I love to cook, as you may know. I also love the wellness community I’ve found myself becoming a part of, in my time writing and speaking around the traps. As such, it’s rather awesome to share stories and wisdom from many fabulous wellness promoting individuals, such as this month’s Real Food Rockstar, Teresa Cutter, aka, the Healthy Chef. When I was pressed for time to create a grain free / gluten free lamington recipe for Australia day low and behold, Teresa’s recipe popped up on my feed and I made it. It was delicious. Her site has a clean, uplifting feel and beautiful photography and she has an inspiring story to share. Here is a little interview I did recently with Teresa, sharing some insights about her past, philosophy and a few delicious recipes.
1. If you could share briefly what made you decide to be ‘The Healthy Chef’ one day, what was it? At the age of nine, I realised I was overweight. A group of high school students did a survey by recording the weight and height of our class. I was shocked to discover that I was the heaviest in the class – about 10-15 kg more than most of my classmates. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. It changed my life forever and was the inspiration for what I do today.
2. Did you grow up in a fresh food, healthy household or is your career rebellion against a past? At home, we always had extra large portions and second helpings. Lots of fried food too ! If I ate all my food, my mum would fill my plate up again. I was always sick – in and out of hospital, my immune system suffered and it made me angry – I had to do something to save myself and I had to take control of my health. My parents would call it rebellious - I would call it saving my life. My Great Aunt was my inspiration in healthy cooking and living. They had their own veggie garden and used to cook everything from scratch – they were fit and healthy and supported everything I wanted to do. They encouraged me to play sport and bought me my first bike. I’ve been riding ever since.
3. What’s your wellness philosophy?
Keep it fresh – keep it simple – Cook for health as well as taste and be kind to yourself.
4. How do you keep in a creative space for all the new recipes you create?
I am inspired every day to create new recipes – I need peace and quite to create. I get inspired going to veggie markets and looking at ingredients – I get inspired by people I meet and how my great Aunt cooked – Simple ingredients and not making things complicated.
5. For someone just starting out on a wellness journey, what are your top 3 tips for them to implement, day 1.
1 Create a healthy environment and invest in your health– Do your own kitchen audit and throw out all the processed foods and junk. Fill your fridge and pantry with good healthy food and lots of greens, cold pressed oils, quality protein. Keep it real and keep it simple. Remember eating more healthily will actually save your money ! If we don’t take the time to look after ourselves now, we’ll be spending it in hospitals later.
2 Buy yourself a good pair of walking / training shoes – Walking supports health in every sense, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It can help to improve your immune system, utilise insulin, improve your sleep, counteract depression and burn body fat.
3 Stress Less / Sleep well
Stress will make you sick. Chronic stress can keep cortisol levels in the blood elevated for longer, which in turn can affect metabolism, suppress thyroid function and increase abdominal fat. Research show that people who don’t get enough sleep have a greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome (also known as syndrome X or insulin resistance syndrome), which can increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
6. Nutrient dense treats, a couple being nut free for school: Can you share a couple of recipe links to inspire parents out there?
PUMPKIN FRUIT CAKE
GRAIN FREE BANANA BREAD
GRAIN FREE / NUT FREE NAKED CHOCOLATE CAKE
7. Desert Island: 6 ingredients to cook with for the rest of your life. What do you choose!?
3 Organic eggs
So there’s a little window into Teresa’s philosophy and a few recipe links for the parents out there, needing quick, nourishing little people snacks that are nut free yet still healthy, due to allergy restrictions at schools.
Teresa will be speaking at the Australian Fitness & Health Expo at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition centre (April 19-21) If you want to check her out there along with all the other exciting things going on, you can follow this link fitnessexpo.com.au. If you’re a Sydney sider and would like to go, register your interest here in the comments, and we’ll draw a winner for a double pass to the expo. Value of the double pass is $59.
GLOBAL GIVEAWAY: Lastly, to anyone world wide, Teresa is giving you a chance to win a hard copy of her 80/20 diet, worth $25. Again, simply register your interest in the comments, and I shall draw a winner on Monday.
Here’s to all the inspiring Real Food Rockstars in our world today, making a difference.
Real Food. Happy Bodies.
Disclosure: I wasn’t paid to write this post, nor am I paid to feature anyone on this blog. I just love to spruik awesome people and that is therefore part of my blog on a regular basis, Alexx.