Ashley Collins / Nourish Me Mum

Where does your passion for health and nutrition stem from? 

My entire adult life I’ve had bit of a crush on nutrition. Constantly seeking information and educating myself on the latest in nutritional science, diets and wellness practices.

Pair that with a life long love for food, cooking and baking inspired by my family growing up and here I am.

We are big fans of your website, Nourish Mum Mum, why did you decide to start it?

Nourish Me Mum began on a total whim. I started an Instagram profile about 18 months ago at the encouragement of a friend who pitched it to me as a ‘digital scrapbook’ for friends and family to access my recipes from anywhere in the world. Canada (where I am from) or Australia.

After receiving such a positive public response Nourish Me Mum was launched a few months later as a home for more imagery and information to accompany the recipes I was sharing on social media.

What was your goal when you first started Nourish Me Mum?

I have always loved creating new recipes and sharing them with anyone and everyone.

I really just started the whole thing to save myself writing recipes on napkins for people at parties, or sending lengthly emails on the best gf flour substitutes for banana bread haha

I was forever finding myself in conversations about food, diet and wellness with colleagues and friends often asking for recipes for their gluten free aunt, or healthier alternatives to make for their children's parties.

Now instead of counselling people in the aisles of the supermarket looking perplexed over gluten free products, (although I totally still do that ) I can take to social media and reach a wider audience that may have the same questions or interest in nourishing food.

How Nourish Me Mum has unfolded was not something I ever could have foreseen when I began a year and half ago. It just kind of happened!

My goal has always been to create, share and celebrate each day with delicious, healthy food. That’s just me, how I live life. Each meal is an opportunity to express love, share your day and nourish your family.

But through the course of the Nourish Me Mum journey the audience has grown and changed.

It’s no longer just for my aunt in Toronto, or a former colleague here in Melbourne. There are 60,000 people all over the world following along and it brings me great joy to think of sharing my food in the homes of those people. I am so grateful to be a small part of their lives each day through Facebook, Instagram or my website.

What do you hope to share with your everyone who visits Nourish Me Mum?

I want people to feel excited and encouraged. Empowered to give something a go! For those new to my style of food I want them to see that eating well doesn't have to be deprived or difficult.

You do not have to go without, it’s just about a new way of doing things. Learning a little bit about new foods, or new methods. Shifting the focus to whole ingredients and nutrient rich foods.

I think sometimes people don’t know how good they can really feel, so I hope in some way that I can help people make small changes and swaps in their diets that will lead to a greater change in their overall health and wellness or an open-mindedness or desire to learn more about the power of their dietary choices. For themselves and their families.

We understand your children love helping out in the kitchen, how do you include them when you bake?

I LOVE spending time with the kids in the kitchen. They are so enthusiastic and curious it inspires me.

I let them crack eggs, use safe knives to cut veggies and my eldest Charlotte measures and pours.

Even small jobs like stirring, peeling and washing will make their little faces light up with pride! It can be trying and most definitely messy, but it is so worth it.

It is so important to me to teach them about real food, where it comes from and how to prepare it. I find the more they are involved the more they are open to trying new things, a wider variety of foods.

Cooking is a life skill that will never go to waste. Yes it takes time, yes it takes patience,but I think the lessons your children learn in the kitchen are lifelong and invaluable.

You have such a delicious variety of intolerant friendly recipes, do you or your family have any intolerances? 

Yes, through a series of elimination tests and trials of certain foods and food groups I was diagnosed with Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity back in 2012.

NCGS is a bit tricky. It’s not coeliac, it’s not a wheat allergy but it’s a sensitivity to gluten causing a myriad of symptoms and reactions including headaches, tummy issues, inflammation and fatigue.

Through eliminating and reintroducing different food groups over this time I also identified dairy as an inflammatory food that was causing gut and skin issues so I made the transition to gluten and dairy free.

My husband was very supportive and followed suit and we both feel the better for it. The kids are also gluten and dairy free, as a family we share one meal.

Where did your passion for gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free come from?

Once you feel your best and identify what makes you feel well and what doesn’t, you never look back. You become passionate about feeling good and living well and you want to give your body what makes it feel its best.

It’s like a fog is lifted and you feel clear, light and switched on. It’s an amazing feeling that alluded me for the better part of my late teens and early 20’s.

I ate well, exercised daily, I knew the importance of hydration and rest. I have always been interested in health and wellbeing, I knew all the tips and tricks to live well. I should have felt great. But I didn’t. What was up?

Thankfully through reading, research, a great naturopath and patient GP, discovering the NCGS and dairy intolerance was the awakening for me that has lead to my bodies happy place.

Have you always been GF, DF, RSF or have you introduced this into your life? If so, how did you find the transition to this diet and why? 

No actually. Although I grew up in a healthy household it was traditional. We ate well, both of my parents cooked using local produce, meats and seafoods, lots of variety and what we now call ‘real food’ but I also learned to bake with flour, butter and sugar like most. I drank milk growing up and ate lollies and chocolate bars like all kids in the 80’s & 90’s! As I got older, into my late teens and really enjoyed learning more about health and nutrition as I mentioned, I began making healthy swaps and slowly changing how I baked and certain things I ate. I began exercising and understanding movement and the concept of wellness. It has been a slow and natural progression over the last 15+ years to where I am now with the big catalyst being the understanding of my bodies reaction to gluten and dairy.

What are your favourite DF recipes and alternatives? 

COYO in and on everything! No, actually! This is not a paid advertisement haha

I love using COYO in my baked goods, on my waffles and pancakes, to make the silkiest dark chocolate ganache and sauces. Salad dressings, marinades you name it and I’ll COYO it! Sweet or savoury.

Finding COYO was honestly life changing as it opened up so many possibilities in the kitchen. Although I had made my own coconut yoghurt for some time in the past there is only one COYO and I have to concede it is far better than anything I could make myself.

Having a brand you love and trust and a product you can rely on that is of a quality and integrity you are happy to share with your family, it has been amazing!

Here are a few of my favourite recipes using COYO…
  • Teff Blueberry and Banana Muffins
  • Buckwheat Teff Cococnut Waffles
  • Coconut Matcha Latte
  • Pear Vanilla Almond Cake