{ Out with the old fad diets and restrictions and in with a new lease of life. }

When lawyer-turned-whole-foodie Caralee Caldwell created Real Food Pledge as a platform to keep herself accountable and collect recipes, she never dreamed the blog would be an international success.

But it wasn’t always zucchini pasta and chia porridge for the glowing mother of three, who confesses to being a serial dieter in the past – her mood and body suffering as a consequence. At breaking point, Caralee vowed to quit fad diets for good and go back to basics by only eating food made with real ingredients.

The effect was prolific; it inspired a new found love of food, of her body and of life.

After being liberated from her own negative relationship with food, Caralee now shares her passion for healthy eating as a doorway for others to change their lives with real food too. One thing’s for sure – you can’t argue with her no fuss, whole food logic.

What does real food mean to you?

It’s food that is provided by nature, not made in a factory. It’s food that is full of nutrients rather than chemicals. I avoid all processed food and try and keep it as simple as possible by eating lots of vegetables, fruit, meats, seafood and herbs. I am gluten free because I know that it does not agree with me. Every now and then I am reminded of why I can’t eat gluten and it makes me grateful that I am not suffering everyday like a used to.

What was the catalyst that turned you into a healthy foodie?

I was always concerned about my weight and never felt good about myself. As a result I was either starving myself with one of my many diets or I was doing the opposite. It was a roller coaster. I was confused and unhappy about living that way. I would eat lots of ‘diet’ food and processed food which is highly processed, full of gluten, sugar and industrialised oils. I had no idea what this was doing to my body.

I also used to suffer extreme tummy aches, hot and cold sweats, constipation… you get the picture. It took me a while but I got to a point where I knew that I had to make serious change and that is when I made a commitment to myself that the diet days were gone and that I would simply eat real food.

Can you share some tips on ditching dieting for a sustainable whole foods lifestyle?

I have discovered that if you eat real food, you no longer need to worry about dieting.

Your body will love you for all the nutrients that you are giving it and you will be rewarded. It is a mind shift but once you make the decision it is so freeing.

My big tip is to surround yourself with healthy food and ingredients. Clean out your kitchen and throw away all of the processed food. If you have fresh, healthy ingredients in your kitchen, you will eat good food. Shop at places that support your health like the farmers markets or your local green grocer. Make sure that you are always stocked up so that it is easy to make healthy choices.

How did you make peace with your body?

I used to be someone who looked in the mirror on a bad day and cry because I really didn’t like myself. Looking back I know how crazy that is but it was real for me at the time. Once I started looking after myself by eating nutrient-dense real food and I cut out all processed food, the way that I viewed myself started to change. I knew that I was doing everything that I could to be the healthiest, best version of myself. It stopped being about weight loss and instead about being healthy.

Since converting to unprocessed, gluten-free foods, what have been the biggest benefits you have experienced?

There have been loads of benefits which did include weight loss, but also feeling energised everyday, being much happier, healthier, mentally stronger and having a happy tummy, to name just a few.

As a lawyer, author, foodie and mum, you certainly wear many hats. What advice can you offer busy people on taking care of their health?

Make time for yourself. For me this means getting up at 5.45am and going for a walk with friends. Learn to cook a few dishes that are super easy and delicious. This is fast becoming something that people love about my recipes; they are simple and quick because the recipes are for busy mums just like me. Invest in a slow cooker – they are perfect for busy families. Get a veggie box delivered each week if your area has one; it’s an amazing time saver!

If you had to make a gluten free meal to inspire people to the real food lifestyle, what would it be?

For entrée I would make caramelised scallops on a cauliflower and bacon mash. For mains, pork rack with crispy crackling, apple and onion jam, rosemary and salted baby roast root vegetables, honey and cumin carrots and gravy made from the juices of the pork.Dessert would be a warm berry and chocolate brownie, berry compote and drizzled with hot fudge sauce. Yum!




Categories: HEALTH.