It’s always inspiring to stumble across individuals and companies who have the capacity to change lives. Alessandra Peters is one of them.
Browsing recently for paleo-style recipe inspiration, we came across Alessandra, aka The Foodie Teen.
Alessandra is 15, has Coeliac disease and eats a paleo style diet. Flicking through her blog posts, it’s hard not to be incredibly inspired. She has such a great attitude and infectious enthusiasm.
So, welcome Alessandra to the SmartPlay blog.
Enjoy reading her story, and then spend some time browsing her amazing intolerance-friendly recipes, as they are both nourishing and innovative.
For a teaser of her creativity, scroll to the end of this post for a splendid paleo Ferrero Rocher recipe.
Many thanks to Larina and the team from from The Body Dietetics for this interview with Alessandra Peters
Alessandra Peters – The Foodie Teen
Please share a little about yourself!
My name is Alessandra, I’m fifteen years old, and I’m the food blogger behind The Foodie Teen.
I have Coeliac disease along with many food intolerances and have followed a Paleo diet for about 18 months now. I’m passionate about baking, photography, running, mountain biking, and the science behind eating real food!
How did your blog come about?
I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease and about seventy food intolerances at the beginning of 2013. As I started to develop more and more recipes that were ‘safe’ for me, I began writing down the really delicious ones.
One day in November 2013, whilst perusing food blogs, I decided to give blogging a go and I’ve never looked back!
The most rewarding part of the blog?
I absolutely love getting emails and messages about my recipes which people have made and shared with their friends and family. My favourite message to date was one from a lovely lady who told me that her son, who suffered from many, many allergies, thought that my ferrero rocher truffle recipe was so delicious he burst into tears!
I’m so incredibly grateful to everyone who sends messages of support and thanks, and by far the most rewarding aspect! Eating all the things I test out for the blog is obviously also rather rewarding 😉
What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could?
At some point in the future, I’d love to publish an e-book or print book – it’s always been a dream of mine! I’d also love to set up a resource for other teens who follow a Paleo diet or who have food intolerances.
Favourite place in the world?
The beach or the gorgeous Scottish countryside I currently live right in the middle of – both are so calming and peaceful!
If you were a spice, which would you be?
Either cardamom or smoked sea salt! I grew up in the middle east, so I’m absolutely addicted to cardamom – the smell takes me right back to the souqs and markets I grew up amongst.
Smoked sea salt is such a simple but incredibly flavourful addition to anything!
Five things you can’t live without?
– My camera – I’d take photos of absolutely everything if I could!
– A good kitchen knife – I love to cook, and having a good, sharp knife makes it so much easier and much more enjoyable!
– The internet – it’s given me so many wonderful oppurtunities and helped me interact with thousands of people all over the world, which is absolutely incredible!
– Loose-leaf hibiscus and elderflower tea – like any British person, I love my tea, and this is my absolute favourite! I also adore peppermint tea and green tea, but I always buy loose tea leaves for optimum flavour!
– Coconut oil – in homemade deodorant, in homemade toothpaste, as a moisturiser, in baked goods, to make raw chocolate… I use it for absolutely everything!
If you could choose to eat anything in the world for your next meal, what would it be?
What was for breakfast?
A braised lemon and thyme chicken thigh leftover from last night’s dinner, half of a baked sweet potato, two duck eggs fried in coconut oil (try it – it’s amazing!), and many handfuls of fresh, local blueberries I picked with my family yesterday! I also had a square of homemade raw dark chocolate (as I said, I’m a complete chocolate addict!)
Your favourite way to stay active?
Top tips for teens looking to try Paleo?
1. Learn to cook! By this, I don’t mean ‘cook an 11-course meal every night’, but do make sure you can fry an egg, make some bacon, and roast some vegetables.
It’ll be incredibly useful, and once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll have lots of fun experimenting in the kitchen and increasing your knowledge!
2. Eat a balanced diet, and don’t eat treats all the time! Yes, treats are delicious, but just because a treat is paleo doesn’t mean you can eat it at every meal!
In addition, make sure you’re eating enough – as a growing, active teen, you need more energy than the average adult!
3. Talk to your parents. I know it’s boring, but you need to make sure they understand why you’re doing it so that they can support you (maybe they’ll join you, too!).
Make sure you’re prepared and informed beforehand so that you can have a rational discussion with them!
What do you wish you knew when starting to eat healthier that you know now?
It’s not just food that makes a difference to your health! Make sure you get enough exercise, get at least eight hours of sleep, and drink lots of water as well in order to feel (and look!) your best.
Your best advice for living a wholesome, healthy lifestyle?
You don’t have to be a perfectionist! Balance is key, so don’t worry about eating a slice or two of cake on your birthday or some chocolate when you’re having a bad day.
How can readers find you?
On Facebook (The Foodie Teen), Twitter (@thefoodieteen), Instagram (@thefoodieteen) and Pinterest (thefoodieteen).
And if you need anymore paleo inspiration, give this delicious recipe a try:
Paleo ‘Ferrero Rocher’ recipe
PALEO ‘FERRERO ROCHER’ chocolate hazelnut truffles
INGREDIENTS (24 TRUFFLES)
- 1 cup ground blanched hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (I use expeller-pressed here – it has no coconut taste, which makes the chocolate/hazelnut combination stand out much more)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 24 whole blanched hazelnuts (optional, use if you want the traditional hazelnut centre)
- 1 cup roasted chopped hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup melted dark chocolate
1. Combine the ground hazelnuts, vanilla extract, cacao powder, maple syrup, coconut oil, and almond milk in a large bowl until combined.
2. Place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes until firm.
3. Roll the mixture into 24 small balls. I like to use a melon baller to get evenly-sized truffles. If you are using the 24 blanched whole hazelnuts to achieve the classic hazelnut centre, simply roll the mixture into 24 balls before inserting a whole hazelnut in the centre of each ball from the bottom.
4. Roll each ball in a bowl of roasted chopped hazelnuts, pressing on the hazelnut pieces as you go. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, then repeat for all the remaining truffles. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to harden.
5. When the truffles are firm, dip the truffles in melted chocolate one by one, working quickly. Return the coated truffles to the baking tray, then repeat with all the truffles. Leave to set in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, then serve!
6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!