The Brighton Food Festival was not strictly far for me to travel, but I was anticipating tastes from all round the world. And it was a great opportunity to catch up with celebrity healthy eating guru Stacie Stewart, who has recently collaborated with Scottish Premium Carounn Gin.
I was keen to find out what being healthy actually means these days, and how on earth I can have a drink and not be judged by the clean eating vigilantes!!! So got my dictaphone at the ready (*not that the gin made me forgetful at all, honest!!) and was all ears...
How did you get into healthy eating/living/cooking?
It came about when I was 30 and noticed from watching myself on Masterchef that I needed to get in shape. The healthy eating came a few months into an intense gym regime when I realised eating mindfully, as well as working out would double my efforts.
What is your version of eating clean?
Nice and simple; just eating foods which haven't been processed and are as close to nature as possible. Avoiding chemicals, additives and preservatives is a good place to start. And natural forms of ingredients for instance, Himalayan pink salt over table salt and raw cacao instead of chocolate. When it comes to drinking alcohol I allow myself a treat. But instead of a sugar-loaded glass of Prosecco, I whip up one of my refreshing tonic recipes with Caorunn gin. It's all about making better choices.
How important are ‘superfoods’ in our diet? Do you have to be a complete devotee or can you dip in and out and still get some benefits?
You can absolutely dip in and out. Most foods we eat are 'superfoods' anyway! They're just foods with high levels of antioxidants. My favourites are raw cacao and matcha. Another great one is antibacterial Manuka honey which you can find in some of the tonic recipes I created for Caorunn gin.
What should we try to avoid eating if we want to get thin?
You can eat anything and everything. If you want a burger, have one but use lean grass-fed steak mince. Pile it with loads of delicious salads and veggies and have baked fries sprinkled with paprika and Himalayan pink salt. Fancy ice cream? Blend frozen bananas with a little organic milk and vanilla and top with your favourite chopped, toasted nuts.
For people that don’t want to feel like there are altering their way of life (aherm, not me honest!!) is gin the best alcohol to drink for calorie counters?
It sure is! TEN Caorunn gin and slimline tonics is equivalent to ONE fruit cider. Include lots of sliced apple to bring out the natural botanics and really make the Caorunn pop in your mouth!
Booze and dieting are never normally viewed as being compatible, how did you get involve with the delicious Carounn Gin?
I teamed up with Caorunn to create a range of tonic recipes for people like myself who eat healthily and exercise regularly and don't want to ruin their efforts at the weekend. Everyone should have the opportunity to make better choices when it comes to their drinks and our collaboration has made that available to people.
The tonics I created blend natural ingredients such as fresh turmeric and cold pressed organic juices to compliment the delicate botanical flavours in the Caorunn gin. Caorunn and I very much have the same ethos of using natural ingredients which are handcrafted to create something wonderful.
Interview by Sara Darling
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