Monica Huddleston @mainlymonica got our attention with her stunning foodie pics and excellent recipe creation, so we invited her to be a part of our latest e-book: Recipes of the World. She captured our imaginations with a grown-up plant-based version of the Monte Carlo bikkie and ended up getting one of three coveted spots on our yoghurt lids, despite her relatively newer audience. We decided we had to learn more about the girl behind these creations. We ended up a bit exhausted just thinking about her day but inspired at the same time. Read on to learn all the other things she is doing in between creating all that top content and prepare to need a cup of tea and a lie down. ☕
What is a typical day in the life of Monica?
My weekdays tend to look very similar. I wake up at 5:15am, get dressed, have a snack and go to Crossfit from 6-7am. Get home, run through the shower, eat breakfast and then I’m back out the door within half an hour. I’m at work from 8:30am-5pm, which involves a lot of phone calls and a lot of paperwork. Which is kind of ironic, because I REALLY do not enjoy talking to people on the phone, but hey sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to make a living. Three or four out of five days after work I do an extra training session: either Olympic weightlifting or extra Crossfit focussed more on strength and skills. Purely because I love it and I have goals I want to achieve. I get home around 7-7:15pm, shower, have dinner, and get all my food and clothes ready for the next day. Then I finally have some time to chill out watch some TV or Netflix (I’m loving Money Heist at the moment). I get ready to head to bed around 9pm, and then do it all over again!
My weekdays can be rather busy, so I definitely look forward to the weekend. I have more time to do the things I really enjoy like: recipe development, food photography, Crossfit, and doing absolutely nothing when I have extra spare time!
What got you into plant-based eating/cooking?
I can’t remember exactly why I decided to change my diet, but it definitely didn’t happen overnight. I went vegetarian when I was in grade 12 (2016), when I started getting into being healthier. It was only when I started to learn more about the environmental impact our food choices have and the ethics of veganism, that I decided to go fully plant-based.
How did you get so good at food pics?
I find that Instagram is what inspires me the most. I have so many incredibly talented friends and follow so many other incredibly talented recipe developers and food photographers. I’m always in awe of their work which only makes me more motivated to improve. I can’t remember when I started making my own recipes (it might have been because I never really liked following someone else’s) but over time I have learnt how ingredients behave and what needs what, which has helped me learn what should work and what won’t. I have been into photography since I was about 13 or 14, but I was never interested in food photography until about 2 years ago – I had always loved sports photography more. They are quite different types of photography, but having a solid knowledge of one helps with the other. I also decided to enrol in Foodtography School which definitely helped me take my food photography to the next level.
What do you love about Crossfit and weightlifting?
There are so many reasons I love Crossfit; it has helped me learn to love my body for what it can do rather than how it looks, it has taught me that being strong and having muscles is beautiful and empowering, it gives me a sense of achievement, it never gets boring because every session is different and it is where I have met some of the most important and supportive people in my life. I do some Olympic weightlifting on the side.
A random fact people might not know about you?
When I was 15, I got a job working as an equestrian sports photographer and travelled around Queensland and New South Wales to competitions most weekends (when I wasn’t riding myself). I honestly have no idea how I ever got any homework done! Which also leads on to another fact you might not know about me, I used to own a horse and compete, but I had to give it up when I was unwell in 2017. I still do some equestrian photography occasionally for friends, and quite a bit of sport (Crossfit) photography, when I find the time.