Foodie Friday: Maria Laitinen
Maria Laitinen is the Finland-born, Sydney-dwelling talent behind the beautiful food blog, Scandi Foodie. A prop stylist by trade (hence the stunningly styled food photographs on her blog), Maria’s clear passion for delicious dishes shines through in every recipe she posts. After being vegetarian on and off for 10 years, Maria recently turned vegan and now spends her time whipping up amazing plant-based dishes that could convert the most resistant meat-eater.
What was the catalyst that turned you into a healthy foodie?
I was brought up with whole, healthy foods and this way of eating really stuck with me. The biggest motivator for me has always been the way healthy food makes me feel, the energy it provides me with and how my body responds to it.
What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your diet?
Seasonal and fresh vegetables and fruit – lots of them! I am vegan so I base my diet around vegetables and fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.
If you were trying to convert someone to your dietary philosophy, what would you make for them?
One of my recent favourite is Moroccan spiced quinoa, buckwheat and eggplant salad. Not only is this dish full of flavour, it is also so colourful and (I think) pretty to look at!
How do you stay healthy while travelling?
I always love to visit the local produce markets for fresh vegetables and fruit. I tend to bring a lot of snacks with me as well – nuts, seeds, fruit and plenty of water.
What are your go-to meals and snacks when you are super busy?
I love throwing together a big salad with quinoa, chickpeas and a variety of vegetables. I snack on raw nuts and raw carrots!
Juices or smoothies: Which do you prefer? What’s your favourite combination?
I love both, but I tend to make green juices more often. I always include celery, kale, cucumber, ginger and lemon and add whatever else I might have at hand – pear or apple, parsley, other leafy greens, grapefruit, etc.
What’s the biggest nutrition misconception you are always having to clear up for people?
There seem to be so many! Especially since I went vegan, people seem to have a whole library of misconception about vegan diet – things like where do I get my protein, iron, calcium, and so on. My answer is always simple: plants!
If you could prepare a meal for anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and what would you make?
It would have to be Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, the most inspirational person and a dedicated vegan and animal lover. She was my main influence to go vegan!
I know Colleen likes Brussels sprouts so I would probably prepare my Brussels sprouts, kale and brown rice salad with goji berries and miso-tahini dressing.
What does being a Wellness Warrior mean to you?
Being a healthy food blogger and a vegan, my main goal is to inspire people to cook more plant-based meals. My recipes are always simple to prepare so I hope they encourage people to give vegan and vegetarian cooking a go.
A Recipe From Maria:
450g cooked and mashed sweet potato
2 heaped tablespoons almond butter (made with 1/2 cup raw almonds, recipe here)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons pure, raw cacao powder (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground liquorice
virgin coconut oil, for rolling
unsweetened desiccated coconut, for rolling (optional)
1. Combine the sweet potato, almond butter and chia seeds in a bowl.
2. Mix together the cacao and the spices and stir into the mixture. You should have a gooey, sticky mixture. Rub your hands lightly with coconut oil and roll the dough into about 10 balls.
3. Chill the balls in the fridge (20-30 minutes) then roll the balls in desiccated coconut before serving. These will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
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Positive affirmation for the day: I am worthy of the best quality food.
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