From the people who led the wholefood movement in Australia, we have at long last put together a collection of our beloved recipes. Our philosophy towards food hasn’t changed over the 20 years of operation, no more complexity, just simplicity and goodness: food as medicine.
Nutritionist and recipe developer (plus our Wellness Ambassador!) Vladia Cobrdova recreated over 135 of the mouth-watering dishes she made popular in our stores’ busy cafes, takeaway and ready-made meal sections. These are recipes your body will love from your taste buds to your gut.
A Whole New Way to Eat is a modern take on healthy eating for those more interested in eating well than following the latest craze. With recipes to cover every social occasion or lifestyle choice as well as being seasonal, local, sustainable and delicious, this is a must have cookbook for every Australian kitchen.
Our customers always ask us questions on everything from wholefoods and well-being to food lifestyle choices and About Life’s philosophy – we sat down with the lovely Vladia and asked her a few questions about all these areas.
How did you come to be a recipe developer?
I have always been interested in food and most importantly eating it too. Ever since I remember I have been cooking with my mum and grandma, having the best connections over a plate of food. I had such a passion for healthy food that 15 years ago, I enrolled myself into a nutrition school in Sydney and started to satisfy my curiosity for good food and the effects on the body that food has on us. Then I landed my dream job working in one of the pioneering health food stores About Life in Sydney as a juice bar girl and that is where it all began. Mixing smoothies, developing recipes and writing cookbooks.
Where does your inspiration come from when you’re creating recipes?
My inspiration comes from our shop floor. The endless selection of real ingredients and fresh produce is all I need. The ray of colours and aromas of seasonal produce – each season has a unique smell: mango and cherry in summer, pears and plums in autumn, broccoli and cauliflower in winter, fennel and asparagus in spring. When I am at the stage of creating a recipe, I take a stroll through our aisles and get inspired by all of the products.
Why the interest with wholefoods?
As a qualified nutritionist, I believe that eating good quality ingredients as close to their natural state as possible is the only way to eat. A lot of people these days do not know what they are eating as it is all processed foods full of preservatives, hormones and antibiotics which is having negative effects on the health of our society. We should be eating like our great grandparents used to. My hope is to inspire people to have a relaxed approach to eating without any restrictions – there is no such thing as good food or bad food. We lost that approach and that is why I was inspired to write my book where I showcase wholefoods nourishing feel good recipes without the restrictions.
Why does the movement include some of the things we’re often told to ditch in our diet, such as macaroni?
Because it is real food. The macaroni dish is made out from spelt pasta, a great wholefood. There is so much conversation to stay away from carbs, but this dish is loaded with cauliflower, sweet potatoes and kale too so it is a well-balanced dish that everyone can enjoy without feeling guilty.
I want to inspire people to make choices that suit them, food that comes from a good place and to stop labelling real food bad or good.
As a nutritionist, I believe in all food groups – it is about a balanced lifestyle. But I encourage people to tune into themselves and find out for themselves what agrees with them and what doesn’t. My motto is to become your own wellness expert.
What is the one ingredient you couldn’t live without?
Yoghurt. I literally use it in nearly everything, adding to my main meals as a probiotic and digestion booster, making salad dressings, desserts, sauces in cooking – I especially love goat or sheep yoghurt which is a great alternative to cow.
What’s your favourite food crush right now?
Olive oil – I could almost drink this stuff – there is nothing better than a splash of good quality cold pressed olive oil on my plate.
What is your advice for anyone who wants to eat well?
Eat with the season and know where your food comes from. This way you ensure that you get the nourishment that your body needs and the ingredients your body recognises, keep it simple and have a variety of colours on your plate.
In healthy eating, what seems to be the trend?
Quality over quantity, eat seasonally and chemical free or organic if possible.
What’s the easiest way(s) anyone can make their home feel like a cafe?
Using good quality ingredients of fresh local produce (the taste of seasonal ripe tomatoes is incredible!). Be adventurous and experiment – don’t be afraid to muck up a poached egg, practice makes perfect. Mix it up – just because a recipe will state all the ingredients, doesn’t mean you have to follow – add your own touch. There are many recipes that I have created for our cafés and the ones I have shared in this book. The best-selling dish in our cafés is Egg Nourishment which is basically scrambled eggs with quinoa and basil pesto – yummiest dish ever!
What are your top tips for reducing food wastage?
Eat less, stop over consumption. I grew up in Communist Czechoslovakia where we knew what food really counted for. The fresh bread would be baked daily and it would be under supplied. We would have to queue up every morning to get a loaf and if you woke up late you would miss out. That is where I learnt the value of food.
My top 3 tips to reduce food waste
1. Always check what is in your fridge and pantry before you go shopping.
2. Cook less – as a nation we tend to overcook and over eat because it is rude not to eat everything on the plate right? Think of the planet, your wallet and your waistline.
3. Use up your leftovers – leftovers taste amazing the next day – salads or veggies can be used in a frittata, meat on salads for office lunch etc.
What’s new at About Life?
There is always something new – I have just created new Poke Bowls – which are inspired by Hawaiian poke bowls. It is a dish full of good grains, plant based veg, choice of fish or chicken paired up with avocado topped with tahini sauce!
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