It's been a little while since I've posted an interview with a Wholefood Mama, today you are in for a treat with the one and only Kellie from dear olive. Before we begin take a moment to gather yourself after seeing the adorableness of the photo of Kellie with her divine miss Olive and their main man Shane. Gorgeous photo huh?
The first time I read Kellie's blog well over a year ago I did so through tears because I learned that like Kellie's mum, like my mum, had died young. There is both sadness and comfort in finding other women who have become mothers without their own mothers around to share all the joys and challenges of parenting. I connected with Kellie at that level and promptly fell in love with Olive and the letters Kellie writes to Olive. Following Kellie's blog I was fascinated to read her wholefoodie posts that appear from time to time and delighted Kellie agreed to be part of this series.
Make yourself a cup dandelion tea and settle in to hear how this mama and her family live the wholefood way.
I'm Kellie, and I live with Shane and our three year old, Olive, in Bondi. I work as a costume buyer for film and tv and I blog, I parent and I try to keep my family as healthy and as happy as possible. Natural health and healthy eating are a huge part of our lives, and, after being a Mum, it's probably the thing that defines me the most.
Can you tell us about your family's eating habits? Do you have a particular philosophy when it comes to food?
I've never really thought much about defining my personal food philosophy before becoming a parent - but since having Olive, I've definitely become far more strict in my ideals, and in my practice too. Basically, I just want us to eat good, natural, delicious, organic food. And for the most part, we achieve this. We eat fairly simply, with very little processed foods or refined grains, and we eat organic where we can. We've developed a wonderful little ritual of doing all our fruit and veggie shopping at our local growers markets on a Saturday morning - we are literally there rain, hail or shine. It's the most rewarding and enjoyable way to shop, catching up with local friends and buying groceries in the outdoors. I love it.
What sort of dishes do you like to cook?
In summer, I love making interesting salads (you know, with nuts and seeds, or special cheese), often served with a piece of meat on the side, but Winter food is most definitely my favourite - hearty, rich-in-flavour casseroles, and most especially curries. I am a huge curry fan! Anything with condiments is going to be a favourite in my book. Shane is Sri Lankan and he makes this amazing sambal with dessicated coconut, lemon and chilli - it makes any old curry of mine a total winner.
Where did your wholefood journey begin?
When I was in primary school, my parents both became naturopaths and there was this moment in my childhood where there was a huge and sudden shift in all of our eating habits. You know, out of the blue instead of getting chocolate we were served up sugar free carob! They were way before their time in a lot of ways, my parents. There wasn't nearly the same access to knowledge that we have now, and a lot of people thought they were weird. Even though I found it highly embarrassing at the time that dried apricots were all I had in the sweets department to offer friends who visited our house, I feel extremely lucky now that I started on a natural health and healthy eating from a young age. Because it became second nature to me.
Who inspires you in the kitchen? Favorite cookbooks/food blogs?
Absolutely anything and everything petite-kitchen.com
Is there anything you find challenging about living the wholefood way?
The biggest challenge has been with Olive, and other parents on playdates and at parties. It felt so rude to say that I didn't want my kid eating what the other parents were giving their kids ... but sometimes I just had to speak up - as politely as I could, of course. Although now that Olive's three, I definitely turn a blind eye a little more at parties!
Do you eat organically? If yes why? If no why?
We do, but certainly not everything. I always, ALWAYS eat organic meat because I want to avoid antibiotics at any cost. At our local growers markets, there is a mix of certified organic, uncertified organic, and non organic and we buy a variety of it all. Most of our pantry items are organic, because I find it easier to shop at the local health food store than get to the supermarket. It's obviously at a greater cost, but it also means that I'm smarter with what I buy. There is not a lot of wasted food in this house. But I can't overlook that convenience definitely plays a big part in how we shop/what we eat, too! And we eat out a lot, too - pub dinners, thai, fish and chips - are all big family favourites. But as long we eat well at home, I'm not too concerned about having some unhealthier meals once a week or so.
What are your favorite kitchen items?
I just won an amazing blender on a blog giveaway, and I was so excited when it arrived - but to tell you the truth, I've only used it twice in 3 weeks! I don't really have any gadgets or anything whizz bang or worth mentioning. Shane won't even let me have really sharp knives because I'm always cutting myself. In the same way that we eat simply, we cook simply too.
Top 3 favorite ingredients and why?
I've never thought about this before, so I'll just say the first three that spring to mind ... Nuts and seeds. They're healthy and add the best texture. Goats cheese. Because it's delicious. (In fact, probably most cheeses could go in here.) And the third ... I'll go with lemongrass. So fragrant and adds so much depth to a curry.
What is your go to meal when you are short on time?
Frittata. Delicious and reliable, every time.
I loved reading in one of your recent posts about your mum petitioning to remove junk food from the school canteen when you were in Year 7, what did your mum teach you about food and what do you hope to teach Olive about food and cooking?
Mum was such an inspiration to me, and to many people. When I was in high school, she had a weekly segment on the local radio station called "The Healthy Living Show" - she would discuss health topics, and even take callers. It was hilarious to say the least. Once when I was in Year 12 I heard it playing in the cafe as I was buying my chip sandwich with bbq sauce! I really admire her for putting out her message and educating people. She was never afraid to speak her opinion (often, loudly!) and natural health was her passion (one that she's passed on to me). She taught me to never stop learning about health. And never to compromise your own beliefs to make someone else happy. Olive's only three, but she's always asking us ... is this healthy for you? And she knows that eating relates to health. Although I don't want to put too much pressure on her, I know I'm giving her the foundations for healthy eating for the rest of her life and I feel really good about that.
A memorable food moment?
Last night I slow cooked a leg of lamb, and served it with rosemary roast pumpkin, roasted onions, steamed greens, and a parmesan cauliflower mash - so so good! Olive has never been into cauliflower before, but served up like this (and called super delicious mash), even she had to admit it was yummy.
What are you loving about your life right now?
This long weekend. I never knew three days off work could be so blissful.
Anything else you would like to say about wholefood, junk food, raising happy healthy eaters?
I worry that a lot of parents don't prioritise healthy eating (and avoiding processed and junk food) enough. The way I look at it, is you only get one chance to set your child up for good health for life, and this is it. You need to take it.
I love this post on Kellie's blog about the day a man on a bus tried to insist that Kellie allow Olive to eat a chocolate biscuit he wanted to give her.
For a sweet wholefood 'recipe' see Kellie's Slice of Heaven.
Thanks so much Kellie for sharing your wholefood story xxx
Meet some other Wholefood Mamas in this series: