Candy Luk is a Sydney based radiographer-to-be who enjoys spending time in the kitchen and whipping up *relatively* healthy and plant-based recipes.
She believes in 80% healthy and 20% (or more) indulgence! Her goal is to create recipes that are not only pantry-friendly, but also nourishing to our bodies, and to inspire people to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
We talk to Candy recently as she shares her top tips for eating, feeling and living well!
(VIVO): Thanks so much for taking the time to chat to us Candy. Can you tell us a bit more about you and why you decided to create and share your plant based nourishing recipes on Instagram?
Candy: My name is Candy. I'm a 4th year uni student doing Diagnostic Radiography at the University of Sydney (think X-ray, CT, MRI... etc). I’m so excited yet scared at the same time as I will graduate and become a qualified radiographer next year! I enjoy what I’m doing as I’ve always wanted to work in healthcare and radiography is a really rewarding profession - we don’t save lives directly like doctors and nurses do, but we help them diagnose what is wrong in patient’s body but taking the best-quality radiographs. So that’s a little bit about me!
As for my food blogging journey - I think I started to find my passion about food in my first year of uni when I had more spare time. I started off following and trying different recipes I found online. At that time I would follow the recipes to a T! After I made the recipe I would take photos of them so I wouldn’t “waste my effort”.
As I made more and more recipes I thought I would create an Instagram account to save all those images and recipes so I could easily go back to them when I need the recipe. I remember a period when I was obsessed with homemade banana bread and pancakes: I tried out tons of different recipes with different flour and flavours and I would take photos each time I made them! At that time my passion was food in general and didn’t care whether it was a healthy recipe or not.
Later on as I learned more about health because of my degree, I started to make more healthier recipes and I was one of those making green smoothies every morning and buying all those “superfoods”.
I also started to eat a lot more plant-based foods because I felt my body function well with them. Fast forward to now I live a more balanced life. I enjoy eating healthy food as well as “not-so-healthy” food.
I believe that we shouldn’t be labelling food as “good” or “bad” as all foods are meant to be enjoyed without guilt :) Nowadays I don’t follow recipes exactly anymore. I like to be creative in the kitchen and create my own version of recipes.
My recipes are mostly plant-based because I enjoy plant-based foods. I love using fresh, wholesome ingredients in my cooking as I think this is the best way to get the maximum nutrients to nourish our bodies - which is why I love VivoNue’s protein as I know it’s made from the best whole-food ingredients! My goal on my IG platform is to inspire people to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle by sharing recipes that are nourishing and delicious :)
(VIVO): How do you come up with such great nourishing recipes all the time? And what top tips do you have for everyone to dish up and eat such nourishing foods?
Candy: Thanks so much for your kind words! You have no idea how much it means to me when people recreate my recipes! I put a lot of effort in recipe development and food photography so even a small compliment means the world to me :p
I love reading food blogs, collecting recipes in OneNote and experimenting with foods in the kitchen and I guess that’s how I come up with most of the recipes on my page!
There are also so many amazing food blogs and Instagram pages out there so I always get inspired by all these talented people! For example if I see a drool-worthy noodle dish as I’m scrolling down my Insta feed, I will check out the recipe and come up with my own version, using what I have on hand :p
Another main source of my recipe inspiration is from the restaurants/cafes that I visit - if I like the dish I will think of different ways to replicate it at home :p
My top tip to eat healthy? Don’t over complicate it, it’s actually pretty simple!
- Try to incorporate as much fresh in-season veggies and fruits in your diet as you can. You don’t have to eat salad every day; just eyeball your plate: 1/2 veggies + 1/4 carbs + 1/4 protein.
- Swap highly processed foods with whole foods e.g. baked potatoes rather than store-bought chips; fresh knob of corns instead of corn flakes/chips. Of course I’m not saying you need to eliminate these “not as healthy” foods” from your life - I’m all about 70% healthy and 30% indulgence. Balance is the key!
- Create your own NOURISH BOWL! It’s actually so fun to make and it’s super versatile - just use whatever you have on hand! Grab your favourite bowl and make a throw-in-everything, your own version of nourish bowl, it’s my favourite way to make sure I am having a well balanced meal. There’s no fixed rule and you can mix and match ingredients using whatever you have on hand or on sale in the market! Just follow the basic principle: 1. WHOLE GRAINS or COMPLEX CARBS (brown rice, wholewheat pasta/soba noodles, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, sweet potatoes, potatoes, bread preferably made from whole grains, yams... there are just too many options!! Use different kind of carbs every time if you get bored easily) + 2. GREENS (any leafy greens eg spinach, kale, broccoli, rocket etc., tbh just any veggies in green colour) + 3. HEARTY VEGETABLES (eg carrots, capsicums, beetroot etc) + 4. PROTEIN (tofu, beans, tempeh) + 5. HEALTHY FATS (eg avocado, tahini, PB, EVOO, flax oil, any seeds and nuts) + optional extra add-on or crunch if you’re feeling fancy eg sauerkraut, coconut bacon, nori etc.
(VIVO): What is your favourite breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes that you think anyone can make easily and in no time at all?
Candy: ahhh there are so many quick and easy recipes that I love which I always share on my Instagram haha... but if I have to pick.
Breakfast: OVERNIGHT OATS (make sure to add source of protein and healthy fats e.g. good quality protein powder, nuts & seeds to make your breakfast more satiating and keeps you full for longer). Here’s my go-to recipe: simply mix together 1/2 cup rolled oats + 3/4 cup plant milk + 2 tbsp protein powder in a bowl and pop in the fridge overnight. In the morning add in fresh fruits, yogurt and nuts/seeds of choice :)
Lunch: I always crave for something soup and warm (especially in winter!!) so stews/soups + source of good carbs e.g. baked potatoes/sweet potatoes, yam, brown rice, crusty sourdough is the way to go. My favourite recipe is this pumpkin bean stew: https://www.instagram.com/p/