Brendon D’Souza lives, breathes and cooks food. He shares his passion for food through his recipes, reviews, food styling and photography on his blog. When he’s not cooking or blogging about food, he’s reading and watching videos about food or dreaming about food. We caught up with Brendon and discussed his love for food, healthy living and his views on sugar!
What does healthy living mean to you?
It’s all about living in balance. Of course it’s about keeping a balanced diet, which for me means plenty of fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes etc, but I also believe that it’s about keeping every aspect of your life in balance too. This includes your work, social and family life, and setting aside time for personal development, hobbies and time to relax. We do lead such busy lives, but the key is to realise that you have control of your life. If you want to change your life for the better then just do it.
Do you think quitting certain foods is a good way to get healthy?
Naturally, if you include more whole foods in your diet, then you will reap the benefits. So of course, minimising refined sugars and saturated fats will allow you to live a healthier life. In addition to eating healthily, we also need to exercise to make use of the energy in the food we’ve eaten.
How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle?
I’m no dietitian, but from what I understand our bodies are designed to break complex whole food down into the nutrients we need to survive. For me, religion plays a role in this mentality. In Catholicism we are encouraged to lead healthy lifestyles and respect out bodies. If you appreciate and value your body, then you want to look after it.
Like Lee Holmes, I too follow a rough 80/20 practice with my eating habits. I eat mostly vegetarian meals during the week and allow myself to indulge on the weekends, where in addition to healthy meals I include treats like cheesecake and chocolate. The great thing about vegetarian meals is that they are so colourful which not only brightens your mood, but provides a range of nutrients. I also use a lot of spices in my cooking which add great flavour and are also good for you.
I also enjoy quick walks during my lunch breaks at work. I have to admit that I’m a bit of a travel-nut and I enjoy walking around the streets of Sydney (or any city really) to observe life. I always have my camera with me too. In this way, a simple 30 minute walk becomes an exciting adventure – try it sometime, you won’t realise you’re exercising.
Describe sugar in three words.
Less is better.
Should sugar be viewed as something that is ‘bad’?
It’s almost like asking what’s the meaning of life, in that it is a question that will no doubt challenge society for generations. As a cook there are certain recipes like pavlova, cheesecakes and toffee, which when made in the traditional way, use processed castor sugar however there are so many unprocessed alternatives on the market these days that it’s easy to convert the recipe to follow suit. I’ve learnt from my sister, who is studying nutrition that we need sugar in the form of glucose for healthy brain function. With this is mind, we cannot completely cut out ALL sugars from out diet. It’s best to reap the benefits of natural sugars like those that are in fruits, veggies, legumes and proteins.
What is your favourite way to ‘treat yo self’ and get that sugar fix?
I’ve always had a love for cheesecake, except it has to be baked cheesecake because of the rich, dense texture which I love. Gelatine-based cheesecakes just don’t cut it for me. After eating copious amounts of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory on a trip to Hawaii, I have to admit that I have been ruined for life with cheesecake. They were just to good. At home I enjoy making a baked ricotta cheesecake which I stud with blueberries and candied lemon zest.
What advice would you give to people seeking to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Approach it in steps. This way it won’t seem so overwhelming. Perhaps start to replace one amount of processed food with a whole food alternative and build up. For example, you could swap a packet of chips for a handful of raw nuts, or a bottle of lemonade for chilled water flavoured with lemon slices in it. Try a #MeatFreeMonday and replace your roast beef with a whole sweet potato, rubbed with olive oil, garlic, cumin and chilli. Roast until tender and serve with a colourful garden salad. Share your achievements on social media and you will encourage others to follow suit. Get your family and friends involved too. You could organise running groups or games of soccer in the park. You’ll provide each other with motivation and support, and it’s a great way to socialise. You could do what I do and go on “Crazy Walking Tours of [Insert chosen city/ town/ place here]”. I may spend up to a whole day walking around the streets of Sydney, practising photography and absorbing the culture. Once again it’s all about balance.
Stay Sweet! CD