Verena is the Switzerland-based mum of twins behind Freistyle. Freistyle is a food, travel and lifestyle blog where she shares her passion for healthy food and plant-based recipes. Verena also talks about her other passions, such as travelling with her family, styling, photography and living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. We chatted to Verena about her blog, family life and inspiration.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m a 37 year old mom of twin girls. I studied economics and worked in marketing and advertising until I decided to leave my corporate job for good two years ago to pursue my passion for food, photography and creating healthy recipes. We live in Switzerland and love to travel. My husband and I are very passionate about traveling and we try to show the girls as much of the world as possible.
When did you start food blogging on Instagram and what inspired you to start?
I actually started as a travel and family blogger when we went on a round-the-world-trip with our girls in 2016. But I also started to post pictures of food on my Instagram and this somehow got a lot of attention and I also realized it’s what I love the most – to be creative with food and show how delicious and colorful healthy plant based food can be. So it was more of a coincidence that I became a food blogger, but I love it so much and I’m so happy I could make this passion a job and to be part of such an amazing community. I have met so many wonderful people along the way and I’m grateful for all the projects I could take part in.
You are such a positive advocate for plant-based living. What led you to this lifestyle choice?
I grew up mostly vegetarian, since my parents stopped eating meat for health reasons when I was little. My mom was always very passionate about healthy food and she made everything from scratch. I learned so much from her and also inherited her passion for good and healthy food. I became fully vegan after doing more and more research and watching documentaries. At first I just wanted to try to see if it would be a diet that would work for me. After one month I was already positive that this is the way for me and I never regretted it (like most people I only regret that I didn’t start earlier). I love how many possibilities you have with plant-based food and I’m not missing anything at all.
Where do you get your recipe inspiration from?
Lot of the recipes are actually childhood memories that I make vegan versions of but I also get inspired by social media, of course, there are so many creative people out there. I’m always challenging myself to make any recipe I see vegan – that’s such a fun part and I love to see the reaction – when people realize that you don’t need any animal products and how good a dish can taste without.
Do your girls eat plant-based diets also? What is your advice for other parents trying to encourage their kids to eat more plant-based and healthy foods?⠀⠀⠀
My girls are not on a fully plant-based diet. At home they are, since I only cook plant-based and only buy the products as well. But I don’t want to restrict them in their choices. They can eat whatever they like and make their own decisions, I just want to make sure that they understand where the food is coming from and that they know what a smart choice is. And I’m really lucky, since they always have been such good eaters. They love all veggies (with very few exceptions), love fruits and are super happy to taste test all my recipes.
Your foodie creations are breathtaking, to say the least! Where did you learn all your cooking and food skills?
Aw, thank you! Everything I know is self-taught or learned from my mom. She used to let us help in the kitchen at a young age and always made sure we knew how to cook and explained a lot. So I’m really lucky she was so passionate about it and I’m so thankful she introduced us to cooking as well. And now for new recipes it’s also a lot of experimenting for me, of course there are fails as well, but the feeling when you create a recipe that people love is amazing.
Your Instagram feed is so bright and beautiful! Where do you source all of your fruit and veg from?
We are lucky in Switzerland that we can get a wide range of organic food at the local supermarket, but also farmer markets as well. I also get a weekly delivery of veggies and fruits from local farmers, which is such a good thing as there can be veggies in there that I don’t usually buy which encourages me to get creative with them.
We know you have a passion for travel, which has been your favourite destination so far?
We loved Australia a lot and can’t wait to be back there – a dream would be to get to a lot of the small islands by sailboat one day. And of course, Hawaii has always a space in our heart since we got married on Maui.
You serve up some pretty amazing dishes in our coconut bowls! What has been your favourite so far?
What is your favourite thing about your Coconut Bowls?
I love that something that would have been thrown away is turned into a beautiful item that holds colorful, healthy and delicious food for many people around the world. I also love the texture of the bowls and that every bowl is unique.
We are so excited to have one of your recipes included in our cookbook ‘Vegan Bowls’. Tell us about the recipe you chose?
I created the Coconut Matcha Ice-cream, because it let’s me dream of a tropical vacation. I love all things coconut and with the hint of matcha, the grilled pineapple and the peppermint pesto – it’s such a delicious burst of flavors. It’s also so easy to prepare since you don’t have to stir the ice-cream after you freeze it.
To learn more about Verena: @frei_style