For nutritional therapist Jenna Zoe, the decision to clean up her diet and go vegan five years ago didn’t mean a lifetime of steamed broccoli and seeds. Her solution was simple: to find nutritional, body-friendly alternatives that didn’t compromise on taste and made her feel fantastic from the inside out.
Jenna set about experimenting with more colourful ways of eating by making healthy versions of sweet treats she enjoyed whilst retaining a mostly fresh plant-based diet. Realising that there were plenty of people out there who were looking for the same thing, she launched her first business, Upcakes. And Jenna’s wheat, sugar, egg and dairy free ‘choco bites’ have made it onto the afternoon tea menu at the Ritz. Not content with her success, Jenna has recently launched an online health food store, and published a cookbook with the recipes for her Super Healthy Snacks and Treats. We found out a little more about the health goddess herself – and got some of her insider wellness secrets.
How can you combine a busy work life and healthy eating?
It’s not always easy to prepare food on a Sunday night or cook enough for leftovers. Make it quick and easy for yourself and buy edamame, houmous, deli artichokes, carrots and kale chips so that you can always assemble a meal that you know you’ll enjoy.
What would you advise someone who wants to change the way they eat?
I work with clients one-on-one as a nutritionist and my advice is always the same – don’t set lofty, overwhelming goals and make just three small changes at a time. Then add three more the next week, and three the week after that. This approach helps build a solid foundation.
What is the best quick start to the day?
I am a green juice addict and drink one every morning. I think of it as my daily multivitamin as veggie juice is so nutrient rich and it also does wonders for my energy levels.
Are carbs and sugars really the enemy?
Not at all, with carbs it’s just about choosing the right ones like fruit, quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, millet, amaranth and sweet potatoes. Every cell in our body runs on carbohydrates, so cutting them out altogether isn’t a wise choice. For healthier sugars, try maple syrup and coconut sugar.
Your signature dinner party dish?
My go-to dish for dinner parties is a quinoa salad with avocado, cherry tomatoes, pomegranates, parsley, asparagus and a dressing of dijon, olive oil, lemon and lime. Often, I serve an all-vegan dinner but people don’t notice if you make sure the food is delicious.
Do you believe in a raw diet?
I feel my best when most of my diet is raw, but that’s not always possible, especially in winter. The good news is you can still get all the benefits of a raw diet by eating a big salad and a juice or smoothie every day.
Any favourite healthy snacks?
Kale chips are a really effective replacement for crisps and any crunchy or salty foods. My favourite are Inspiral’s Beetroot and Acerola flavour, but it’s so easy to make your own at home. Another favourite are Clearspring’s tamari-roasted almonds. And you can never go wrong with an apple spread with almond butter.
What exercise do you do?
I’ve been doing Crossfit for four months and it has changed my body more dramatically than any other workout I’ve ever done. And I’ve tried them all!
How do you manage to stick to eating vegan when dining out?
Eating out is easier than you think. Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines have lots of options: rice, lentils, houmous, dahls, curries, stir-fries. If I’m really in a pinch at a restaurant I order a salad, some grilled vegetable sides, potatoes or avocado.
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
I love a glass of red wine with dinner. I don’t do it every night, but every now and again you need to indulge a little for your soul.