Leah Jones describes herself as a busy home-schooling mum, who doubles as a cooking show host on YouTube and has self-published her cookbook No, We Don’t Only Eat Carrots. She is based near Caboolture, Queensland, but lives six months each year on Cape York. She spoke with Bookshelf about her story and her passion for cooking and eating well.
What’s your background?
After high school, I completed a degree in Theatre Arts (Acting). I ended up writing some songs and met with a producer in Brisbane who introduced me to my now husband, Ben. After a number of years performing and recording professionally as a band, and teaching singing (me) and guitar (Ben), we decided to start a family. Ten years later, we now have two beautiful girls, Tamar and Eden.
How and when did you become an Adventist?
When I first met my husband in 2001 I was not a Christian. However, a combination of his persistence and God’s providence led me to accept Jesus as my Saviour. As a couple, Ben and I searched from church to church until we became convinced that Ellen White was indeed a prophet. In 2013, we began attending the Adventist church in Deception Bay, Queensland, and then moved and began visiting the Rockhampton church and became members there in 2014.
Have you always been a vegetarian?
No, I was raised eating everything from prawns to steak, ice cream to chocolate, bananas to white toast. It wasn’t until 2016 that my husband and I made the switch to a meat and dairy-free diet. Interestingly enough, Ellen White’s writings about the importance of avoiding meat and shifting to a diet free from animal products were what convinced us about her ministry. Her writings confirmed what the science was saying—but 160 years ago. We are now full vegetarians (vegans) and eat mostly wholefoods.
What made you decide to write a cookbook?
It was a combination of a few things. First, I was tired of gourmet vegan cookbooks. They’re great in and of themselves, but as a busy mum I just don’t have the time or energy to make perfect little cakes and cookies with fancy ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. I wanted to create a cookbook for the everyday person, with recipes that were “normal” and meals that were easily recreated in the home kitchen. Second, I wanted others to see how easy and delicious a plant-based diet could be. Many people have complained that although they want to be healthier, it’s just too hard and they didn’t know where to start. My cookbook combats this issue with thorough step-by-step instructions and a gorgeous colour photograph for every recipe.
How did you come up with the name for the cookbook?
That’s a funny story. One of my friends invited us over for dinner one night. When we arrived, her husband confessed, “I have no idea what to feed you guys! I’ve got carrots!” So, when we were tossing around ideas for a title, Ben suggested “No, We Don’t Only Eat Carrots!” We loved it instantly.
What’s your favourite recipe in the book?
That’s a tough question, because I have a few. My favourite bread recipe is the multigrain bread, my favourite spread is the hummus, my favourite main meal is the split pea and potato curry, and my favourite dessert is the berrylicious smoothie.
What are your further plans for the cookbook?
Currently I’m lining up interviews with a combination of Adventist, vegan and health bloggers, YouTube channels and websites, plus promoting the cookbook through my Twitter and Facebook. Many sales have also come through word-of-mouth and the feedback we have had to the book has been very positive. My YouTube channel features recipes from the cookbook and every second week presents a health FAQ or FYI video.
No, We Don’t Only Eat Carrots is available from Adventist bookstores in Australia and New Zealand.