Welcome to the second instalment of The Cultured Collective's blog series Eat & Greet where we're talking all things food, health and wellness with some of our favourite people and sharing delicious recipes to inspire you to get experimenting with kimchi and sauerkraut. This month we sat down with Hannah Truman of Gypsy Kitchen.
Hello Hannah! Please introduce yourself to our readers...
Hi, my name is Hannah. I am a qualified nutritionist, plant-based recipe developer and passionate foodie. I haven't always had an easy relationship with food, but it was my own journey of healing that eventually lead me to a love of food and cooking, which evolved into a fascination with the human body and the capacity of food to heal (which continues to blow my mind, daily!).
I studied a degree in Nutritional Medicine in Sydney and have studied yoga, massage and cooking all over the world. My mission is to share everything I have learned (and am still learning) with the world, in a way that is accessible, appealing and sustainable. My goal is to inspire people to eat (and live) in a way that is kinder to themselves and the world around them, whilst dispelling the nutritional myths and fad diets we are constantly bombarded with. My approach is wholesome and nourishing on every level, acknowledges that no two bodies are the same and takes into account that health and wellbeing are about so much more than what we put on our plates.
I am now back in the UK, after five years in Sydney. I offer online nutritional consultations and individualised meal plans, as well as doing food writing and recipe development for brands and restaurants. I run the Instagram account @gypsy_kitchen where I share my recipes and a more light-hearted view of health and wellness. I have a special interest in mental health and gut health (believe it or not, the two are inextricably linked). [if !supportLineBreakNewLine]
Like many, I have suddenly found myself with a lot more time on my hands which I am using to work on meal plans and recipe development. I have been working with brands to create recipes and content, as well as finally getting round to re-doing my website (still a work in progress). I also have an ebook coming out soon, devoted to my favourite food - porridge! And of course, lot of cooking!
Certainly sounds like you're keeping yourself busy! How would you describe your own approach to health and wellness? Has this changed at all now that we are in lockdown?
To me, health is so much more than what we put on our plates, although of course it is a fantastic place to start and an amazing way to build a foundation of good health. I want to encourage people to make choices about their food and their health from a place of love, rather than from a place of fear or misunderstanding, and this is something I am constantly reminding myself of too. I like to keep things simple yet fun and creative - in the kitchen and my life in general. For me, it's not about being 100% perfect, 100% of the time. It's about developing an understanding of what feels good in your body and what works for you and your lifestyle - and doing that most of the time. It's also about listening to your body and being kind to yourself and the world around you. It's also about being practical and compassionate to yourself through every stage of your journey. This is all relevant all of the time but perhaps even more so in lockdown as many of us have been given an opportunity to reflect on and evaluate our current habits and priorities in life.
Wise words. We could all do with being a little kinder to ourselves. What steps do you take these days to look after your gut - any top tips?
I love this question - we've all heard the phrase "you are what you eat, but really - we are what we ABSORB. You can eat the best diet in the world, but if your gut isn't functioning optimally, your body may not be able to absorb nutrients as effectively.
1) Eat a diet centred on whole foods, as close to their natural state as possible and include a wide variety of vegetables, particularly bitters (rocket, radish, watercress, cabbage, kale, all cruciferous vegetables) and high quality fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles) and fruits. This will seamlessly increase your intake of fibre and nutrients essential for gut (and overall) health. Take time to prepare food and eat (chew chew chew!), and really be present in the whole experience. This stimulates the senses and starts up the body's natural processes of digestion (it's things like this which continually fascinate me about the body - I really believe our bodies just want to look after us and keep us well - if we create the right environment for them to do so)
2) Avoid drinking lots of liquids with meals. Think of the digestive juices as what breaks down the food - when we consume liquids with food, these digestive substances are diluted and can become less effective at breaking down food and eliminating waste, which can lead to digestive symptoms such as bloating and gas.
3) Look after your liver! The liver is responsible for producing bile which is responsible for digesting fats and some other vitamins. Include lots of cruciferous veggies (if you haven't noticed I'm a huge advocate of cruciferous vegetables!) and limit your intake of and exposure to toxins (which are broken down by the liver) such as processed foods, chemicals (cleaning and beauty products) and alcohol
4) Rest, relaxation and stress management - as I mentioned earlier, there is a direct link between gut health and mental health, which has an ever-growing body of scientific research behind it. Ever experienced butterflies in your stomach or the urge to go to the bathroom when you're nervous? Mental stress directly affects your digestive capacity, in the same way that compromised digestive function will directly affect your mood and cognitive function. Adequate rest and relaxation practices directly benefit every aspect of your health - please do not underestimate this! Time in nature, yoga, meditation, cooking, deep breathing, long baths and early nights are some of my favourite ways to unwind (and feeling grateful to have more time for all of them at the moment!) [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] Some great practical advice there. And finally .... what's your favourite The Cultured Collective product?
I genuinely love them all but if I had to pick one it would be the Vegan Kimchi - I'm a sucker for spice! And love the extra nutritional benefits that a little heat provides. My favourite way to eat it is mashed through avocado with a pinch of good quality sea salt and lots of lemon or lime juice.
Gypsy Kitchen's Probiotic Vegan Hash Bowl w Spicy Kimchi Mayo
- 1/2 sweet potato
- 4 mushrooms
- Around 100g organic tofu or tempeh, cubed (I use Tofoo )
- 1-2 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup rocket
- 1 tomato, halved
- Olive oil for frying
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
Probiotic Spicy Vegan Mayo
- 1 tablespoon The Cultured Collective Vegan Classic Kimchi
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- The juice of half a lemon or lime
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil (just use olive oil if you don't have sesame)
- 1 teaspoon Sirracha or hot sauce (I used jaketurney)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (plus more for sprinkling)
- Water as needed
- Salt and pepper
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