You’ve released your first cookbook Why It’s Perfectly Acceptable to Eat Dessert For Breakfast which is based around raw, gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free desserts. It seems like a call to action against dieting.
I’ve tried every single diet under the sun and there’s no such thing as a diet that works. A diet is unsustainable. You can’t stick to something restrictive for such a long period of time. One of my mottos is nourishing the most important relationship you have, the one you have with yourself. I say it in my [cooking] classes all the time — it’s not about losing weight, it’s not about being skinny. It’s about getting back to the basics and learning how to — it sounds so corny — learning to love yourself the way you are. It’s not just about the food.
The recipes in the cookbook are based around raw principles, but you don’t consider yourself a raw foodie?
I’m definitely not a 100 per cent raw foodie or vegan. I don’t fit into any of those boxes. I do what works for me. I started to make the desserts and it progressed from tastings on the lounge room floor of my friend’s apartment to selling them to health food stores and cafes. I used to have customers come to my place to pick up orders. It just went crazy from there. I didn’t want to be in the kitchen, though. I thought there had to be a way to share this with people without having to physically bake it for everybody. That’s where the idea of the cookbook came from. I can still share my stories and recipes with people and they can make it themselves.
So you apply raw food principles to your daily diet but you’re not tethered to them?
My philosophy is to eat as close to nature as possible. Eat a minimal amount of protein, and stay away from nutrient-void foods and as many things that come out of a box or packet as you can.
What do you normally eat in a day?
I always have my green smoothie in the morning. But it’s definitely not my only breakfast, though. I need more food than that. I love a good muesli. I make my own. I love rice milk and almond milk. I don’t particularly have a whole lot of dairy like cow’s milk. Lunch is usually a salad — sweet potato, pumpkin, quinoa, some grilled chicken. I definitely don’t stick to a no-carbs diet. I’m lucky I’m not coeliac or dairy intolerant, but I’ve found cutting them almost completely out of my diet has done wonders to my digestive system. You just do what works for you.
Who taught you to cook?
No one really taught me. Having an Italian background, I’ve always been really comfortable and confident in the kitchen. My yoga and meditation teacher introduced me the world of raw foods. Raw food, although the nutritional benefit is great and I love eating raw foods, it does require quite a lot of planning and forethought — as does a lot of healthy food.
What’s your tip for those who are looking to make an easy change to eating better?
A green smoothie. That’s a go-to point for anyone who wants to know how they can improve their diet. Kale, coconut water, half a banana, and a squeeze of lime.
Check out Nicole Joy Inspire.