Today was a really exciting day for me, today my first hard copy book hit the book shelves! I am so excited, I wanted to share with you all an extract from the book. If you know of anyone who would benefit from including more wholesome nutritious foods in their diet, then please share this with them. And if you’re interested you can purchase the book here.
I would have never thought that food had so much medicinal power, till I graduated from university as a dietitian and nutritionist. I quickly learnt however, that simple dietary changes can save peoples lives; everyday I help people change their lives and their health for the better.
The Perfect Juice Excerpt-
I have such a love and passion for cooking, this love and passion developed from an early age. I have many fond memories of cooking with my family, often with our own homegrown produce. My style of eating and cooking of whole, fresh and homegrown foods was influenced by my upbringing and cultural heritage.
My caring mother is Ecuadorian, who travelled to Sydney, Australia when she was 18 years old. Her sole focus in coming to Australia was to earn a wage to send money back to my grandmother, who was a single parent of four other children.
My grandmother came to Australia to live with us for 20 years, to help my parents raise my brothers and I. Like any loving parents, they worked hard to provide for their family and give us the best opportunity for an education. It was my grandmother who taught me all about the love of cooking and food.
Throughout my childhood, I was brought up with homemade dishes. I remember my grandmother mashing bananas and pureeing vegetables to make baby food for the one-year-old boy she would baby-sit from up the street when I was a child.
When I would wake up of a morning before school, I’d have a freshly squeezed orange juice my grandmother hand squeezed just moments before coming to my room to wake me up. I lay there in a daze listening to my mother in the kitchen blending up her green juice concoction after her morning walk. Mum was well before her time with the popularity of green juices. Mum would make the same green juice every morning – a recipe she learnt about in a trip back home to Ecuador, which she believed reduced her arthritis symptoms.
We’d have a packed lunch everyday of salads, sandwiches and fruit. Of an afternoon, my brothers and I would return from school and there would be soup, filled with nutritious vegetables and legumes, ready to be devoured by hungry children.
At our place, we had a vegetable patch that my grandmother cultivated. One year, I remember she had a cornfield growing around the side of the house, which grew to cover my bedroom window. As kids, my brothers and I would pick the mulberries off the mulberry tree, so my grandmother could make “Colada morada” which means dark purple strained. Colada morada is a juice that people in Ecuador drink on All Soul’s Day, which is a day to celebrate the lives of relatives who have passed away. In the indigenous Andean communities in Ecuador, it was offered and left as a gift to the spirits of deceased relatives at their tomb. Juicing was a part of our family celebrations and life, yet I didn’t even realise it.
Picky eating and food waste was frowned upon in my family. It just wasn’t done because of the hardship my mum and grandmother experienced in Ecuador, where food and its lack of availability was nothing to be sneezed at.
It’s because of this reason my grandmother always reminded me that food is a gift and needs respect. It should be treated with care, let nothing goes to waste. This overarching philosophy underpinned all decisions made in the kitchen. We were always conscious of food wastage. Any food scraps were either composted or fed to the family pets.
Back in the 80 and 90’s, you could have mistaken our Sydney suburban home for a farm. We had a sheep out the back, a dog, rabbits, a corn plantation, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce sprouting in every corner, and steadily producing mulberry, fig and lemon trees.
Nothing went to waste in our house and it still doesn’t now. My grandmother’s ideals about food is still ingrained in me. Throughout my adult years, I learnt that juicing is actually a large part of Ecuadorian meals. Although mum juiced every day in our home, it’s not something I took up until later on.
It’s from this upbringing that I based my career as a dietitian/nutritionist. I became a food lover and avid cook. Health is in the beauty of eating nutritious whole foods prepared at home and eaten as a family. It’s also about your relationship with food and the respect you give it. Respect for the Earth and food is lost when you binge eat or eat more than what you need.
I believe in cooking with fresh produce and ingredients to improve health and manage weight issues. Cooking and the magic of food have been long lost in my generation in Australia. This is a shame because it coincides with the forever growing list of preventable chronic health conditions that are mostly attributed to lack of exercise and poor dietary choices. The accessibility of fast food and snack food in the home, like chips, lollies, biscuits and fizzy drinks, is all too easy and convenient but certainly not nutritious. Our lives are rushed, social connections reduced to a social media post or email, and leisure downtime abandoned for drinking and living up to unrealistic social expectations.
Juicing is one step closer to making healthy eating accessible to all. Boosting vegetable intake and encouraging the consumption of fruit has the power to alleviate some of the common aliments in our society. High consumption of fruit and vegetables has been associated with longer life spans and reduced risk of chronic disease like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. For every extra serve of vegetable or fruit you eat, your risk of death from heart disease, cancer and diabetes decreases. Two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables has been shown to provide the maximum possible benefit to your health. Until you reach this threshold, you may be putting yourself at an unnecessary health risk.
If you feel like hopping off the dieting band wagon and want to find away to appreciate wholesome whole food juices maybe The Perfect Juice is the answer?