Meet Buffy Ellen. The founder of Be Good Organics – a food blog that specialises in healthy plant-based recipes and nutrition.
After being diagnosed with Graves disease in 2012, Buffy made a full recovery with the help of a plant-based diet and lifestyle. She is now completing her final year of a Bachelor of Naturopathy and Nutrition, and is passionate about sharing her nutrition knowledge with others, so they too can reach optimal health and today she is sharing her passion with us!
Firstly, what does creating ‘A Healthy Mix for Life’ mean to you?
Having a great balance – between eating well, movement, being relaxed, content and connected emotionally. Any one of those missing and health won’t truly be yours.
I meet lots of readers and clients who eat really well and exercise, but mentally they are hard on themselves, are perfectionists, or not at peace with some area of themselves or their lives – and as a result their health is suffering in any number of ways – cancer, autoimmune disease, excess weight, ezcema/psoriasis. You really need all three.
What does your day on a plate look like and why do you eat the way you do?
Running a food blog and nutrition business, it changes every day! As I’m cooking a lot. So my main meals change daily, depending on what I’ve been making and testing for the blog that week or for clients. But often a general run down might include:
Fresh fruit salad with coconut yoghurt and homemade granola or nuts and seeds + an English Breakfast tea Morning Tea: A 1/4 strength organic oat/soy latte (store bought or home made)
A big salad topped with whatever thing I’ve made lately – lately it’s been an All-In Veggie Lasagne, Spiced Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad, Parsnip Fries with Sundried Tomato Hummus, and Spicy BBQ Chiggin Wings (made from cauliflower not chicken) – you can find all my recipes here, and those are the exact things I eat!
A little sweet treat, whatever I’ve made lately, e.g. balls, a slice, or just some dark chocolate and a handful of nuts – with a herbal tea – I love licorice or digestive teas, anything naturopathic with therapeutic herbs.
One of my latest recipes + a salad of some sort, generally with whatever greens we’ve got in the garden or have picked up from the markets that week. Similar things to lunch (anything in the savoury section on the blog!) If I can’t be bothered cooking, I’ll whip up my Sesame Crusted Kumara Fries with Creamy Cashew Aioli – they’re always delicious and my daughter Mila absolutely loves them too. I mix it up with the spices, using cumin, cayenne, coriander, sometimes turmeric – whatever I’ve got in the spice drawer and feel like.
I LOVE dessert! I don’t go a day without dessert, it’s one of my special moments during the day. We’ll put Mila (our 2 1/2 year old daughter) to bed, then I’ll make us hot drinks (herbal teas, or my Mex Hot Choc recipe) then serve up a slice of whatever I’ve been cooking that week for the blog – this past week it’s been this delicious Nutella Tart. On the side will go some chopped fruit, whatever’s in season – at the moment, juicy oranges, or some frozen berries, and a good fat dollop (often 3) of coconut yoghurt.
That’s my day in a nutshell, in terms of the structure, but the actual items for lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and dessert always change depending on what’s in season and what’s just been tested/shot for the blog!
Living a healthy life doesn’t just mean eating well … how do you keep your mind and body healthy?
Yoga or exercise every day, ideally for an hour. Lately I’ve been getting up at 5.45am, to go to the 6am class at my local gym (yoga 3 times a week, HIIT 2 times) and have been loving that – really sets me up for the day.
On Sat and Sun I’ll just go for a walk with my partner Tony and our daughter Mila. Mind wise – I try meditate for 10 minutes each morning, and journal in the morning and night – at night lately I’ve been writing 3 things I’ve achieved, 3 things I’m grateful for from that day, 3 things I’ve achieved, and 3 things I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s been great! Have been feeling so great as a result.
Also – social and emotional connectivity is so important. Being a good partner to Tony, a good mum to Mila, a good sister to my siblings, daughter to my Mum and Dad, friend to my girlfriends, and boss to my staff – those are all the important people in my life I want to also be happy. So helping them be happy, looking out for them, makes me feel good too.
Also – my readers! I love talking to them each week, and hearing that they’re loving the blog also makes me feel like I’ve achieved something, and that keeps me mentally happy and well too.
Who is your health, wellness or fitness guru and why?
I don’t have a guru! I think I used to, but now I’ve changed in that I’m no longer trying to be anyone else. I just want to be the best version of me. That means trying each day to do something a little bitter, improving on one thing, being kinder, being more thoughtful, making it to that gym class. But also not being hard on yourself. Life truly is short, we only get one, so enjoy it really treasure each moment and the journey, the process – there’s no end goal, truly there isn’t.
What is your ONE Super Hero Food that you cannot live without?
