We hope your week is going super well. Today, we are so excited because we are sharing with you a recent interview we did with Jen Udashkin aka The Clean Eating Goddess. If you have not checked out this blog yet, you are missing out big time! On her blog, Jen shares delicious seasonal recipes (often gluten-free and dairy-free and sometimes vegan) and insight into eating clean and how what we eat affects our overall health. She also provides recipes with beautiful photos and clear instructions, so even us non-chefs can master her Cornmeal Berry Cake – so YUM!
Today, Jen is giving us the inside scoop on how to lose our clean eating “V” card, what are the best foods to eat now and of course, what it means to be a Goddess!
1. Eating clean has become somewhat of a "trend", which can be misunderstood among all the health and wellness talk- vegan, gluten-free, paleo, raw food diet etc. What does clean eating mean to you?
It is funny how when we speak about diet today, it is almost always associated with weight loss. Diet in fact, is simply the way one chooses to eat. For me, eating clean means choosing foods that are closest to nature as possible. Clean eating is about fuelling your body to function at its maximum potential by feeding it wholesome, nutrient rich foods. Although I am not always perfect, I do try to buy both local and organic products and steer clear from packaged foods whenever possible. When it comes to my diet, I believe that buying top quality ingredients is key to having a healthy and most importantly, delicious meal.
2. If someone were a clean eating virgin, if you will, what are some small changes or things they could do to get them started?
I actually get this question a lot. People are so overwhelmed by the vast information that is available that often, people just give up altogether. The first thing I tell people is that any small change is AMAZING! The first change is the start to a potential of many more changes to come. I think the easiest way to start eating clean is to get into your kitchen! Eating less packaged, processed and take out meals will help anyone start their clean eating journey. The process of going into the grocery store and being mindful ;) of what ingredients you are putting into your meals is an amazing start. I’m not talking everyday here. Start with one meal/week and work from there. People are often surprised how well they can actually cook if they put their mind to it!
3. Why is it so important to eat local?
I think it is important to eat local/seasonally simply because it is better for your health. Foods that are in season are at their peak of freshness, which means they have the most nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants etc…) that we are looking for when eating fruits/vegetables. Year round available produce that you get in your grocery store is coated in chemicals and preservatives to ensure shelf life, as they are most likely imported from places all over the world. Although they look pretty and shiny, they won’t taste great and are not the best for you. It’s also great to be a part of your community and support local farms!
4. What are the best local products to eat NOW in your area?
I have recently started to order from Lufa Farms, which provides amazing local produce and products from around the Montreal area. I also love going to the markets! Both Jean Talon and Atwater markets offer amazing food to take home and eat there! These days I have been eating lots of apples, plums, pumpkin, beets, broccoli, kale, sweet potato and squash!
5. What will you be making with these products?
I recently made a yellow beet salad, which was delicious! I forgot to take pictures, but I will make it again to share with my readers. I also just made pumpkin pie blondies, YUM!
6. What is your all-time favorite food experience?
I am so blessed to have traveled around the world and to have eaten AMAZING food. One stand out experience was in Tuscany where a local family made my family and I a homemade meal with lots and lots of wine! It was a magical. I do have to say however, that my most memorable food experiences, are the ones right in my kitchen with family and friends. Nothing gives me more pleasure than making my loved ones happy with the food I create.
7. What food can you not live without?
Tough question! Honestly, I really love salad. It sounds boring, but my salads are always really delicious. I pack them in with loads of super tasty ingredients and balanced flavours and textures. Salad bowls allow for endless possibilities and I love that! After a not so healthy meal, they allow me to bounce back to my regular lifestyle in the tastiest way possible! These days I have been adding roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds and broccoli to my salads. Very seasonal, and so good!
On another note, I don’t think I could live the rest of my life without having french fries. Its not something I order often, but I might steal a few from my man’s plate from time to time. Life is all about moderation!
8. What is something you would never eat?
9. What makes someone a goddess?
So happy you asked this question! People often associate the word goddess with appearances. To me, a goddess (or god) is someone who is authentic, honest, and confident. Being a goddess means that you inspire simply because you live a life that is true to your values, opinions and goals. A goddess focuses on self-awareness, acceptance, and positive thoughts. By being honest, aware, accepting and positive about my allergies and lifestyle I have been able to truly feel like goddess, inside and out!
Follow @cleaneatinggoddess on instagram for images that will make you drool! And, for ridiculously cute pictures of Jen’s French Bulldog, Lucy. You can catch her on Facebook.
Samara Zelniker is a yogi, wine drinker, pet lover and travel junkie.