instagram or my website.
8. What are you super-excited about right now?
I am so excited about my new podcast I love asking people questions and getting to the root of what makes them special. Now, I get to show off the people that inspire me and inspire others with their stories.
9. What is something about you that might surprise people?
My iPhone case is an old photo of Dr J (Julius Erving from the 76ers). I am big NBA fan. Whenever my phone is laying on the table at party, at least a few people say “whose case is THAT?!”. Mine. Thank you very much.
10. Who would be at your ultimate dinner party? What would you serve?
Dr. J (see above)
Man Ray (back from the grave)
Marc Maron (he might make it weird or awesome)
Drake (for some sensitive tunes)
Rose from The Great Lakes (she’s the coolest)
I might be too nervous to cook. Especially since Man Ray would be a ghost and Marc Maron is so picky. So, I’d have it catered by Gracias Madre in Cali and Found Kitchen in Chicago. And then desserts by Nibl, obviously. Wait, are you cool with making the desserts?
Jessica, cheers to you – I’m so glad we met, and here’s a chance for Nibl readers to get to know you too! Yes of course – I totally have you covered for the desserts – we just need to work out the logistics of shipping them from New Zealand to Chicago. But I get the feeling that with you, anything is possible!