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Natalya Harden

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Natalya is passionate about living a healthy and active lifestyle. Taking care of her body and mind are the most important things to her. Natalya is a yoga teacher and personal trainer, and is obsessed with creating healthy vegan desserts and sharing them on her popular blog. We chatted to Natalya about all things blogging, food photography and being apart of our cookbook!

Tell us a bit about yourself! 

I’m Natalya, a healthy dessert blogger and food photographer! I’m gypsying around the world for the next few years with no permanent address, but currently living in Panamá! I spend most of my time developing recipes, photographing them and writing blog posts. Although, recently I’ve been focused on finishing my recipe book, which will be out by May. Counting down the days!

When did you start food blogging on Instagram and what inspired you to start?

I started sharing recipes on Instagram 2 years ago! I feel that as a society we have become numb to the artificial nature of food because it’s so commonly used. My goal has always been to inspire people to eat more real food and to discover how simple and delicious it can be!

What inspires you to consume a plant-based diet?

While I’m not 100% vegan, I definitely try to keep a mostly plant-based diet, mainly because of the horrible conditions animals are forced to live through and the impact on the environment. All of the desserts on my blog are 100% vegan! 

What are the biggest challenges and greatest rewards of being a food/lifestyle blogger?

As for the challenges, I would say the biggest challenge has been to stay motivated when it’s getting more and more difficult to consistently grow an audience, especially when there are so many other food bloggers out there! But, when you love what you do, it really does make it easier to keep looking forward. My passion is to create and inspire, and that’s what I try to do on a daily basis. So, I can’t complain! 

When you're not food blogging, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Travel!! I love to see the world and to gain fresh perspective. I try to travel somewhere new every couple of months. I save up some money and go experience something new and exciting. It keeps the mind and soul healthy! 

Your photos are always styled so nicely, what tips and tricks can you share to assist in creating such great images?

Thank you so much! The first thing I always pay attention to is light. I love to use natural light more than artificial light as it gives the photo this raw feeling. But, I do use artificial light when needed. There are also some basic photography composition principles that can really enhance a photo. I try to pay attention to the rule of thirds, lines, patterns, color, texture and the 3 best angles for food photography (straight on for layered foods, 45 degree for capturing depth, overhead shot for getting shapes). 

 

You have grown up in beautiful Florida! What did you enjoy about living there and where is your favorite place to eat?

I do love the weather and, of course, being with my family whenever possible. As for the food, there are plenty of yummy places to eat! I can’t really choose a favorite, but I love going to Wynwood (the art district) and choosing any place there!

What’s your favourite go-to breakfast?

Smoothie bowls!! I am obsessed with making smoothie bowls. There are so many different combos and topping options, plus it’s refreshing and a perfect start to the day!

If you could live off one ingredient for the rest of your life what would it be?

CHOCOLATE. No question. I can’t get enough of it!

You serve up some pretty amazing dishes in our Coconut Bowls! What has been your favourite so far?

Thank you! My favorite (beside the recipe I created for the Vegan Bowls for Vegan Souls Cookbook) is the coffee cream truffles! A crisp chocolate coating, a creamy coffee filling... and one of my favorite combos. You can find the recipe on my blog. :)

What is your favourite thing about your Coconut Bowls?

I love that they’re eco-friendly, made from recycled coconut shells! Giving back is so important to me, and I love supporting a brand that values social responsibility. Other than that, they’re beautiful! No two coconut bowls look the same, making each one special. And, let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love eating out of coconut bowls? 

 

We are so excited to have one of your recipes included in our new cookbook ‘Vegan Bowls for Vegan Souls’. Tell us about the recipe you chose and what it means for you to be apart of the book?

I chose to share one of my favorite recipes, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles! They’re easy to make, absolutely delicious and are completely vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free, making them GUILT-FREE. I love turning those guilty pleasures we love so much into a healthier alternative you don’t need to feel bad about. I’m so grateful to be a part of the cookbook and to be associated with Coconut Bowls because, as I said before, giving back is so important to me! So, being associated with a brand who makes social responsibility their mission is incredible. 

Thanks Natalya! Big love from Coconut Bowls.

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