Healthy Eating Tips From Sydney’s Premier Health food Supermarket
It’s no wonder in Australia we’ve taken to health food and nutrition like seagulls to hot chips. We have a legacy to uphold - the children of the first generation of European Australians were known as currency, lads and lasses. They towered above their pasty parents, had greater muscle density and no doubt a warm glow of inner health. Where many metropolitan areas might be deprived of local, fresh food sources, our CBD is just a stones throw from beautiful natural farm land.
Increasingly, retail and hospitality have capitalized on our landscape and our attitude to health, and the number of times you see ‘organic’ on a menu is just testament to this. Not to mention every toned, glowing runner at your local park or beach – Sydneysiders, culturally, are increasingly treating their bodies right. Enter Vladia – Slovakian grown, not a hippie but a self-proclaimed “wild card” and former juice girl. We spoke to her in her role as Wellness Ambassador and Group Operations Manager at Aboutlife – Sydney’s premier temple of clean and organic wholefoods.
How did you get involved in About Life?
So, basically, about 8 years ago I studied nutrition, and that’s what led me into this industry. I studied to be a nutritionist, while I went onto a juice bar in Aboutlife, and did the juice bar thing, and just grew from there.
Juice bar thing?
I was a juice girl! Pressing the juice, taking orders, making smoothies. The industry just grew – at those times I must have done only one green smoothie a month, and that was a ‘wow’ thing. It’s becoming so normal now it’s great! I love hospitality! And I love retail too. I’m a chef as well, so it’s the dream job. It ticks all the boxes: the creativity, and the business side.
What drew you to nutrition?
What drew me was personal; I wanted to learn more about food – what effect it had on my body and where it came from. I wanted to be the best version of myself. I’m not vegetarian, I’m not vegan, I’ve tried a few styles of eating, but I definitely believe everyone is an individual. Here at about life, it’s definitely about broad perspective of diet; whole foods, clean eating, and locally produced food. Everybody has their own style that will suit them, that’s not going to suit another person.
Do you think there’s a generally ideal diet?
Definitely! No preservatives. No chemicals. Ever. No hormones. Ever. No artificial flavors. Nothing that didn’t come from nature. Eat a wholefoods diet. Eat with season . It’s about a holistic approach and lifestyle, with respect for nature and ourselves.
How did Aboutlife start?
Picture fairly humble beginnings – a small café opens with some retail, and then a catering business that just sky rockets. Sisters Tammie Phillips and Jodie Stewart travelled around the world, and saw the niche market for whole foods and organic food in Australia. So they opened this little place across the road, with two aisles, and worked really hard. It grew organically from there ;)
What do you think about the Australian response to whole foods?
Great! It’s becoming so much more available and people are more and more interested in what they put in their gob bodies. It’s a big movement. It’s so exciting to see. We still have to think more about certain choices – if we buy milk that costs $1, what is the farmer getting? What is in that milk? We need to be paying for food to pay our farmers; we need to be paying our farmers for the quality of what they are producing. In Aboutlife we are conscious of this and therefore support the farmers by paying ethical prices for the best quality produce.
Aboutlife’s growth from its little two-aisled beginnings, over 18 years, says a lot about the changing priorities of Sydneysiders, and the increasingly trendy #cleaneating. Which is a good thing, by the way. Healthier Sydney is a better Sydney. Still, if a hashtag like that turns you off, think of this: Aboutlife has chips, burgers, and coke – just made out of real food. A burger pattie that can’t sit for a year on a kitchen bench and still look ok.
If you’ve never been to Aboutlife, there’s probably one nearby to check out. Get yourself along to one of the stores at Double Bay, Rozelle, Bondi Junction or Cammeray.
HEALTHY EATING TIPS:
1. Lots of fresh, local, seasonal produce – especially green vegies - they are a powerhouse of nutrients 60% of your plate should be veggies
2. Good quality protein – go for quality not quantity
3. Add fermented foods- such as kefirs or (my personal favourite) sauerkraut. Growing up in Slovakia we drink the juices of sauerkraut in the morning! That’s what gets your digestion really going – morning cuppa of cabbage juice! Anyone???☺
4. Have a rainbow on your plate. Eat colourful foods, different colours = different nutrients.
5. Hydr8, m8. Lots of water doesn’t just mean lots of water. Herbal teas, fresh vegetable juices and coconut water.
6. Fats are friends (and food). Don’t be scared of fats! Eat the good ones – avocado, nuts, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, macadamia oils.
7. Spice up your life. Spices! We forget about them, but respect the little guys. Include them in your ever day cooking and they will reward you with antioxidants. The bonus is they make your food so damn good without overusing salts or fats. Turmeric is anti-cancer, Cayenne- the skinny herb, Cinnamon – kicks the sugar cravings . Check the ~sweet~ recipe below for our biggest seller, the Coconut Quinoa Porridge, from the Aboutlife Wholefoods for Wellness Cookbook.
8. ‘Tis the Season. Now that it’s colder, eat lots of coconut milk soups, baked veggies, and fish.
Learn more at their website http://aboutlife.com.au/
By Madeleine Purdy