Encouraging us to seek out a way of eating that works best for our bodies and resisting the need to conform to dietary dogma, Jenna Zoe’s approach to health and wellness is all about going back to basics, getting in tune with our bodies and ditching the need to adhere to the ever changing ‘perfect diet’ of the moment. As Christmas time can foster a certain amount of stress for those caught in the perfection trap, we caught up with Foods to Love founder and wellness entrepreneur Jenna Zoe to find out her healthy foodie favourites and top-tips for indulging mindfully during the festive season...
When it comes to indulging over the holidays, fear not! According to Jenna it’s possible to do so without derailing our year worth of healthy eating and exercise: “The only time it can get in the way of health and fitness is when we let ourselves go crazy on December 1st and then carry on that way all the way through to new year.” However, with a full social calendar of parties, events and dinners, how can we maintain moderation around food but still not deny ourselves our favourite festive treats? Jenna's advice is to plan for it: “too many of us set up this unrealistic goal of not indulging at all, which is not only going to leave you feeling like a failure, it's also adding a ton of anxiety and pressure to a time of year which should be about joy. Plan to have one indulgence at each festive occasion you go to, whether that's a glass of champagne or canapés and give yourself Christmas Day itself to eat whatever you like.”
One of the busiest months of the year, according to Jenna, the fast-paced nature of the festive season makes it all too easy to neglect ourselves: “When we're not in touch with our emotions, not meeting our needs, not listening to ourselves, THAT'S when we're tempted to binge, numb with food, or feel bad about ourselves. Schedule an hour of self-care a day, which could be a massage, exercise or meditation, whatever it is that brings you back to yourself.”
Your eating ethos... I eat 'plant-based paleo' - it's kind of where veganism and a caveman diet cross! So I eat mostly fruit, vegetables, avocado, nuts and seeds, and then on occasion I eat pseudo grains like quinoa or a piece of wild fish. I wrote a whole cookbook called Plant-Based Paleo (out in February) because I feel like a lot of people focus on the wrong stuff when they take on a diet label. Eg it's easy to eat too much meat when you go paleo, and similarly you can overdo the vegan brownies when you go completely plant-based.
Best way to breakfast... I make a smoothie that tastes like an indulgent milkshake - I'm addicted to it! I blend coconut water, protein powder (I love the Sunwarrior Warrior Blend in Vanilla), raw cacao powder, a handful of raw greens like spinach or kale, then spirulina and ice. I also put a little bit of xanthan gum in there which is the key to great texture. Then I top it with a big blob of almond butter and a few cacao nibs for crunch.
Snack on-the-go... I'm not a huge snacker but I do like a little something sweet in the afternoons. Usually it's a mini Peanut Butter Cup by my company, Upcakes. They're free from wheat, dairy, sugar and eggs, but taste sinful.
Drinking diligently... I LOVE the peppermint tea from Starbucks. It sounds weird, but they do it so much better than I can at home - I found out it's because there are three different kinds of mint and some tarragon in their teabags. Plus, at this time of year I just can't resist their festive red cups!
A little indulgence... I love chocolate and red wine and never deny myself of a small daily treat - I need it for my sanity! No matter what your favourite indulgence is, I believe there's always room for it in a healthy diet. As long as 85% of it is made up of natural, unprocessed foods, you have 15% to 'spend' however you like. But the caveat is that you can't judge yourself while you splurge, because that takes all the soul-warming effects away. If you're going to indulge, enjoy every second of it!
Superfood you rate now... Although I like cacao and spirulina in my morning shakes, I try not to 'rely' on super foods or place them on a higher rung than regular fruits and veggies. A leafy green salad or an apple is always going to be better. However, I'm a fan of super foods for specific outcomes, kind of like taking supplements. Maca for example when you want to restore adrenal function or super greens when your liver needs a little help, just not all the super foods every day.
Supplement non-negotiable... I take the Pure Pharma omega 3 oil capsules daily. It's made of a really high-grade fish oil and it's great at helping me recover from intense workouts.
Favourite healthy dinner spot... I have so many favourites, but if I had to pick one it would be Pure Food and Wine in New York. It’s raw vegan fine dining and absolutely delicious; I've taken tons of omnivores there and they've loved it. A huge fairy-lit garden and amazing sake martinis don't hurt either.