What does it mean to be healthy?
I think happy people are generally healthy people. Health begins in the heart. Miserable people can make themselves sick; it’s mind over matter. A happy outlook and attitude can shift everything. That, plus a diet of food from local farmers’ markets and plenty of antioxidants help to make a healthy person.
“I think happy people are generally healthy people. Health begins in the heart.”
Do you follow any specific way of eating?
In 2006 I wrote a cookbook called Eat Well, Feel Well, (now in it’s sixth printing!) for my daughter who had a digestive illness. I put her on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for three and a half years, which completely cured her. I learned a lot from the experience and try to stick closely to that way of eating; it is pretty close to a Paleo diet. But I have recently added in a bit of brown rice and quinoa – maybe once or twice a week – because I just love them.
I eat about 80 per cent raw and hardly any sugar; I just don’t like it much. I am more of a salty and spicy person. A little extra-dark chocolate (the chalkier and less sweet, the better) and raw honey in my coffee is about it. Oh, and of course champagne every now and again, for my soul.
“Champagne every now and again is good for my soul.”
Why is it important for you to feel (and look) healthy?
I think growing up in California makes you pretty health-conscious. When I was young health food stores were all the rage and sprouts were in everything. I became aware of what was healthy by osmosis. I want to live a full and healthy life, genuinely love healthier food and feel good by eating it.
What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid?
Sugar, which is the worst thing for you and soya, because it is generally genetically modified. On occasion, I will eat sprouted organic tofu, organic miso (I like the chickpea kind) and Bragg Liquid Aminos, or namu shoyu (raw unpasteurised soya sauce) – these are not GMOs and are also fermented so they are easier for your body to process.
I think gluten is bad for everyone. And finally, I avoid processed and commercial foods because who knows what they put into those! Home-made is always best.
Do you cook every day?
Yes: breakfast (although some days my husband cooks it); lunch boxes and dinner. Sometimes I double the recipe so we can have leftovers, which helps. I do big prep days on Mondays and Fridays in time for the week and weekend.
“I do big prep days on Mondays and Fridays in time for the week and weekend.”
What’s your shopping routine?
I do 80 per cent of my shopping at the farmers’ market and then I supplement that by going to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.
What do you think are the most nutritious foods?
Raw organic vegetables, kimchi and other fermented foods, berries, sprouted seeds, and raw superfoods like Inca berries and raw cacao.
How much emphasis do you put on your children’s nutrition?
So much! I make sure they take Vitamin D drops every day and Krill oil capsules. I hate it when they eat sugar, but I have to let them as they are kids. Luisa has already cut back on sugar and Fernanda can’t tolerate too much of it; it makes her feel ill if she eats too much, gives her a stomach ache and makes her super hyper!
What is your optimal breakfast?
Berries and full-fat Greek or goats’ yoghurt with raw local or Manuka honey (bio active 20+), and very strong, organic coffee with raw, full-fat cream and raw honey.
How do you stay on track when you travel?
I bring food with me on the plane. And when in new places and eating out all the time I just try and order healthy things.
What are your favourite snacks?
Crunchy pecan butter with Inca berries and raw cacao nibs all mixed up. Yum! Or an apple, cheese and nut plate.
When you go out to dinner, how do you navigate the menu?
Since I do not go out too frequently, I just order whatever sounds good or the speciality. Usually it’s protein with vegetables and a salad. But you can always order things with sauces on the side and no bread.
Any specific food brands you love?
I like all the raw nuts, berries, raisins and cacao from Navitas Naturals – they are pure and delicious.
How do you treat yourself in terms of food?
Just with the best quality I can find at the farmers’ market. Also with great cheeses: my favourite is a Gouda called Prima Donna; Brillat-Savarin; and Naked Goat, a Spanish goats’ cheese.
Have you ever tried a diet or detox that worked for you?
Every once in a while I will cook brown rice with organic sprouted tofu with a detox paste I make of ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, carrots, parsley, coriander, lemon, Braggs Liquid Aminos and jalapeño. It’s delicious and always makes me feel healthier, especially after a late night.
I also make a delicious Ayurvedic tea: I fill a big pot of water and boil cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorns, star anise, grated fresh ginger and orange peel for about an hour. I drink it all day long. You can drink it cold in the summer too.
What’s your exercise routine/schedule?
I like to multitask and get things done while I exercise since time is always short. I walk on the beach with my dogs for an hour or 90 minutes if there’s time. It’s kind of a power walk of sorts –I take very long strides and try and use all of the muscles in my legs and glutes. I swing my arms a bit to add cardio. I listen to audiobooks or make phone calls or have a friend join me. I really look forward to it! In warm weather it’s nice to jump in the ocean afterwards and go for a swim.
“I like to multitask and get things done while I exercise since time is always short. I walk on the beach with my dogs for an hour or 90 minutes if there’s time.”
Do you power up for exercise with specific foods?
I always have either breakfast or lunch in me before I walk. Breakfast will be fruit, scrambled eggs, avocado and coffee with cream and honey and lunch, a big raw vegetable salad with chicken, turkey or fish, and nuts.
Is there anyone you look up to as a healthy role model?
I think Gwyneth Paltrow does it right: she’s a healthy balance of mainly good with a little bad mixed in, and she has a great outlook. I love her cookbooks.