Susan Jane White is on a mission to educate the masses about eating in a new way. She believes that by incorporating sugar-free, dairy-free and wheat-free recipes into your daily diet, you will feel amazing, and your family will too. Before you shriek ‘IT’S THE CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVES OR ME’, take a minute to absorb her top tips, and check out her DELICIOUS recipes. Her book, The Extra Virgin Kitchen is the first clean eating book that doesn’t preach, doesn’t scold and genuinely, GENUINELY, contains recipes that every member of the family will enjoy.
You turned your diet around and cook sugar-free, dairy-free and wheat-free food. Can you tell us what prompted your clean eating journey?
Sounds extreme, right?! But avoiding wheat, sugar and dairy is not restrictive at all. Quite the opposite. It’s incredibly liberating.
This is what I did ten years ago, to tackle a debilitating immune disorder. I used to be plagued by chronic infections like UTI, thrush, kidney infections, conjunctivitis, strep throats, coldsores, mouth ulcers and fevers. My digestive system wheezed like an asthmatic snail. I chose to nourish my body through simple food choices. And it worked. I stopped counting calories, and started counting nutrients.
At 34, I feel I have more energy than ever. This is super-important as a mother of two teeny tots. I’m calmer, and sleep deeper. Problems with bloating have disappeared. My hair and skin are glossier than in my twenties, and my dandruff has vanished for good. Healthy food is like fertiliser for the body.
I’m not saying wheat and dairy are unhealthy. The quantity we consume is definitely unhealthy, even pathological (breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, snacks all seem to have wheat, sugar and dairy, right?) Giving these foods a break will open up your eyes to a fabulous fleet of seriously wholesome grains, beans, flours and multi-coloured rice that we would not otherwise be exposed to. That’s what my book does; opens up this world of exciting new ingredients.
Imagine a space where cravings don’t control your every thought, and where energy belts through your veins. This is not a fad for me. It’s a way of life, and doesn’t demand rigid principles. I’m not telling people to give up wheat, sugar and dairy altogether. That would be bonkers. But replacing bread, pasta, croissants and junk with super-nutritious suppers will pay dividends. Huge dividends.
What are the five easiest ways a person can clean up their diet?
Cleaning up your diet does not have to be boring, or penitential. No one should be threatened with cauliflower smoothies or fermented kale! So here are my top tips:
1. Loud music. And lots of it. Dance like a maniac in the kitchen. You’ve got to enjoy yourself, right? I love listening to podcasts too. They provide great company while I’m cooking. I really look forward to this ‘space’ at the end of a long day.
2. When you are run down, try sticky black or red rice; filled with anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, antioxidants, and energy-boosting B vitamins. We particularly love B3, the vitamin responsible for lifting mood (like day dreaming about George Clooney, or making teeny changes to George Bush’s Wikipedia page).
3. A splash of apple cider vinegar in water can kill a sweet tooth. Cheap too. A pinch of chilli powder will bring it up an octave, and immediately mute those pesky sugar callings. Sounds strange, right? Try it and see for yourself.
4. When you are feeling hung-over, try 1 tablespoon of certified spirulinapowder with a small glass of fresh apple juice. This will help keep your liver on speaking terms with you (and to release your inner athlete).
5. A final tip is to clear out your cupboards. Bin anything that will corrupt your new health plan. As the immortal Oscar Wilde shares “I can resist anything, except temptation.”
What do your kids eat? Our kids are horrendously fussy; how do you combat this?
I let them make their own food. Seriously!
It may be messy, but at least they will eat it. I have several recipes in my book they do almost every day – the 6AM Toddler Cookies, Buckwheat Pancakes, Potato Satay and Ninja Spears (aka asparagus).
What are your hero ingredients?
Goji berries. Throw them into curries to help ramp up your immune system. They look like teensy chillis, and will scare the bejaysus out of your guests! Gojies are rich in iron, protein, carotenoids, vitamins C, E and A – fairly potent stuff for a dainty berry. Quite the anti-aging accessory, you’ll agree.
Want to see more?
Check out some of Susan’s video recipes here!
The Extra Virgin Kitchen by Susan Jane White is available at all good bookstores nationwide. log onto www.susanjanewhite.com for more information and great recipes