Anthea Cheng was always passionate about food and from a young age she wanted to make the world a better place. She moved to Canberra for work in 2011 and eventually realised she needed a change from her public service job. She wanted a career that would allow her to help people and contribute positively to the world.
In 2015, Anthea started an Instagram account, Rainbow Nourishments, where she would share her plant-based creations. Now with an Instagram following of over 92,000 people, Anthea has created a community and a career doing what she loves and helping others to live healthier and more sustainably. She has several ebooks, a cake business and she also hosts food workshops and events.
We got a chance to chat to Anthea to find out more about her inspiring story.
I first tried to go vegan when I was 14. I cut out meat, eggs and dairy from my diet as I disliked their taste, became aware of the impact it was having on my health and the environment. However, at that age, I was living at home in a meat-orientated environment and couldn’t maintain a balanced vegan diet with adequate food and nutrition. I wasn’t eating enough and was malnourished so my body started shutting down. Unfortunately, due to this, I went back to my pre-vegan ways (without dairy) but I knew that, one day, I would try it again.
Around 10 years later, I was living out of home and I endeavoured to have a lifestyle that had a minimal impact on the environment. I recycled everything I could, took shorter showers, walked almost everywhere, bought second hand clothes, used no plastic bags and the list goes on. Then the question hit me: If I’m conscious about the environment in so many parts of my life, why am I still choosing to consume meat and animal products? Why am I choosing to kill and torture animals? Why am I choosing to do all of those things to the environment?
I realised was still consuming animal products out of ‘convenience’ because I didn’t want to be a hassle to non-vegan family and friends. I re-evaluated my values, started to actualise my beliefs and became vegetarian, then vegan. As I lived out of home, becoming vegan was relatively easy. For once in my life, I felt great that I was doing something that I actually believed in. I felt ‘at home’ and ‘in peace’. Becoming vegan was one of the best things I have ever done for myself and the environment.
So, when people ask why am I vegan?! I just want to say “Well, why not?!”
4. Tell us about when and how you first started Rainbow Nourishments.
I was born and bred in Sydney where I had a relatively happy life in Sydney and many wonderful close friends. I moved to Canberra for work in 2011 but after a few years, I was tired and isolated in my life in Canberra and with my public service job. I also contracted a few illnesses. In 2015, I created an Instagram account because I wanted to reach out to like-minded people. I initially created Rainbow Nourishments to share the ‘rainbow’ or variety of ways that I like to nourish myself and seek inspiration from other people. By the end of the year, I built a decent following and decided to take a voluntary redundancy from my public service job to pursue my food blog full time.
Within two weeks of quitting, I made a cake for a friend’s mother’s 60th, posted it on Facebook and started receiving cake orders from people all around Canberra! Before I knew it, I had a cake business! In addition, the food blogging and social media side of Rainbow Nourishments expanded and I eventually was able to make a living from it!
To be honest, I love decorating cakes for customers. I love listening to the stories of each of my customers, chatting with them to design a cake and putting it all into action.
When I was really young, I used to help my parents decorate cakes for their business. I said that when I grow up, I would love to decorate cakes for a living. My parents laughed at me and said it was impossible or extremely difficult to do. Much to their surprise, I have been able to make a living through making and decorating cakes!
Sweet Bones, because I’d happily eat anything on their menu and it’s created a safe haven for me!
Find out more about Rainbow Nourishments:
Eat Canberra recently teamed up with Rainbow Nourishments and hosted a Wholefoods plant-based feast at Local Press Café on May 4th. Due to the interest in this pop-up dinner, we are working on another one so please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
All images are by Rainbow Nourishments on Instagram.