For those yet to have the pleasure, this young Montrealer who initially embarked on a teaching career and graduated from McGill with a bachelor’s degree in education, soon found herself on a completely different professional trajectory, one informed by a lifelong passion for food and cooking.
She was also heavily inspired by certain health challenges that both she and her mother were facing in their respective lives, all of which underscored firsthand the vital role that food assumes in maintaining optimal health and how incredibly important it is — at times lifesaving — to infuse our bodies with clean replenishing nutrients, prepared in the right way minus all the naughty stuff that so often sabotages good intentions and good health.
And so the Clean Eating Goddess was born, slowly but surely expanding a repertoire of really impressive healthy recipes, easily accessible on her website and fabulously displayed on her colourful Instagram feed, where hours can be lost viewing post after delectable post …
Speaking of which, don’t let the clean-eating moniker throw you. Despite an unwavering dedication to creating and sharing rejuvenating recipes, this master foodie never had any intention of compromising flavour, making it a dual mission to offer up some of the best varieties of comfort foods out there.
Given the explosive reaction to her digital and real-life feeds, we’d say mission accomplished!
Okay, Okay, you get the picture. Enough buildup. Let’s tawkkkk …
Jen, as is clear, food plays a huge role in our lives — the ultimate beautification from within! What are your top recipes for re-charging energy and giving the bod a boost?
A staple in my house is my Healthiest Bread Ever, packed with healthy fats and wholesome grains for the perfect A.M. boost. I also love my No Bake Cookie Dough Bites, ideal for pre- and post -workout energy restarts. (All recipes are available on the site.)
What about getting our glow on?
There’s nothing quite like a smoothie or juice for that! Whenever I feel a little sluggish, I make a smoothie brimming with vegetables — you really don’t taste them at all! The key is striking the right balance between fruits and vegetables.
For easier digestion, steam veggies, then freeze them. Some great go-to mix-ins are spinach, cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potato, kale, and butternut squash.
For protein, I like to use hemp hearts, spinach, and almond butter instead of powders. Plus, when adding almond butter, no almond milk is necessary because the butter and water blend into their own creamy milk!
As for the best glow givers, go for my Green Goddess Juice and Roasted Mediterranean Salad.
We hear so much about superfoods. Leading picks here please and the best ways to integrate them?
“Superfoods” is really just a fancy name for foods that are nutrient-dense. Incorporating them into daily diets shouldn’t be intimidating, or more importantly, expensive!
Believe it or not, the best superfoods are actually right there in your local grocery store — not in the highly-marketed magical powders and teas.
My favourites are dark leafy greens, berries, nuts and seeds, ginger, garlic and legumes.
The big trick though is to eat a variety to ensure that your temple is tapping into all its requisite nutrients.
Food prep is also clearly integral to clean- eating. Can you share prep tips?
One of the principal lessons I teach my clients is the importance of food prep. Temptations to order-in or grab sugary muffins and other bad-for-you junk on the fly inevitably manifest when there’s nothing ready to eat at home!
In my world, weekdays get incredibly busy, so I find Sunday afternoons the best time to spend a few hours prepping for the week.
I wash and chop vegetables and fruits so they’re ready for weekly roasting, salad tossing and/or snacking.
I also make portioned freezer bags of my smoothie ingredients, which then cuts down on morning measuring.
In the winter, pre-prepared soups and stews stay really well in the fridge and make for great grab-and-go lunches.
For dinners, I’ll often whip up one or two marinades in advance to pair with a protein of choice during the week.
Avocado, coconut or olive oil??!! Do we go for all three?? Helllpppp … !
Great question! We live in a very confusing food world right now. People are adding butter to their coffee and coconut oil to their smoothies!
On my side, I prefer to use these oils to help make food taste delicious! Avocado oil is a great high heat cooking oil (think grilling) and is rich in good-for-you monounsaturated fats.
For baking, I love unrefined virgin coconut oil in light of its flavour and texture and for great tasting salads and grilled veggies, I can’t get enough of a good quality extra-virgin olive oil (which also reduces inflammation). Talk about a win-win!
What about H20? Filtered, bottled, boxed?! How much per day?
