Taline Gabrielian is the founder of Hippie Lane, Instagram superstar, recipe developer, and gorgeous mother of two. After discovering she had food intolerances, Taline started creating her own healthy treats (think raw vegan Snickers, Oreos, and Twix bars). She now shares her delectable creations with over 300K (and growing) followers on Instagram every day. Her Hippie Lane recipe app was a No.1 seller within the first week of launch. She’s now working hard on her first cookbook to share even more of her everyday recipes.
“About 5 years ago, when I was trying to fall pregnant with my second child, I went to go see a Holistic GP. I found out that I was intolerant to a whole heap of everyday foods—gluten, soy, egg, dairy, you name it. In one way, I was relieved to hear there were no major health problems, but it also felt like an inconvenience. This was back when alternative foods were not as readily available as they are now. So I began to cook even more at home and eliminated the offending foods from my diet. I didn’t notice any differences immediately—but when I began to reintroduce them back into my diet, I started to experience uncomfortable symptoms, like stomachaches, bloating and indigestion. That’s when I decided to make a permanent change and adopted an organic, whole foods diet.
At that time, sweet treats that were gluten, dairy and egg free were so hard to come by! And even though I was pretty health-conscious, I’ve always had a sweet tooth—I was obsessed with Nutella and Milo drinks growing up. I wasn’t prepared to give sweets up altogether, so I got creative in the kitchen. I started to experiment with a variety of whole foods and came up with a range of vegan treats. Making new and creative recipes was like a newfound addiction—I loved the endless possibilities. Best of all, it was a way to enjoy and share treats that were healthy and wholesome, but tasted just as good, if not better, than the real deal. I haven’t looked back since.
ON RECIPE DEVELOPMENT
Developing recipes is my passion. More than anything, I love to come up with new dishes. I love the whole process—starting from choosing ingredients to making the dish, tasting, and presenting it. I’m very nostalgic, so I’ll often go back to a taste that I grew up with, like a classic Cadbury chocolate—Cadbury is Australia’s version of Hershey’s. I’ll think, ‘What can I do to get that taste? How can I recreate that flavor and texture using wholefood ingredients?’ Most of the time, the recipes turn out successfully, but there are definitely times where it just doesn’t work out. I’ll try countless times and I can’t get it right. But to me, that’s the exciting part. It feels even that much sweeter when it’s a little harder to create.
I’m always thinking about what to make next. Just yesterday, I saw an ad for a white chocolate Twix. I’ve got a Twix recipe [on the Hippie Lane app], but I never considered a white chocolate version. So this morning, I got making the biscuit and caramel layers of the Twix. Once it sets, I’ll make the white chocolate, coat it, and see how it holds and tastes. It’s the whole creative process, not just the end result, but the whole journey that’s so exhilarating to me.
In terms of diet, after trying lots of different food plans, I’ve come to the realization that everybody is different. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all health plan. I’m not a paleo, I’m not a vegan. I’m very careful about not labeling myself. At this stage of my life, a majority plant-based diet works well for me.
About a year ago, I tried going vegan. To my disappointment, it didn’t work for me. The beans, excess nuts and fruit caused havoc with my gut and it took me months to restabilize my gut health. I was sad to have to give it up and felt like it was some sort of failure. But I finally came around and thought, ‘Hang on, what am I doing? I tried this and I feel off.’ You need to listen to your body. There shouldn’t be any guilt around that.
FOR THE KIDS
I like to keep it light and fun. To get my children into healthy breakfasts, we make our breakfast bowls together. They have fun choosing their favorite fruit and like to decorate their bowls the way I do. When making smoothies, we talk about fun colors. We call the superfood powder that we add to smoothies ‘magic dust’. [laughs] When we do it that way, it becomes fun and playful. And when there is play involved, kids are all for it.
Veggies form a big part of our diet. I roast pumpkin with cinnamon, their favorite spice, to make it more appealing. I make oven chips out of potato and yams. I sprinkle the chips with some coconut flour to make them super crispy, which they love. I often spiralize zucchinis, carrots and beetroot like spaghetti and toss them into stir fry. They love that. I think the secret is in creativity with food prep.
IN THE KITCHEN
In my pantry, I’ve always got quinoa, chia seeds, coconut, dates, nuts and seed butters. In the fridge, I’ll have rice milk, coconut yogurt, fresh fruits, and a whole lot of veggies. I’ll often have healthy dips like hummus to make veg sticks more appealing. I usually cut up veggie sticks for my children at the beginning of the week and have them in a container so it’s ready to go. It’s just taking that extra time to plan and prep your meals.
The food processor and blender are my two most used kitchen tools. I recently bought a Vitamix, which I really love. It makes cake-making a breeze and creates really smooth sauces and cashew cheesecakes. But I managed without it until 6 months ago, so I can’t say it’s an essential. All the recipes on the Hippie Lane app have been created with the food processor, not the Vitamix. But now that I’ve got one, I can’t believe I was living without it.
HOW TO KEEP GOING
It is definitely challenging to manage all the demands, especially when you have a family. You’ve really got to be passionate about what you’re doing to keep it up. I love what I do—I think that’s the key. When I take a day or two off where I do nothing in the kitchen, by the third day I’m beside myself because I can’t wait to get back into it. Creating in the kitchen is such an enjoyable process for me—it’s where I let go, there’s no rules and I just let it flow.”
Ready to try something sweet? Taline shares her Raweo recipe from the Hippie Lane app–an easy, raw, vegan version of the classic Oreo.
As told to Stephanie Park, March 2016.
Photos courtesy of Taline Gabrielian, Hippie Lane.