Self-confessed ‘nut’ and author Susan Jane White is taking the clean eating world by storm with her second book The Virtuous Tart. Here Susan tells (super fan) The Beauty Inbox how you can still be ‘naughty’ and eat well.
On changing her eating habits
The turning point was looking like Quasimodo! And feeling like a rescue dog. My diet used to be very restrictive. Cereal and milk for breakfast, biscuits, cakes, scones for snacks, sambo for lunch, pizza or pasta for supper, followed by hot milky drinks and more white-floured, white-sugar snacks. Where’s the excitement in that?
I was so obsessed with wheat, sugar and dairy that my diet became incredibly restrictive. Giving these foods up for a few years in the beginning offered me new taste buds and a new lease of life. It’s the opposite of restrictive – it’s the most liberating thing I have ever achieved. Suddenly I was exposed to hundreds of outrageously tasty ingredients that I never knew existed. Buckwheat pancakes, soba noodles, chickpea falafel, courgetti noodles, Mexican chilli bean, teff and amaranth waffles.
My diet is mind-blowingly tasty, and I can’t believe it’s so healthy too. I have more energy now than I ever did in my twenties. My skin glows brighter. My concentration lasts longer. And most of all, my patience runs forever. I feel I have nourished my body, so now, my body is nourishing me.
On her recipe inspiration
My fridge is my inspiration! I always try and use up everything in my fridge. “Must” is a great master. I love following My New Roots, Emma Galloway, Anna Jones. All these ladies are impossibly talented in the kitchen, marrying exciting flavours and weird-sounding ingredients.
On her latest book, The Virtuous Tart
I’m pretty cheeky and potty-mouthed [in The Virtuous Tart]. So there’s a lot of sass, and taking the mickey out of the “clean eating” trend. Why do cookbooks have to be so po-faced? Erm, can’t they be fun too?
The Virtuous Tart helps you service your sweet tooth, without the boring stats or dietary instructions. Healthy food should never tax your taste buds. I’d rather neck a glass of sneeze than go on a diet.
On her current favourite recipe
The pomegranate halva is mind-blowingly good and takes 60 seconds to make. It will have you feeling more virtuous than a canonised nun.
On the occasional slip-up
Hell yeah! Except I don’t see it as a slip-up. There’s no harm indulging now and then. I think it’s more harmful depriving yourself of the things you love in life. The difference for me is that I’ve found recipes that are so darn good, I don’t crave trashy treats anymore. I prefer the taste of my homemade treats. Convenience foods rarely stand a chance now.
On her guilty food pleasure
My coffee-bean ice cream. Although it doesn’t have sugar or dairy. Does that count? I use sumptuous sesame paste and date syrup instead. It’s The Boss.
On staying in shape
By pegging it after my little vandals, Marty (3) and Benjamin (5)!
On her favourite health care products
Brace yourself – it’s extra virgin coconut oil. I use is as a moisturiser and as a make-up remover. Brilliant for stubborn mascara and way more affordable than mainstream brands. You’ll save a fortune, and treat your skin with the kindness it yearns.
On the one fruit and the one vegetable she can’t live without
Apples – sweet, crisp, clean. My family go through two dozen a week. And the avocado – sumptuous, rich and creamy. Oh, and get this! Folate in avocados is thought to boost histamine production, which is apparently necessary for optimal orgasms.
Catholics were forbidden to eat avocados when the Spanish conquistadors brought them back to Europe in the 16th century. They evoked pleasures of the flesh at a time when contraception was not available. And the Aztec people of South America – the same cunning chaps who invented hot chocolate – called the avocado plant the Ahuacatl. This translates as testicle tree.
On her worst beauty faux pas
White lipstick. I was 15, and misinterpreted the attention I received as positive. Turns out, people starred because I looked so ill.
On her proudest achievement
Homebirthing my two boys. Every time I look at them, I feel like imploding with love and adoration.
- as told to TBI