Steph chats to some of her favourite inspirational foodies and friends about all things nutrition - from how they stay balanced to their favourite indulgence and their best health hack to keep things quick and easy.
This month Steph chats with....
Sarah is a corporate lawyer turned funtrepreneur after stumbling upon a gap in the market for matcha green tea powder in her search for healthier caffeination. She and her partner, Nic, founded Matcha Maiden to bring the marvels of matcha to the masses and have been blazing a bright green trail around the world even opening a physical venue, Matcha Mylkbar.
Find her on insta @spoonful_of_sarah
How would you describe your diet?
I’d say my diet is quite clean but also balanced. I eat relatively healthily but also value flexibility and diversity in my eating, particularly having a business in hospitality – it’s important to eat widely and adventurously to know what’s out there! I try to steer clear of bright line rules or labels as they’re too stress-inducing and restrictive and just focus on paying attention to what my body feels best with. There’s so much information out there it can get quite overwhelming, so after going through many a phase, I’ve just come back to the reality that everyone is different and only you can know what works best from trial and error. I know gluten doesn’t agree with me much, so I try to go easy on gluten and focus on wholefoods and a healthy balance between protein, fats and carbs. I also don’t digest raw food very well so I try to eat mostly cooked foods. I love roasted vegetables and avocado so they feature heavily in my diet. But I also make sure there are days when I just eat for the enjoyment or experience and indulge when the occasion calls for it, so I’ll go to town on a big cheesy pizza and decadent dessert from time to time too.
What is your idea of balance?
Firstly, that it’s always evolving and secondly that it’s different for everyone. I think we all put so much pressure on ourselves to “achieve balance” and that, in itself, tends to get in your way of finding it! It’s not this ultimate zen state that you arrive at like a destination, I think it’s more a “feeling” along the way on the journey. It’s when you’re getting the right amounts of stimulation, rest, sleep, play, movement, work and love, whatever those amounts may be for you, and you feel contented and settled. For me, I need more sleep in that equation than most people so sleep is a big one for my “balance equation”. I also really thrive on making time for exercise, so that’s also a priority in my schedule. But again, through different phases of my life, I need different things to feel balanced. I think the overall lesson I’m learning is just to pay attention to your body, it’s smarter than you are!
Why is it important to you to eat healthy?
Purely because everything feels better when I do. Our bodies are like cars that perform differently according to the quality of our fuel and if I don’t eat well it reflects in my energy, skin, focus and confidence. Knowing that intimate relationship between my nutrition and my experience of life, how could I ignore it and choose to feel crappy?
What’s a typical day on your plate?
I’m either a HUGE creature of habit or I’m super adventurous and unpredictable. In most areas of my life, I live at either ends of the spectrum depending on the day (lols). When I travel, for example, I’ll try EVERYTHING and have to visit every different foodie place to suss out the dining culture. But when I’m home, I tend to stick to my favourites and what I know works best. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and I ALWAYS take myself out. It seems like an indulgence but it brings me so much joy and sets me up for my day so well that it’s become a bit of a ritual to get me up and out in the world. I usually have a big plate of poached eggs, avocado, mushrooms and some kind of greens. Lunch and dinner are generally variations involving some kind of protein (usually salmon or chicken, sometimes lamb) with veggies or salad. I love stir fries, casseroles, anything slow cooked and anything roasted. Roasts are a big thing in our household! If we’re doing take away, our favourites are Vietnamese or Japanese, but again, we love to mix it up so will randomly throw in a pizza or taco night from time to time.
I’m also a big snacker to keep my energy up through the day so always have some kind of nuts on hand with a piece of fruit, some yoghurt, or crackers with hummus or nut butter on anything haha. I also love bone broth for the gut or miso soup as a snack. I’m not a big sweet tooth so I don’t eat dessert often, but I am a huge sucker for dense things that aren’t too sweet so if there’s a protein ball or a seeded loaf or a banana bread around, it won’t be around for long!
What are three ingredients you won’t leave the grocery store without?
Avocado, almonds, sweet potato
Every foodie has a favourite indulgence that keeps them balanced, what’s yours?
Almond butter on dark chocolate. SO delicious! I don’t like super sweet things so most desserts aren’t really my thing but nut butter and chocolate I CANNOT go past. Also, home-made banana bread or carrot cake with LOTS of icing.
What is your best health hack or tip when it comes to making healthy eating easy?
Stay hydrated. Because I’m not a big sweet tooth, I don’t really get sucked in by desserts but I do have volume issues with how much I eat through the day. So much of our eating is unrelated to hunger these days and more related to entertainment or emotions, and part of healthy eating is restoring that relationship so we’re only eating to fuel (and occasionally indulge) but not just for the sake of mindlessly giving our mouths something to do. Thirst is very often mistaken for hunger, so if you’re dehydrated you’ll often eat more than your body is really after thinking that food is what’s missing. Whereas if you stay hydrated and get your fluids up, it allows clearer signals to be sent to your brain about your actual hunger levels, which has helped me a lot not to overdo it because I adore food so much!
Which do you prefer?
Breakfast or dinner? Breakfast
Sweet or savoury? Savoury
Eating at the dining table or couch? Couch
Asian or Mexican? Asian
Wine or kombucha? Kombucha
Cook or clean? Both haha