Chef, nutritionist, author, accredited fitness trainer and media personality. Teresa combines her love of food and fitness within her own life and shares her recipes and knowledge via her website: the-healthychef.com, TV appearances, cooking demonstrations and countless print and online articles. We were thrilled to ask her a few questions about wellbeing, healthy 10 minute recipes and more about her story.
1. BEST SEASONAL PRODUCE THIS SPRING?
I absolutely love spring! The weather is perfect and a welcome change after the winter cold snap. This spring is all about luscious strawberries and anti-oxidant-rich greens such as asparagus, artichoke and green peas. I have a massive bunch of fresh parsley in my garden that I’m juicing with freshbeetroot and a little lemon. It’s wonderful for liver cleansing and detoxification.
2. WHAT IS ALWAYS IN YOUR PANTRY/ REFRIGERATOR?
My fridge and pantry are always filled with staple ingredients that I can’t do without. At the moment in my fridge I have broccoli, leeks and Tuscan kale. They are perfect for making into nourishing soups or warm salads. I often add freshly soaked and cooked mung beans for protein, and generously add extra virgin olive oil and lemon for great flavour.
I also have avocados in my fridge to throw into smoothies or to enjoy with a side of ocean trout or smoked salmon. Avocados and salmon are a wonderful source of healthy mono-unsaturated fats and omega-3s that do wonders for my skin and digestive system.You’ll also find raw nuts and seeds in my fridge to transform into homemade nut and seed milks, as well as homemade sauerkraut and bone broth. I also have a good quality bottle of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil in the pantry…I use it liberally in my cooking, over salads and it’s wonderful straight in the morning with a glass of lemon water as it helps with elimination.
3. CAN YOU SHARE SOME HEALTHY RULES TO REMEMBER WHEN COOKING?
People often think they need to be gourmet chefs in the kitchen, but the simplest meals, using only a few ingredients, often taste the best and can enhance your health. There is nothing better than enjoying a bowl of fresh steamed greens with a drizzle of cold pressed olive oil and a little sea salt. Breakfast is always a 3-ingredient protein rich smoothie that’s made from banana or berries, almond milk and a few scoops of my Healthy Chef Protein. There are three simple steps to remember when cooking it’s keep it… FRESH – SIMPLE – MAKE IT YOURSELF.
4. HOW CAN WE PRIORITISE COOKING AT HOME INSTEAD OF OPTING FOR TAKEAWAY OR PACK AGED MEALS?
Set aside time every weekend to do some batch cooking. This is the time to really prioritise the foods you will eat during the week so you are less likely to go for takeaway or make something only because of convenience.It’s okay to repeat the same meal a few days in a row – I’m always making enough to last a few meals. I make a spectacular mung bean risotto that you can easily freeze or a three-ingredient carrot soup that takes only 10 minutes! I’ve spent many years as a chef working in fine dining restaurants – the process can be so time consuming. These days, my recipes are quick, achievable and simple. Consider cooking as an investment in your health and you will reap the benefits that will last a lifetime.
I’m lucky my husband, Paul, loves everything Icook…We’ve been married for 28 years! Simple meals such as smoked salmon and avocado with a little lemon and sea salt is a perfect lunch. Lately, I’ve been making him his favourite strawberry smoothie or a simple mung bean risotto.
5. HEALTHY QUICK LUNCH BOX IDEAS?
Nothing beats a nourishing salad in a jar for a convenient lunch on-the-go. All you need are the these components to make a delicious and satiating meal.
GREENS – baby spinach, cos lettuce, rocket, kale, micro greens, sprouts etc.
PROTEINS – nuts + seeds, tahini, hummus, organic eggs, smoked salmon, organic chicken.
HEALTHY FATS – avocado, extra virgin olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds, tahini.
VEGGIES – carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini, peas, cauliflower, sweet potato, roasted pumpkin or other seasonal veggies you love.
BOOSTERS – fermented veggies like kimchi or sauerkraut, tahini dressing, seaweed, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, dukkah enriched with turmeric, fresh grated ginger, raw chopped garlic.
DRESSINGS – hummus, pesto, extra virgin olive oil mixed with lemon, vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
FOR SNACKS – I love to make my Peanut Butter Protein Balls, Muesli Power Bars or my Banana + Oatmeal Cookies. At the Healthy Chef HQ we are smoothie addicts and usually I have a smoothie for lunch. My Hubby Paul (managing director of the Healthy Chef) loves cold-filtered coffee, Healthy Chef Protein, banana and almond milk.
6. DO YOU VISIT TASTE ORGANIC OFTEN?
I’m there about three times a week for my own grocery shopping and getting odds and ends when I need them. The produce is wonderfully fresh and I love that they have a rewards program so you get great discounts. For me, spring is all about detox and cleansing so I get all my certified organic greens, vegetables and fruits from Taste Organic. I want to feed my body clean organic food that are pesticide and chemical free.
7. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT THEIR STORES?
The produce is always fresh and delicious. It’s perfect for the recipes I create for my cookbooks. I also love that they support and stock our full range of Healthy Chef functional food products such as protein, organic wheatgrass, turmeric latte and probiotic superfood blends. They also stock my favourite coconut kefir by Amphore.
8. WHEN WILL YOU NEXT BE MAKING A GUEST APPEARANCE AT TASTE ORGANIC?
Around Christmas time is the next appearance. They usually buy hundreds of my cookbooks around that time, so I’m busy doing book signings in their stores. It’s great to connect with people and see how my recipes really make a difference in their health and wellbeing.
9. HAVE YOU ALWAYS HAD A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
When I was younger it was a rollercoaster ride when it came to food. Being overweight, sick and unfit when I was very young was the catalyst for going down a more natural and balanced healthy lifestyle path. Also seeing how my parent’s diet and lifestyle impacted their own health was an eye opener… and so that also motivated me to focus on a healthy lifestyle.
At home, we always had extra-large portions and lots of fried and take away food. I was in and out of hospital with pneumonia… my immune system suffered. I had to do something, I had to take control of my own health. My parents called it being rebellious. I would call it saving my life! I never exercised, was always the last person picked for sports at school, was clumsy and always falling over and grazing my hands and knees.In my early teenage years, I had a body image and confidence issue for a few years…and I lost a lot of weight…cycling and sports saved my life because I needed to eat properly in order to win races on the bike and become strong and fit.
“Fitness is wonderful for the mind as well as the body and when you combine it with good food, you are invincible.
10. WHAT TRIGGERED YOUR PASSION FORCOOKING AND NUTRITION?
My original inspiration was my great Polish grand-mother who was a big influence in how I cook and the simplicity of fresh natural whole foods. She taught me about the value of good food and the benefits to your body which will show through your skin, hair and overall health.Nutrition isn’t as complicated as it is often made out to be. There’s a sense of ‘food anxiety’ amongst many people who are trying their best to do the right thing.
When it comes down to it, we’re all different and it’s not a one size fits all scenario. What works for you may not work for the next person. My best advice would be to take a step back, breathe and listen to your body. We should all take the time to think about what foods make us feel good and what foods don’t. Eat wholefoods and customise your own diet based on your unique needs.