Last month I was offered the opportunity to send off some questions to Theresa the chef and mastermind behind The Healthy Chef. I’m always wary of “healthy chefs”, expecting them to tell me to replace full fat with low fat, sugar with artificial sweeteners… That sort of thing. I spent a bit of time researching and read a fair bit on The Healthy Chef website.

In the end it was enough to allay my fears about processed faked healthy foods so I sent off some questions. Questions sure to weed out a closet faux healthy chefs, to see if this REALLY was the sort of healthy chef I could get behind, sat back and waited for the response. I’m glad to report that when the answers to my {it turns out, six} questions came back, they were inclusive, whole and seasonal food based and genuine.

So here they are. Ladies and gentleman, meet Theresa, the Healthy Chef…

Your appearance at the expo will discuss the myth that cooking/preparing healthy food takes longer. Where do you think this idea that healthy means harder came from?

To control what you eat and drink every day and to be able to get out of bed and exercise every morning, as well as getting enough sleep, are the key ingredients if you want to be healthy. I think that many of us are so busy with work, career and family that we have lost the ability to cook and prepare meals at home. We think healthy food takes more time, but it actually doesn’t. It all comes down to good strategic planning – choosing the right ingredients and keeping it simple.

What’s your favourite recipe for a quick and healthy breakfast?

I love my blueberry power smoothie right now for a quick and healthy breakfast. I combine frozen blueberries, coconut water, Healthy Chef Natural protein as well as some chia and probiotics for healthy digestion. It basically has everything you need to help repair and refuel the body after a good training session.

Do you have any tips about how you set up your life to succeed in the areas of health and fitness?

Love what you do – Never stop learning – Practice what you preach.

Your website was described as having a lot of recipes that had been developed to be healthier, how do you define healthier?

My philosophy has always been to keep my food as pure and natural as possible. For me – healthy cooking is all about using REAL whole foods that are prepared in the correct manner so that they retain nutrients as well as tasting purely delicious. I base many of my recipes around fresh fruit and vegetables then compliment with protein. I substitute ingredients and use herbs and spices in place of extra salt or store bought sauces filled with MSG. I use anti-inflammatory fats such as olive, avocado, flaxseed or walnut and substitute WHITE REFINED staples for the whole food variety. A change in diet can bring about a change in health – yet many of us give more through to the clothes we put on our body than the food we put into it.

When you are creating recipes for your website, books or columns, where do you start?

If I’m creating recipes for my website – I get inspired by what’s in season, how I’m feeling and the people I meet. I know when I’m feeling run down – my focus is on green foods that help me to nourish and heal – when it’s raining or cold outside I feel like baking so I feel comfort by being in a warm kitchen, putting on some French Music and then I start to bake and create. I sometimes get requests from people to make certain dishes – so if the timing is right I do. My website posts are basically an extension of me and how I feel. When I’m writing for columns I normally have a brief or topic to work from which gives me direction then I work from there. My recipe books are another extension on how I’m feeling and foods I’m loving to eat at the time.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about health?

Think about what you put into your mouth every time you eat and drink. Is what you’re consuming making a positive or negative difference to your body.

A big thank you to Theresa for taking time out from her busy schedule to answer these questions for me. If you wanted to catch up with her in person, make sure you check out the Australian Fitness & Health Expo at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre April 19-21.

///image from Theresa website – The Health Chef///