Joining the ranks of food bloggers who are promoting fun and easy wholesome eating, varsity friends and fellow creatives Tamzyn La Gorce and Kaeli Justus are the Cape Town-based duo behind Give a Fork. Their love of food and mindful eating – as well as their penchant for the occasional treat – feed into this exciting new endeavour, so we sat down with the pair to find out more.
Tell us a bit about each of your creative backgrounds.
Kaeli Justus: Tamzyn and I met while studying graphic design at AAA School of Advertising in Cape Town. Our friendship grew outside our classes, and we became yoga buddies and started sending a seemingly never-ending stream of recipe links to each other via Skype Chat. It was great for dinner planning, but maybe not so great for keeping hunger at bay while stuck behind a desk! I work as a graphic designer for Deep Agency and Tamzyn as an illustrator for Muti. Everyone in the creative industry knows the pull to do something outside your nine-to-five, and Give a Fork was a way for me to explore the photography I’d learnt at Frank Joubert Art Centre years ago, gave Tamzyn a platform to explore her illustration style and is an excuse for us to make (and eat!) delicious food.
What sparked your interest in food and healthy eating in particular?
Tamzyn La Gorce: I’ve always enjoyed food and come from a household where food is happiness; it’s what brings people together. Making people smile and bringing them joy is what continued my love of food, but I had never been concerned about what I put into my body – if I felt like chocolate for breakfast, I’d have some. Eventually, my body started disagreeing with the food choices I’d been making, and after doing my own research, I started making the shift to a healthier lifestyle. Seeing a dietitian has also helped me immensely.
K: I was one of those rare children who preferred naartjies over Nestlé, so being healthy has (luckily) always been easy for me. I really believe in listening to your body and giving it what it needs – I am human and also love the occasional pizza – but nine times out of 10, we feel better when we eat a balanced diet. I had wanted to be vegetarian from a young age, but my mom had always said no based on practicality. I made the change once I left home and in just over a year, I became vegan, which was more of a slow realisation that I didn’t want to eat anything that could harm me or the environment rather than an overnight decision.
How do you aim to explore this through your platform Give a Fork?
T: Kaeli and I are constantly researching ways to improve the way we feel, and fully believe that everything starts in the gut. We’re hoping that people reading the blog will see that eating nourishing, healthy food doesn’t always have to be boring or difficult, and that a salad definitely does not have to mean iceberg lettuce and cucumber. We’d like people to make more informed food choices, feel the difference in their own bodies and to also give in to their sweet tooth every now and then. Life’s all about balance.
K: We’re also having fun with the shoots and illustrations as well as our writing and voice. It’s exciting to experiment with what works and what doesn’t on the platform and in the kitchen.
As food fads come and go, what advice do you have for someone looking to find a way of eating that works for them in the long run?
T: Never ever see healthy eating as a diet. Cliché as it might be, it is a lifestyle choice. Making healthy choices on a daily basis isn’t always easy and you really do need to be kind to yourself either way. Find what you enjoy eating because forcing yourself to eat something you don’t truly love is a recipe for failure. Keep finding interesting food combinations and new ways of cooking. Don’t be afraid to try new things and be adventurous with your flavours. The internet is your best friend.
If you’re going to follow a vegan or vegetarian eating plan, chances are you’ll need to get your hands on some unusual ingredients and/or supplements. Where do you shop in Cape Town?
T: Make local food markets your first stop. On a Saturday morning, you’re likely to find either of us at the Oranjezicht City Farm market because shopping local and organic is very important to us. Kaeli and I also get bi-monthly boxes from Harvest of Hope, an organisation that’s doing incredible things for communities in Nyanga, Philippi and Khayelitsha and who make locally grown, organic food easily available to those of us in the city centre. Atlas Trading in the Bo-Kaap is a little Cape Town gem if you need to stock your pantry.
K: We also love the online organic shop Faithful to Nature for lesser known ingredients, such as nutritional yeast. We’re still looking for liquid smoke, so if any knows where to get some, let us know! Apart from a normal multivitamin and a generous scoop of our favourite Wazoogles Superfood Protein Shake powder in our morning smoothies, we don’t really use supplements. Eating a wide range of food usually ensures you’re getting what your body needs.
What are your favourite meals to whip up for dinner when you’re busy?
T: A simple answer would be egg-fried rice, but honestly, anything that’s in the fridge that can be put in a bowl.
K: I love stir-fries because they’re so versatile and who doesn’t love a good noodle? My go-to though is a sun-dried tomato and chickpea burger patty with whatever greens and leaves are in my fridge. You can make a few patties as they last in the fridge for a few days.
Do you do a fair amount of meal planning and prep, or do you prefer to work spontaneously with what you’ve got on hand?
T: All of the above. Some weeks lend themselves to meal prep, some don’t and you just have to work with what you’ve got. I’ve eaten an egg on toast on more than one occasion! If you keep a stocked pantry, it becomes a lot easier to whip something up. I generally do a weekly shop to make sure that the fridge is filled with wholesome and healthy food. I’m not the biggest fan of salads for dinner, so I mostly plan around that.
K: My planning mostly revolves around my activities – like are we going to a Pound class or yoga, or having friends over. I try to ensure I’m replacing whatever gets depleted. I think having even a vague idea of what to cook for the upcoming week helps you in your weekly shop and significantly reduces the amount of food you might throw away. We’ve all had that back-of-the-fridge broccoli that ends up in the bin.
Life is all about balance. What are your go-to indulgences or guilty pleasures?
T: ICE-CREAM! It’s my weakness, and I’m pretty convinced that I have a separate compartment in my body that stores it. I’ve also started making my own, meaning I can make whatever flavour I want, whenever I want; it can be quite dangerous sometimes.
K: I’d have to second that. Unframed has been a blessing for me – I basically mourned not being able to go to the Creamery any more until I found Unframed’s vegan ice-cream. I also love the almond milk matcha teas at Loading Bay, which are more of a time and financial indulgence. As we said though, it’s important to allow yourself these little things now and then, so we never feel guilty about it.
And finally, where to from here? Any interesting food-related projects that we should keep an eye out for?
Tamzyn is a pescatarian, so we’re trying to guide the blog to be more inclusive and focus on sustainable eating rather than putting it in a specific dietary box. We want people to understand more about sourcing food ethically and locally, rather than creating restrictions. We’re currently looking at changing our blog template to better facilitate our recipes, and we’re partnering with some exciting local food brands – we wish we could say more on that, but it’s still in the planning phases. You’ll just have to follow our progress!
Visit giveafork.co.za for more.