Bowls and smoothies too pretty to eat...



Samira Kazan is one smart cookie. Still, the Oxford grad, who’s doing senior post-doctoral research in neurology in London, regularly found herself distracted by hunger around 11:00 a.m. “I had the classic problem of skipping breakfast,” Kazan says. “I needed to solve this.” And she did, with a combination of culinary curiosity, experimentation, and artistry. For 10 months now, Kazan has generously been sharing her solutions on Alpha Foodie, her Instagram feed and blog. (As to the name, Kazan explains, it originated with the idea of the alpha male and female, so “you also have [the] alpha foodie because everyone deserves to eat like a king.”) Looking at Kazan’s bright, and mouthwatering, creations makes us want to eat smart.

Here, Kazan talks to us about her love of color, her preference for natural light, and her 80/20 rule.

When and why did you start your feed?
I started my feed about 10 months ago. I had the classic problem of skipping breakfast and feeling hungry and unfocused at work around 11:00 a.m. I needed to solve this and started looking for healthy breakfast ideas. I tried things I’d never heard of, such as chia seeds and overnight oats. As I was exploring these new superfoods, I fell in love with how tasty they are. I wanted to encourage my friends to eat healthily as well, so I started posting the meals on Facebook. One friend said I should use Instagram, which I didn't know much about. I made an Instagram account and people started liking my posts and seemed very interested. You get so much encouragement and inspiration from the awesome community out there.

How do you shoot? With a phone, camera? Any filters?
I have a Nikon D600 camera, tripod, and 50 millimeter lens. I use natural light and no filters and no Photoshop. I occasionally adjust a few things in Instagram’s basic editing options. In my opinion, natural is best.

Your pictures celebrate color—and lots of citrus. How would you describe your aesthetic?
My life seems to be very colorful and I love my food to be colorful too. I think incorporating different colors in food adds loads of different nutrients, and I love my food to look pretty since the eyes eat first (camera second).

Do you have a food philosophy?
I follow an 80/20 rule: 80 percent of my time I eat super-healthy food, but for 20 percent I eat whatever I fancy, in moderation. I feel breakfast is really the most important meal of the day, so I make sure to have a very good breakfast. I like snacking on nuts, especially almonds. Flavored water (lemon mint water is great) keeps you hydrated throughout the day. For dinner, I have lighter meals like salad and grilled vegetables, or if I’m going out then I eat whatever I like from the menu (20 percent rule applies here). It’s about finding the right balance.

What’s next?
I’d love to continue creating healthy recipes and encouraging people to try to add color to their food.