CHLOÉ SUCRÉE, BIO CHEF AND GOURMANDE MOTHER
When did you take the leap from advertising and brand consulting to championing ‘conscious eating’?
I’ve always been drawn to healthy and conscious eating, but I never thought I’d devote myself entirely to it. I think I took the leap when the advertising job market was at an all-time low and there was no opportunity to make a career and, at the same time, my symptoms grew worse (intestinal permeability, irritable colon, stomach aches, etc.). It was at that moment that I realized the direct impact that eating and my focus on life were having on my overall lifestyle.
You are the creator of the blog Being Biotiful which is also a declaration of intent for a very special lifestyle. Could you tell us about it?
My blog Being Biotiful is the result of my life’s transformation and evolution, being a mother now and focusing on creating recipes made with whole foods which help you feel better, following your intuition
and your body. It is a platform through which I share recipes, my baby life and photographs.
In the last few years, Chef Jamie Oliver has become very popular for leading the Food Revolution which promotes nutrition as part of basic education and teaches children about ‘real food’ versus packaged products…But way before this, Hippocrates already defended “let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food”. Have we strayed from this premise and from real food? What does this recovered food philosophy teach us?
Yes, I think modernization and hectic lifestyles have distanced us greatly from what Hippocrates preached. Nutrition today, especially for young children, is based on sugars, pastries, processed foods and very little vegetables and natural, unprocessed foods. But little by little, there is a return to the basics. And I think one of the reasons is that we have no other option! There are increasing cases of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other important ailments that lead us to either improve our nutrition or assume an even greater amount of these and other illnesses caused by this modern diet in which sugar is king! Kids are becoming more and more hyperactive and their diet holds a key role.
You’re also a coach for parents and children, helping guide their relationship with food and their health. What do these classes consist of?
Well, I don’t do this anymore but they were basically workshops in which parents and children could share moments, cook together and try new foods, textures and flavors…a way of demystifying myths, learning to cook in a new way, discovering new foods such as quinoa or how to substitute processed products with healthier options, such as vegetable milk instead of dairy animal by-products.
There is a key factor in your life, your son Elliot, who is ever present in Being Biotiful. How has maternity influenced your project?
So much! All of it! Elliot is my number one priority, even though he is about to turn one and I am becoming more organized. But, yes, it has influenced me greatly. I’ve realized that if, as a parent, you want to prepare home-made natural meals, this requires time and organization and…inspiration, because some days you have no clue what to cook. I want the best for him so that he will have every opportunity to grow and develop to his maximum potential.
There are many hesitations and prejudices regarding Bio nutrition, and more so with babies. What are your guidelines?
To follow your intuition and common sense. There are foods like honey or peanuts which you can’t feed them until after the first year. But, basically, when Elliot turned 6 months old, I gradually started introducing solids into his diet, foods that I eat. Nothing special. I followed the Baby Led Weaning method (babies feed themselves). Elliot grabs the food with his hands, he knows how much he needs and eats what we make for him. He doesn’t eat dairy or by-products. In substitution, he drinks milk from oats, coconut, sesame, almonds, etc.
Can you give us your recipe for “My First Baby Green Smoothie”? We know it’s a huge success.
1 + 1/2 cups almond milk
1 small mango or 1 medium pear (depending on the season)
2 frozen bananas (previously peeled)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 handful of washed spinach
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Place everything in a blender and blend to a creamy texture!
Can you follow a responsible and Bio diet without giving up being a gourmand?
Of course, and that’s when it starts to get fun! You have to be a gourmand! I think people partly believe that bio food is still insipid and boring when it is, in fact, so varied and should be tasty and fun! You must be creative in the kitchen and try new foods, superfoods and combine flavors and textures. When we talk about Bio and responsible eating, we are referring to unprocessed, unrefined foods, as natural as possible, supporting local and organic produce (no pesticides or chemicals), because we believe in foods that provide nourishment and flavor while not having been manipulated. Therefore, we are not talking about taking away the fun but of trying to eat foods that are as natural as possible.
What’s the key to starting to change our eating habits? Any basic staple for our new pantry?
The best idea is to change slowly, without it overwhelming your daily life or making it seem like a restriction or a diet, but more like a lifestyle change. I always recommend beginning with smoothies, because they are easy to make, satisfy your hunger and are delicious and very nutritious.
Chloé Sucrée… ¿Do you have the recipe for happiness?
Ah! I don’t believe there is just one recipe for happiness, but many. Everyone must find their own recipe. I mean, maybe what works for me doesn’t work for you. There are, however, a few common bases and this phrase sums up the recipe for happiness that is applicable to all: “Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive” (Hafez). For me, it’s enjoying every moment I can with baby Elliot, walking my dog, enjoying time with my partner, being as close to nature as I can and doing what I like.
Text Bárbara Vidal