Hey babes today on Tea Time we have the beautiful voice behind Cook Dance Love and Live, Lennis is not only an awesome wellness guru, who both blogs and does videos on Youtube but she also writes all of her recipes and post in English and Spanish! I met Lennis last year and we completely bonded over our love for arepas!
I am happy to have here with us virtually enjoying some tea!
How did you start blogging and what keeps you motivated on a day to day?
I started blogging out of curiosity. I had heard about it, but never really understood the incredible world of blogging. I opened a blogger account to share my story and passion for cooking, dancing and also to vent about my recent divorce and how I was living for me for the first time in a long time. After a few months I wanted to make blogging more than a hobby and help others who could relate to my story. Long story short, I have been blogging for almost two years and love it. When people reach out to me and say things like: thank you so much for that recipe, I was able to make a new delicious meal for my family last night and they loved it- it’s hard not to stay motivated when you hear feedback like that.
Picture your perfect vacation, where are you?
I love traveling. I think it’s an essential part of living. My perfect vacation will have to be somewhere where I can be pampered and enjoy the outdoors at the same time. I love nature, visiting national parks, learning about other food cultures and just disconnecting from adult responsibilities. Spending a day hiking, exploring, eating with the the locals and coming back to a warm bath or a trip to the spa would be amazing. My top places on my soon to visit list include, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Thailand.
What does your typical day look like?
Since March I changed my daily routine a bit, focusing more on my physical and emotional well-being. I now start every morning with 10 minutes of yoga and meditation. This has helped me stay centered. focused and balanced. After the I take a shower, eat a good breakfast and kick off my day in the office. I am a chemical engineer by day and blogger by night. On the weekends I try to do something like hiking, visiting micro-breweries, or exploring small towns in New Jersey.
I know as bloggers something we often struggle with is a balance between personal life and the blogging world. How do you find a way to keep yourself in the “now” and not get caught up in social media?
Ugh, this is so hard! So you definitely hit the nail with that question. For the last few weeks, I’ve been putting a timer as soon as I walk into my apartment. I have 15 minutes to get comfortable, check social media and put my stuff in their place before making dinner. Once I’m done eating, I dive into blogging, editing pictures and videos for Youtube. I try to set up all my social media for the blog in the morning. Then at lunchtime I will spend 20-30 minutes browsing around. I try to spend less than 10 minutes on social media before bed. There is so much info out there on blogging, what is trending, what others are doing, that you can easily get lost and spend hours on social media. I think on average I stick to about 90 minutes or less per day.
I know you’re vegan. What made you commit to this lifestyle?
Health, that was my main motivator. Eating plant based has been a transition that has taken years. I was diagnosed with high cholesterol at 18 and with H. Pilory a bacteria that affects your gut. At that age having all these stomach issues, I had to learn to incorporate more veggies and fruit into my day. I was still eating chicken, beef and pork, I was feeling great when I ate healthy but would eventually get bored. Falling off the wagon and feeling like crap, so I would try to get back on the healthy eating wagon. This lasted a few years until in 2013 I saw Forks Over Knives documentary and it transformed my life. I cut out dairy, animal products and was cooking at home 95% of my meals. After getting blood work that year my cholesterol had finally dropped to normal levels. This made me realize that eating plant based is what works for my body best. I sleep better, my H. Pilroy is under control and I have been able to manage stress so much better. It was an essential decision to choose my health over social and culture pressure.
Can you tell us about your go to meal?
Rice and beans with oil free sofrito and baked plantains! ALL THE WAY..! I make a big batch of plantains and beans as part of my meal prepping and then make brown or black rice during the week to complement the beans and plantains. It fills me up, taste amazing and my Venezuelan roots really come out here.
Guilty food pleasure?
I’m a sucker for burgers! I’ve learned to make my own plant based burger patties so I can enjoy this pleasure without feeling too guilty. I love to eat burgers with pickles and baked sweet potato chips, yum!
How do you keep yourself in a healthy mindset with food?
I remind myself how amazing and energizing I feel now. I feel much better than when I was in my 20’s because of my healthy lifestyle change. This keeps me motivated. If I end up eating heavier meals, or foods that are prepared with animal protein I find myself feeling bloated afterwards. That is a great reminder that healthy eating is what works for my body.
What are you must have’s in your pantry?
I love spices and have been obsessed with turmeric and paprika! I also always have precooked corn flour (Harina Pan) to make arepas, a traditional Venezuelan and Colombian corn patty. Flaxseed, chia and hemp seeds are some of my other staples.
There you have it bugs, an inside look into Venezuelan plant based foodie Lennis world. Thank you Lennis for joining us for tea! Keep up with Lennis on her blog here.
Until next time babes.