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 Heather Resler from Cook It Up Paleo. Heather is a truly inspirational young woman who has a passion for real food cooking with a paleo focus.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, what you do and what inspired you to lead a healthier lifestyle?
I am 17 years old, and I have been blogging for about three years now. I live with my family in the Midwest and I have a twin brother as well as a younger sister. When I was 13, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had always been very healthy, so she was confused and started doing a ton of research about health. We stumbled upon the books Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso, and you could say the rest is history. I went paleo when I was 14, except I still ate some gluten now and then. I was diagnosed with celiac disease at 16 and went totally gluten free from then on. Now we are all gluten free and mostly paleo. Mom is cancer-free thanks to treatment, and I don't have migraines anymore thanks to paleo. I will graduate from high school this year, and in the fall I plan to go to college to become a registered dietitian.
What tips would you give to someone who has just commenced living a healthier lifestyle?
I find that people just starting out eating healthy tend to be very overwhelmed. My advice to someone very new is to first take a deep breath and relax. Then start with the big things. Get the sugar out. Get the processed oils out. Focus on pastured meats, poultry, and fish as well as lots of fresh produce. Eat nuts for snacks. Keep it super simple. Don't get caught up in the tiny details, like your carb to fat ratio or how much butter is too much butter. Get a really good book like It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig along with a really good cookbook, and just trust the journey. These changes aren't made overnight.
Do you have any tips for eating well on a budget?
Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good. Can't afford grass-fed beef for $10 per pound? Buy the best conventional meat you can find, or focus more on fish and pastured eggs. Just because you can't afford organic produce doesn't mean you can't still eat vegetables; just wash them well. And buy in bulk; investing in a chest freezer and buying half a cow per year is one of the economical things our family has ever done.
How do you deal with food struggles (or criticisms) from your family and/or friends?
I've been eating this way long enough that my family and friends accept my healthy (or "weird") eating habits. But when I started out, it was definitely harder. Stick to your guns and explain that you're eating healthier without getting judgy. I've found that by just eating the way I do without trying to convert anyone else has actually got many of my friends an family to go gluten-free or paleo!
What is your favourite food?
Coconut. Because there is so many different coconut products and you can use them for anything and they are so healthy!
Who is your favourite foodie and why?
That's really, really hard because I love so many. But if I had to choose, I would say Macy from paleocrumbs.com. She is only 16 and she has gastroparesis; but that doesn't stop her from putting out amazing recipes with mouth-watering photos!
What is something that you enjoy doing when you have some ‘me’ time?
I am a workaholic, so I tend to find more work to fill in my free time. But when I want to treat myself, there's nothing like a cup of coffee and some funny YouTube videos.
What is your favourite recipe to cook? Can you share the recipe with us?
Tacos are a running joke in our house because they are so incredibly easy to make; so we have them upwards of three times per week. I came up with this recipe, and it is really delicious!
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2-4 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- Sea salt to taste
Brown the beef and add all the spices. Serve with lettuce wraps, salsa, avocado slices, and black olives.