When did you first develop an interest in cooking?
Growing up on an organic farm where we grew our own produce and made everything from scratch certainly played a huge part, as it gave me the incredible gift of seeing how much work goes into making your own food, from farm to table. Some of my earliest and fondest memories are standing on a stool at the kitchen bench with my grandmother, making pastry from scratch – and so I guess this is where my interest in cooking and wholefoods first stemmed from. Cooking was a way of life for me and I thought everyone loved it. It wasn’t until I was at university that I realised I loved it a whole lot more than anyone else. Early chef influencers were people like Jamie Oliver and Peter Gordon and I would read all the books written by chefs, about being chefs, to help learn the art of working in a kitchen.
How to Adopt A Plant-Based Diet and Succeed Photo Gallery
When and why did you adopt a plant based diet?
I have suffered from food allergies – I’m coeliac, lactose intolerant and terrible with sugar – my whole life, so I spent many of my early childhood years incredibly unwell. During my childhood and early 20s, there were very limited, and not-so-delicious, glutendairy- and refined sugar-free options, and so I would often spend my days creating healthier versions of the food I wanted to eat. After completing an environmental sciences degree, and two serious careers later, I decided I wanted to turn my passion for wholefoods and cooking into a career, and so I tried to cut it as a chef in London. The stress, coupled with the long hours and having to eat dairy, gluten and refined sugar again, left me incredibly unwell. After several unsuccessful visits to countless doctors and specialists over a year and a half, I decided it was time to take my health into my own hands. I spent countless hours researching natural remedies and treatments, and was drawn to a theory that seemed surprisingly simple and a little radical all at the same time: a mostly raw, organic wholefoods diet, free of any gluten, dairy and refined sugars. Since food was my passion, I wasn’t going to give up everything and eat a diet of just crudités. So, instead, I got inventive in the kitchen, developing wholefoods versions of my favourite things, including macaroons, crackers and granola. After a couple of months of eating a mostly raw, plant-based, wholefoods diet, and a lot of green smoothies, things really started to improve. I began to experience a new level of energy and vitality that I hadn’t before.
What’s your food philosophy?
Mostly fresh, ideally organic and always plant-based wholefoods is the foundation of my food philosophy. I also stay away from processed foods, and try to make as much as I can from scratch. Learning to grow some of your own food has immeasurable benefits, too. It can be as simple as sprouts on the kitchen top, or herbs on the deck. Connecting with the process of growing food, and appreciating the time and energy it takes will make you enjoy every mouthful that little bit more. Also, eat within your budget! Despite organic wholefoods having a bad name in the affordability department, if you eat in season, shop at farmers’ markets and add cheap staples. such as legumes and beans to your diet, you can actually eat quite cheaply. Stay away from expensive superfoods if they are not in your budget. Don’t let expensive ingredients be a barrier, the healthiest diet is often a simple one, although not quite as Instagramable.
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