Having tried lots of different eating philosophies, I can say with certainty that there’s not one perfect diet. That may sound obvious but start doing a search of (insert diet philosophy here) and you will find a number of people telling you that their way of eating is the one and only true way. I believed this for a while too, but even then, I still observed other people and saw how they were thriving. Whether their chosen way of eating was paleo, plant based, raw, vegetarian, pescatarian, or omnivore, the one thing they had in common was that they were glowing with health. But how can this be if there’s only one perfect diet?
So, here’s one lady who I have been watching for a while. Her name is Stefanie, but for those of you who follow her on social media, you might know of her as Food Fix Up. She also has an amazing app by the same name.
Here’s my interview with the lovely Stefanie and her tips for staying on top of your health game.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m originally from London but have lived in Sydney for the past 13 years (other than a couple of years in Hong Kong). I love it here and it’s definitely influenced me in terms of how I eat and look after myself – being around so many healthy and vibrant people rubs off for sure! I now have a healthy recipe app called ‘Food Fix Up’ that is a huge passion of mine. To be able to do something I love doing everyday is the ultimate gift.
What is your eating/lifestyle philosophy?
My eating and lifestyle philosophy is 80/20, I don’t believe in depriving myself and although I make healthy food and decisions for the most part; I’m happy to loosen the strings if I feel like it. They say anything that’s an obsession is unhealthy and I truly believe that so I don’t get caught up in ‘’can’t have” – I just make healthy choices for the most part.
When and why did you decide to start eating this way?
Ever since I moved here at 20 years old I’ve cooked -I just love it. My style has changed though from moderately healthy, (with a lot of bad stuff thrown in) to a whole foods diet that’s predominately gluten, sugar and dairy free. Eating this way makes me feel energised and happy. The turning point came when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer, I was desperate to help him after the doctors said they couldn’t.. but sadly he did pass away. The only blessing was that during that time I educated myself about food and the effects it has on us – it was a real eye opener and once I started instilling what I had learnt I couldn’t believe how great I felt. There were hiccups along the way but now I feel mine and my family’s diet is perfect for us. Knowing that my daughter is getting what she needs to thrive both physically and mentally is the best part about it.
Have you noticed any difference since changing your eating/lifestyle philosophy (if any)?
I’ve noticed huge differences in the way I feel, I used to get so tired – honestly to the point of not being able to keep my eyes open! Now I never get those slumps. I also suffered with adrenal fatigue, it got really bad at one point so to have it under control now is life-changing. The other thing is my skin is so much better, it used to be very dull and lifeless – not the best look haha – now it’s pretty good!
Have you met any barriers to eating this way, if so, how did you overcome them?
I did at one point become a bit too vigilant about what I ate.. I thought I was doing the right thing but I became extremely depleted – I had the lowest iron and iodine results my naturopath had ever seen in fact. It taught me to listen to MY body and not do something just because it works for someone else.
What is your favourite dish to make?
My favourite dish to make is usually something asian. I love the freshness you get from lots of chilli, herbs and lime juice. I also love anything with chocolate. #standard!
What ingredients are a must-have for your fridge/pantry?
Coconut oil to cook with, herbs to liven up any dish, sea salt, chillies, lemons and limes, apple cider vinegar and lots of fresh veg.
Juices or smoothies? What do you prefer and what combination?
I have both daily. My juice is all veg except for a little lemon and my smoothie is fresh coconut water, avo, berries and some superfoods like bee pollen, maca and chlorella. I also make the app’s banana salted caramel smoothie regularly because just try it. 😉
Sweet or savoury?
Again both.. I enjoy mostly savoury but won’t say no to cake!
Can you share a fave recipe with us?
Here’s one of my favourite recipes – Vegetarian Laksa
Full on flavour, full of goodness and one to warm your insides during the cooler months. I absolutely love this dish – it’s great to have something ‘soupy’ that still has slightly crunchy veggies and fresh herbs. Add some cooked chicken to this meal for extra protein if you wish but be assured it’s awesome without.
