A few weeks back I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite health and wellness bloggers, Gillian Young of Battle of the Bites. We met at the Chobani event, and bonded over a Maison jar of Greek yogurt and fresh berries. I was so delighted to discover that Gillian was just as great in person as she comes across in her blog.
It’s always so strange to follow someone on the interwebs and then finally meet them in person! You feel like you know them already because you’ve followed their journey through their blog, or status updates without ever really meeting them! It’s a funny world we live in, but it’s still so lovely to feel a connection with someone in real life, and be able to relate to them. Gillian is a native Vancouverite with a budding career in television, a captivating writer, and a lust for healthy cooking, not to mention an absolute beauty! You heard me, this girl has beauty, brains and talent! She is well traveled, cultured, and has a dedication to healthy living that is absolutely inspiring. On her blog, Battle of the Bites, Gillian shares her adventures of her travels, and the delicious foods she discovers along the way on her YouTube channel. Gillian has an energy that shines through in her videos, a curiosity for learning new things about food, and health that keeps her readers engaged, and that makes her blogs one of my absolute favs. I got a chance to pick Gillian’s brain, and to share with you some of her knowledge and passion about healthy living…
Q. How did you come up with the name “Battle of the Bites” and what does it mean to you?
Gillian: Battle of the Bites is about my battle to find the very best bites. I have always had an obsession with “the perfect bite”. You know that bite you take that makes your taste buds sing, memories flow, and leaves you absolutely satisfied? This blog is a place for me to search out those bites through my travels, local haunts and my kitchen experiments. Life is delicious and I will fight for every last bite.
Q. Through your blog your readers have followed you on your journey to becoming an all around healthy icon. Was there one thing that first inspired you to start leading a healthier lifestyle?
Gillian: Wow, a healthy icon? I like that! Thank you! I really strive for balance in my life. As a teenager I struggled with body image issues and went through a period where I became overly restrictive with food. This time really opened my eyes to the health risks of eating disorders and forced me to work hard to regain health and balance in my life. I now believe that a healthy lifestyle means having balance in all aspects of your life, including food, exercise, relationships and mental health. Happiness is a choice and enjoying a healthy lifestyle brings out the happiest version of myself!
Q. I was particularly inspired by your recent posts about natural beauty products and household items. How hard was it to make the switch to all natural products, and what tips can you offer for people wanting to make the same transition?
Gillian: This was quite the endeavor. As someone who hates to waste it was really difficult to get rid of so many products I already had and replace them with new ones. It took a lot of trial and error, especially in replacing my makeup staples, but was well worth all of the time and money. I recommend anyone looking to make the same transition to check out my series, do their own research, and take time phasing out old toxic products with new all natural ones if they don’t want to purge everything at once.
Q. It’s evident from your blog that you love to travel. What are your top tips for staying true to your healthy diet while traveling?
Gillian: Live like the locals! When I travel I like to walk everywhere, eat all the local delicacies, visit markets for fresh food, and indulge in moderation. Since travelling can wreak havoc on my digestive system I often try to eat fruit for breakfast and a big salad for lunch to keep things balanced!
Finding nearby grocery stores, healthy restaurants and juice bars near where I’m staying always helps too!
Q. While on your travels do you ever get inspired by the food you see, and try to incorporate it in your own cooking at home? (give an example if you can)
Gillian: Yes, always! My favorite thing to bring home from my travels is local food delicacies so that I can re-create the taste of my travels at home. When I travelled to Italy I brought home aged balsamic, local olive oil and truffle oil. At home I re-created some of the flavours of my trip by adding these oils to hearty salads with radicchio and beautiful greens, and drizzling truffle oil over my steak in place of the gorgeous shaved truffles I enjoyed in Sienna.
My last trip was to Portland and now I’m determined to open a food truck!
Q. Alright, what are your 3 favorite local restaurants serving up healthy eats?
Gillian: Fresh, Toshi sushi and Marben. I love Fresh for vegetable hearty dishes, Toshi sushi for really fresh sashimi, and Marben for satisfying locally sourced food!
You can follow Gillian on her travels at Battle of the Bites or on her Facebook page and Twitter for more updates, recipes, and travel tips.