Years ago (maybe 5,6?) I discovered a wonderful blog then named “Carrie on Vegan”. I was attracted by its informed and interesting content but also by how unpretentious the blogger was. Carrie, who holds a masters degree in public health (nutrition), was completely forward and open regarding her health struggles and her day-to-day life coping with those. (I highly recommend you read about her story on her blog.)
A few years later, bombshell: Carrie, due to health issues, decided to move away from her vegan lifestyle. I won’t go into too many details, but the backlash she received (of which she talks a little bit in the interview) was outrageous. Vegans, although not the majority, were making me feel ashamed of being labelled as such. Instead of thanking her for all she did, they slammed her for what they considered to be an unforgivable move. She sailed, although not harmed-free, through it and carried on doing what she does best: being herself and promoting the healthy lifestyle she believes in through her blog now named “Carrie on Living”.
Carrie and I had been communicating for a few years when I first approached her by email a few months ago. I was about to re-enter the world of blogging and I decided to try and ask her for advice. She didn’t know me, didn’t owe me anything but still took the time to out of her busy schedule to write back. We have since been exchanging conversational emails about various topics (including this interview) and I can say that if I first respected the blogger, I now consider her a friend.
I really hope you’ll enjoy this interview as much as I did and make sure to go check her page!
Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?
My name is Carrie Forrest and my blog is called Carrie on Living (based on the British expression “Carry On”). I have a masters degree in public health nutrition and I use my writing, pictures, and recipes to inspire healthy, balanced living.
Describe how you first got into blogging?
I started blogging in June of 2009 as I was making a career change into the field of nutrition. At that time, I was already well into my 30s, but was just starting to learn how to cook (!). I loved the idea of sharing my journey online with others.
How would you describe your blogging style?
Conversational and authentic, with a positive attitude.
What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide to his/her readers?
My favorite blogs are ones where I feel like I’m reading a note from a friend. I’m also partial to blogs where the food is presented so beautifully that I get hungry just looking at the photos!
How do you want to improve yourself professionally in the next year?
Improving the quality of my food photography is one of my top priorities.
What has been the biggest challenge of your blogging life so far and what did you learn from it?
Blogging has changed so much in the years that I’ve been doing it, and it’s much more professional and polished in terms of the writing, recipe development, styling, and presentation. The biggest challenge I’ve had is transforming my quite expensive hobby into a business, and managing both my expenses and time.
Have you met anyone interesting/famous on your blogging journey?
What do you find the most frustrating aspect of blogging is?
I find it very, very difficult to make food look pretty, especially when it’s something like a green smoothie or a stew. It can be very frustrating trying to translate a quality like healthfulness into an appetizing picture.
How much time do you spend blogging?
Blogging is a full-time job for me, so I spend 40+ hours a week including all of the social media management. I adore (almost) every minute of it, though, and am so grateful to do what I do.
How do you cope with the negativity? You faced a lot a couple of years ago, when you decided to start including all food in your lifestyle again. How did you get over all the backlash?
I’m super honest in my writing and being vulnerable like that automatically opens the door to people who are critical and sometime cruel, especially in an online environment. I had to work on my strength of self and understand that when someone is negative, it’s about what he or she is experiencing, and is not a reflection on me.
I’m human and quite sensitive, though, so sometimes I have to take a technology break and spend a day with friends who couldn’t care less about blogging. That gives me some perspective.
What is the most ridiculous comment you’ve received in response to something you posted?
My most controversial post and comments can be found here. The post was written during a very challenging part of my life and it’s still painful for me to read some of the comments.
Many people, including myself, think of you as a big reference and influence in the clean eating blogging world. How does that make you feel?
What a compliment, thank you!!! Hearing such kind words keeps me writing and sharing.
What is your favorite cooking ingredient? Yes, just one…
I can’t tolerate dairy, but I love a “creamy” texture for smoothies and savory dishes, so I probably couldn’t live without hemp seeds (Canadian grown, woot!).
What are, in your opinion, the advantages and disadvantages of being able to blog in the modern era?
I would never have had the opportunity to connect with so many amazing, diverse, and knowledgeable people without being part of the blogosphere. I feel so lucky to know you,
Kate, as well as many, many other virtual friends, so that’s the best part of blogging.
Gosh, the disadvantage of blogging in the modern era has to be the pressure to keep up with all of the social media outlets. The best piece of advice I got on that front was to pick 1-2 social media outlets and focus on those. My favorites are Instagram and Pinterest.
Thank you so much Carrie!
Now, here are a few of Carrie’s lovely pictures… How can you resist taking a look at her blog page after seeing those?
When you live in such a wonderful place (California)…
You can go to amazing Farmers Markets filled with colourful fruits and veggies…
And then make smoothies that look as delicious as this…
Or you can simply decide not to cook and go grab something as well presented as this and a local cafe (in this instance, Shine Cafe).
Want more? Click here.