Do you have a food philosophy?
I really love food so I guess that my philosophy is simply that the food I eat must be fresh, healthy and most importantly, super tasty! If it doesn’t tick these three boxes, then I’d rather not have it.
What makes you feel healthy?
A balanced diet with lots of vegetables and fruits, plenty of exercise and sleep. As long as I have these three I feel my best.
What is your fondest food memory?
My favourite food memory comes from my time living in Argentina when I was a teenager: our weekend family reunions to enjoy lunch and time together.
I used to love to help to prepare the salads for the occasion: potato salad with homemade mayonnaise and herbs, ‘empanadas de choclo’ (similar to corn pasties) and the most delicious fresh pasta ever with spinach, ricotta and freshly-made tomato sauces. I think a lot of my love for good food comes from that time.
“I used to hate cauliflower… but that all changed once I tried it raw.”
Any foods you really disliked that you’ve grown to love?
As a child I used to hate cauliflower. The smell while it was cooking on the stove always put me off before I’d even tasted it but that all changed once I tried it raw. It’s so crunchy and light and there are so many ways to prepare it – crumbled into a rice texture for a salad, baked, lightly steamed; cauliflower is now one of my favourite vegetables.
Who inspires your cooking?
I get inspiration from everybody and everywhere I go. I do love to follow the kitchen adventures of many fantastic cooks and chefs such as Ella Mills (Deliciously Ella), the Hemsley sisters, and the ‘Green Kitchen Stories’ and ‘My New Roots’ blogs. Beautiful images are something that inspire me when creating new recipes and these people certainly have some of the best health food images out there.
Where are your favourite foodie haunts?
I love going to Farm Girl on Portobello Road and also to Clifton Nurseries in Maida Vale where I sometimes go to work as the environment is nurturing and calm. I also like going somewhere local to me, a Swedish-inspired café called Alma’s.
What’s your go-to meal on a busy night?
A large kale salad with tomatoes and vinaigrette or simply some raw crackers with nut cheese really do the trick for me. I keep the kale shredded in the fridge to be able to make this really quickly when I am in a hurry.
Your last supper would be?
Oooof, how do you decide on something like that with so many amazing dishes that you love? I think I would go for a raw falafel wrap with a large kale salad and a berry cake for dessert. Dessert cannot be missed for sure.
Kale chips, raw caramel shortbread, raw cookies, raw chocolate and coconut bars, freeze-dried fruits.
Favourite food treat?
Definitely a raw cake slice.
How about your favourite way to treat yourself without food?
If I feel like treating myself I go for an Ila Spa massage. Their signature massages and products are simply amazing. I was lucky to be introduced to this company by my dear friend Cheryl and since then it has quickly become my favourite.
“Coconuts are called the ‘tree of life’ in the Philippines and you can actually survive just by consuming coconuts for a pretty long time!”
What is your ‘hero’ ingredient and why?
Very much a well-known ‘hero’ ingredient: coconut. I use it in all its forms: oil, butter, fresh, and dried. It works in both sweet and savoury dishes and it is used in just about everything in raw food preparation. I also use it as a moisturiser. Coconuts are called the ‘tree of life’ in the Philippines and you can actually survive just by consuming coconuts for a pretty long time!
Do you enjoy trying new foods when travelling, and which countries/places have stood out to you most?
Food is actually one of the reasons I like to travel. Each country has its own cuisine and I love exploring their traditional dishes, learning to prepare them myself and then finding a way to bring them into the raw sphere and recreate those flavours. My favourite places so far have been Peru and Thailand where I have tried the most amazing fruits ever.
Five things you can’t live without in your kitchen/pantry?
Coconut, almonds, cacao, quinoa and kale.
How do you try to get more healthy goodness into your kids’ lives?
I am very lucky because my first child, Ariana, eats almost everything you put in front of her. I think the best way to get more healthy foods into your child’s diet is through smoothies and soups (I lightly steam the veggies and blend them with warm water). We have plenty of those at home, but she also likes her vegetables crunchy so crudités are a good way to introduce her to healthy veggies, and to kids generally.
“I think the best way to get more healthy foods into your child’s diet is through smoothies and soups (I lightly steam the veggies and blend them with warm water).”
Any recipes you’ve found children love most?
Most children I have met really love to eat courgette pasta. My daughter loves it with either a light tomato sauce or a light pesto. I find that for children it is best to keep sauces quite mild, so I usually make the pesto with spinach as the base and a little basil for flavouring instead of a traditional pesto made only with basil.
Top tips for fussy little ones?
Eating with them is important and we try to give our children the foods we are eating. When they see you eating something they usually give it a go themselves. The rest is up to how good your cooking is – if it tastes nice, they will eat it all!
What does ‘balance’ mean to you?
It means feeling great and being happy.
How do you stay on track when you travel?
I’ve always just eaten a lot of salads but nowadays it’s much easier to stay healthy abroad as there are lots of healthy restaurants and cafes opening up almost everywhere.
What supplements do you take, if any?
I take Vitamin D3, probiotics and Pure Synergy’s Vita:Min:Herb for Women.
What mantra do you live by?
Enjoy every minute like it is the last and enjoy your time with loved ones.
Best advice you’ve been given?
Focus on your goals and just keep going. If you want them enough, one day you will get there.
“Focus on your goals and just keep going. If you want them enough, one day you will get there.”
What’s on your bucket list?
Lots of travelling! I simply want to go everywhere in the world.
What’s your exercise routine/schedule?
Due to having a little baby it is currently a bit all over the place but I regularly attend yoga at Sangye Yoga and Pilates classes at TEN Pilates in Notting Hill.
Do you power up for exercise with specific foods?
I tend to not eat before exercising but I really enjoy having a juice or coconut water afterwards to replenish lost electrolytes and rehydrate.
Do you like trying new exercise classes/trainers/trends?
I love to try anything but for some reason I keep coming back to the same activity. Yoga seems to be the thing for me. I do enjoy trekking and occasional games of badminton and tennis though.
Describe your workout wardrobe…
Yoga pants and tops. I do own running shoes but they are mostly used to get from home to the studio and back.
How do you motivate yourself to get up and go when you’re feeling sluggish?
Usually I drink a green juice or eat a little raw chocolate to get my energy back before heading out but as my life is pretty hectic I don’t really have time to get ‘unmotivated’. When I’ve failed to exercise it is usually due to a lack of time.