Just eat it: A day in the life of my tastebuds with Joanne Musgrave
It really won't come as any surprise that the woman who runs Shop Naturally is a healthy eater and likes her food to be as natural as possible, but what you might not know about Joanne Musgrave is that she has lived with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and digestive system issues for over 20 years, so eating naturally and nourishing her body isn't just a preference but a necessity. To be able to function properly — that means even the small things like being able to take her dog for a walk or drive her car — Joanne has needed to learn to perfect the art of keeping her body properly fueled and functioning. For most of us that means not skipping breakfast, but for someone with that unique combination of Chronic Fatigue and digestive issues that means planning your meals from the moment you get up so that your energy levels can be maintained throughout the day without making you sick.
I'm always curious to see what meal plans look like for somebody who not only has their own digestive issues to think about when cooking, but also has a family to cater for at the same time. Those of us whose eating habits are more "garbage disposal" than thought-out often imagine their diets to be incredibly restrictive, but as Joanne explained to me her clean eating philosophy means she just avoids preservatives, colour additives and anything that is highly processed to keep her food as healthy as possible. She also believes in the 80/20 diet idea — which is that 80% of the time you eat for your health and 20% of the time you enjoy the foods you love, because if you're cutting out everything you love then you'll be miserable 100% of the time. As Joanne says, "When you compare a wheat and sugar filled Vanilla Iced Cupcake with stress, the one that takes its toll on your body more is the stress. Love the food you eat, love yourself while you're eating it, even if it is the cupcake! You'll have a much more enjoyable experience and a happier and healthier life as a result."
My day starts the same way, I really am a creature of habit with my breakfast. On waking, I drink a glass of water with a heaped teaspoon of Shakti’s Superfood Blend in it. I attribute this to my skin feeling better and a piece of the dietary puzzle that has cured me of hay fever that has plagued me since I was a teenager. I never skip it.
After that, I have a bowl of cereal. It’s certainly not anything out of a box with a TV commercial, but it’s around 4 heaped spoonfuls of organic rolled oats, a generous dollop of homemade yoghurt, organic milk and an assortment of fresh or dried fruit, seeds and nuts. The nuts and seeds are always activated to ensure I don't have any issues digesting them.
I love Summer lunches. They're so quick, fresh and easy to prepare. I have two ‘go-to’ meals for lunch and it always depends on what’s left over in the fridge from the night before. Regardless of which way I go, there’s always protein, good quality fat, fresh veggies and a little bit of carbs in my lunch.
Whether it’s left over chicken and salad or an egg & vegetable frittata, there’s always one thing in common: using a good coconut oil as a part of my fat source. One of my favourite tricks for lunch is to bake sweet potato or pumpkin in coconut oil and keep a stash in the fridge. They always end up as one of the ingredients in my frittata or salad. They're super sweet without having to add sugar to the meal.
Running an online health food store has its perks, and when I'm at the warehouse, I have the pick of the best and healthiest snacks available in the country. I'm really partial to the Coconut Magic Raw Energy bars which are a great balance of protein, fat and natural sugars found in fruit. A week won't go by without me eating at least one Loving Earth Luvju, whether it’s a Goji, Chia & Spirulina superfood bar or the Caramel Chocolate one. If I'm in a 20% kinda mood, Boulder Canyon Chips make a great ‘sometimes’ snack but it’s not the type of thing I would eat every day.
I am a fairly traditional type of eater at dinnertime, but for health reasons, I do follow my clean eating lifestyle when choosing ingredients. An old favourite of most people is Spaghetti Bolognese, but I always make it with a twist. I use organic beef mince, leeks and at least 50% vegetables. The flavour gets enhanced with some beautiful Red Wine Jus we have from Australian Harvest and the pasta will either be a gluten-free quinoa spaghetti or I'll grab my spirooli and make veggie pasta with a zucchini. Top with some fresh herbs and a slice or two of organic mozzarella and you have a healthy alternative to a family favourite that you can put in front of anyone.
I'm not a regular dessert eater. I usually save it for when I'm out at a restaurant. When I'm out, all bets are off. If I'm somewhere that makes their desserts from scratch, nothing is off the table. This is one of those times when sheer pleasure wins. I am a really big believer in healthy eating stretching out to your attitude surrounding food and not beating yourself up over eating something that’s deemed ‘unhealthy’. If there’s a sticky date pudding on the menu, I'm ordering it!
When I'm at home, if I want something sweet, I will make my Baked Blueberry Toffee Custard. It is sweetened with coconut nectar and vanilla powder and is super simple to make in single portions if you're the only one in the house who wants it.
What are your thoughts on Joanne Musgrave's eating plan? Tell us in the comments below!