Teresa is one of Australia’s leading authorities on healthy cooking, and is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of individuals through the food choices they make and how they cook! She believes that to be sustainable, a healthy diet must also be a delicious one.
Having trained as a chef in the French tradition (5 star hotels), Teresa also studied nutrition at Deakin University and is an internationally accredited ﬁtness trainer with the Fitness Institute of Australia. Teresa is also the Founder and Director of The Healthy Chef, a company that creates purely delicious functional foods for optimum health + wellbeing. She combines her love of food and ﬁtness within her own life and shares her recipes and knowledge as well as her amazing products with the world via her books, website, TV appearances and countless print and online articles!
Teresa’s passion for healthy food always shines through and inspires others and we are so grateful that she has agreed to be our December Featured Friend.
Firstly Theresa, what does creating ‘a healthy mix for life’ mean to you?
My main aim at The Healthy Chef is to get people cooking, eating healthier and looking after their body, so we can all live better lives that are filled with health and happiness. Life can be pretty tough these days and a lot of times it’s difficult trying to have a work life balance. I know for me personally, my Polish nature makes me focus on work, work and more work, leaving very little “me” time. I need to remind myself to take some time every day to either sit quietly, exercise, go meet a friend for coffee or just sleep more and focus on my own health and wellbeing. I believe in honest, natural food. I eat as cleanly as I can because I believe my body deserves the best nourishment it can get. It’s important to know where your food has come from and treat it with the love and respect it deserves. I am not a fan of extreme diets or people who push strict dietary ideologies. I find that a lot of people stress over finicky nutrition details rather than focusing on the broader picture – that is, to eat natural wholefoods, focus on fresh fruit and veg and keep it simple.
What does your day on a plate look like and why do you eat the way you eat?
When I cook at home for myself and the people I love, I keep it simple and fresh. It’s mainly plant-based using vegetables, fruit and protein such as fish or organic eggs. Cold pressed olive oil is my oil of choice. I eat when I’m hungry, not when the clock tells me to, I try to eat according to how my body feels, my health, my activity level and what’s in season. Your body is a finely tuned machine that needs the right nutritional balance accompanied with adequate exercise and quality rest.
Living a healthy life doesn’t mean just eating well … how do you keep your mind and body healthy?
Regular exercise, adequate sleep and plenty of wholesome foods keep me grounded. I love cycling, walking and MMA (mixed martial arts). I was inspired to cycle by my grandparents and to do martial arts, by my husband. I am kinder to myself these days due to injury so I don’t take things as hard or serious as I used to but exercise helps me to clear my head and focus on myself for that period of the day. I also make an effort to take regular holidays to my favourite health and wellness spa Kamalaya. It’s my sanctuary where I can just de-stress and reset my body.
Who is your health, wellness or fitness guru and why?
I look at my great Aunty and Uncle as role models for almost everything I do. They both came from Poland to start a new life in Australia. They never owned a car and always rode their pushbikes everywhere they went, until their late 80”s. My Ciocia and Wyjek as I called them were self-sustaining, from growing their own vegetables and raising their own chickens. They both held down regular full time jobs and managed to eat fresh food every day, they didn’t smoke and didn’t drink much except for a few nips of cherry brandy on those special occasions.
What is your ONE Super Hero Food that you cannot live without?
I love green veggies….broccoli especially! I love mine every way, raw, steamed or lightly sauteed with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
If you could share with the Raw Blend Family one piece of your wisdom what would it be?
Follow your passion. Pick where you want to be and work hard to get there but make sure to take care of yourself along the way.
We are lucky enough to have you share one of your favourite recipes with us, why do you love this recipe?
I love my Detox Protein Smoothie – it’s one of the most popular recipes from my web site thehealthychef.com It’s great as a quick breakfast in the mornings and takes just 1 minute to make and I feel the nourishing ingredients fueling every cell in my body. My freezer is always full with frozen berries and at times I’ll add a chopped frozen banana for extra creaminess. This smoothie is high in protein, antioxidants, folate, minerals and fibre to support a overall health + wellbeing.
- 150 g (1 cup/ 5 1/4 oz) fresh or frozen berries
- Small handful baby spinach
- 1/4 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
- few sprigs mint
- 1 cup (250 ml / 8 3/4 fl oz) coconut water
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds or flaxseeds (see notes)
- pinch ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons Healthy Chef Pure Organic protein or Pure Native WPI
- tablespoon Healthy Chef Organic Superfood
- COMBINE all the ingredients into a good high speed blender like a Vitamix.
- BLEND until smooth smooth + creamy. Add any boosters or more coconut water if necessary to achieve your desired thickness.
To change it up a bit try using smashed walnuts or LSA in place of the chia. They will add a wonderful flavour and texture to your smoothie.
- For a creamier smoothie and a potassium boost – add 1 frozen, chopped banana.
- Use other milks such as pumpkin seed, cashew nut milk, keifir, coconut milk in place of the coconut water. For a quick nut milk blend your smoothie with water and add 1 tablespoon nut butter.