Army Training Program Leads to One-Woman Vegan Instagram Empire!

‘I was eating a really meat heavy, carb-fuelled diet at the time. ‘I really missed the fresh, healthy foods I was used to.’

24 year-old Australian woman Ellie (‘Elsa’) Bullen who grew up on Australia’s East Coast, realised just how much she valued fresh, flavourful fruit and vegetables as part of her daily diet during when she took a gap year to undergo an army training programme.

Her intensive training experiences and demanding physical challenges inspired Bullen to pursue a nutrition degree; no easy feat considering she worked three jobs during this time to enable her study.

However, all that study and working was beginning to take a toll on Bullen and needing an outlet for her creativity, Elsa turned to Instagram to share her colourful plant-based masterpieces.

‘My degree in nutrition was quite science-based, and I really craved a creative outlet.’

In quick succession, Bullen’s 1000 followers soon became 10,000 before escalating to the whopping 600,000 followers she has now and her own published cookbook: Elsa’s Wholesome Life: Eat Less From a Box and More From The Earth!

‘The food pics were a hobby, but they soon started to get me followers.’ – Ellie Bullen on her popular Instagram account.

Bullen said she will aim to balance colours in every shot, capture the image with her Canon and edit the photos using Lightbox on her computer. However, Bullen also says that you can’t beat the classics; flat lays do well with trendy content such as dragon fruit (Pitaya) or avo roses. To gain followers, Bullen says you must post regular content, have a refreshing theme and be passionate about your work – much as she certainly is!

Currently travelling Europe together, Ellie and her sister Lauren (who also loves to ‘gram), appreciate being in a similar line of work and have found throughout their travels, it is possible to eat veggie/vegan anywhere, as long as you come prepared. The girls’ recent trip to Greece had them discover the hard way that not everywhere is as much of a vegan haven as they are used to in Melbourne.

Now Elsa’s website, social media accounts and online profile are absolutely booming! Alongside her cookbook and e-book, you can also subscribe to her mailing list or simply check out her line of stylish, vegan-inspired clothing!

So what’s Ms Bullen’s advice for adopting a vegan lifestyle?

You certainly should, just transition slowly. She advocates meat-free Mondays or eating plant-based at least once weekly to start off. It helps if you make your food look pretty too! (Just not too pretty to eat)

‘Learn to value fruit and vegetables, get a good cookbook and assemble a good plate; make your plate look pretty and interesting, that way it will taste it. ‘ – Bullen on how to embrace a plant-based lifestyle.

Image Credit:  @elsas_wholesomelife