Supercharged Food is offering IWM 3 copies of Lee’s brand new books – 2 x Supercharged Food for Kids and 1 x Eat Right for Your Shape book just for the Mums!
Supercharged Food will help you feel amazing and improve your health through diet, nutrition and healthy lifestyle tips. Easy to prepare yummy recipes will help you get back to great health.
I recently caught up with Lee Holmes – a leading Australia blogger, wholefoods chef, wellness coach and nutritionalist, and accomplished author who has just released her 8th cookbook!
What is the Lee Holmes story?
I was a busy working mum in the kids’ entertainment area of the ABC working with acts such as The Wiggles. I woke up one day and couldn’t get up – I was covered in hives and was so tired. I dragged myself into work yet wasn’t getting any better, but I had to keep going as I was a single mum at the time. I went through a complex medical system and ended up taking 20 pills per day for an autoimmune disease. The drugs were giving me many side effects so I started talking to my Doctors about weaning off them and my changing diet by eliminating sugar, dairy and gluten. I tweaked it slowly and was able to wean off the drugs and started creating recipes that were very easy to digest and gut healing. I found my energy again and started to feel a lot better.
Blogging had just started to take off and I had just seen the movie Julie and Julia and decided to start a blog. Being a single parent with chronic fatigue syndrome and getting to work was really hard so I decided to try and work from home. I never thought it would be big as my whole career though! Through the blog I received the most inspirational emails and messages from people saying, “that’s my story”! It inspired me to keep going. I had contacts from when I worked at the ABC and put forward the idea of a cookbook to 3 publishers and they all wanted to go ahead! The publisher I chose also had gut issues and we didn’t realise it was so common. That was my first book and now I have just released my eighth! My food is authentic and I make the recipes at home for my family. I am really inspired by cooking and good food.
What is Supercharged Food?
Supercharged are foods that are high in nutrients, are easily accessible, and in season. It doesn’t have to be something that you need to go to the corner of the Andes to find – ingredients such as cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, and sardines are some examples. These simple and easy ingredients I use fresh and when in season.
Where did you start with your career as a blogger, wholefoods chef, wellness coach, author?
I studied cooking and nutrition but then never did anything with my qualifications. Instead I went travelling and went into different jobs such as being a nanny and a teacher. When I got sick I went back and accessed my notes and started cooking my own recipes and became inspired. My cooking improved as the true passion was there. Since then I have completed yoga teacher training and am currently studying food psychology. I recently went to India and enrolled in cooking school using ayurvedic foods. It really is a journey – I’m still learning and evolving.
What do you consider to be the one or two absolutely essential ingredients for good health?
Eating a wholefood diet with foods that you love. Walking and incidental exercise are a must too.
What is your food philosophy?
It’s all about eating with your own constitution or ayurvedic dosha for what your body needs. Everyone is different and if I eat something it could be the best thing for me but maybe not for you. It’s about listening to your body and eating to your ayurvedic dosha, an ancient (over 5,000 years) health system of India. We are born with unique constitutions and energies that govern your physiological activity, the colour of your hair, your characteristics. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are the dosha types and most people are a mix of all 3 but if one is out of balance it can affect the rest. In a brief summary:
Vata – can be quite flighty, wind is governing, so grounding foods are important.
Pitta – fiery and hot-blooded, they need to eat raw and cooling foods such as cucumber, celery, and rose tea.
Kapha – are your most strong built rounded people with slower metabolisms – they need chilli and paprika to speed up metabolism. Dairy is not great for them.
The philosophy is that like-increases-like so if your dosha is unbalanced you need to eat seasonally and to your type to rebalance and feel better.
Why did you start focusing on meals for kids?
I’m a mum and also a stepmum to 3 kids and I wanted to create a book for people like me who are time poor, working, and mums who want to create a balanced meal but one that is quick and easy. I use favourite foods but tweak some ingredients to make it healthy – and they can’t tell the difference! Such as macaroni and cheese with cauliflower, savoury breakfast muffins, lots of dips and wraps, and my meatballs have hidden veggies. It’s about being a secret squirrel – making a smoothie but adding some spinach leaves that go undetected.
Why is it important to shape the way our kids eat from an early age?
It sets really great foundations for good health. Parents being role models in terms of what you eat is important. It’s not about being extreme and the 80/20 is a good guide. They definitely need to be encouraged to have healthy food and other foods as treats. Setting good foundations by having a shared family lunch or family dinner helps kids eat healthier and if you can sit down at least once per week I think that’s really important. If you can get them off sugar and junk foods and add natural foods with healthy options that will go a long way to improved health and mental function.
What advice can you offer to mums struggling with a fussy eater?
Opening up conversations about healthy eating is important and get them involved. For school lunches, little separate containers with lots of different healthy options is a must rather than finding a mushy banana at the bottom of their bag. For kids who are fussy sneaking in veggies helps to know they are getting the right nutrients. With foods like potato mash add some cauliflower; add chia seeds to muffins or smoothies as they are full of omega 3, which is great for brain function. Add zucchini and carrot into other things like patties or meatballs. Kids can be fussy for lots of different reasons such as taste and texture and some may only want to eat pasta. That’s where you just need to find recipes to sneak in the goodness.
When you have school aged kids and are running around to activities, instead of getting a bag of chips having some fruit or nuts, avocado and tuna mixed together, boiled eggs, or sushi are great options. I used to have a little flask with a blueberry smoothie for my daughter as it filled her up and was healthy. A little bit of prep goes a long way. I make up silly names for my meals to keep it fun.
What is your favourite go-to kids meal when under time pressure?
I have this great pea dish. Grab a packet of frozen peas in a saucepan, grill up some bacon, cut up some feta cheese and mix it all together. Add mint and cook it for 5 mins. Every single child I have ever made it for has loved it! It’s both yummy and quick to make.
I have completed your Heal Your Gut program twice now with amazing results. Can you tell our mums about it and what they can expect for better health? Do you run any other health programs?
The Heal Your Gut program runs online with lots of videos, recipes, inspiration, and a private FB group for any questions and support with myself and the other members. The next one kicks off on 29 February and it’s a great program for resetting your diet, bloating, low energy levels, digestive improvements, allergies, sleep improvements, or some do it for depression and anxiety, skin disturbances, and weight loss. It’s just $79 for the 4-week program.
Very soon I will be introducing a 2-day a week maintenance program as a follow on from the HYG full program. This helps you maintain the wonderful benefits from the HYG program and can be followed for life!
Around May this year, I will also be releasing an Eat Right for your Shape program using the ayurvedic dosha’s in my new cookbook. Watch this space!
What inspires you?
My garden. I have always lived in an apartment and recently have moved into my first house. I have this wonderful garden space where I am growing herbs, veggies including cos lettuce, and have just added strawberries. I find it so inspiring and love spending time out there.
My foodspiration is…
Right now it is my Eat Right for Your Shape book. It has beautiful grounding foods, lots of casseroles, marinades and smoothies.
I am happiest when…cooking with my family.
Favourite part of Sydney’s Inner West?
Cornersmith Café in Marrickville. They do the best food – it’s all sustainable, ethical, local food. They do their own pickling with a seasonal menu and just really good food. You must check it out!
Lee’s cookbooks include:
Eat Right for your Shape
Supercharged Food for Kids – print and eBook
Heal Your Gut
Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian
Eat Yourself Beautiful
Eat Your Way to Good Health
The Removable Table – eBook