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Wellbeing

How My Passion for Healthy Food Began

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To celebrate International Women's Day - a special tribute celebrating the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women, I would like to share a post on my childhood and the experiences that have shaped my path in creating The Healthy Chef.

I learned to love food when I was four years old. I would watch my great aunt churn out babka (pound cake) and sernik (cheesecake) for our Polish family and friends and I’d help out in the kitchen – she would get me to sift the flour, prepare all the ingredients and shape piroshki (big ravioli) with my tiny fingers. That was the beginning of my love of cooking.

I was a tom boy when growing up. Take me fishing and I would have the time of my life… but don’t give me dolls and dresses.

Food was a big deal in our household. We always had extra large portions and second helpings coated with lots of butter. If I ate all my food, my mum would fill my plate up again. She wanted me to be a healthy, strong girl.

  

I learned to love food when I was four years old. I would watch my great aunt churn out babka (pound cake) and sernik (cheesecake) for our Polish family.

I wore glasses from a very young age. I looked like a childhood version of Dame Edna without the purple hair. I was in love with Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man. I couldn’t decide between wanting to be Lindsay Wagner the Bionic Woman or Linda Carter who played Wonder Woman.

On school holidays when mum and dad were both working all day, I would get stuck into baking in the kitchen and make such as mess!  There was flour and dough everywhere, on the floor, on the doors, in the cupboards… Mum would come home from work and freak out from all the mess!

I played the piano accordian. I used to play by ear... I would pretend I was reading music from the lecture book, when I had only memorised the way it sounded.

I wasn't athletic at school. I had always been the last one picked for sports teams because the other kids thought I was too slow and fat. So I never really participated in sports and I always came last in races.

At the age of nine, I realised I was overweight. A group of high school students did a survey by recording the weight and height of our class. I was shocked to discover that I was the heaviest in the class – about 10-15 kg more than most of my classmates.

 

I was shocked to discover that I was the heaviest in the class – about 10-15 kg more than most of my classmates.

I remember that day as if it were yesterday. It changed my life forever and this was my inspiration for what I do today. The very next day I asked my mum to buy more fruit and vegetables. I remember refusing deep-fried foods, which eventually forced mum into cooking healthier meals. Instead of catching the school bus, I began to walk to school and I enrolled in the school netball and basketball team.

Without realising, I had lost all the excess fat within a year. I felt great! I felt fit and healthy for the first time. I could move around freely and not puff and pant. 

My first job was at at bakery at the age of 14. I would work on weekends and on school holidays. The bakers would teach me how to bake bread and pumpkin scones.

I bought my first racing bike at the age of 15. From the money I'd saved working my part time job. I entered a school race and won, so I started bicyle racing.

I started my chef's apprenticeship after high school. It was lifechanging! I've addapted my training in developing recipes that are simple, healthy and purely delicious.

Today, I am The Healthy Chef. I’m passionate about health, fitness and good food... I've come to realise these are the three pillars that have brought me on The Healthy Chef journey. I love to see people change when they’ve embarked on a healthy exercise and diet program or have improved their health using my recipes or my functional food range. Maybe, it’s the superhero that’s still inside of me from when I was a little girl… if I can help inspire and save a few people from the obesity epidemic, then I’ve made a difference.

I love designing new healthy recipes in my kitchen. I have combined my knowledge of nutrition, diet and exercise to specialise in developing healthy recipes, like the ones I've published in Purely Delicious and Healthy Baking that taste great and are good for you.

 

I love designing new healthy recipes in my kitchen. I have combined my knowledge of nutrition, diet and exercise to specialise in developing healthy recipes, like the ones I've published in Purely Delicious and Healthy Baking that taste great and are good for you.

My aunt and uncle really inspired me when I was growing up. I clearly remember how they were always happy and active. My Uncle used to tell me stories about when he was a prisoner of war in the German concentration camps. They both had such a hard life, but they always conquered their obstacles and moved on. They were always happy and grateful for what they had. The saddest moment of my life was when my uncle, who was like a second dad, died a few years ago. I thought he would live forever.

I've had a torturous gut issue since I was a young girl. I deal with it every day and it was one of the drivers in developing our Healthy Chef Products. They are all designed to provide pure nourishment I can enjoy on a daily basis to support my health.

Life is to be enjoyed. When I eat well and move my body, I feel on top of the world. I want to have as much fun as possible in this life so I want to constantly improve my health.

I try and face my anxiety. I have a million thoughts and ideas cluttering my mind every day and I've also had a few meltdowns along the way. Meditation and having quality "QUIET" time is my saviour.

  

I believe a change in diet can make a world of difference to your health. Thanks for supporting my cookbooks and functional food range  and to those of you who follow and read my weekly posts, it allows me to develop new recipes and products to continue my work as The Healthy Chef.

Partners in health