Holistic Nutrition and the Cosmo Hippie Chef

August 8, 2011

By Jessica Kinghorn, Utah Climb4Life Event Coordinator

We interviewed Certified Holistic Nutrition Educator and Cosmopolitan Hippie Chef blogger, Brooke Cordray on what it means to eat for both health and enjoyment.

What is holistic nutrition and why is it important for general well-being?
Holistic Nutrition is a practice in which we examine the Whole Self. This includes our nutrition, lifestyle, attitude and our environment.  When all four of these components are in balance we then can reach maximum energy levels and overall physical and emotional health.

What was the genesis of your “feet first” attitude toward holistic nutrition? Why is it so important to you?
Honestly, I didn’t feel I had a choice but to jump in feet first. When I was in my early 20’s I started to develop abnormal cancerous cell growth on my cervix.  I endured many procedures including biopsies and a procedure called Cryotheraphy, twice (freezing of the affected sections of my cervix).  A few months after I got married I had to have a cancerous lesion removed and after that I learned that they still wanted to go in and do another freezing procedure for a third time. At this time, I finally said “Enough.”  I took on a radical nutrition and herb regimen for six weeks (I’d heard about it from a friend).  I had always been always been a healthy eater, even as a kid, and the idea of using nutrients and food as medicine was a very easy connection for me to make. I tried it out and never looked back.  Follow-up visits to the doctors have shown that this treatment has helped to manage the situation, so much so, that the doctors have not felt the need to do any other invasive procedures.  Five years later, we still just manage it with regular checkups and everything still looks great.

How do you believe food contributes to, or detracts from, a healthy, active lifestyle?
I tell everyone my approach to food and nutrition is about eating for health.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t partake in a cocktail or dessert, it just means that I believe what we put in our bodies is our first line of defense against disease. The second line of defense is staying fit and active and with these two lines of defense in treating our bodies well, our bodies will treat us well right back and aid in a healthy active life.

On your blog, Cosmopolitan Hippie Chef
, you often talk about using local foods to create your culinary masterpieces. Why do you choose to use local foods and where do you prefer to buy them?
Local food is important because the farther your food travels to arrive at your dinner plate, the less available its nutrients are to you.  Fresh picked food that arrives at your plate in a short amount of time is proven to have kept a much higher percentage of its original nutrient value.  In the documentary “Locavoire” (which was recently screened at a “Slow Food Utah” event) they equated eating food that has traveled a far distance to our plate to eating the oil that was consumed in order to arrive to us.  So eating local is not only a matter of consuming better nutrients, but also a matter of consuming less fuel.  We personally buy 90% of our food from the local farmers markets and I try to make the summer and fall food stretch into winter by canning much of what I buy when they are in season, so they are available to be consumed in the winter months.  In addition to the canned food in winter, we also try to eat what is seasonal for winter (mostly root vegetables).  We also like to buy locally produced bread, cheese, and eggs and like to dine and shop at locally owned restaurants and food stores because I know that they share the same passion for quality food that I have.

What, specifically, is a Cosmopolitan Hippie Chef?
Really it is just the way I feel about my philosophy about the food that I cook.  The Hippie portion of my blog name stems from the fact that I like my food to have the down to earth goodness and natural ingredients that come from small local sources that raise their food with a personal touch and care. The Cosmopolitan part of the name is derived from the fact that I want my food to have a level of sophistication, craftsmanship, and most importantly taste, that one might expect to get from a high-end restaurant.

What are some of your favorite ingredients to use in cooking and baking, and why?
Vegetables are a huge staple in my house, I try to incorporate them into every meal that we eat and they account for a large percentage of what is on our plate.  I cook with coconut oil because it has a higher cooking temperature which allows it to maintain a higher percentage of its nutrients. When I dress my greens I use raw olive oil because cooked olive oil creates free radicals in your body, which contribute to disease.  I use my self-canned tomatoes whenever possible and just recently I have been cooking beans and lentils from scratch. I also love to use quinoa, farro, buckwheat oats, groats, wild rice and also I’ve recently been using new rice called “Forbidden Rice” which is black when raw but turns purple after it has been cooked.  When baking I use Agave nectar instead of sugar because it doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels; it is a low-glycemic sweetener.  I also use cacao powder which is a raw chocolate powder, a known super food.  Finally I also use flax meal and almond meal in my baking because they are nutrient dense.  In general I always want the food that I make to give me the best bang for my bite.

What are some of your favorite recipes, and will you share them with us?
Quinoa – for Breakfast (Posted March 25th 2011)
Quinoa-Tabbouleh Style (April 21st 2011)
If people are trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into their diet, I like Quinoa because it is a complete protein.  Quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it an unusual complete protein among plant foods.  It is a great source of dietary fiber, phosphorous, and is high in magnesium and iron; it is also gluten free and easy to digest.

You can get more great recipes at Brooke at Cosmopolitan Hippie Chef or “like” Cosmopolitan Hippie Chef on Facebook.

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