Eat Yourself Beautiful – A Chat With Lee Holmes

Last week I had a chat with the lovely Lee Holmes.

Lee Markets (29)Lee Holmes is the creator of the Supercharged Food website, author of three cookbooks and healthy eating activist.

A few years back, Lee was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that left her in and out of hospital for months. Lee told me the drugs the doctors prescribed made her so hazy and they all came with side effects which meant she couldn’t tell if they were working. As a result she decided to experiment with her diet and thus began a long process of eliminating foods. Whilst it wasn’t something that happened overnight, through trial and error Lee gradually learnt the effects of different foods on her body, and what to eat and what to avoid.

The idea of eating healthy or eliminating certain foods, such as dairy, wheat and sugar, can have a lot of people running for the hills. Trust me, I know. A doctor told me to quit sugar once. I laughed in his face and then gave it two weeks. But Lee’s philosophy is that you don’t need to give up things entirely, or at all. She believes in listening to your body and what it’s telling you. From here you can make a conscious choice to only eat the foods your body agrees with. For example, Lee notices that when she eats sugar her aches and pains and hives return. So sugar is something she avoids. (Actually, sugar is something she recommends avoiding as much as possible, but you get the idea.) Lee also operates on the 80-20 ratio. That is, eating super healthily 80% of the time and relaxing for the remaining 20%.

Tips for Eating Healthier

There are plenty of tips in Lee’s new book but I had to ask if she has any standout advice for people wanting to move away from an unhealthy lifestyle into a healthier one. She said her best advice is to not be too hard on yourself. She says, “don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and take your time.” Because, importantly, “this isn’t a fad diet – it’s a lifestyle.”

She also suggests thinking of the small ways you can improve your diet. For example, choosing rocket or kale instead of iceberg lettuce when you’re grocery shopping. All these little things can add up to make a big difference and help you on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

Lee’s Top Healthy Foods

I also asked Lee if there were any foods she particularly recommended. Here’s what she said:

Good fats – according to Lee (and a million other people) good fats are good for you. They help move things through your body and are great for your hair and skin. Foods rich in good fats include sardines (especially sardines – they are also rich in calcium and Omega-3), coconut oil, avocados, flax seed oil and olive oil.

Berries – berries are rich in antioxidants and are great for your skin. Lee says that berries are a true beauty food.

Veggies – especially greens like kale. Kale is extremely versatile – you can add it to smoothies and stir fries, or even make kale chips.

Eat Yourself Beautiful

Lee’s most recent book, Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful (published by Allen & Unwin, $34.95 and available now), is filled with plenty of healthy recipes for anyone looking to eat healthier – whether you suffer from food intolerances, Coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, or not.

EYB Official Cover High Res

The idea behind the book was creating healthy recipes that are cost-effective, easy and accessible to everyone. This means ingredients you can buy at your local supermarket. I mentioned some of the more obscure ones (buckwheat pasta, flax meal, tamari) and Lee tells me that all this stuff is now available at major supermarkets, due to the growing interest in healthy eating. If not, health food stores are popping up all over the place making these ingredients easy to find.

The book covers everything from smoothies (Blueberry Colada, The Kick-Start Shake and Beauty-Boosting Smoothie, to name but a few) to snacks and sides (Zucchini hummus – yes please) to sweet treats (Layered Quinoa Trifle, Healthy Carrot Cake and Oatmeal biscuits, for example). There’s a section on breakfast (the Goat’s Cheese and Wilted Baby Spinach Crepes look amazing!), lunch (brown fried rice and chicken and sage burgers) and dinner (Lamb Pot Roast, Stir-Fried Ginger Beef and Sweet Pistachio Chicken). There are so many delicious options you’ll wonder why you didn’t take up healthy eating sooner. Or, if healthy eating is already your thing, you’ll find tonnes of new ideas to keep your taste buds happy.

The book is filled with beautiful photos as well as heaps of useful tips and information. And there’s even a handy icon key at the top of each recipe to help you quickly identify whether the recipe is gluten free, dairy free, wheat free, sugar free or vegetarian.

To find out more about Lee click here, or to buy her book click here.

Stay tuned for an extract appearing here tomorrow!

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