Looking at her Instagram now, you might find it hard to believe that Whisk Creator @tastyselly ever had any problems with disordered eating. But the Selly, whose full name is Selina, that we’ve come to know had to overcome some battles in her younger years. As a teenager, she started going to the gym and learning more about nutrition. But rather than this becoming a healthy outlet for the pressures of school, work, and life in general, it became an obsessive habit for her.
“I developed an eating disorder. It was a combination of orthorexia and binge eating. I restricted myself during the week from Monday till Friday.” Selly says. “I was eating very healthy foods, and being very strict on my calorie consumption. Then over the weekend I just binge everything, literally everything that came my way. It was crazy. It was a cycle of constantly restricting and binging.”
Sounds familiar? “A lot of people do this, and we don’t always realize that it can be damaging.” Selly explains. “The fact that it was damaging is also something I started to recognize after posting my own experiences online. Because so many people were asking me about it. I never realized it could become a problem.’’
So what was the turning point? Of course, these mindset transitions are gradual. Learning to enjoy food without shame or guilt doesn’t typically happen overnight. But for Selly, the COVID pandemic was the catalyst.
Body Positivity: Shifting Power from Food and Calories
When COVID hit, foodies all over the world experienced lockdowns. For Selly, this was a turning point where she started to realize that she had a problem with food and wanted to work on it. It took a nutrition course and plenty of time relearning habits to get to the body positive Selly we all know and love today,
Like a lot of us, the pandemic led to a bit of self-discovery for tastyselly. “During the pandemic I was bored, like a lot of people. Here in Germany we couldn’t do anything. We were just at home. So I cooked a lot and baked a lot for my friends. I’d send the stuff I baked over to their houses. really found a love for cooking and baking and also not giving so much power to the food and calories, just eating what I enjoy.’’
These days, Selly isn’t just a food creator (although she is amazing at that – her recipes prove it!) but also a qualified nutritionist.
Plant-Based: From Curiosity to Commitment
Similarly to Chloe Wheatland, Selly is well-known for her simple, plant-based recipes. We wanted to know how she discovered her love of vegan food and cooking. For Selly, what started out as a 30 day experiment just to try plant-based food has ended up becoming a lifestyle.
She tells us that she is “not 100% vegan” but likes to think of herself as plant-based. “ About 80% of what I eat is vegan, but I’ve broadened my nutrition a little bit because for me just eating vegan was a little bit too strict, especially when you’re maybe at a friend’s house or when you travel it’s sometimes difficult.” In these instances, she eats vegetarian dishes too.
It’s been ‘about five years’ since Selly went plant based, and she’s slowly helping her friends and family to choose more plant based options too. “I informed myself a lot about, like, the economics and, everything that’s going on in the world. I watched lots of videos and I also followed a lot of people that are already vegan or plant based. I was fascinated, and I wanted to do something for the earth and the animals.’
Convincing her family to take the leap wasn’t quite as easy though! “My family is Italian. My grandparents and my dad is Italian. My mom is half German, half Croatian.. I remember when I told my family that I wanted to try eating vegan, they were so shocked. They couldn’t understand it at all because Italians eat a lot of meat. And a lot of mozzarella cheese and dairy. They couldn’t understand it at all. It took a few years with a lot of fights and discussions, but they finally accepted it and they also now try it out. Now my parents don’t drink normal milk. They just use almond or oat milk. They’re much more open to it.”
A love for balanced nutrition
As a nutritionist and a food creator, Selly has the opportunity to help others adopt a more balanced approach to eating. ‘I do one on one calls with mostly people from my community, my followers, ‘ she explains. ‘It really depends what goals they have, but a lot of them just want to eat more healthy and not worry so much, not be so obsessed about eating on a strict diet but still developing healthy habits.’
So what are those healthy habits? Of course, good nutrition looks a little different for everyone. Your own needs are individual. Selly emphasizes the importance of including all food groups and not restricting yourself – for instance, by completely avoiding carbs or fats. Imagine a life without avo toast, after all!
Her ideal meal consists of a good balance of carbs, protein, and fats. So a balanced dinner might have a carb source like whole grains, rice, or quinoa, as well as a protein source like fish or tofu, then a good source of fat like olive oil, avocado, or nuts. And of course, the mandatory vegetables (the ones you actually enjoy!) – whether that’s salad, broccoli, or something like butternut.
Her top advice is all around using small steps and keeping things interesting. Start small.’ she advises. ‘A lot of people go from 0 to 100. Go for small habits you can implement on a daily basis. If you drink lot of sugary drinks and soda or a lot of coffee with sugar and cream. Then the first thing always is to reduce those drinks. And this is actually the first step. Just drink more water and reduce sugary drinks. The worst thing is to go from 0 to 100. Then you become very restrictive. Usually, you will stick to it maybe for one week and then fail.’
