We’re super excited to introduce you to the extremely talented vegan baker Ashlee Adams.
Ashlee is the founder of the very popular Instagram account The Coconut Goddess, where she shares her amazing, vegan culinary creations. Ashlee is a fellow kiwi gal with a passion for all things healthy, wholesome and delicious and wants to help inspire people to get creative in the kitchen. The Coconut Goddess is an Instagram sensation with an impressive 54K followers and the perfect place to get your healthy baking inspo. Ashlee also has a new website thecoconutgoddess.com where you can find all her delicious recipes.
We caught up with Ashlee to ask her a few questions about how The Coconut Goddess began, her top tips for improving your health and vitality and her favourite superfood products. She also shared with us her recipe for the mouth-watering Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Cake pictured above - Yum!
Without further ado here she is…
Q: Hi Ashlee can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello! my name is Ashlee I'm a full-time university student, part-time writer, and a slave to my sweet-tooth! I currently call Auckland home, although I am constantly roaming around elsewhere as the result of my love for travelling. I'm also very much interested in environmental issues and living a life that is as simple and waste-free as possible.
Q. Why did you become interested in health and nutrition?
Veganism really helped me to focus more on what I was putting into my body and how it impacts not only myself, but the environment and other beings too. It’s very easy to turn a blind eye to the way in which the chocolate bars, pies and ice creams we consume are produced, and to resign ourselves to the fact that we as a consumer have no say in the matter – it couldn’t be more the opposite! Taking responsibility for our impact on the world is an important life skill that more and more people are focusing on these days, which is fantastic. It makes me so happy to see so many conscious foodies in both New Zealand and overseas (particularly in the younger generations).
Q. How did The Coconut Goddess start?
I was a bored teenager stuck between four walls most of the day at boarding school when I found running as an almost meditative way of isolating myself from the hustle and bustle of the school environment. Not too long after I became a runner I adopted an enormously different dietary ethos – Veganism (and eating more fruits and vegetables in general). I am fortunate enough to have a body that tells me what it does and doesn’t like, whether it be by breaking out in rashes or stomach cramps, so when I began to eat more healthy whole foods, my quality of life improved dramatically.
Q. What are your top 3 tips for improving your health and vitality through what you eat?
1. Listen to your own body – Just because your health food idol can consume pineapple or potatoes by the bucket-full doesn’t mean that you can too! I had to learn this the hard way by eating too many oat-laden recipes from Deliciously Ella’s cookbook and suffering the gurgly, painful consequences…
2. Make alternatives – Just because store-bought dark chocolate is 50% sugar doesn’t mean that you have to live a life without it! Just make your own with 4 parts coconut oil, 3 parts cacao powder, 2 parts maple syrup, and 1 part cacao butter. The same goes for anything else! There is literally a healthy, nourishing version of everything under the sun – get to know your kitchen. You’ll save money and learn new things!
3. Consistency is key – If you want to have something a little bit indulgent every now and then, by all means, do so! It’s what you do on a regular basis that counts, so please, please don’t beat yourself up over a slice of brownie or a few pieces of pizza. Life is meant to be enjoyed – sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind and take the opportunity while it’s there! And no ‘making up for it the next day’ with excessive exercise or calorie restriction, either – tut tut.
Q: What are your top 3 favourite superfoods and why?
Mesquite - it lends a gorgeous malted caramel flavour to anything you choose to put it in! I love to blitz it in my banana icecream with some dates and sea salt flakes to make a gooey salted caramel sundae, or add it to cashew, pecan and ginger bliss balls for an extra hit of goodness.
Chia seeds - not only do they taste ace in pudding-form, but they are also the perfect egg replacement in vegan baking, and even pizza doughs!
Cacao – I would be crazy to forget this one. How else could I have fudgy brownies, chocolate thickshakes, teetering stacks of pancakes with hot fudge sauce, or crunchy chocolate sauce atop my banana icecream? Cacao has the richest and most beautiful flavour out of almost any food I know.
Q: What would you eat normally throughout the day? Can you share with us your typical daily diet.
Breakfast: An enormous bowl of quinoa or rice porridge with creamy almond milk, a mashed banana, and lots of cinnamon cooked through – it’s absolutely life changing!
Lunch: If I’m eating at home I’ll always go for homemade oven baked fries with cashew aioli or lots of mashed avocado on the side, however since moving to Auckland I have been exceptionally partial to Little Bird’s kimchi burgers with crispy, cheesy cavolo nero chips on the side. My mouth is watering at the thought!
Dinner: My go-to is either a homemade curry with lots of sweet potato, wilted spinach, and quinoa, or a big bowl of quinoa and rice pasta with basil passata, steamed sweet potato, broccoli, and cos lettuce. A stir-fry is fantastic too – try ginger, tamari, tahini, chilli, and a dash of maple syrup.
Snacks: Whichever creations I’ve overstocked the fridge with in the past few days – sometimes that means various flavours of bliss balls (carrot cake and ginger slice flavours are my favourite), raw cheesecakes or icecream cakes, homemade twix bars or toffee pops etc.. If I’m after something savoury I’ll have some puffed rice crackers with either hummus, avocado and cracked pepper, or cashew aioli.
Q: Do you have a recipe you would be happy to share with us?
My Peanut Butter Cup Ice-cream Cake! It uses lots of super yummy, nutritious, and indulgent ingredients including Matakana SuperFoods Cacao Powder and Lucuma Powder. The texture is just gorgeous, it’s so silky that it melts in your mouth! Recipe can be found here.