Teresa is one of Australia’s leading authorities on healthy cooking, and the founder of The Healthy Chef that is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of individuals.
Teresa is the Founder and Director of The Healthy Chef, a company that creates purely delicious functional foods for optimum health + wellbeing. ! “We use natural and organic whole foods and pride ourselves on developing quality products that will inspire a deeper commitment to healthy living. We were the first company to bring Organic Pea Protein and our lactose free Pure Native Whey Protein to Australia and also the first to bring a natural occurring Vitamin C and D supplement made from whole foods to the market. Our latest products include Naked Chocolat, Organic Matcha Tea and Cold Pressed Organic Wheatgrass powder, yet another first for Australia.
1. There’s a plethora of information available on what we should eat and should avoid. What ingredients should we avoid?
Processed foods are generally high in salt, sugar, fat, preservatives, and flavor enhancers such as MSG — all of which have been linked to disease.
My top items to avoid are:
A) Hydrogenated oils and trans fats
Hydrogenation is a chemical process where liquid vegetable oil is turned into a solid fat. Hydrogenated oils contain trans fats, which are thought to be more harmful than saturated fats. Trans fats raise levels of bad cholesterol and lower levels of good cholesterol.
The current growing body of evidence from controlled trials and observational studies indicates that trans fat consumption from partially hydrogenated oils adversely affects multiple cardiovascular risk factors and contributes significantly to an increased risk of chronic heart disease.
Additionally, studies suggest that trans fats may worsen insulin resistance, weight gain and diabetes, and have detrimental effects on brain health.
B) Refined Sugar
Sugar is a carbohydrate used for energy and to sweeten some foods. It’s added to foods and drinks such as soft drinks, fruit juices, cakes, biscuits, jam, and most processed foods. Eating too much of it can lead to rapid increases in blood glucose and insulin, which over time leads to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and inflammation, which in turn, may influence atherosclerosis, suppressed immune system, obesity and disease.
C) White refined flours
White flour is normally made from wheat that has been stripped of its germ and bran, and mainly provides carbohydrates in the form of starches — with low nutritional value. The more white flour you eat, the more glucose molecules will enter your bloodstream and the higher your blood glucose and insulin levels will increase. Even though white flour doesn’t taste sweet, it breaks down into sugar (glucose) and can lead to the same problems caused by eating too much refined sugar.
2. What are common misconceptions or myths when it comes to eating “healthy,” “low calorie,” or “low fat” foods?
People are confused. Take a step back and get back to the basics. We should all take the time to think about what foods make us feel great and what foods don’t. I cook with lots of plant-based whole foods as the main part of any meal – I love my greens and my salads then compliment with a little protein.
I also love making delicious cakes and pies (from quality whole food ingredients). There is nothing better than an apple pie made from seasonal golden delicious apples encased in a short crust made from organic spelt flour, rolled oats, and quality butter. I believe in my 80/20 philosophy and enjoy everything in moderation.
3. What are some ways we can make food tasty without all of the bad things?
When I cook, the flavor comes from fresh seasonal whole foods such as vegetables, spices and herbs as well as the cooking process I use. I love clean, pure fresh flavors, and KEEP IT SIMPLE – that’s my secret to healthy effortless cooking that tastes delicious and is good for you.
Cooking to me is about the essence of the ingredients that will nourish your body and be lovingly prepared – nothing too fancy. I never skimp on and always hunt down the best un-refined and natural ingredients that best suits my cooking and health needs.
4. How can we make better choices when eating in restaurants and on the go?
When eating out, ask for steamed vegetables or garden salad and some protein like a piece of wild caught fish. Stay away from heavy sauces, white bread products and deep fried foods. Again, keep it clean as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for a modified dish or something off the menu – Chefs these days will easily alter the menu based on what you need. I find simplicity is always good.
5. As Americans, we are so busy, so how can we build exercise into our daily routines?
With everyone so busy nowadays, it can be difficult to add exercise into our daily living regiment. It takes discipline and time to be able to fit it into our hectic lifestyles.
For me, I have found my life is crazy busy and every day I just need to take that meeting with myself and have some time out at least for 1 hour a day. A power walk in the morning or a Pilates class is a great start to the day. If you’re busy, then making sure you’re getting lots of incidental exercise throughout the day. I wear a pedometer most days so I can keep track on my steps and movement. If I can get over 10,000 steps per day, I’m happy, and if I get to 20,000, I’m over the moon because it was effortless and fun.
I suggest trying to get out and move as much as possible. We all know we should try to take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk as much as we can, but we can do more. It doesn’t matter what you – so long as you’re moving your body and you are having fun doing it!
I like to focus on 3 areas – it’s MY TRIANGLE OF SUCCESS:
1) FOOD – keep it simple and pure – focus on whole foods
2) EXERCISE – move every day and enjoy what you do
3) MINDEFULNESS – Rest and Renew! Be mindful on what you do – focus on getting quality sleep and take time out for yourself!
I first came across the triangle at the age of 10 – when I was watching an episode of The Richard Simmons Show. It was what inspired me to change my life and the state of my health – his show focused on food, exercise, and mindfulness.
Enjoy the journey that exercising and healthy eating will take you on. Learn to take days off to relax and recharge, and enjoy the experience! It’s the only way you’ll be able to maintain a healthy, balanced exercise routine for the rest of your life.
Summer berries, cultured yoghurt and Healthy Chef Granola. A delicious breakfast that will nourish and energize your body. Rich in whole food antioxidants, protein + probiotics to support optimum health + vitality. This meal ROCKS ! It’s perfect for people on the go and takes just minutes to make. It looks great too and I often make these when I’m having friends over for a healthy weekend brunch after a bike ride.
Berries are rich in wholefood antioxidants including vitamin C, which helps to keep your skin firm by aiding collagen production. Collagen gives strength and structure to your skin and is vital for elasticity and firmness. Healthy Chef Granola is power packed with goodness that will keep you energised for hours. It’s scented with vanilla bean that helps relax the nervous system and reduce inflammation whilst cinnamon improves insulin’s efficiency, that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Cinnamon can also help boost brain activity. Cultured yoghurt is high in probiotics that help support your digestive system and keep it healthy. A boost of Healthy Chef Protein can work effectively to regulate the appetite, increase satiety and encourage weight loss. To find our how much you need check out my Protein Calculator.
500 g (17 1/2 oz) fresh strawberries
handful fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon honey or 2 of pomegranate molasses
500 g (17 1/2 oz) Cultured Natural Yoghurt (use dairy or coconut)
1 tablespoon Healthy Chef Native WPI
100 g (3 1/2 oz) healthy chef granola
Blend 250 g of the strawberries with raspberries and honey until smooth.
Cut the other 250 g of strawberries into quarters and mix with the berry puree.
Combine Cultured yoghurt with a spoonful of Healthy Chef Protein
Layer berries with cultured yoghurt and granola, alternating into a tall glass – alternatively you can layer into a bowl.
Serve and enjoy.
Notes + Inspiration
Add 2 tablespoons of Organic Superfood into your yoghurt to pump up the antioxidants and give it a wonderful superfood berry flavour.
Fold through other red fruits such as blueberries, goji berries, pomegranate.
Top with flaked toasted coconut.
To learn more about healthy cooking and Chef Teresa Cutter; visit: https://www.thehealthychef.com