Inside the Kitchen of Author of ‘Deliciously Holistic’ Cookbook
Cutting through all the clutter of what you should and should not eat, “Deliciously Holistic” offers a simple plan to eat healthy, delicious food that will help you achieve and maintain vibrant health. Advocating for a diet rich in fresh, seasonal, nutrient-rich, sustainable, local, organic foods, holistic chef and certified healing foods specialist Shelley Alexander details all you need to know to prepare whole foods that nourish, energize and heal the body. “Deliciously Holistic: Healing Foods Recipes and Lifestyle Tips to Help Increase Your Energy and Immunity!” includes more than 150 mouthwatering recipes, a shopping guide, seasonal menu plans, cooking tips, recommended resources and equipment, and more.
The pages are bursting with healing food recipes designed to provide optimal nutrition that appeal to a wide range of diets, from meat eater to raw vegan. From great salads with homemade vinaigrettes to snacks, creamy smoothies and tantalizing desserts, Alexander makes healthy living easy. This is not just a cookbook, it is a lifestyle guide. Take a peek inside what the book has to offer and inside Alexander’s kitchen.
“I wanted to put out the things I would want to see if I was trying to embark on changing my eating habits,” the chef said. “So I put together a book of all that you need to get started on that path and be able to maintain that. You’re going to get satisfied because the recipes taste good and that is really key because you are not going to eat healthy if it doesn’t taste good. And so many people believe healthy foods are just bland and boring and I am a big lover of foods that taste good. But I also want to make sure that the foods also have the nutrients in them you need to constantly rejuvenate your body and keep it healthy.”
To find the best food out there, you have to shop at the right places and the right companies. Alexander includes an exact list of where, both online and off, to find the right healing foods in her holistic shopping guide, from herbal coffee to the best cheese.
“You have to learn to shop first and foremost,” she said. “If you don’t know where to go to find the best foods, then you definitely are going to have difficulty trying to maintain and eat healthy foods. When I put together the shopping guide, I wanted to make sure you had all the information you needed so you went to the supermarket, you would know what to buy, what to look for.”
To make cooking easier, it is important to have the right equipment to use. Her high-speed, powerful blender is one of her favorite pieces of equipment. She puts it to use daily to make smoothies, dressings, vinaigrettes, soups, nut butters, creamy snacks and anything else that strikes her fancy.
“Make sure your kitchen has the right tools to get the job done. It will make your time in there much easier and efficient so you want to cook,” Alexander said.
As you continue to expand your kitchen, you can add other tools, like food processor, mandoline for slicing foods, immersion blender and microplane to for grating cheese, garlic, ginger and zest. Cast iron is her preferred choice for skillets or sauté pans.
For pantry basics, Alexander keeps on hand several gluten-free grains such as quinoa and millet, which are perfect for a variety of preparations. It is also crucial to stock some healthy sweeteners, like stevia, raw honey, coconut sugar and maple syrup.
In putting together your ideal pantry, don’t forget to have a good selection of healthy oils.
“So many people are confused by the type of oils that are on the market that they think are healthy for them but are not. Many of the vegetable oils are heavily processed. They are extracted with chemicals and things that are not good for the health,” Alexander said.
Her go-to oil for cooking is raw virgin coconut oil, which is stable to cook with due to its high saturated fat. She also keeps on had cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil for cold or moderate temperature cooking and clarified organic butter for high temperatures. Her cookbook lists certain brands, plus has a section on the smoke point of oils – the point at which the oil becomes unstable and starts to break down.
Her recipes are flavored with a range of organic herbs and spices, including fresh garlic and ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, fresh or dried turmeric and Himalayan sea salt, a wonderful mineral-rich salt that is her seasoning of choice.
Some of the best foods to heal the digestive system are fermented foods – raw sauerkraut, kimchee. Used as a condiment, they aid with digestion and increase good bacteria in the body. Even those on a tight budget should make the effort to eat cultured foods regularly and buy digestive plant enzymes, probiotics and essential fatty acids, the chef maintained. Alexander gives you the lowdown on what to buy, including specific brands, as well as including recipes to make your own inexpensive cultured vegetables, salsa, fruit compote and more. You will find you have more energy and get the most from your food.
“Many people have compromised digestive systems and that is one of the biggest issues in compromising your health. Because even if you eat really healthy foods, if you don’t have your digestive system working properly, you are not going to be absorbing those nutrients that are going to keep your body healthy,” she explained.
Her superfoods of choice include kale, whose nutrient-packed taste and versatility she loves, spirulina, and chia seeds, which she uses to feel full and for some good plant-based protein. For beverages, she claims nothing beats coconut kefir.
“I think (my readers) are definitely going to find they have more energy,” Alexander said. “They are going to be able to get through their day easily. They are going to notice they have less issues with getting ill … It will help you start to get the key nutrients that you need to allow your body to let that natural healing process kick in and start to make you feel better.”