BZ Healthy Mama by name and by nature. This weeks’s guest on V&M is a mum after my own heart. Denise Loutfi is a certified health coach, plant-based diet advocate and is passionate about showing us how to transform our diet from SAD (standard American/Australian diet) to healthful and helping us to become the healthiest, happiest version of ourselves. Check out her philosophy, inspiration, recipes as well as gorgeous photos of her kids on her site bzhealthymama.com.
What led you to discover plant-based eating?
After my daughter Avery, was born in 2011, I started having terrible migraines. I always suffered from sinus headaches but these headaches were so horrible that I had to leave work. I could not function! After many trips to the doctor and “everything is ok” statements, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I started researching and little by little transitioned to the plant-based style of eating.
What benefits does your family receive because of your food choices?
- getting sick less (even if they get sick they get over it right away usually within 24 hours and with natural remedies)
- mental clarity
- feeling good after meals
- concentrating in school
- healthy relationship with food
- understanding what goes into their body is important
- eating more fruits and vegetables
- getting enough vitamins from food
If readers out there were interested in transitioning their family to a diet richer in plant-based foods what steps would you suggest they take first?
Educate yourself and learn about the foods you are eating now. Research the ingredients that are in your favourite comfort foods and learn about the effects they have on your body.
What are your top tips, for busy parents, for making it possible stick to a healthy diet?
First, you gotta make it your lifestyle because once it is the norm you find ways to make it happen.
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Prepare smoothies the night before, healthy lunches or snacks packed the night before. Or if you don’t mind getting up early in the morning and doing it, that’s fine too.
Keep healthy snacks in the home, so when the kids want to snack this is all they see.
On Sunday, write down what you are going to cook for the rest of the week and make sure you have all the ingredients.
Fruits, smoothies, dried fruits, vegetables are the real “fast” food. You just grab an apple and go, grab a bunch of blueberries and go.
Make salad in a jar and then add the dressing. If you have a fridge at work, pack it with ingredients for a salad. Keep the dressing simple. Don’t complicate your life.
What are some simple ideas for getting your kids interested in helping out with meal preparation?
YOU EAT IT! Kids love to eat and do whatever mommy does so eat salads in front of them. Make smoothies and they will be curious to try. Today for example, my daughter (who does NOT drink the juices I make) helped me make a juice I was doing for a Facebook live (she loves to be on camera lol) and she literally took 4 or 5 sips because she helped me make it and she was on camera.
Have them help you make the smoothies. Making smoothies is the best way to combine fruits and vegetables for the kids. Make it sweet and they will love it
Have them help you cook.
If you have a small garden, they can help you plant so they eat what they grew.
Talk to them about the benefits of healthy eating.
Talk to them about why junk is not allowed in your home.
What are your top ‘go to’ snacks?
Dried fruits, berries, apples, carrots, non gmo fig bars, organic veggie sticks, organic pop corn, organic non gmo dark chocolate.
I am currently developing my first online programme, which will focus on teaching people to get confident with a suite of recipes they can adjust to their own tastes and adapt to their local produce available seasonally. How do you get inspired to prepare a meal?
My kids and their health inspire me. I have worked with children for 10 years in the school district and I see the food they eat and the behaviour and illnesses they go through. I saw how much I abused my body.
I talk to myself all the time. Let me tell you… do you know how many times I tell myself not to prepare a smoothie at 6:00 am! My daughter does not drink the whole thing all the time but I still do it because I am consistent and will not give up!
What is the next exciting project that BZ Healthy Mama will be sharing with the world?
I will am currently working on a 7 day “get healthy plan” to help people get healthy! The plan will have recipes, a shopping guide and access to Facebook group for support. During the 7 day period, we will have 2 coaching calls to see how people are doing.
Denise has shared one of her family’s favourite recipes.
- 1-2 cups assorted frozen veggies
- 14 small-medium (10 med-large) red potatoes (use any type of potatoes you like)
- 1 tbsp oil of choice (I use grape see oil)
- 1/2 cup hemp milk or any milk of choice
- ground flax seeds
- salt to taste
- Peel the potatoes and cook in boiling water.
- Then when they are cooked take them out of the water and set aside for a few minutes.
- Place the hot potatoes in a big bowl, add salt to taste, oil and mash.
- Add the hemp milk and continue mashing until soft (like traditional mashed potatoes).
- Grease a baking dish with oil and spread 1/2 the potatoes using your hands on the bottom to make the first layer.
- You can make it thick or thin, it totally depends on what you like.
- Then add the veggies (frozen without defrosting or cooking them) on top of the layer of potatoes.
- Spread another layer of potatoes over the veggies to cover them up.
- You may want to wet your fingers in order to smooth out the top layer.
- Again the thickness of the potato layer is up to you.
- Sprinkle about a tbsp of the ground flax on top.
- Preheat your oven to 350F (180C) and place the potato pie in the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then broil/grill for a further 10-15 minutes in order for the top to get golden.