Last year I did a blog post featuring my favourite nutrition infographics which proved a huge hit.
As I said in that post, even though I love the theories and principles behind healthy living, I can feel my eyes glaze over and my brain wander off when I start to get even close to scientific terminology about nutrition and the gut when I'm reading and researching. That's where infographics come in and explain visually often quite complicated subjects.
But if infographics are so great (which I think we're all agreed they are) - what else can we use them for in our quest to be healthier?
Cue Ruth from Yogaru.ie. I was absolutely delighted when Ruth got in touch after joining my mailing list to share with me some beautiful graphics she's designed as recipe builders.
Creating easy to use and versatile recipes for The Flourishing Pantry has always been my passion. However a recent preoccupation has been worrying that some people may not feel confident or able to make my recipes if they don't have the exact list of ingredients.
The thing with so much cooking is there are always alternatives. So what if there were beautiful graphics to teach you what you can swap in and out to use what you've got? I will leave Ruth to explain more about how she created just that in my guest interview this week....
Hi Ruth and welcome to The Flourishing Pantry! Tell us a bit more about yourself - what’s your background? I'm also really curious to know how did you come to making yoga such a central part of your life?
I worked as a graphic designer for many years and owned my own design business. I first found yoga in 2000 when Ashtanga was the hot new trend in Dublin. I was quiet the gym bunny and I have to be honest I started yoga because I liked the physicality of Ashtanga. I loved it and even became curious about doing a teacher training. But I was at the first mortgage and maternity leaves x 3 stage of life so the timing wasn’t right for me. The seed was sown though!
In 2014 I eventually made the leap of faith and embarked on my 200hr Yoga Alliance Teacher Training in The Yoga Room, and yoga has been my main focus since.
I started getting into yoga last year, with a private lesson with Yogi2Me and then an amazing weekend at Soul Circus yoga festival.
I now practise once a week at Hot Pod Yoga in Dublin. But before that I always turned my nose up at yoga! What do you think yoga gives you and your clients? What would you say to a sceptic about yoga that’s never tried before?!
One of the first blog posts I wrote on my website was The Benefits of Yoga.
Life is a balancing act. When you tip into perpetual busyness, in work and life, you gradually start to notice the impact it has on your health. Yoga is all about bringing balance back – physically, mentally and spiritually. It counteracts the busy lives we all lead, and helps us deal with everyday situations by teaching us to pause before we react.
There are lots of different reason that bring students to the practice of yoga, and this initial reason is constantly evolving, the benefits are endless and there is no perfect end point, that’s what I love about it!
I often hear students saying they came to their first yoga class cajoled along by a pal, and have been practicing ever since. It’s one of those life experiences that you have to just take a leap of faith and give it a go.
The change in students from when they walk into a class and when they leave is amazing – they’re completely different people – more chilled out, happier, glowy, and even seem a little bit taller too!
My practice is my comfort blanket – I turn to it to find my grounding; bring myself back to me; keep calm with my kids; find space to breathe a full breath; help me make healthy choices throughout the day… and yes it definitely feels really good to stretch every morning before I kick into whatever the day has in store for me.
Your graphics are absolutely gorgeous. Tell us a bit about the inspiration for creating these - both the yoga and the recipe building ones.
When I was doing my teacher training I drew up stick figures on the back of blank business cards to help me design my yoga sequences. I’m a very visual person so I couldn’t imagine working out sequences without having the cards. That’s where the idea for my Yogaru 108 home practice sequencing cards came from.
After I finished my training I set up Yogaru to combine my two career paths – design and yoga. There were very few yoga blogs, and any of the ones I followed were American. I wanted to cater for an Irish yogi audience.
My main intention was to share all I’d learnt and build an online resource to help people develop their home practice and pick up lots of health tips along the way. I also wanted the blog to offer an all encompassing lifestyle approach rather than purely yoga so I added the ‘Nourish’ section with my recipe builder graphics. It’s all part of the wellness journey – move, nourish, sleep, meditate.
You and I have talked about worrying that people can take recipes too literally. What other concerns do you think people have about creating nutritious meals, that we could help tackle as bloggers?
It took me a long time to grasp taking the essence of a recipe from a book or a blog and playing around with the ingredients I had in my kitchen. I love the idea of empowering people to take the step to creating their own dishes with a formula rather than a step by step recipe. That way they can browse the aisles, pick their favourite veg and buy more seasonally too.
Recipes have definitely got more user friendly, with shorter lists of ingredients and less prep time, but I’d love to see it boiled down even further. Sometimes I might vaguely remember making a really good black bean burger but I can’t remember if it was from one of my cookbooks or from one of the blogs I follow.
What if The Flourishing Pantry had basic formulas for making the best fail safe burgers, veggie curry, bowl of porridge ect – with three or four flavour swaps for each recipe. Kind of like my recipe builders but much simpler. Are you up for the challenge?
I am! It's something I've had on my mind for a while and I'm actually thinking it might form the basis for my first e-book (said it out loud so I've got to do it now!). We should definitely talk about getting your graphics in there...
What recipe would you recommend from your own website that people should try?
It has to be the porridge builder [see below]. I use it everyday. We’re a porridge family. The kids swap to bircher muesli for the summer but I love my porridge all year round. I use the flapjack builder a lot too. I make about two batches of flapjacks a week.
I’m loving my savoury version at the moment with nutritional yeast, paprika, cumin and turmeric – all great anti-inflammatory spices. I use spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg to naturally sweeten the lunchbox flapjacks too.
What’s your favourite recipe from The Flourishing Pantry?
Like yourself I love savoury and the idea that breakie doesn’t have to be sweet. I tried to introduce savoury porridge with the kids but unfortunately I added way too much miso so it didn’t go down to well. I left it for a while and recently started introducing your miso porridge and it was a great success! They love the nori sprinkles.
I also love your idea of using chickpeas in your brownies too. We’re wholefood plant based and eat a lot of beans. I’ve made black bean brownies before but I’ve never tried chickpea. They’re definitely on my list of things to try.
You can download all of Ruth's beautiful recipe builder graphics in one go here.
Or if you're looking for one individually here's what's on offer:
Remember to check out Ruth on her own blog Yogaru.ie for all her latest tips and graphics.
Want to meet Ruth? I'm hosting another HBCxMeet for the Health Bloggers Community on 3rd March in Dublin and Ruth will be our guest for a blogger Q&A.
Speaking about her blogging but also the importance of balance in her life and how yoga and meditation helps her, we're going to have a lovely networking afternoon. Join us - grab your tickets here.