Foodie Features: @healthyespo

It was the great Shakespeare who once predicted the rise of Instagram: What’s in a name?”  Well, at Pretty Eats, we doth believe that all foodies, regardless of their handle, have amazing recipes that taste just as sweet as any other. Enter our Foodie Features, where we showcase amazing foodies and their favorite signature recipes from all around the world!

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F
rom zero to fitness. That’s basically the speed Sofia from @healthyespo works at, learn how this foodie went from zero cooking experience to beautiful, healthy creations that inspire all those of us who can’t double-tap fast enough every time she posts one of her beautiful dishes!

AH: What’s the story behind @heatlhyespo? What inspired you to start the account?

SE: I started @healthyespo almost a year and a half ago. When I moved to Dallas, I had NEVER cooked anything in my life, so I had to learn quickly and cook in a way that went with my healthy and active lifestyle. I got inspired by my roommate who also had a “fitstagram” (follow her she is awesome: @fitmaniabyrita) and I figured I wanted my friends and family to see that eating healthy was easy. I started with lame pictures, but suddenly I started to get a bunch of followers and realized people actually liked the stuff I was posting. I decided to put a little bit more effort into it and take better pictures and make my plates look prettier.
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AH: What would you say is your main mission with your account, what are your future aspirations for it?

SE: I recently read an article about the importance of “contribution” to your overall happiness. The article asked the readers how they were contributing to others, and how they were sharing qualities that were granted to them to make a better world. I honestly believe my mission as @healthyespo is to use my ability to cook and my love for health and wellness to inspire others to live a healthy and happy lifestyle. I thrive on promoting self-love through living an active lifestyle and self-care through food. I aspire to keep growing my Instagram following so that more people join the wellness movement. Hopefully be able to work with amazing brands, or someday open my own wellness business. 
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AH: From a Latino perspective, what are your thoughts on some of your native dishes? From a wellness angle.

SE: As a Salvadorean, I LOVE refried beans, pupusas, and fried plantains. As a healthy foodie, I always tell people to find healthy alternatives to their favorite dishes. If you love pizza, try making your own cauliflower pizza with a ton of yummy veggies and homemade tomato sauce. So to all of my fellow Latinos who love native foods, there are tons of ways to make native foods healthier and make them part of your balanced diet.
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Beans, for example, are an amazing source of protein and fiber so I’ve posted a few recipes on how to make them on a slow cooker with simple ingredients like onions, garlic, and tomato. I eat plantains almost every week, and now my favorite way to eat them is roasted in the oven (to get the juices out) and then grilled with some coconut oil. Pupusas are another one of my favorites, but now I have my mom make my special ones with healthy mashed beans, and minimal cheese. So good news, there are always alternatives to keep your native foods as part of your daily diet.
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AH: What would you say is your number one tip for those who are looking to start a new fitness regime and stick to it?

SE: Follow the 85-15 rule. Eat clean, nutritious foods 85% of the time, and eat processed, “unhealthy” foods 15% of the time. I always say this to everyone because deprivation is never a good thing, so simply eat one-ingredient, chemical free, whole foods 85% of the time, but let yourself indulge at your favorite dessert, cheat meal, chocolate, and a slice of pizza once in a while. It’s called balance. 

AH: What are your thoughts on diet fads? What are your tips for those who are looking to convert to a healthy lifestyle for good?

SE: TOTALLY against diet fads. Been there, done that, doesn’t work. There is NO easy/quick way to lose weight. And if you are tempted to do one, they are probably full of unhealthy chemicals that are dangerous to your health. To me, it’s not about your weight or how you look, it’s about how you feel. Being happy with your weight is a journey that takes time.
Weight loss comes naturally when you are eating a balanced diet and living an active lifestyle. Focus on how you feel, listen to your bodies needs, find a dietitian who is more interested on your well being rather than one that counts your calories. Instead of buying low calorie, low fat, low sugar cereal bars and candy full of chemicals and preservatives, buy nuts with healthy fats or fruits that are natures candy.
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AH:  Where do you look for inspiration when it comes to developing your recipes and plates?

SE: Other Instagram healthy enthusiasts are my number one inspiration. They keep me in the loop of new products and food trends. My second is Pinterest, and my third is wellness magazines and blogs like theChalkBoardMag.comeatingwell.com. Half of the time, my inspiration is simply having to work with food in my fridge and pantry. Some of my best, most creative plates have come from being incredibly hungry and not having been to the supermarket so I just work with whatever I have and do some awesome and yummy things.
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AH: What is your FAVORITE go-to recipe that is truly on brand with @healthyespo?

SE: This is a hard question because I can’t choose just one recipe/food that goes with my brand. I asked my friends for their thoughts, and they all said banana bread. This is probably because I always bake a healthy banana bread for my friends birthdays. This is because I ALWAYS have bananas in my kitchen and sometimes they are about to go bad so I simply make banana bread and bring them to my friends.
But to me, my staple go-to recipe is simply having a toast with some mashed beans, avocado seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice topped with a fried egg. Literally, my mouth watered as I wrote this down. My second favorite go-to recipe is oatmeal made with almond milk and topped with almond butter, greek yogurt, maple syrup, and fruit. Sorry, I can’t commit to one…but as I wrote this, I realized my favorite meals are all breakfast ones.
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Follow @healthyespo or visit her website for more healthy, beautiful recipes!

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