1. You began with your blog ‘Including Cake’ in August 2011, what inspired you to start a blog then and what inspires you to keep it going?
I began my blog whilst in a relationship with a vegan. I was keen to cook him lovely meals and treats and so spent hours scouring the internet for recipes ideas and tips. Over time the plant-based lifestyle simply became my way of living. Also, I felt so much more ‘alive’ eating that way and then I also began to create recipes using the healthiest ingredients. As I found myself developing more unique recipes and relying less on the recipes of others, combined with my love of photography… the idea to begin my own blog became obvious. That said, I had no idea at that point in time just how much time and effort running a blog would involve!!
2. What are your favourite vegan and health and fitness blogs?
Whilst I follow a lot of vegan blogs (and many other health eating not exclusively vegan blogs), I don’t follow so many fitness blogs. I am very into fitness myself but it’s not something I’ve really followed in the blog world. A small selection of my favourites are: Oh She Glows, Health Happy Life, Deliciously Ella, Fat-free Vegan Kitchen. For my self development I love Zen habits.
3. What advice do you have for newbie vegan bloggers?
I began by taking recipe inspiration from other bloggers, cookbooks and websites to get a ‘feel’ for things… that soon turned into applying my own spin to recipes. It quickly becomes intuitive. For example I’m a little obsessed with oatmeal, so i’d ask myself instead of serving this straight up in a bowl for breakfast, what if I tweaked the ratios and baked it? Little tweaks can turn recipes into totally new concepts. As with all food blogs I truly believe photography is an important part. ‘We eat with our eyes’ and I would encourage all food bloggers to get familiar with their camera and take the best photos possible. Also begin interacting with other vegan bloggers and on social media, if you like the look of a dish that they’ve created don’t be shy to share the love! Over time that will be reciprocated and you’ll reach more and more people.4. When did you have the idea for your business, Whole Plus and what was the final push that made you give up your steady 9-5 job?
5. What is the philosophy behind your brand?
6. Do your products play a part in fitness nutrition?
7. Tell us about your Whole Plus products? What is currently in your range?
Hot-Pots: These are a unique product since they are a vegan, sugar free instant porridge sachet to be mixed-up with hot water in a mug.
My products are aimed at active people, those with intollerances and those simply looking for a heath sweet fix. The fitness industry is a key player and was my original market but it has expanded so far beyond and these days I let my customers dictate my development route as ultimately I want to create healthy treats and cater for as many people as possible.
9. What are the main ingredients in your products and why are they important?
Dates are the source of sweetness in the products and is also what binds the ingredients together. I also use coconut (instead of nuts) so that the products are more suitable for those with nut allergies and also for school lunch boxes that often have ‘nut free’ policies. Coconut is a great ingredient also because of its unique nutritional profile- the healthy fats found in coconuts are more readily converted to energy than stored as fat making it a fantastic ‘active’ food.
11. What are your thoughts on refined sugar?
12. Where is your range currently available and any plans to widen the distribution in the future?
I’m always creating! I plan to do seasonal ‘limited editions’ to keep things exciting, for example last year I launched a gingerbread ball for Christmas. Over time the product range is likely to grow and develop in accordance eight demand and customer feedback.
14. Veganism is very ‘on trend’ right now? Do you see it increasing in popularity?
15. Any exciting plans for the future of Whole Plus?