We caught up with Zoe Bingley- Pullin, celebrity chef, nutritionist and host on Channel 7’s House of Wellness to talk about how to stay healthy whilst travelling.
I am a Nutritionist, chef, author, presenter and mother. I have been working in the field of nutrition for around 15 years, previous to this, I formally trained as a chef in the South of France.
How did you become a nutritionist and what does your job as a nutritionist involve?
During my time in Europe, I began to understand the emotional, technical and psychological aspects of food but also wanted to understand the nutritional science part. This led me to study nutrition once I returned home from Australia.
I currently work on Channel 7’s The House of Wellness as a food and health reporter. I also work with a number of brands to promote their healthy living message as well as run my 8-week Falling in Love with Food program.
Has the food trends, research and view of diets changed over the years?
Most definitely, years ago, eating 5-6 smaller meals per day to keep your ‘metabolism firing’ was the norm and now fasting is becoming a popular style of eating.
Fats were previously feared and people are now becoming more accepting of fats while carbs are becoming a macronutrient people are more conscious of.
Vegan and plant-based diets are also on the rise as we learn more about the benefits of a higher plant intake. Previous to this, meat with a side of veggies was a pretty standard meal.
What are the key elements according to you when it comes to finding a healthy balanced diet/lifestyle?
It’s important to find out what works for you as opposed to blindly following others or what sounds good on paper. It’s also important to constantly check in with yourself and make sure what you are consuming is still serving your health because our needs are constantly changing.
Education is also key – if people don’t understand why they are being told to eat a certain way or why a specific food is good, they are unlikely to stick to it. This is why I place a strong emphasis on education throughout my Falling in Love with Food 8-week program, I have learnt this helps to create sustainable change.
Keep it simple is also a philosophy I follow when it comes to food – stick to good quality produce and whole foods and don’t complicate it!
Some people claim eating meat is bad, whilst others swear by staying away from gluten and dairy. What is your take on eliminating certain food groups?
I don’t believe in restrictive diets or cutting out certain foods (unless you have a medical condition which requires it), focusing mostly on plants and building your meals up from there based on your needs and taste preferences is a good place to start.
Everyone is different and its important to focus on what suits you as opposed to what everyone else is doing and saying.
Travelling can be challenging for most of us when trying to stay on the right path ie. eating healthy. What are your top tips to frequent flyers?
Maintain hydration – especially if flying and consuming alcohol. Carry a water bottle around with you and sip from it regularly.
Keep up with movement – even if its just 15-20min per day in your hotel room, you will feel better for sticking to some form of structured movement and it will make it easier to get back to exercising once you return home.
Pack some healthy snacks – travelling can mean getting caught short without our usual food options. Think ahead and pack some healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, raw nuts/seeds, seed crackers, roasted chickpeas or a nut-based protein bar.
Prioritise sleep – do your best to stick to your usual sleep/wake cycle as this will assist energy levels throughout the day. Try magnesium powder to promote sleep and leave the curtains open to wake in natural light.
Start the day with some vegetables – whether it’s a vegetable juice, green powder in water or a serving of veg on your plate, if your meals for the rest of the day are out of your control, you can feel comfort in knowing you at least had some veg to start the day.
Tell us a bit more about your cookbooks. What inspired you to write them?
My first cookbook Eat Taste Nourish was published in 2009, followed by Falling in Love with Food in 2016. I wanted to share not only a collection of my favourite healthy recipes but also the lifestyle possible from eating in a healthy balanced manner and the journey it took for me to get where I am at. It’s my hope, my story can inspire others to also have a healthy and loving relationship with food, for life.
What is your favourite healthy go-to dish that always makes you smile?
My cocoa, chia seeds, pear and coconut porridge from my Falling in Love with Food cookbook – I love to sit down with this dish on cold mornings and share it with my daughter as a nice way to start the day. Leftovers can also be kept in the fridge and warmed up the following day so it’s a great option to make in a large batch at the start of a busy week.
Learn more on www.zoebingleypullin.com