For the paste
1 small red chilli, stalk removed
1 long red chilli, stalk removed
1 small green chilli, stalk removed
1/2 stick lemongrass, chopped, white part only
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
2 spring onions, trimmed
1 lime leaf, sliced
1/2 tbs chilli paste
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 small handful cashew nuts
1 handful coriander, incl stalks, chopped
1 tbs macadamia or coconut oil
2 tbs tamari
For the curry
100g rice noodles
1 can coconut cream
1/2 tbs coconut sugar
2 cup snow peas, ends trimmed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup beansprouts
1 handful mint leaves
1 handful coriander leaves
1 tbs coconut or macadamia oil
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds
1/2 lime, cut into wedges
Process all paste ingredients until relatively smooth – you might need to scrape the food processor down a few times to reach this.
Heat the oil for the curry in a frying pan, add the paste and cook on a low heat for 5-6 minutes stirring every 30 seconds or so.
Pour in the stock, sugar and coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes then cook the rice noodles according to the packet’s instructions.
Throw the snow peas in, cook for another 3 minutes then add both the cooked noodles and beansprouts. Taste, add salt if necessary.
Serve topped with the mint and coriander leaves, sesame seeds and lime wedges.
Can you describe your day on a plate (from rise to bedtime)?
I get up and have a cup of herbal tea or some bone broth, after exercising I have the aforementioned juice and smoothie then breakfast which might be a poached egg with tomatoes, avo and the app’s focaccia or some of the app’s granola with homemade almond milk and berries. For lunch I eat whatever I’m shooting that day – today it was a beautiful snapper and brussel sprout salad. Dinner varies but will always have some protein and lots of veg. We seem to eat a lot of sweet potato wedges, mainly because I know I can whack them in the oven and then forget about them while I bathe my daughter and tidy up!
How do you stay fit?
I run around like a manic for one. It’s true, I can’t actually sit still which I know isn’t great but I’m working on it! Aside from that I go to Yoga classes and train at Agoga – they do these circuit classes that are full on but so much fun. The thought of going to a regular gym bores me to tears – I’m not good at motivating myself I need someone to encourage me.
I’m always amazed by yogis, and you are an inspiration, thank you! How did you start and what tips do you have for anyone wanting to start out on their own yoga journey?
Thank you! I started about 5 years ago when I moved to Hong Kong – I hadn’t exercised in ages at that point and thought it would be a gentle re-introduction to moving my body. Wrong – it was crazy and I thought everyone in the class including the teacher was crazy. I stuck at it though for some reason and now it’s such a huge part of my life. I’d really love to say because it grounds me and all that but the truth is I just love to stretch. Maybe one day I’ll be a proper yogi. There’s actually an article on my website foodfixup.com called unsophisticated yoga that delves into this a little more.
What are your tips for staying mentally healthy in our fast paced world and with so many different life pressures?
Relax, sit down, have a cup of tea and just chill. Haha ok that bit of advice is for me. Well I think we could all do ourselves a favour by stepping away from technology for at least a portion of the day. Our phones have become part of us and not only are we comparing ourselves to others which isn’t at all healthy but we also aren’t living in reality. By just putting the phone down or stepping away from the computer we give ourselves breathing space and time to wind down. Going for a walk and getting out in nature is so worth the time.
If you could give someone a piece of advice regarding adopting a healthier lifestyle, what would that be?
Baby steps. Take one day, one meal at a time. Make small changes and don’t worry if you slip up from time to time. Take note of how your body feels when you eat badly or drink too much and remember how good you feel after you exercise or nourish yourself. I think it’s a process and the best thing you can do is listen to what your body is telling you.
What are your favourite skin products and do you have any skin rituals that you stick to no matter what?
I don’t really have much of a routine. I use rosehip oil religiously – I used to use all kinds of lotions and potions that didn’t do anything but steal my money – I got the best skin of my life after I started eating well.
Loving the Food Fix Up App. When and why did you decide to come out with it?
Thank you. It was a natural progression from posting my pictures on instagram to getting my content out there in a way that would be an easy user experience. To be honest I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d have an app but I do and to think that people actually use it and love it blows me away!
What’s next for the Food Fix Up?
I actually have no idea, I’m just going with the flow and relishing spending time practising my cooking, styling and photography skills. I wake up excited to work everyday and that’s priceless.
Hope you enjoyed the interview and here’s a few more shots of her beautiful food!
Are you drooling yet? I know I am! Can’t wait to try some of Stefanie’s recipes, specially that Laksa
Until next time
Peas, love and mungbeans