We’re so super excited to introduce you to a dear friend that we’ve made via the blogosphere (seriously, blogging and social media is awesome for making friends!). This is Shan Cooper, from the blog My Food Religion! She is a totally awesome human and her recipes are drool worthy. Get to know her a little better and then go and make her amazing paleo salted caramel choc macadamia fudge!
Tell us about how you ended up doing what you’re doing with My Food Religion…
I have always loved cooking and trying to ‘healthify’ those ‘naughty’ foods to become a more nutrient dense version. I started posting recipes on Facebook for the clients at a friends boxing gym and was finally convinced to start a blog so it would be easier for them to find the recipes. It has just grown beyond what I ever imagined from there. I have had the most amazing opportunities to do consulting, workshops, cooking classes and share my crazy ramblings and recipes on so many different platforms, I feel grateful every day that I can share my passions with others.
Tell us who/what inspires you…
My mum and dad because they are just amazing humans on every level. My husband Trav is my rock. He encourages me and pushes me gently out of my comfort zone all the time. Without his enthusiasm and passion for life I would have never had the courage to do what I am doing. People like Jess Ainscough, Pete Evans, Jamie Oliver, Sean Croxton and fab bloggers like you gorgeous girls. These amazing people who are spreading the message of true health and wellness and empowering people to take their lives back into their own hands and find their own health and happiness again.
What does a day in the life of ‘Shan’ look like? We want to know what you do and what you eat!
Well I wish this was more glamorous and starting with being woken by my personal assistant bringing breakfast in bed… BUT, the real story is… I get up about 6am, walk our 2 Great Danes (Astro and Audrey, the ‘A-Team’), chow down on some eggs, sautéed kale and avocado with sauerkraut and a coconut milk coffee. Then off to my ‘real job’ which is in the animal health industry. Lunch is generally leftovers from the night before with a green veggie smoothie. I train in the afternoon after work either a weights session, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session or yoga then home to walk the beasts again and prepare dinner. Dinner can vary between ‘gourmet feast’ (if I am recipe testing for the blog), to something completely pedestrian like free-range cr@p-free sausages and salad. I LOVE to sleep, so I am generally tucked away in my bed by 9pm.
What’s your advice to people trying to live a healthier lifestyle? Maybe you can provide your top 5 tips!
1. Be kind to yourself, don’t beat yourself up and take it slowly. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a long-term lifestyle change.
2. It starts with food. You can beat yourself up in the gym 5 hrs a day but that won’t make you healthy, it will likely just have you battling adrenal fatigue. Just eat real food. Try and avoid food-like-products that have long ingredients lists. If it comes out of a packet, it’s probably not ideal… unless it’s coconut butter… then it is ideal 😉
3. Get good quality sleep. Lack of sleep will affect all aspects of your health and wellness. Make it a priority.
4. It’s not a diet. It has to be a lifestyle change. For good. Diets don’t work. If they did we would not be battling a nation of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. If that shake or ‘fat-blasting’ pill actually worked, why are people still fat? If it were that easy, everyone would just do it. It’s not that easy… but it’s not that hard either.
5. Find the joy in your life. Everyone has their $hit, it’s just different $hit. Dwelling on it just sucks the joy from the rest of your life. Focus on the good bits and you will amplify them.
Tell us more about Astro and Audrey – we are already in LOVE with them!
The ‘big-man’. He is our baby and he is like the BFG. Very sweet, very dopey, and thinks that he is a lap-dog. Astro is 5 1/2yrs old and has more health issues than worth mentioning but the most significant is a condition that results in a compressed spinal cord. We just sold our house because we had steep stairs that he was having trouble with. He is totally spoilt. We also recently adopted a now 16wk old Dane pup Audrey who is also very sweet but a complete menace.
How do you stay active and why does it work for you?
I do things I enjoy and I don’t do things I don’t. I hate long distance running so I don’t do it. I love walking- with the dogs, with friends, by myself with a weigh vest and a good podcast. I love weight training, it makes me feel strong and capable. I have grown to appreciate yoga and the way it helps me calm my mind. I do something every day, even if it’s just a walk with the dogs.
If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
Just because it’s fat-free and has a ‘tick’ doesn’t make it healthy… actually, likely quite the contrary. Stop being a fat-phobe and a sugar junkie.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
Jamie Oliver. I love his philosophy around food. I love the way he cooks with complete abandon and the way he uses fresh, real ingredients.
Tell us something we MUST know… what’s the next big adventure for My Food Religion?
Share your mantra, what do you live by each day?
Nourish yourself from the inside out. Love with reckless abandon and smile often.
Now for the fun part… share your all time favourite recipe with us! YUM!
Hmmmm fav all time… that is so hard but this Salted Caramel Choc Macadamia Fudge is up there! I’ve posted the recipe below!
For more info on Shan and My Food Religion, click here!
- 10 fresh pitted dates
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup lightly toasted macadamias
- 4 tbs coconut oil
- 2 tbs raw cacao
- pinch rock salt
- Pop the dates in a bowl.
- Pour over the boiling water and push them down with a spoon so that they are covered best you can. Leave to sit for 5 mins. You could take a quick shower. Or paint your toenails. Or just watch them soak. Whatever floats your boat.
- Now add the dates and water to your food processor and blend to combine.
- Add the coconut oil and raw cacao and blend until smooth.
- Pour into a small baking paper lined container.
- Sprinkle the macadamias on top and push them down a bit.
- Sprinkle with a bit of rock salt and pop in to the freezer to set for 30 minutes before slicing.