We follow Natalie Prabha to her kitchen in this Fitness Kickstart episode -- learning, tasting and enjoying the meals that fuel the health-conscious model.

The vegan movement has been quietly picking up pace in Malaysia, but for a select few individuals, veganism has improved their lifestyle and energy levels for some time now. Up-and-coming model and face of several campaigns Natalie Prabha is one such vegan who’s advocated a plant-based diet for 4 years now.

Also see: How this former national gymnast stays fit with Xtend Barre routine

Recognised for her lanky limbs, fresh-faced beauty, and doe-eyed looks, the Sabah-born model with a cheeky sense of humour is seriously passionate about nourishing the body with nutrient-dense, rainbow coloured food.

Whenever Natalie’s hectic modelling schedule allows, she loves staying in to experiment with vegan dishes in her Bangsar loft. The model of Chinese, Kadazan and Indian descent frequently posts InstaStories of mouth-watering meals she whips up from scratch, alongside photoshoot outtakes, pranks on friends, and musings.

Related: Danielle Graham shares ways to inculcate a healthy eating habit in children

Curious to see what a health-conscious model eats in the days leading up to major fashion events like the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week, we popped around her address to learn how she meal preps before duty calls.

1 / 8

You’re Malaysia’s only vegan model! How did you undertake this path?

After a 30-day vegan challenge, I loved what it did to my body, how I felt, and how I managed to shed the weight and fat I wanted to. I wasn’t too happy with how I looked and I did so much exercising but nothing worked. After the 30 days, I went back to eating meat for about a week but didn’t enjoy it as much, so I went back to being a vegan, and have never looked back since.

2 / 8

In an industry often associated with eating disorders and dieting, what is your message as a vegan model?

I actually came from an eating disorder background. As a teenager, I became more body-conscious and regarded food as toxic. It was so unhealthy because it not only disrupted me mentally but also affected my metabolism, overall wellbeing and mood. With the plant-based diet, I finally found peace with eating and that’s how I started to enjoy cooking and making food. I want people to realise that this form of eating benefits the body with so much health, and is much better for the environment.

3 / 8

How do you keep your nutritional needs in check as a vegan?

When I first went vegan, I tracked my nutrition throughout the day on a vegan website. I think that’s really important when you first start to monitor your intake, as plant based protein is different from meat-based protein. After awhile, it becomes second nature to ascertain how many servings of tofu equals to your recommended protein requirements. In a way, you eat a lot more compared to a meat-based diet, to meet the nutritional needs, but everything is about moderation. When you feel good, you know you’re treating your body right.

4 / 8

To date, what is your favourite vegan dish to make?

I shared it on my Insta Story onc, of this zucchini pasta with a creamy sauce made from cashews. In it, there’s also cauliflower, so everything is fully plants and so good for you. It’s comforting and at the same time, it’s indulgently creamy. It’s one of my go-to’s.

5 / 8

Being at shoots mean irregular hours and long call times. How do you navigate those circumstances?

I make sure I have snacks on hand. I think that’s the most important thing, to have snacks in between changing, getting your hair and makeup done, and also eating beforehand. If I have a morning shoot, I make sure I have breakfast, and bring snacks. I am known as the girl with nuts, which I’ll share with the other models too. Nuts are full of protein, healthy fats, and keep you full for longer, plus they’re good for the skin.

6 / 8

Why is it important to feed yourself with the right food ahead of a runway show?

Even though it’s just one minute on the catwalk, it takes a lot of your energy waiting backstage before you perform on stage. It’s important to perform well and evoke a good stage presence, it can also be dangerous to not eat beforehand.

7 / 8

Speaking of balance, what exercises to you do to get in runway-ready shape?

I love doing yoga for strength and endurance, and jogging and running too. One week before the show, I keep meals healthy and light.

8 / 8

What does your typical day of meals look like?

I start with a smoothie for breakfast, Vietnamese spring rolls for lunch, and quinoa fried rice for dinner. I call my breakfast a mix-berry muffin smoothie, and I look forward to the nutty-spicy dipping sauce that go with my lunch, and how easy it is to stir-fry a veggie-filled dinner full of Malaysian influences! Let me show you how I make them in the video.

For more vegan-inspired home-cooked recipes, follow Natalie on Instagram at @talieprabs