‘It’s important you have a variety in your diet. Don’t eat the same things for three months. Experiment a little bit and try different things you’ve never tried before! Also to everyone that eats a ‘regular’ diet, I recommend trying some vegan dishes just because it gets you out of your comfort zone to try new things’ she says. Luckily, you can always find loads of vegetarian recipes on Whisk, whether it’s because you only eat plant-based or because you want to give Meatless Monday a whirl.
To Meal Plan or Not to Meal Plan
We know that Whisk users love meal scheduling and planning as it’s a way to save time, eat healthier and stay within the budget. But we’ll admit it isn’t for everyone. We asked Selly what she thinks about meal scheduling.
‘I don’t schedule my meals at all’ she says. This isn’t because she doesn’t believe in meal planning, but because it’s not the right fit for everyone. “There are people that don’t feel hungry at all in the morning. Or who don’t like eating late.’ Selly says. And if scheduling a breakfast makes you feel like you have to stick to it even when you’re not hungry, there might be a better way for you to approach a balanced diet.
If you’re learning to be more flexible with your eating, planning your meals rigidly might not be the best solution for you. Selly’s way to go about this is always through listening to your body. ‘I think it’s important to find your own way and that happens through trying things out.’ For one person, that might mean carefully scheduled meals. For another, it might mean seeing how they feel on the day.
What About Meal Prepping?
Meal planning and meal prepping go hand in hand. And for those of us who have busy schedules or limited time to cook, meal prepping can be a lifesaver. Selly agrees, but says she still likes to have some flexibility. ‘I recommend you maybe prep for a couple of days to make your life a little bit easier. But if you have the time I would always recommend deciding on the day what you want to eat. This helps you feed your body with what it is craving. Or you can cook for dinner and make enough to eat for lunch.’
So, she says, ‘it’s more like planning nutrition around your day rather than letting nutrition totally control your day. ‘
Exercise and Nutrition: A Balancing Act
Speaking of planning nutrition around you day, what’s the deal with exercise and eating? Just like meal planning and deciding when and what to eat, Selly says that it’s quite individual. Her belief in an intuitive approach to eating and wellness runs through to exercise as well. I think we should learn more to listen to our body and to what our body craves.’ she says.
‘We have different phases and sometimes we crave more fat, sometimes we crave more carbs. We should definitely learn to listen to our body again instead of just going crazy with rules on how to balance our nutrition. I think training or working out is the same. Especially for women. It’s possible and totally fine for women to work out like men. But if not, that’s fine too. Depending where you are in your cycle, you might take rest days; do some yoga, do some Pilates, some slow movements, some stretching. Then in other phases of the month, we have lots of strength. This is where you can work really hard and do strength training, HIIT, cardio – or whatever you enjoy.’
Summed up, Selly says that in her opinion we should listen to what our body says and how it feels. If your body is telling you in no uncertain terms that weightlifting isn’t on the cards today, then maybe you could do some yoga or go for a walk or something. It should always be intuitive! After all, you’re doing this to feel good – not to feel bad or guilty!
Life as a Full Time Content Creator
It’s no secret that most passionate content creators dream of leaving their jobs and going full time into creating content. Selly was courageous enough to go all in and it paid off. ‘I was so afraid of not making enough money, not being able to pay my bills. In the first month I actually made nothing. Luckily I had savings so it was ok. Then slowly I found ways to monetize my content. But it was one of the best decisions of my life. In the past two years, I’ve had so many great experiences. I’ve met great people, made new friends. It wouldn’t have been possible if I still worked a 9-5. My whole life has changed in the past two years since I took the step of going into full time content creation.’’
Whisk: A Foodie Content Creator’s Dream
What’s a creator spotlight without a little Whisk promotion? 😀 We asked Selly for some honest feedback and loved what she had to say. ‘Whisk is the only recipe app I’ve used. It has such variety. I love the options to look for health score, to add meals to your plan, and so on.’
Outside of being great for regular home cooks though, Selly loves how it’s also creator-centric. ‘It’s especially helpful for creators to monetize their work. Cooking and posting recipes is a lot of work. It takes a lot of time. Whisk actually makes you feel appreciated. I’ve never heard of any other app or platform for food creators that actually gives you the opportunity to monetize your work. I also enjoy that my community can rate my recipes that they can cook it and post a picture of it. I love this because it makes me feel closer to my community.’
Selly wanted to leave us with some words of wisdom for new and upcoming creators. ‘Just start. I know that some people think a lot about what they should post, how it should look?’ It doesn’t matter. Especially in the beginning, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You learn during the process. It’s so important to just be you and to be authentic and to just start and post things that you enjoy. If you’re enjoying something other people recognize this and that’s very important. But if you don’t post it, you will never start out.’
It’s a sentiment echoed by many of our Creator Fund partners, so we think there has to be some truth in it!