From beautifully curated vegan bowls, perfect pancake stacks, real talk & workout videos, Cherie Tu, best known as Thriving on Plants, is a breath of fresh air on everyone's Instagram feed. We're delighted to speak to Cherie about all things health, morning rituals, exercise, authenticity & 2021 predictions for the ever-changing health & wellness space.
What does your morning routine look like?
Contrary to what everyone thinks, I’m actually not much of a morning person at all! But generally, once I get up I try and get some liquids in so I’ll usually sip some water from a jar then refill it as the day goes by. Before I start my day, I have to get my morning skincare routine done which involves a vitamin C serum, moisturiser and of course lots of SPF 50+ sunscreen (always). Next comes breakfast of course! I usually alternate between two simple meals like a smoothie or oatmeal, with the occasional savoury meal here & there. I have a habit of doing e-mails first thing in the morning so usually I’ll be enjoying my breakfast while I go through them all. That’s pretty much my morning summed up, nothing too exciting but just a simple routine to kickstart my day.
What’s one healthy habit you prioritised / embraced during lockdown that you’ll continue as we start to return to normality?
It’s not really a habit but more so a mindset - that perfection isn’t everything. The whole perfectionist mindset & approach really kills my productivity because I go in with an all or nothing approach. If 2020 has taught me one thing, it’s to not be too hard on myself & a little bit of progress is better than none at all. I’ve been taking this on board with literally all aspects of my life, from work to training or just in terms of my general nutrition/eating habits!
What are five things you’ll always have in your fridge / pantry?
In my fridge: Some sort of plant-based milk (soy is my favourite), a range of berries, leafy greens, vegan yogurt and firm tofu!
In my pantry: Rice, dried and canned beans, nuts & seeds, good quality oils (I love extra virgin olive oil & sesame oil) & flours for baking with.
What’s your favourite form of movement?
Picking up a bar & putting it back down… Haha in other words I’ve been weight training for 4 years now & I wouldn’t have it any other way! In the past year I’ve been doing powerlifting & it has been amazing to reach my potential in my strength. At the end of the day I think the most important thing is to find a form of movement & exercise that you actually enjoy. Otherwise you’ll find it to be a chore & losing motivation is going to be something you’ll constantly run into.
What’s the first destination you’d like to visit once we’re allowed to travel again?
I’ve always dreamed of going to South Korea & Japan. I absolutely love the culture, especially in terms of the language & cuisine. In general, my ideal destinations all involve travelling in Asia at the moment so I’d love to be able to do that once thing settle down!
What is one fun fact most people wouldn’t know about you?
The fact that I never really had a party/drinking phase in my life! I’m only 22 but from my teens till now I’ve never had a partying phase because it has simply never appealed to me. Peer pressure was something that didn’t affect me either. I just decided to carry on with my interests in veganism, food, fitness & living a healthy lifestyle. I’ve always been really excited about things like gardening instead, it honestly makes me feel like an old soul in some ways but I woudn’t change it for a thing! On a side note, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with drinking or partying but people are always shocked to find out that I completely skipped out on them. I just feel as though it shouldn’t be a norm/people shouldn’t be expected to do them if they’re not comfortable with it & there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having your interests lie elsewhere.
Why is it important to you to be Straight Up & authentic? Have you ever struggled in the past with being your true self?
Because why would you strive to be someone you’re not? Besides, when you’re on social media & projecting yourself to hundreds & thousands of people, they want to know you for who you are! I genuinely believe that one of the reasons why I was able to successfully grow my brand & page is because I’ve always been 100% true to myself. I don’t think I’ve ever struggled with this because I’ve always believed in myself & my values regardless of what others think / say. Trust me, once you start loving and believing in yourself, authentic is the only thing you can & will want to be!
The health industry is constantly adapting to external circumstances. What’s one health trend you predict will remain or appear in 2021?
2020 has been such an interesting year for us all, I think the trend that stuck the most with me this year is seeing everyone trying new things in the kitchen. For example, baking your own bread from scratch was one that blew up & evidently people are still enjoying this now! I’ve seen so many people uploading stories of home-cooked meals which has made me really happy, because as much as I love eating out, nothing beats delicious home-cooked food! I genuinely think this will stick with many people in 2021, not just because it’s a new year but because people are realising the importance of great nutrition, that home cooking saves you a tonne of money & that ultimately it’s a life skill that you will be using forever!