If you live in New Zealand, chances are you’ve heard of the gorgeous duo Julia and Libby. These two sisters describe themselves as “lovers of everything that nourishes the body and soul.” They believe that beauty starts from within and food can be used as medicine in order to keep us healthy. Libby has a Diploma of Holistic Nutrition and is studying towards a Bachelor in Naturopathy. She currently works part-time as a nutritionist at Auckland clinic My Remedy. Julia has also studied nutritional medicine and this year begins her studies in naturopathy in Sydney. Reflecting their studies, their site is packed full of healthy recipes, interviews and natural beauty tips and provides a healthy dose of inspiration for anyone wanting to improve their health and give their lifestyle a makeover.
Today we’re excited to give you a little more insight into these fabulous health-minded sisters. Meet Julia and Libby....
Q. Can you please tell us a little about yourself? Why did you become interested in health and nutrition?
J: It was probably about five years ago that I started to really look at my diet and what I ate. I felt constantly felt tired and run down so knew that I had to make changes. I started off small with cutting out meat, reducing alcohol, adding green smoothies in and even that made such a difference to how I felt. From there I started cutting down my sugar intake and tried to make as many meals as I could from scratch. I was half way through a business degree in 2012 and decided that I was not staying true to what I really wanted to do in life, and that is helping people to be their best and feeling good about themselves, so I switched to studying Nutrition when I moved to Sydney.
L: I grew a passion for health and well being when I moved back to NZ from Australia in 2010. I had not been looking after my body, I was eating terribly and also drinking, this was taking its toll on my body. In 2011 I began studying towards a Diploma of Holistic Nutrition and I am now completing a Bachelor of Naturopathy, which I will finish in December. My health has improved dramatically and I absolutely love what I study.
Q. Describe your food philosophy for us.
J: Eat food that makes you feel good in the long term. Yes eating fatty and sugary foods is nice for the 30 seconds it is in your mouth but after most of us feel guilt as we know that that food is not good for us, and then we feel sleepy. I try to eat as little processed food as possible, reduce alcohol intake (save it for special occasions), eat minimal dairy and gluten. Some days I will want to have a treat, I’m not super strict, I know my limits.
L: My philosophy to food and healthy eating has always been about eating and enjoying whole foods. This includes fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes nuts and seeds and small amounts of organic meat and full fat dairy products. I try to avoid processed foods as they are not nourishing to the body in any way. Eating whole foods that are close to their natural form will help heal the body and give you energy. They have a positive and therapeutic effect on health because they have their enzymes and phytochemicals still present.
Q. What does a day in your plate look like?
J: For breakfast I will generally have a big green smoothie with some vegan protein powder. Lots of leafy greens, frozen banana, almond milk, pea protein and then add in some superfoods such as chia seeds, lucuma, maca or cacao. I love making my own granola so if there is any in the pantry I’ll eat this or an omelette with lots of veges and fresh herbs.
Lunch is a salad or wrap. If I have a day off and am at home I will cook mushrooms with lots of spices and have them in lettuce cups.
For dinner it is always different. I have lots of cook books so will use them and depending on how much time I have will cook a really simple dinner or something a bit more elaborate if I have a few hours. Chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, sweet potato or mushrooms are my staples.
Having a massive sweet tooth there is always dessert. It could be anything from pancakes, raw chocolate, dairy free ice cream, frozen yoghurt or raw cheesecake.
L: Breakfast is always my biggest meal of the day; I usually have oats with yogurt and berries or an omelette. For lunch I will either have brown rice sushi, a salad or a wrap, at dinner time I usually have a salad with either fish or organic chicken, sweet potato, quinoa and spinach. I make sure I carry healthy snacks in my handbag such as almonds, berries and carrots and hummus.
Q. What are your top tips to improve your health and vitality through what you eat?
J: Eat local, eat fresh, try to cut out processed packaged foods. I find that cutting dairy and gluten from my diet makes me feel a lot better and have found others to be the same. Drink lots of water! Add green smoothies into your diet and add in superfoods (lucuma, maca, cacao, chia seeds, goji berries).
L:Drink 2 litres of purified water a day, cut down on processed foods, caffeine and alcohol, eat more organic fresh fruit and vegetables and try and follow a plant based diet.
Q. If you had to pick, what are your favourite superfoods?
J: Cacao would have to be my number one because it is chocolate of course. You can make beautiful tasting foods with cacao and it is extremely nutritious.
Chia seeds are my other, I add them into my water, juices, smoothies, breakfast foods and salads. As I don’t eat seafood it is important to get plant based Omega’s so chia seeds are the perfect replacement. Also being a source of fibre they help keep you full.
L. Cacao and blueberries.
Q. What is your approach to balance and moderation in your diet and lifestyle?
J. Know your limits. For myself eating gluten, dairy and drinking alcohol makes my skin break out so I know to eat these foods rarely. There are times when I am out and treat myself to something I really love and because I generally eat super healthy I don’t feel guilty about it.
L. I generally eat healthy and I know what foods to eat in moderation. I absolutely love chocolate but I also know how is too much.
Q. What is the biggest misconception people have about a healthy, plant-based diet?
J: That plant based diets are boring. They are far from boring! There are 100’s of fruits and vegetables that can be used in meals. So many bright colours, textures, tastes… I like to base my meals around plants and then add on beans, lentils, small amounts of animal protein on the side (when I feel I need some). Not only does eating more plants make you feel better, you also can maintain a healthy weight, have clear skin, more energy, better mental health and you are keeping your insides happy. Dr Libby’s Real Food Chef is a great example of how plant based diets can be fun and tasty.
L: That you can only get your protein from meat, which isn’t true.
Julia and Libby have agreed to share one of their nourishing treats with us. This recipe is simple to make, delicious and good for you - a winner in our mind!
SUPERFOOD BANANA POPS
4 or 5 bananas – chop in half and cut off the sides to make into more of a square shape (see picture)
8x sticks (use ice block sticks or skewers, you need something stronger than a tooth pick as the bananas can be quite heavy)
Choose any of the following, you need 1 cup worth.
- Cut bananas in half and skewer with a wooden stick. Place bananas onto non-stick paper on a baking tray and put into the freezer.
- If you're making a fruit and nut topping, place dried fruit, nuts and seeds into a blender or food processor and gently pulse until you have smaller pieces. Place into a bowl.
- If you are making the vegan chocolate dip gently melt coconut oil in a pan over a low heat on stove top, take off heat and stir in cacao powder and the sweetener. Put the chocolate dip onto a plate so it makes it easy to roll the bananas in.
- Take bananas out of the freezer – roll each banana in the chocolate dip and place back on baking tray. Sprinkle with the nut topping or with your choice of superfoods. Repeat with each banana and then place back into the freezer until chocolate has hardened.
These can be stored in the freezer or fridge. If you don’t want the bananas to be rock hard take them out after a few hours in the freezer and leave them to soften slightly in the fridge.