Interview Part 4 of 4 | examiner.com | January 28, 2015 | A. Michelle Blakeley
As I wrap up my interview with Terry Walters and featured recipes from her Eat Clean Live Well book,
What’s the story behind your latest cookbook, Eat Clean Live Well?
It was fun to write about my life and not just the recipes. To take it outside of the kitchen and talk about the journey and how I use this to not only feed my family, but to keep us healthy throughout the year and how our choices change from season to season. Planting the garden, joining a CSA, making cleaning products for our house, cleansing in the Spring, keeping my kids immune system strong when they go back to school, the reflection and self-assessment, quiet meditation and healing… talking about all of that is so intimately connected to the food we eat. The book includes all of those lifestyle pieces and the recipes with the food all in harmony with the environment and the changing seasons.
I also came out a little bit from behind the cover of the book for people to see my family and that I’m just like everyone else. I’m home cooking dinner and empowering and teaching my kids how to make good choices. It’s my hope that it will resonate with people and their own lives. I think when we share the journey, there’s as much nourishment in sharing it as there is in the food. So, it was fun to bring that whole component into the book, plus there’s like 200 new recipes!
Were these recipes gathered over a period of time that you’ve held onto or recently created for the purpose of the book?
Both. My last book came out in 2010. I teach regularly. Every time I teach, I create five new recipes. So, when the deadline was quickly approaching, I had an outline and knew what I wanted to write and I just went back and looked over the recipes I’ve created since the last book and I looked at the season ingredients that were missing. Then of course, you’re on a deadline and sometimes you just get creative.
The book is beautifully done. I try to get my readers to eat with their eyes first. Let them try it and taste it and then tell them, “Did you notice, there’s no meat in it?” I always think it’s better to get people to be enticed by the visuals of the food and then you can engage them in a conversation about the health benefits or the fact that it’s vegan or vegetarian or dairy-free, etc.
Everyone wants to label my book as vegetarian or vegan. I never want that because there’s a whole section of the population that’s not going to try it because of the label. When the reality is that it’s really delicious and good food. When I first starting making recipes, I wanted to make HEALTHY food. Now I focus on making DELICIOUS food and part of that is visual. I did have this panic with my first book, when they wanted to go back and put photos in. I was like, “Ooh, I’m not sure that it looks that good. It tastes good, but not sure about the looks.” Now I look at texture and color and all of those things I really didn’t understand when I first started out.
What advice or tips do you have for new vegetarians?
I think the best thing to do is not to judge yourself. Focus on brining IN. Don’t focus on depriving yourself of the foods you love. Just pick one new food. Find a vegetable or whole grain and go to the back of the book and find a recipe for it and just try it. Focus on making it doable for you. Over time, your pantry changes, slowly. Your lifestyle changes, slowly. In the course of a year, you’ve added so many new foods to your diet. Your choices are totally different. Your health is totally different. You’ve either found healthy versions of certain foods or they’ve fallen by the wayside. There’s no sense of deprivation, just a healthy fullness and feeling satisfied with your new foods.
I tell people all the time, if you still don’t know where to begin, just go to the store and buy something green. Just start. I had one woman come up to me after an event who said, “I love everything that you’re talking about, but I just don’t think I can do it. I take care of my elderly parents and work and by dinner time, I’m exhausted and sometimes I just need to open that can of soup. I told her no one is trying to take away your can of soup. But the next time you go to the grocery store to get the can, buy a head kale, swiss chard or spinach. Take one leaf of kale or chard, chop it up and put in the soup. You’ve just made the soup cleaner. You’re developing a taste for kale, you’re slowly changing your lifestyle.
It’s my hope that people aren’t going to feel judged. There’s no judgment in these books. This book will meet them exactly where they are. And that’s different for everyone.
What recipe from Eat Clean Live Well do you most want people to cook?
Only because they are on my counter right now, it’s the No No Bars. They’re good for kids, good for athletes. My daughter came home from school one day and asked, “What are you making?” I told her, “There’s no gluten, no dairy, no baking, no soy, no nuts. So I’m going to call them No Gluten, No Dairy Bars. She says, “Oh, they’re No No Bars!” They’re high protein, good energy; I’ve taken them to school for the kids, they’re great.
What can we expect from Terry Walters this year?
Book four. More fermented foods. Good baking. I’ll be touring for the book. Some video instruction. Lots of good things coming.
This Week’s Featured Recipe | Vegetable Curry Pot Pie
(Full disclosure: I received a copy of Terry’s book for review. However, all of my reviews, opinions and/or other commentary expressed here are my own and based on my experience with a product. I am not affiliated with any brands mentioned in my column nor do I endorse them and they do not endorse me.)