Ellie Bullen. Heard the name? It’s very likely you have and if two seconds ago was your first introduction, welcome to the tribe. Ellie has become an international figure in the health and wellness sphere over the years after her Instagram became a plant-based bible to her 683K followers. Through her aesthetically-pleasing profile, the young entrepreneur has carved out a career as a nutritionist, blogger and she’s now adding ‘author’ to her credentials.
In the lead-up to Regional Flavours Festival where she’s headlining, we quizzed Ellie on everything ‘influencer’, food, and how living a plant-based diet has taken her from Brisbane to Bali, and now books. Plus, we gained some ground-breaking insight into what to expect at Regional Flavours this July!
Read-on as we dish it out.
Tell us a little about yourself – why did you decide to ditch the 9-5 grind for travelling the world and eating delicious plant-based food?
It was actually while I was at university finishing off my degree in nutrition and dietetics that my social media profiles and blog ‘Elsa’s Wholesome Life’ started taking off and I received my first book publishing contract. I realised at this point, I wouldn't have to move into a ‘normal’ 9-5 dietetic career and I could use my online platforms to make money anywhere in the world.
Tell us a bit about your feature at Regional Flavours and why it’s important to you?
It’s my first large cooking demonstration, I am always open to new opportunities and new challenges so I see this as a very exciting chapter and skill for me to learn. I am presenting alongside other large name chefs and cooks in the mainstream media so I feel honoured to be given the opportunity!
What sort of topics will you be covering in your Regional Flavours presentation?
I’ll be chatting about plant-based food, travel inspired recipes, my new cookbook, and of course hero’ing local QLD produce.
What made you decide to move from Bali back home to Australia?
My husband and I decided we wanted to buy our first home and relocate back home to the beautiful Southern Gold Coast late last year as it really felt more like home than Bali. As much as we enjoyed our two years in Bali, Australia is easier for my work (especially the food and recipes side), running our online store ‘The Wholesome Store’ and being close to family and friends.
What are the difficulties of being vegan while travelling the world?
The language barrier and lack of understanding of what it means in some countries is a difficulty. Sometimes, it is really hard to find a wholesome vegan meal. Proper research of places to eat, the local language and local dishes and ingredients can definitely help you to source good vegan foods but there was definitely moments when I had requested a vegan meal and received something with non-vegan ingredients like dairy or fish sauce in it, but I decided to be more flexible while travelling as I didn’t want to make situations like this uncomfortable for these restaurants or those travelling with me.
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From your experience, what country around the world caters best to a vegan/plant-based diet?
Of course Australia and the USA (mainly NYC & LA) are amazing for plant-based food. However Bali, Indonesia is actually the BEST for plant-based cuisine. The cafes and restaurants in Bali have so many delicious options, it’s my favourite place to go relax, eat good food, and get fit.
Did you always know you wanted to write cookbooks? If so, what inspired you?
When my followers began asking more and more for recipes, I created a blog. When I developed the blog I knew that writing and publishing cookbooks would be the ultimate goal, I just didn’t realise it would happen so soon, let alone publishing a second. I still pinch myself about how lucky I am to be doing something I love and feel so passionate about.
What is your favourite recipe from your new cookbook “The Global Vegan”?
I am really obsessed with the Bahn Xeo recipe in the book. It’s a savoury Vietnamese pancake dish and it was my fav dish in that country.
From your background as a nutritionist, what would your most important tip for a healthy and wholesome life?
It’s actually so simple, EAT MORE PLANTS!
What is one piece of advice you can give someone who is wanting to change to a plant-based diet?
Grab a good vegan cookbook and work your way through it. I know people who have used my first cookbook as their going-vegan bible! They read every page and every introduction and cooked every single recipe from it. I cover nutrition and lifestyle changes, as well as the reasons why you should go vegan (health, ethics and the environment) so it’s a great tool for learning too.
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Ellie will be presenting on The Main Stage at 10:45am Saturday 20 July at Regional Flavours, and it is free for visitors to attend.
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