Alexx Stuart is a woman on a mission. Her passion for healthy food and toxic-free living shines as brightly in person as it does on her blog. So what’s the one, big message this Sydney mother has for the world?
“Real food is healthy food,” she tells us. “It isn’t a marketing campaign, it’s actually from a farm, a tree, or grown in a backyard. It’s that simple.”
But it wasn’t until about five years ago that healthy food took on a whole new meaning for Alexx.
“I needed some emergency pots of baby food for my son, so I scrutinised the food guidelines and I was shocked at what was in baby products," she says. "It was a big turning point for me, I went organic overnight. My son inspires me the most. I’m doing this for him and all the little people to make the world a bit better."
Why did you start your blog? My passion has always been about helping someone get from wherever they are, to realising there’s a different and better way, and taking them there, gladly and gratefully. That’s why I started my current blog in 2012.
Who taught you to cook? My Mauritian Grandmère taught me to cook sweets and my mum taught me effortless savoury meals. Any formal training? I also learned from chef Lauren Murdoch years ago, while I ran the bar and she was the chef. Lauren has such a beautiful respect for produce and she really shaped how I taught myself to cook in my 30s. It’s never too late to become a good cook and follow your heart.
A grandma who cooked sweets sounds like a great childhood. Once, while holidaying in Mauritius, I had this insatiable desire to spend every moment with her making her desserts. Grandmère was becoming forgetful, (sadly this would go on to become dementia), and I didn't want her baking know-how to die with her. Years later I realised I used to get so sick with tonsillitis every trip, and that was no doubt due to all the white flour and white sugar she used. When I adapted her recipes [like her lemon custard tart] into unrefined wholefood recipes, I didn’t get sick at all.
When did you take a wholefoods approach? I was chronically ill with tonsillitis in my mid 20s, and one day I thought: This cannot be a way to live. I called a naturopath and she put me on a strict 48-hour diet. The strep throat was gone in 48 hours, and in the 12 years since I’ve only had it recur once. And you've never looked back from that point? After that I gently got healthier, focussing on less-refined and sugary foods.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given? My naturopath told me to cut back the sugar, including dried fruit. Mind blown! I thought dried fruit was healthy. I had polycystic ovarian syndrome, plus I suffered from sub-clinical hypothyroidism after I had my son, so when I cut back on sugar that was the best I’ve ever felt.
So what's your take on sweet treats now? A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post called, It’s time to redefine treats. A lot of people eat processed, toxic, fake, refined stuff and call them treats, even saving them for special occasions, children and friends. But our bodies don’t understand them! Shortly after that post I wrote an eBook called Real Treats. It features popular dessert recipes, like sticky date pudding, made healthy. I still consider these occasional treats, but they’re nourishing with healthy fats and vitamins.
And how do you start your day? I believe health is about your everyday choices. In the morning we oscillate between pasture-raised organic eggs, avocado, and pasture-raised organic bacon; and coconut yoghurt, nuts and seeds and lots of berries. When everyone’s busy we make nutritious smoothies.
Alexx Stuart’s top picks
Kitchen Farmacy Editor Kris Franken
Kitchen Farmacy is our food lover's blog where good health and great taste come together. Each fortnight we'll feature a health and wellbeing foodie blog, with recipes to nourish the soul and body. Here's to eating well (and satisfying all kinds of cravings). View previous Kitchen Farmacy blog entries.