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Tamara Arbib

Do you have a ‘food philosophy’?

Yes. I am a huge advocate of Michael Pollan’s saying, ‘Eat food, not too much, mostly plants’. That really resonated with me when I read it. ‘Eat food’, i.e. eat real, whole food, made beautifully by nature, without any additives or preservatives, no over-processed stuff that your body doesn’t know how to deal with.

‘Not too much.’ This is about eating in tune with your body. Not emotionally eating, listening to when you are hungry or full, being in tune to your needs. No guilt, only love.

‘Mostly Plants.’ Whether you are vegetarian or not, we could all do with increasing our plant intake and reducing our meat consumption – for our own health as much as the planets!

Michael Pollan Quote

What makes you feel healthy?

Health for me is connected not just to food but also to the mind and emotions. So I do everything I can to stimulate health in all those departments. Eating well is a big one, so is moving the body, meditating, spending time healing and supporting my mental well-being through a range of alternative things: sleep, being with my family and the people I love, living through inspired action.

What is your fondest food memory?

Food was always a family occasion when I was younger so cooking in the kitchen with my mum and grandmother, generally making a mess and spilling food all over myself. It didn’t really matter what we were making – it was always interconnected with love, teaching, experimenting and bonding. It’s important that my husband and I create that same healthy attitude towards food and eating with our kids today.

Food was always a family occasion when I was younger… interconnected with love, teaching, experimenting and bonding.

Is there a food(s) you really disliked that you’ve grown to love?

Olives. And I never understood why because I have always loved olive oil and tapenade, I just couldn’t deal with the main attraction but I have finally conquered this.

Who inspires your cooking?

My mum, my grandma and my husband Ben – he’s the main chef in the house.

Where are your favourite foodie haunts?

I don’t eat out much as we love to eat from scratch and cook and we generally live in the kitchen but if pushed I would say Homeslice in London for the most insane pizzas ever.

homeslice

Homeslice in London make the most insane pizzas ever. (Image credit: www.homeslicepizza.co.uk)

What’s your go-to meal on a busy night?

Kamut pasta with either home-made tomato or pesto sauce (we make a ton and batch-freeze it for ease), or a giant salad with chickpeas, feta, tons of other pulses, sprouted things and nuts – a veggie extravaganza.

Your last supper would be…?

Both meals above or some eggs from our chickens with sourdough toast and butter, followed by one of Ben’s raw desserts.

Favourite snacks…?

Nuts, fruit, figs or dates, veggies with dressing or hummus, Ben’s epic no-bake chocolate protein bars. I don’t snack masses though; I tend to just have huge meals.

crunchy crudite platter

Favourite snacks…?

Nuts, fruit, figs or dates, veggies with dressing or hummus, Ben’s epic no-bake chocolate protein bars. I don’t snack masses though; I tend to just have huge meals.

Favourite food treat…?

A chunk of good-quality raw chocolate and a glass of red wine.

How about your favourite way to treat yourself without food?

For me it’s getting out in nature or the sunshine and finding the time to truly switch off. I adore being with my family: summer holidays when we can all be together, eating, drinking, sunbathing and relaxing – that’s it for me. We try to go for walks together too as I find it’s a great way to connect and leave technology and the outside world behind for a bit. Meditation and exercise are also treats: my ways to self-nourish.

We try to go for walks together as a family as I find it’s a great way to connect and leave technology and the outside world behind for a bit.

What is your ‘hero’ ingredient and why?

Is it biased to say coconut?! It’s incredibly versatile. From the water to the meat to the milk, you can add it or use it in a million ways! The coconut palm is known as the tree of life – for a good reason.

Do you enjoy trying new foods when travelling – and which countries/places have stood out to you most?

Yes, I love it – that’s all part of the fun! We are a real foodie family and so wherever we go, we love to visit the food markets and mealtimes are a real focus of every day. My family are from Israel so I try to make sure I go there at least once a year; the food there is amazing. Eating is always a real occasion when I am there.

Five things in your kitchen/pantry you can’t live without?

Olive oil, good-quality balsamic vinegar, chickpeas, feta, cacao, green tea, eggs, sourdough bread, bananas and a Vitamix or any other good blender. Okay, that’s more than five but let me off – it’s hard when all food is so important!

Is there a particular healthy recipe you’ve found children love?

My kids love cooking – my eldest especially and to be honest, I let him go completely where he wants to because I want him to create that relationship with food on his own. And that goes for my four kids. I want them to develop their own healthy relationship with food. I’m here to guide and lead by example but I want them to make the right choices for themselves. It’s a process. In terms of actual recipes, all the food we cook at home is made from scratch with no additives or preservatives so it’s all more or less healthy.

Leading by example, offering morsels of new things to try and showing that new things aren’t scary is the best I can do for my children.

What are your top tips for fussy little ones?

Let them be. Let them develop their palate in their own time. I don’t cook special food for fussy eaters; I let them eat what they want on their plate or at least try the bits they are not keen to try instantly. But I don’t pander to fuss. I want them to develop healthy eating habits. Leading by example, offering morsels of new things to try and showing that new things aren’t scary is the best I can do. In general the girls are more open to eating the way Ben and I eat. The boys need some convincing but slowly, slowly they are coming round to trying more adventurous things.

 

vitamix

I couldn’t live without my Vitamix. (Image credit: www.vitamix.co.uk)

Any tips to keeping conversation flowing around the dinner table?

I’m trying to practice gratitude and mindfulness more, especially with the kids because they are at an age where sitting still is hard for them. When we sit down to eat, I get the kids to share one thing they were grateful for that day. It’s a good time for us all to reflect and learn from one another’s ‘gratitude’ list. It also encourages everyone to listen to one person for a moment. I also want the kids to know that mealtimes are a safe space for them to bring up topics that are on their mind so that Ben and I can support them if they need. I ask the kids lots of questions about their day, what they learned, what made them happy or sad… Given that there are six of us, plus the dogs, dinners are rarely ever quiet!

When we sit down to eat, I get the kids to share one thing they were grateful for that day. It’s a good time for us all to reflect and learn from one another’s ‘gratitude’ list.

What does ‘balance’ mean to you?

Being aligned and centred and doing whatever you need to get that sweet spot.

How do you stay on track when you travel?

I always travel with snacks, try to get some physical movement in – whether it’s yoga or walking or just stretching in the morning, and I meditate twice a day.

Does your interest in leading a healthier lifestyle cross over into other parts of your life, such as how you clean your house, what beauty products you use, etc.?

Yes, yes, yes. Food was the first thing that interested me but the more you become switched on to chemicals it becomes hard not to then focus on the cleaning products in the house or the things you put on your skin. I’m passionate about health in all areas.

What supplements do you take, if any, and why?

I take microdoses of plants – different mushrooms and cacti. Plants are incredible teachers and supporters of consciousness.

What mantra do you live by?

‘This too shall pass’ – being okay with change and understanding that it’s constant. Learning to ride the waves of life with gratitude and love.

What’s on your bucket list?

Travel. I want to find time to travel the world; there are so many places…

What’s your exercise routine/schedule? 

My routine depends on where I am but I try to walk or do yoga for at least 15 minutes a day. I’m learning some qigong at the moment too.

 

Rebel Kitchen

Coconut is my hero ingredient. It’s incredibly versatile.

Describe your workout wardrobe…

Simple, comfortable, easy and understated.

How do you motivate yourself to get up and go when you’re feeling sluggish?

I try to go outside and get some fresh air and breathe; to connect to myself and draw on my internal power.