Sunday, January 3, 2016
The Blender Girl - Great Recipes
My sister and I grew up with wild and wonderful parents, both airline crew and relentless adventurers. We lived and travelled all over the world, and tucked into any and all foods put in front of us. We were omnivores with a dilemma before Michael Pollan made that fashionable.
Until I hit my teens, when I was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus. That was the impetus to a revolution of my diet. A naturopath suggested I forget gluten, dairy and meat, and embrace a diet high in plant-based foods and fish. Almost overnight, I felt better. It turned out I was gluten and dairy intolerant. This was my awakening to food as medicine, and the miracle was not lost on me.
I developed a keen interest in health and nutrition. I studied nutritional science, and began taking cooking classes to develop my culinary skills and knowledge. Only in my early twenties did I truly become inspired by the power of whole foods. My friend, Toni Hudson from Kerekt Living had been married to Dirk Benedict who had cured himself of life-threatening prostate cancer by following a macrobiotic diet. His book, Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy changed the course of my life.
The power of whole foods
Finding macrobiotics worked for me, and in sticking with it for many years, I embarked on a journey of discovery, searching for the perfect whole-foods diet to keep myself in a state of optimum health. As a perfectionist, I was going to master the art of my own health even if it killed me! I was obsessed.
My self-imposed crusade had me trying out every whole-foods diet known to man! I became vegetarian, then vegan. I discovered the benefits of raw foods, and dabbled in Ayurvedic philosophy, and Chinese yin and yang principles. Next, on to alkalinity, then Body Ecology anti-candida principles, green smoothies, and blood-group strategies. It was exhausting.
Alas, no one program completely fit my needs. I would feel really good, but eventually, symptoms of lethargy and fatigue, so familiar from my early experience of Epstein-Barr, would set back in.
A chance meeting with Steven Acuff introduced me to the concept of bio-individuality, which recognizes that a single blanket diet won’t work for everybody. Encouraged, I shifted to an intuitive approach to my health, listening to the signs in my body, and teaching myself a healthier way to move through the world with food. I discovered that flexibility and fluidity rather than rigidity were, for me, among the keys to health and happiness.
Finding the “Tess” diet
Monitoring myself over the past twenty years, I’ve discovered that each of those many diets did, indeed, have something valuable to offer. But, what I am really looking for is the “Tess Diet” where I can take what I like from each of these pillars of holistic health and work it into my “ideal” way of eating that can change with my needs.
I am a seasonal, intuitive eater. My plant based eating plan varies depending on climate, stress levels, emotions, physical activity, and overall health. In the hotter months I eat a high percentage of raw foods. When the weather turns cold, more cooked foods.
But, two things remain the same: green foods and alkalinity. I didn’t know ten years ago when I read The pH Miracle that Dr Robert O Young would play such a major role in my life. When my partner, Scott Brick, was diagnosed with cancer last year, Dr Young treated him and restored his health. You can read our story or listen to Scott's personal account here. You can also grab a copy of The pH Miracle and The pH Miracle for Diabetes audiobooks that Scott and I narrated for Hachette Audio.
Birth of The Blender Girl
Green smoothies and green juices are a vital part of our life. So, in 2010, when I starting my blog to share recipes with family and friends, I turned to my blender for inspiration. My mother, on the other hand, would say her food processor tops the list of kitchen can’t-live-withouts. Then my sister chimed in with her love of mixers, and the scope of the site widened. This trio of electrical, swirling perfection creates a magical cacophony in our kitchens which always leads to culinary bliss.
I love my blender. She’s a s'blended mistress, and helps me maintain a healthy lifestyle with ease and great gustatory pleasure. As I explored blending as a method of food preparation to develop this site, it quickly became a metaphor for how I live. I tend to combine different ideas and concepts, notes and flavours, and philosophies and cultures, in order to find a healthy, enjoyable balance of food, exercise, work and fun. While it’s not a system, exactly, it does add up to a recipe for happiness and success.
The recipes, whole foods information, and ideas I share celebrate my love of plant based foods, the joy of eating, and the concept of all things well blended. Food should satiates us, but also nourishe our entire being with consideration for the environment. I use fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, gluten free wholegrains, pulses, legumes and sprouts, natural sweeteners, and good quality unrefined fats and cold pressed oils - foods that come as close as possible to their natural state without unnecessary processing.
I try to use biodynamic and organic ingredients, as well as whole foods that have been farmed and produced with fair trade practices wherever possible. However, we're all busy, and from time to time I might recommend convenience foods that are still within the bounds of a natural state. You can find my favourite ingredients in the Healthy Blender Glossary.