Welcome to my Friday Foodie series, where I interview my favourite health and wellness stars. Each week, they share their tips for healthy living and one very special recipe.
This week I am featuring Chelsea Brown aka The Nutrition Mama. Chelsea is a fellow nutritionist and mama, who is passionate about helping other mamas is leading a healthier lifestyle.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, what you do and what inspired you to lead a healthier lifestyle?
I’m Chelsea and I’m a nutritionist with a passion for family health. In the online world I hang out over at my blog, The Nutrition Mama, where I focus on showing other mamas that feeding your family healthy and nutritious food isn’t as complicated or expensive as they may think. In the offline world I live on the mid north coast of NSW with my husband and very energetic 1 year old daughter. I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that what we eat inevitably becomes the building blocks that our body uses to grow and function which sparked my interest in nutrition. I decided to focus solely on family nutrition once I began the journey into motherhood myself, right from the pre-conception stage I was amazed at how much of a difference fuelling my body with nourishing food made for an easy conception (given that I have endometriosis and methylation difficulties), a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. I also want to make sure I’m instilling the right values and attitudes towards food in my daughter and ensuring that she is given the best start to developing healthy eating habits.
What tips would you give to someone who has just commenced living a healthier lifestyle?
Take it one step at a time. It can take up to a year to fully change your lifestyle and habits, my best advice would be to choose one area to focus on at a time. That might be committing to having a healthier breakfast every day for the first month, then healthier snacks the next, and healthier dinners the one after that. Drink more water and less soda. The more you begin to crowd out the bad the more room there will be for the good. Also make sure you are eating what makes you feel good, remember that we all have different compositions and genetics and there isn’t one ‘perfect’ diet out there. Focus on eating fresh, unprocessed foods and listen to your body to see what works for you.
Do you have any tips for eating well on a budget?
My first tip would be to meal plan. I’m a big advocate for meal planning, at the beginning of each week just figure out what you already have that needs to be used and use that to plan your meals. Make a list of exactly what you need for the rest of the week and head to the shops. If you know what you’re cooking and you’ve got the ingredients ready to go there will be less waste and less trips to the shops where you’ll impulse buy.
I also buy a lot of our food in bulk which saves us a lot of money. We’re fortunate enough to get all our meat in bulk from my parent’s farm who raise and kill all their own organic meat but I also order a lot of our pantry staples in bulk to save money. Think flours, nuts, seeds, oils, etc. There are places online that will deliver to your door and if you can’t afford a big order see if any of your family and friends want to order as well to help split the costs. This means that most weeks the bulk of our groceries are fresh produce which we source from a growers market that stocks local produce and is much cheaper than the supermarket.
How do you deal with food struggles from your children and/or family?
With my daughter I try not to stress if she is going through a fussy stage. I continue to always offer fresh, whole vegetables with her meals, whether she eats them that day or not. It’s important to remember that it can take up to 20 times of offering a new food before they will begin to eat it. I also sneak veggies into anything I can, from cookies to muffins to sauces to homemade chicken nuggets, that way if she doesn’t eat the fresh veggies that day I still know some have made it in.
I also try and be a positive food role model for her. If she sees me eating a food she is usually busting at the seams to try it as well so I always make sure I’m making healthy food choices. Plus letting her be involved in as much food preparation as I can at her age, if she helps me during the cooking stage and I give her little tastes along the way she is usually more likely to sit down and eat it at the end.
As for my husband, he is pretty good these days but it hasn’t always been that way, to be honest it’s taken quite a few years to get him on a really healthy diet but now he admits that if he eats crappy food he feels crappy. I also still try and include ‘man’ dishes to our meal plan like homemade pizzas, burgers, nachos, pies etc but I make them all from scratch and always include tons of veggies so he still feels like he gets those ‘man’ foods but without all the refined and processed ingredients.
What is your favourite food?
That’s a tough one as I really love food. I’d probably have to say it would be Mexican food as I really love their flavours or a really good burger and chips.
Who is your favourite foodie and why?
At the moment I’d probably have to say Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from River Cottage. I’m loving his show and just love his philosophy on growing your own food and knowing where it comes from, sourcing ethically raised meat, eating with the seasons and cooking from scratch with as little waste as possible.
What is something that you enjoy doing when you have some ‘me’ time?
I love to spend time at the beach, either going for a long walk or a swim if it’s a nice day. I also love going to a yoga or pilates class if I have the time and I would be quite happy to sit for hours just reading cookbooks and drinking tea.
What is your favourite recipe to cook? Can you share the recipe with us?
This recipe for Homemade Curried Sausages is one of our family favourites. It’s such a classic family meal but I’ve made a few tweaks to make it a healthier choice rather than the ones made with a lot of dairy (which a lot of people can’t tolerate) and also the packet mixes that a lot of people use from the supermarkets which are full of preservatives and additives. This one is made from fresh, whole ingredients and the perfect comfort food (just make sure you buy good-quality sausages).
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 8 good-quality, grass-fed thick sausages
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 4 potatoes, peeled and quartered (sweet potatoes work well too)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup stock (beef, chicken or vegetable all work well)
- 2 cups of chopped vegetables (I like to use carrot, peas and corn but use whatever you have on hand)
- 100g baby spinach
- 3/4 cup of coconut cream
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large, deep casserole pan over medium-high heat. Brown sausages for approximately 5 minutes, until they are golden in colour. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining oil. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, garam masala and cumin to pan and mix with fry with oil to create a paste (add a little more oil if necessary).
- Add potatoes and stir to coat in spice paste. Add tomato paste and cook for a further minute. Add stock and mix well.
- Slice the sausages into chunks and add return them to the pan. Add chopped vegetables and spinach. Cook for 15-20 minutes, covered, until vegetables and sausages are cooked.
- Stir through cream or coconut cream and serve. Can be served on it’s own or with rice, mash or extra steamed vegetables.
A little more about Chelsea and where you can find her