Culture Street

Lee Holmes, Certified Holistic Health Coach, wholefoods chef and author of Supercharged Food Eat Your Way To Health, is on a new mission to change the way we look and feel about ourselves and discover lifelong health and beauty. Lee's latest book Eat Yourself Beautiful has just been released.We will be featuring recipes from her fabulous book over the next couple of weeks.

What inspired your passion for healthy eating?

I looked at my diet to see what changes I could make as a result of being told that I was suffering from a non-specific auto immune problem and fibromyalgia, which is a rheumatic condition very similar to arthritis, whereby it causes wide spread muscle and soft tissue pain throughout the body and extreme fatigue. I became really passionate about food and ingredients so that I could see whether or not it was feasible to use food as medicine to heal myself rather than taking prescribed drugs.  I created recipes which improved my health significantly and I discovered a new way of eating that achieved really great results. Next I created my website so I could share my recipe creations with others and I also wrote a book for families called Supercharged Food for Kids.

Why should we buy fresh seasoned produce?

To support our local economy and to improve our own health and wellbeing, it’s good to buy locally produced in season produce.  Cooking seasonal recipes is a great way to use in-season fruit and vegetables and it’s more cost effective too. Shopping at local Farmer’s markets is a fantastic way to meet the growers and sellers of organic fresh fruits, vegetables, free-range eggs, spices, herbs and other produce such as dressings and condiments and as you browse and chat with farmers you can find out more about their products so you can understand the journey of the food you are eating and how it was produced.  When it comes to eating organic food, I have a whole bunch of reasons why I think organic is preferable if your budget allows and I talk about it in more detail on my blog here: Guide to buying organic.

Why should we say ‘no’ to the fad diet?

Because fad diets are simply that, a fad and many of them can be extreme. If you become fixated on being so strict about a particular fad diet or even on the flipside the quality of the food you eat and refine and restrict your diet to such a degree that you can’t be happy then you’re only going to damage your own self-esteem and set yourself up for failure. It’s really important not to have the “I quit” mentality.

Should we eat a healthy diet 100% of the time?

I think it’s important to follow the 80/20 rule, eat well 80% of the time and indulge 20% of the time otherwise you can develop an unhealthy relationship with food if your diet is too clean.  If you’re going for chocolate look for over 70% cacao or try and swap out a healthy version of a treat you like.  You don’t have to abstain from it altogether sometimes it’s healthy to indulge otherwise life is too boring and regimented.

What are the foods/drinks we should avoid?

When I was finding out about which foods to avoid, it took a while to find out which foods worked for me and which didn’t. It was a case of trial and error and the beginning, some foods lessened my symptoms and some sent me back into relapse. When I was healing myself the first thing I did was let go of the foods which are hard to digest.  Foods which were high in the wrong kinds of fats, sugars and refined flours such as pizza, fast food, ice cream and sugary desserts take a lot of energy to digest therefore make you feel tired. I cut down on gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast and sugar too.  For me, healing the gut was a big part of being able to ingest nutrients from the foods I was eating.  You could have the healthiest foods in the world but unless you are absorbing them they are just going to waste and you are not receiving all of the benefits.  Wheat, Cow's Milk and Soy products are a not a great choice if you have a low-functioning immune system. Genetically modified foods are extremely difficult for the body to process and put a strain on the immune system too. If you are eating a lot of processed sugar it suppresses your immune system and wipes out your defence system.  But it’s not a good idea to quit it altogether forever, your body will only crave it so the best thing to do is use sugar substitutes like stevia, coconut sugar, xylitol, rice malt syrup or cut down on it.  Man-made vegetable oils and fats, in particular trans fats a good food to steer clear of.   Trans fats are mostly found in many commercially packaged foods and fried foods such as the food which is available in fast food outlets, they can also be found in micro-waved popcorn as well as in vegetable shortening and hard stick margarine.   I also want to mention that processed low fat products are not necessarily healthy. When the fat is removed the ingredients that are added are usually more sugar, or artificial sugars, sodium, flavourings, fillers like guar gum and binding agents and chemicals which are worse for you.

Tell us about your latest book?

Eat Yourself Beautiful is not about having perfect features, on the contrary,  it’s about looking after yourself through a good diet and also having a positive relationship with food.  I believe that looking good on the outside is more about the way you feel about yourself inside, so being more mindful about what you are eating and how you are treating your body is a big part of being beautiful.

I believe that food plays a large part in how you feel and when you feel good you tend to look good on the outside as well. What you put into your body certainly shows on the outside for example eating a diet which includes fresh and unprocessed foods and steering clear of too much caffeine, alcohol, sugar and processed foods you'll really start to notice that your skin is looking more radiant, your hair is thicker and shinier and your eyes look more clear, the best thing about eating real foods is that you'll have more energy and vitality as well.

There are so many beneficial vitamins and minerals and anti-oxidants in every day foods that you can really benefit from internally and externally as well you don’t need to go on strict routines.

There are over 100 recipes in the book , secret recipes for juices, snacks and meals using key nutrient-rich and anti-inflammatory ingredients and every day foods for longevity. The recipes contain everything from the skin-boosting power of plant collagen to the most potent antioxidants on the planet and the book will show you how eating the wrong foods can be visible on the outside too. I hope you’ll enjoy the recipes.

Eat Yourself Beautiful by Lee Holmes published by Murdoch Books rrp $35.00, photographer Steve Brown.


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