Aine McAteer is an International personal chef, food educator and cookbook author. She has travelled the world in her work as a personal chef for many leading Hollywood actors and music icons. Her clientele includes Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Pierce Brosnan, Robert Redford, Marisa Tomei and Ringo Starr and she was a featured food and health writer for Oprah Winfrey’s website. Aine is not a believer in a “one diet fits all” approach and tailors her cooking to the nutritional and health needs of her clients. She has studied food and health extensively with leading teachers around the world.
“I started my journey as a chef/food educator in my late 20s. At the time I had been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and told by my doctors that I would be dependent on medication for the rest of my life. In my attempts to find a natural solution, I discovered macrobiotics. It was a very empowering time of my life, as I began to discover the powerful impact my food choices had on my general health, energy levels and well being. Not only did my overall health improve dramatically, but my skin and hair also took on a new life. I was always prone to acne and skin breakouts growing up, which I know now were the result in large part of what I was eating.
As I started to improve my health from the inside through a healthy, balanced diet, other facets of my life started to fall into alignment. I became aware that my skin is a major organ of elimination, so it made sense that consuming foods that were toxic to my body would result in issues with my skin. I also became aware that products that I was putting on my skin were being absorbed, like my food, directly into my bloodstream.
My work as a personal chef has taken me around the world and into the lives of many fascinating, creative and wonderful people. Many of my clients are in the public eye and of course, being the one who is feeding them I am always aware that the choices I make in their kitchens are going to have a powerful impact on their health, beauty and wellbeing. For the most part my clients get this and we work together to tailor a diet to their specific nutritional and health needs.
I’d like to share a few simple tips that can make a big difference in how we look and feel:
◦ HEALTHY START - I always like to start my day with a tall glass of room temperature water with the juice of half a lemon. Although an acid fruit, lemon has an alkalizing and detoxifying effect on the body and this reflects in the health and beauty of our skin.
◦ EAT MORE FAT – yes, you did hear me right. Every cell in our bodies needs healthy fats to survive and it’s a vital nutrient for healthy radiant skin. Consuming foods high in essential fatty acids found in oily fish, nuts and seeds, whole grains and vegetables support a healthy metabolism and the health of all our body systems.
◦ EAT THE RAINBOW - nature has gifted us with a wonderful spectrum of colorful fruits and veggies that are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that nourish the skin. Make these the core foods in your diet. My go-to lunch is a big salad bowl, always starting with a base of mixed greens such as rocket, spinach, lettuce, sprouts and topped with a range of raw and roasted veggies, olives, cooked lentils, quinoa, fresh herbs, toasted nuts or seeds and a sprinkling of goat or feta cheese.
◦ READ LABELS - A respected teacher once said to me ”don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t put into your mouth” and I’ve taken this to heart. Lotions, creams and potions that we put on our bodies are absorbed into our systems, so read the labels on your cosmetics as you do on your foods.
◦ THE BEST FACELIFT IS A SMILE - however much you lather and slather, there’s nothing quite as engaging and beautiful as a happy, smiling face. A smile lifts and tones your facial muscles and when it comes from the heart can bring a little more sunshine into the world.
For something to really smile about, try my fruity layered chia pudding for a delicious healthy breakfast or treat at any time of day.
Sunrise chia pudding: (I made mine with homemade Brazil nut milk, but you can use any milk like almond or coconut. For a lighter pudding you could use more water or juice and less milk, as the cashew cream gives it a nice richness)
◦ 1-½ cups nut milk
◦ 1-cup Apple or pear juice
◦ 1/2-cup chia seeds
◦ Pinch sea salt
◦ 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
◦ 1 cup cashews – soaked for at least an hour
◦ About 1 cup water
◦ 1 Tbs. raw honey
◦ Squeeze lemon juice
◦ Mint leaves to garnish
Whisk all the pudding ingredients together in a bowl and set aside, covered overnight. You want to make sure you whisk thoroughly for a couple of minutes when you add the seeds to the liquid as it has a tendency to clump.
TO MAKE CREAM: drain and rinse cashews and put into blender along with water and blend until smooth and creamy. Add honey and lemon and blend it in.
Layer into glasses, starting with the chia mix and topping with fruit and a dollop of cream. Sprinkle with shredded mint leaf.
NOTE: For a quicker version, you can layer with dairy or non- dairy yoghurt instead of the cashew cream. I personally love coconut yoghurt."
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