Welcome to the latest edition of my Friday Foodie series, where each week I feature my favourite health and wellness stars. Each week, they share their tips for healthy living and their favourite recipe.
This week, I am featuring Gabby Campbell from The Tolerant Table. I have been following Gabby on Instagram for quite some time now and am a huge fan of her recipes and her gorgeous photos. They are stunning!! I hope you enjoy my interview with Gabby.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, what you do and what inspired you to lead a healthier lifestyle?
I’m currently a full time student studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy at Endeavour College in Sydney, however in my pre Uni life I worked in corporate communications. I live in the inner suburbs of Sydney with my husband and have a sister, brother-in-law, two nephews and a furry niece that I absolutely adore. I also have a beautiful family of in-laws and a very large extended family dotted all around Australia.
I found a health crisis that arrived in the guise of an autoimmune condition (Ankylosing Spondylitis) about 11 years ago was my inspiration for healthy living. I don’t think you can get a much bigger WHY for change than that!
I didn’t really know anything about autoimmune disease or how food might affect it back then but I decided cleaning up my diet couldn’t hurt. I went from a typical Western, highly processed (low fat) diet, to eating wholefoods over the course of a few years and never looked back. It was the change in diet and support of the most wonderful Naturopath who I still see (Tabitha McIntosh from Awaken Your Health) that enabled me to really regain my health and eventually stop all the hefty medications I was on too.
I now successfully manage my autoimmune disease with a variety of natural therapies that I have found work for me, and am still medication-free. I do get occasional aches and pains, but with my current management I have avoided another major flare up, and continue to stay in remission. Learning how to manage my autoimmune condition with natural therapies is what lead me to study Naturopathy too.
What inspired you to start The Tolerant Table?
It’s hard to know whether I started having gut issues as a result of the autoimmune condition or the medications I took to manage it but either way, things definitely changed on the food front for me after my initial flare. I became intolerant to a number of ingredients that I hadn’t struggled with before and had to get very specific about what I ate for a while there. I’m a foodie at heart so not being able to go out and enjoy a carefree meal with friends and family was very isolating.
A bit of research showed me that Australia has one of the highest rates of food intolerance and allergy in the world so I figured I wasn’t as alone as I felt, and there were lots of people with intolerances who wanted to go out and enjoy meals so The Tolerant Table grew from there. It started off with reviews but since I love to cook, and am moving into Naturopathy it’s now more of an intolerant friendly hub with a combination of café/restaurant reviews, recipes, product reviews and health articles.
What exciting plans do you have coming up in 2016?
Finishing my Bachelor’s degree!! This is my final year of study and I have loved every minute of my almost five year learning journey but I am definitely ready to move on and start my career as a Naturopath. I so look forward to being able to guide and support people on their path to wellness.
I also have a trip to Canada, the USA and Cuba planned…. That’s super exciting too!!
What is the Number 1 tip you would give to someone who is just starting to make changes to their health and wellness?
Don’t believe all the hype that comes with the ‘healthy’, ‘wholesome’ or ‘nutritious’ labels you find slapped onto everything these days. This is especially true for health products as so many contain a stack of ingredients that lend themselves more to preserving shelf life than promoting health, so reading labels is definitely a must. I have an app on my phone called ‘The Chemical Maze – Complete Edition’ and I find it an invaluable resource when shopping. You just plug in an ingredient you’re not familiar with and it will give you a brief overview of it’s safety / potential side effects.
Do you have any tips for eating well on a budget?
Buying in season, buying in bulk and freezing, buying from co-ops, buying imperfect picks or wonky fruit/veg and buying at farmer’s markets can all help you save. Purchasing what is cheap and abundant (thus in season) and then creating a meal plan around it rather than writing a list first then going shopping is something I have found saves me quite a lot too. Not wasting food is another big one. If you have a bunch of vegetables left in the fridge at the end of the week and don’t know what to do with them make a frittata! It’s such a forgiving meal. We have a ‘what’s in the fridge frittata’ every week and it’s always a surprise meal, which is fun.
What healthy dinner options would you suggest to someone who is time poor?
I’m a fan of the big cook up on weekends, or any day you have free. Things that freeze well like dahl, bone broths that you can turn into chicken zoodle soups, or some sort of meat and vegetable stew are all great for freezing and can be pulled out for reheating anytime. A slow cooker meal is one more option because you can get it all together in the morning before you walk out the door and it will be ready and smelling amazing when you get home.
What is something that you enjoy doing when you have some ‘me’ time?
I love to do Tai Chi, go for Vespa rides or go for long urban walks with my camera so I can take photos of street art, flora and fauna or general things that catch my eye. I also really enjoy spending time in cafes watching the world go by. More recently I have fallen in love with floatation therapy and wonder now where that has been all my life. Does travel count as me time? If it does lets put that at the top of the list because I love a good adventure!
What is your favourite recipe to cook? Can you share the recipe with us?
Oooo that’s a tough one. It depends on the day and the season, but through the summer I’ve been loving my Raspberry and Coconut Panna Cotta recipe. It tastes just like a raspberry ripe with the optional chocolate and I find it really refreshing. The gelatin’s ability to help reduce inflammation and restore / improve gut integrity (amongst many other things) means it’s something worth enjoying often…. so I do!
- 2 tsp gelatin (I used Great Lakes gelatin)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 400ml can coconut milk (I used Honest to Goodness)
- 3/4 cup organic raspberries and some extra to serve (fresh or frozen is fine)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup maple syrup (more or less depending on your sweetness preference. Rice malt syrup or honey are also fine)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (I used Honest to Goodness)
- 2 Tbsp desiccated coconut, and some extra to serve (I used Honest to Goodness)
- 100g dark, organic fairtrade chocolate (optional topping)
- Put the warm water in a medium-sized saucepan then sprinkle the gelatin over the top and leave for 5 – 7 minutes just sitting on the counter. You want to re-hydrate the gelatin so it blooms and resembles something like a clear applesauce. Blooming also ensures whatever you’re making with the gelatin (panna cotta for us!) will have a smooth consistency when it’s set
- While you’re waiting, combine the coconut milk, raspberries, maple syrup and vanilla in a high-speed blender and blend to a smoothie consistency. I did this in the Thermomix on speed 7 for 10 seconds
- Strain the smoothie through a fine mesh strainer into a jug or bowl to remove the raspberry seeds then stir in the desiccated coconut
- Add the strained raspberry smoothie to the bloomed gelatin then place the saucepan over a low heat and gently warm the mixture, whisking constantly for 5 – 7 minutes so its well combined and warmed through but doesn’t boil
- Remove from the heat and pour into glasses or ramekins. I used 12 small espresso type cups, or you can make it in 4 – 6 larger ones. Place in the fridge and chill until set (about 1 – 2 hours for the small glasses and 3 – 4 hours for the larger glasses) then serve topped with a little extra desiccated coconut and fresh raspberries
- Optional step to serve – chop the chocolate into small chunks then place in a small saucepan and stir over a very low heat until just melted. Pour a little over each panna cotta and top with some extra desiccated coconut and a fresh raspberry
- For a low histamine version, replace the raspberries with blueberries
- For a low fodmap version, just leave out the desiccated coconut
- If coconut milk doesn’t work for you replace with your milk of choice
A little more about Gabby and where you can find her
Web address – www.thetoleranttable.com
Instagram – @thetoleranttable
Twitter: @thetoleranttabl (not a typo…. Not enough letter space!)