Oh gosh, again, this one is so tricky. I’m a FOODIE! I love them ALL!! But I’d have to say plants. Plant foods. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts/seeds, wholegrains. Is that cheating? They’re all from one ‘family’ right…? Specifically though – veges are a non-negotiable for me, our family, and for everyone I work with. That and coconut oil – is there anything it cannot do?
If you could share with the Raw Blend Family one piece of your wisdom what would it be?
Be yourself. Don’t push yourself too hard. Have goals but don’t be a perfectionist. Follow an 80/20 approach – 80% of the time, eat well – healthy plant-based whole foods. 20% of the time – don’t worry about it – have that glass of wine, that slice of (non gluten free/sugar free/dairy free) birthday cake (or 2), have a bowl of fries at the game with friends. Life is for living, not for restricting yourself and feeling caged.
We are lucky enough to have you share one of your favourite recipes with us, why do you love this recipe?
This Nutella Tart is one of my latest favourites – chocolate + hazelnut – can this every go wrong? But seriously this tart is incredible – so delicious, so easy to make, and packed full of vegetables even. Gluten free, dairy free, 100% vegan (as are all my recipes), low in total sugars, no refined sugars, and all round amazing. We love it so much we decided to make a video of it! I hope you love it, and would love to hear if you try it out. PS – be sure to serve this with a dollop of coconut yoghurt and perhaps some berries on the side – it just makes it even better!
- 1 cup dates
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 3 tbsp cacao powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cacao butter, melted
- 2 medium avocados
- 1/2 cup plant-based milk (almond/rice/oat/soy all work great)
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1/2 cup hazelnut butter
- 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp liquid sweetener (I love coconut nectar or brown rice syrup)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup cacao butter, melted
- In a food processor or blender (I love this one here), blend the dates until chopped into small pieces.
- Add the dry ingredients (nuts, cacao and salt) and blend again until everything is finely chopped, almost to a flour but still with some texture.
- Finally add the liquids (vanilla and melted cacao butter), and pulse to combine – the mixture should stick together between your fingers when pressed (if not, add an extra tablespoon of melted cacao butter or coconut oil).
- Pour into a french fluted tart tin lined with biodegradable wrap, press until firmly packed and then place in the freezer to set.
- Blend all filling ingredients, except cacao butter, in a processor or blender until super smooth and creamy.
- Then, while on low, add the melted cacao butter until combined.
- Pour on the base, smooth to flatten, and place back in the freezer for an hour to set, or in the fridge for a few hours more.
- Remove from the fridge/freezer and dust with cacao powder and crushed hazelnuts.
- Slice and devour! Will keep in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for a month.
- Make it gluten-free: choose a plant-milk without gluten, such as almond, rice or soy.
- Make it nut-free: you can make a nut-free version of this by substituting the almonds and hazelnuts for an equivalent amount of sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds. Then for the filling, use rice, oat or soy milk, and sunflower seed butter or tahini instead of hazelnut butter. You’ll of course get a slightly different flavour, but it will still be delicious!
- If your base is not blending/sticking (because your blender isn’t so grunty, or your dates are a bit drier than normal), add 1-2 tbsp melted coconut oil until it sticks together.
- This tart, as will all my recipes, is only modestly sweet. If you’d prefer a slightly sweeter outcome, increase the liquid sweetener by another 1-2 tbsp. If you’re diabetic or have glucose dysregulation, I recommend using yacon syrup, or try this yacon powder here. Alternative you can add stevia to taste.
- This tart has a lovely firm texture that’s great for taking out to a party without it melting (like many raw desserts). In fact – when we tested this guy, he was in perfect condition for a good 4 hours out! Alternatively you can swap the cacao butter for 1/3 c cacao butter and 1/4 c coconut oil, which will give it a softer creamier texture – perfect straight from the fridge but not so much for taking to a party.
- In fact, if you don’t have cacao butter, you can make this whole tart with coconut oil. The filling will just be a LOT softer. So keep and store in the freezer, and pull out just as you need. It will take a bit longer to set too – go the freezer option.
- I’ve used activated nuts here, which I always like to do where possible. If you don’t have them available though, make on with raw – it’ll still be delicious. Remember – do what YOU have time for, nothing needs to be perfect. Oh, and if you’d like to buy almonds pre-activated, these ones are amazing.
- I made this as a rectangle tart. Because I’d just bought a fancy pants new tin and of course had to utilise. If you don’t have one, a standard 20cm or so french fluted (or plain) tart tin will also be fine. Heck, you could even use an old ice cream container (I’ve done that before while on holiday, and it goes to show you don’t need fancy stuff!).