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An interview with Expert Chef Natasha Corrett from Honestly Healthy
What originally inspired you to start Honestly Healthy?
I have always been surrounded by food, my father runs French restaurants so I was encouraged to cook from a young age. My mother is a coeliac though so we always had a fusion of healthy and wholesome food going on. I went through a stage where life was insanely busy and I was not looking after my body. I really hurt my back and was feeling bloated, sluggish and exhausted. I went to see an ayurvedic doctor called Dr Joshi who told me that my body was incredibly acidic and this was why I was feeling so awful. He introduced me to a whole new way of eating and approaching food which I put my own spin on this with Honestly Healthy.
What essentially constitutes as an “alkaline diet”?
An alkaline diet is nutritionally rich food devoid of refined sugar, gluten, cow’s dairy and meat. It constitutes all of the things that when you think about it, you know are incredibly good for you , lots of green leafy vegetables, whole grains, pulses, berries, citrus fruits and good organic, natural ingredients. The aim is to reduce the quantity of acidic food (processed, sugary & salt laden numbers) that you are putting into your body and increase the alkaline foods. The body works at it’s best when in an alkaline state (that is pH 7.35) so by fuelling it with alkaline ingredients, you are helping it to maintain this state.
Do you have any advice for people looking to cut meat from their diet and what are the best healthy foods for substituting meat?
I always say that if you want to eat meat then eat meat. Just make sure that you always choose organic and grass fed varieties. The Honestly Healthy alkaline way is not about depriving yourself of the things you love, it is about finding a way to enjoy them in moderation, it’s what I call my 70/30 rule.
Your recipes are loved by celebrities including Victoria Beckham. What do you think makes an alkaline diet so popular?
I think it is because the food is genuinely delicious and we have created healthy ways to enjoy all of the things that you love; everything from raw chocolate brownies to mini pizzas. There is always a healthier way to make things and I think people love it because the food is fun. It’s not a diet, just a healthier way of living.
Honestly Healthy Ultimate Morning Greeness smoothies
What is your current favourite recipe from your cookbooks?
I am really excited about the new Ottolenghi cookbook ‘Plenty More’ coming out. I also love a book called Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier, it’s all about how to eat if you are active and eating primarily plant based foods.
What holistic exercises or activities do you recommend for complementing an alkaline-based lifestyle?
Exercise is so important in an alkaline lifestyle. A good sweat is one of the best ways to get rid of toxins in the body. I do a lot of HIT training and Pilates to strengthen my body and get a good sweat on. I have also been on a number of incredible yoga retreats; it is really important to take time and be still as stress is incredibly acid forming in the body and is a huge cause of disease.
How long do you need to follow an alkaline diet before you start to see improvements in your well-being?
If you follow the plans, you should see a huge improvement within three weeks. We have a food delivery service called Fridge Fill which delivers our freshly prepared food anywhere in the UK. One of our plans is called the Alkaline Rebalance cleanse, this is a 3 week plan which is designed to get your body back into that optimum alkaline state, reduce bloating, improve the skin and revitalise the body with energy.
What is your favourite healthy recipe to cook for guests at a dinner party?
I love making a huge platter of my Roast Aubergine and Mango Salsa with Black Rice Noodles, the recipe for which is in my second cookbook Honestly Healthy for Life. I also love a cheesecake for dessert so often follow up a big platter of lovely vegetables with something like my Berry & Beetroot Cheesecake.
Natasha's delicious Berry & Beetroot Cake
What key ingredients do you love to cook with?
I could not live without coconut oil, tamari (a gluten free alternative to soy sauce), sesame oil, lemons and lots of herbs. All of these ingredients can add so much flavour to your food.
Can you suggest a healthy breakfast recipe which will keep energy levels up throughout the day?
I just posted a Coconut Oil & Summer Berry Porridge recipe on the site. I melt coconut oil into it so it goes super velvety smooth and provides amazing slow releasing energy.
What sort of meals and snacks could we expect to receive on a typical day with your Fridge Fill food delivery plan?
Each day typically consists of a big green smoothie or granola/porridge of some sort for breakfast, we then include a morning snack such as tamari roast cashews to help maintain steady blood sugar levels. Lunch might be something like a Zataar Chickpea Salad with Hummus and Tabbouleh. The afternoon snack is a lovely cleansing juice and dinner is usually something warming like a vegetable green curry packed with spinach and greens.
Why is it so important to limit your sugar-intake?
Sugar is highly addictive and with such a high GI (glycaemic index) when you eat it, your blood sugar levels rocket. Shortly after they then plummet right down leaving you potentially irritable and lethargic meaning you immediately want more. You only need to look at the rising cases of diabetes to see that sugar is causing a huge crisis.
Do you have a favourite destination for a healthy holiday?
I just went on an incredible holiday to an organic farm in Turkey. It was incredibly relaxing with such beautiful food. I will be going again.
What are your top 3 nutrition tips?
1. Be kind to yourself. Don't starve yourself and prohibit all of the things you love, you will just set yourself up for failure. Diets statistically don’t work so set yourself healthy goals and gradually turn the way you eat into a healthier lifestyle.
2. Start your day with a green smoothie. It is one of the best ways to cram in a fantastic dose of vital nutrition into your diet.
3. Eat seaweed. Seaweed is insanely good for you. Some are a bit unsure of how to eat or cook it but it could not be easier.
For more information visit www.honestlyhealthyfood.com