{ Putting the meaning back into whole food cooking. }

As a mother of two gorgeous girls, Kira Westwick understands the need for healthy food. Together with her husband, Kira runs an online health program focused on weight loss and wellbeing through wholesome, sustainable and delicious options. Certified in nutrition, personal training, pilates and yoga, this dynamite most of all loves to spend her time cooking healthy recipes for her family.

With her Wholesome Kids eBook, Kira is intent on helping parents build a healthy food culture in their home and to inspire children to consciously fall in love with whole foods. Her mission? To bring back the joy and wisdom of cooking and sharing whole food as a family.

You have an amazing list of accomplishments. What prompted you to inspire others through whole food eating?

I grew up in a family where food was valued as the foundation of every celebration and the majority of our meals were prepared from scratch. Our lunchboxes were filled with home baked treasures, as we couldn’t afford the processed food that we find in lunch boxes today.

With this amazing whole food foundation, I was a very active and healthy child. In my early twenties however, my health started to decline. It started with glandular fever and ended in chronic fatigue. I was stressed, depressed, exhausted and had lost all enthusiasm for life. With little answers from the doctor, I began my own research. The day I took responsibility for my health was the day I started to get my life back and what began to unfold was a life-changing realisation that the wrong foods and lifestyle choices were fueling my illnesses, and therefore the right foods and lifestyle would be the only ‘medicine’ that could heal me.

You’ve once been quoted saying that Jamie Oliver is your ‘foodspiration’. Why is this?

Jamie Oliver is using his fame to raise awareness of the importance of getting back to real food. Getting back into the kitchen and finding the joy that comes with cooking and sharing whole food, as a family, is fundamental to our health and happiness. Who we let cook our food is a direct reflection of how healthy we are. Food corporations have been working hard for decades to dismantle our culture of home cooking and I think it’s time to take it back! Jamie shows the world how fun, easy, delicious, budget friendly and convenient it can be for even the busiest families to bring a whole food culture back into the home.

Tell us about your experience on MasterChef:

I was incredibly lucky to be part of MasterChef 2014, where I was able to show my passion for delicious healthy food to the nation. It was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and the most outside my comfort zone I’ve ever felt. I grew so much through the experience and it’s given me the confidence to really chase my dreams – if I can do that, I really can do anything!

Why is gluten-free eating important to you?

My family and I don’t subscribe to rules or labels. We eat intuitively and our diet loosely resembles a combination of paleo and vegetarian meals as this is how we feel most vital. I choose to avoid gluten not because I believe grains are inherently bad for us, but because what man has done to them has made them unhealthful.

Nowadays wheat is vastly different to the traditional seeds of antiquity, having been specifically bred with a much higher gluten content and grown twice as fast and twice as hardy. It is then stored for months on end, not only reducing nutrient content but also being subjected to fumigation, fortification (to replace deteriorated nutrients) and nitrogen flushing for preservation. We can easily see why grain sensitivities are on the rise, especially when they are one of the most convenient and over-consumed foods in our diet.

What are your favourite gluten-free meals that you like to prepare?

Thai and Mexican are the most popular cuisines in my home, which is perfect because traditional recipes are largely gluten-free already. Pulled chicken on baked sweet potato with guacamole and salsa is always a winner. My clean and gluten-free versions of fried chicken and salt and pepper calamari often make a special appearance too. When it comes to dessert, my clean raw salted caramel slice and sweet potato brownies are divine and the most popular recipes on my blog too.

How do you stay healthy?

The key is balance. When I have balance in my ‘5 Fs’ (family, friends, fitness, food and fun), I feel centred and happy. I also listen to my body and I count vitality rather than calories.

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