Living lively

in Food and Drink · 04-09-2020 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

The American activist, food writer and speaker is destined for great things, in the food world and beyond.

You may not have heard of Dallas-born Haile Thomas just yet, but she is poised to make real change when it comes to food and health.

The 19-year-old became interested in healthy eating when her dad was diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes and her mum changed the family's eating habits in a (successful) bid to reverse his condition.

Since then, Thomas has been working to educate young people in the ways of eating well - a mission that has seen her become a motivational speaker, vegan chef and even perform a TEDx talk and meet Michelle Obama.

She's all about "self-reflection, self-love and self-empowerment" and her debut cookbook, Living Lively, combines the lot with food...

The book: Living Lively by Haile Thomas

Who will love it? Novice vegans, youngsters looking for their voice as well as a leader who has their health and confidence in mind. Plus anyone who loves avocados as much as Thomas.

What is it trying to get us cooking? Well, it's not just trying to get us cooking. In fact, Living Lively is a two-parter. Part one sees Thomas outline her '7 points of power' - featuring things like wellness, relationships and social media - describing how she's redefined them and the influence they have on how she feels about herself and how she attains happiness. In part two, the self-confessed 'foodie' gets to recipes - which are all plant-based. Think smoothie bowls and spiced tacos, cashew 'cheesecake' squares and key lime avocado mousse cups, as well as vegan versions of mac and cheese and Jamaican jerk.

How easy is it to use? You'll need to stock up on some ingredients that may be new to you (and might be simpler to find online than in the supermarket), like maca powder, beetroot powder and liquid smoke, as well as vegan versions of milk, cheese and butter, but once you've got what you need, the recipes themselves are straightforward. And only the 'overnight' preps (there's a whole overnight oats section) require a little thinking ahead.

The best recipe is... the red-hot roasted cauliflower steaks with chimichurri sauce - because if you have a decent cauliflower recipe in your arsenal, you're winning. Or the sun-dried tomato and walnut tacos (recipe below).

The recipe we're most likely to post on Instagram is... the shortcut sweet potato pie boats. Sweet potato pie is a big deal in America and is on almost every table come Thanksgiving, but these are more like baked sweet potatoes with a crumble topping and lashings of coconut cream.

The dish we're least likely to try is... the maple cashew cream and banana toast with super seed crunch - because although it looks great, it's essentially a more convoluted way of doing peanut butter on toast. And first thing in the morning, we're definitely just going with standard peanut butter on toast.

Overall rating: 7/10 - passionate and thoughtful, this is a way of living and approaching life, not just a cookbook. But the recipes still pack a punch.

How to make Haile Thomas' Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tacos...


(Makes 4 servings)

230g raw walnuts

20g sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained

60ml tamari

1tbsp ground cumin

1tbsp onion powder

2tsp chilli powder

1/2 to 1tsp cayenne pepper

12g roughly chopped fresh coriander

Romaine or butter lettuce leaves

Optional but highly recommended toppings:

Coriander aioli

Halved cherry tomatoes

Sliced red onion

Sliced jalapeno rounds

Fresh coriander

Your favourite vegetables


1. In a food processor, combine the walnuts, sun- dried tomatoes, tamari, cumin, onion powder, chilli powder, cayenne and coriander and pulse two to four times. The goal is to have a texture that is crunchy and chewy, not mushy. Set aside.

2. Build the tacos by filling a lettuce 'shell' with the walnut mixture and your choice of toppings.

Living Lively: 80 Plant-Based Recipes to Activate Your Power & Feed Your Potential by Haile Thomas is published by HQ


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