While water consumption is an essential part of healthy living, the prescribed quantity per day is not a one-size-fits-all rule.
It really depends on the foods you eat, the amount of exercise you do, and other factors.
That said, when in doubt, go for the eight glasses typically recommended with a view to consuming more than less.
Often, when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually thirsty! So, drink first, then assess the craving.
Also, be sure to always keep a big bottle nearby (with straw) and drink filtered water.
We skip now to the wild and woolly landscape of organic and local! When is it essential to go organic, and where do you buy your organic produce?
Always buy local whenever possible. Regarding organic produce, there’s a list called the “Dirty Dozen” that ranks fruits and vegetables based on pesticide contamination. Some of the chart-toppers you should definitely try to replace with organic counterparts include strawberries, apples, spinach, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and bell peppers.
It’s also really important to wash all vegetables and fruits well. I like to soak mine in cold water for one to two minutes before rinsing well.
It’s also helpful to add any type of vinegar to your soak to remove bacteria. As for shopping, during warmer months, I love to buy my seasonal produce from the market.
But when it cools down, I shop for organic produce at L’Autre Choix Mini Marché.
The owner, Clara, is exceptionally knowledgeable about local farmers and what foods are best at any given moment.
Finally, when buying fish, look for wild-caught and for eggs and meat, go for organic and grass-fed.
While clean-eating for you is hyper-focused on food intake, do you supplement in any way? If so, what do you deem absolutely necessary and what brands bear the clean eating goddess stamp of approval?
Because I eat a well-balanced diet rich in whole foods, I don’t take many supplements. I prefer to eat my probiotics rather than take a pill.
A great way to do this is to make homemade coconut yogurt with a high dose probiotic (see the recipe on my Instagram feed @cleaneatinggoddess).
But when in doubt you can always take it in pill form. I like Nova Probiotics.
During the winter months, because we see so little sunlight, l takea vitamin D3 supplement.
Also, when eating a heavier meal, I’ll take a digestive enzyme to help with absorption. In terms of brands, I’m partial to Garden of Life and Metagenics.
At the end of the day, supplement intake is very personal and depends on the individual. If you feel great and eat well, there’s likely no need to start popping pills and packing powders into your smoothies!
As noted earlier, this feature is appearing in the beauty section. Hence the following: What are your best foods for …
Healthy fats such as avocados, chia seeds, hemp hearts, olive oil, and nuts all promote solid moisturizing from within.
Acne and other skin conditions?
In this instance, its’s really more about what foods to avoid. Certain food groups cause digestive/hormonal upsets which, in turn, can lead to and/or aggravate skin conditions.
One of the best things you can do here is a food elimination diet especially designed to pinpoint the culprits contributing to a condition. That said, it’s impor-tant to remember that genetics and skincare always play a role too.
Great hair needs to be nourished with healthy fats and protein-rich foods so throw some chia or flax seeds into a smoothie or over a salad!
My Healthiest Bread Ever recipe is packed with locks-loving protein from hemp seeds and healthy fats from nuts like almonds.
Though not interiors motivated per se: are there any clean beauty products you can’t live without?
A good hand cream! It’s so bizarre, but I can’t fall asleep without it. I love Weleda Skin Food. For toners, it’s all about Caudalie.
Finally, life mottos and philosophies are “a thing” here in Diary world. What are yours?
Living a balanced life, and most importantly, a life that is true to who you are! Although it’s wonderful to live in a world with such easy access to so much information, it can also be daunting and overwhelming as we continually search for magical overnight remedies for everything from rapid weight loss to glowing ageless skin.
The reality though is that such quick fixes don’t exist which sets many up for failure. But I’m here to tell you that there is a solution to living your heathy best life and it’s really quite simple: Eat real wholesome food, exercise, sleep and drink water.
Embrace this type of behaviour roughly 80% of the time, and then there’s ample room for those French fried, wine-inspired, pasta moments!
Finding this balance is the key to true beauty, health, and happiness. Make sure to always find what works best for YOU.
For more from the Diary Vol. 8 shoot with Karolina Jez, link here.
For more healthy living and beauty with the Clean Eating Goddess, head to cleaneatinggoddess.ca.
All photography KAROLINA JEZ