co-host of Z Living's new show Healthy Gourmet (premiering August 8)
may charm you with her bright blue eyes and gorgeous smile, but her encyclopedic knowledge of health, wellness, and nutrition
is what's truly enthralling about the nutritionist. And some of that know-how comes from personal experience: After suffering from a digestive infection and rebuilding her system over four painful years,
Daniluk turned her healing journey into the best-selling book Meals That Heal Inflammation
and her co-host, chef Ezra Title,
on Healthy Gourmet
, as they spar in battles between taste and nutrition. Find out where to watch here
In anticipation of the show, we asked Daniluk about her own pathway to joy:
In your view, what do happy women know?
"Happy women know that they have to let go of the small stuff … and it is almost all small stuff! I have learned I can’t be hung up on perfection, as it is enemy of my spirit. I think happy women know that life is all about the connections you make, the contribution you manage, and most of all the compassion you show your friends … starting with yourself."
What is your personal approach to health and wellness?
"I don’t believe in rigid diets or meal plans because I think they are outdated methods of control that are bound to fail. Instead, I enjoy inspiring people to create what I like to call the “LIVE-IT”, a vibrant lifestyle that has you making tasty yet healing choices everyday. The way you eat food should be as individual as your fingerprint.
The trick is to tap into your intuition rather than just giving into cravings. If you can make friends with vegetables, then the rest of the menu comes into balance easily. For example, can you try whipped cauliflower over mashed potatoes? Can add raw micro greens to the top of your next stir-fry right before you serve it? Do this until you get your 10 servings a day. I promise they will give you such a boost of energy."
On your website, you discuss your challenges with eating disorders growing up, which was an important step along your journey to becoming a nutritionist. How have your feelings about your body evolved over the course of your life?
"I wish I had half the confidence in my teens that I have now. It is funny how we often critique our bodies when we are wrinkle free. We focus on the flaws as a young person, but if we age well, I find it easy to relax and find gratitude for a body that is functional.
My approach to food has also relaxed a great deal. I used to run by strict food rules and now see the importance of flexibility and enjoying food to the fullest. Saying that, I have learned to avoid my food intolerances to feel my best. Now that I know my triggers (i.e. cane sugar and gluten) and strictly avoid them, my mind is so clear and positive, my body is free of inflammatory pain and my digestion is perfect.
My desire to be fully engaged in life began to outweigh the few moments of pleasure I got from tasting something I was allergic to. I also learned that I could make treats that didn’t cause allergic reactions, so now I have my cake and eat it too.
By listening to my intuition about food, and learning which foods were nourishing, I became a more conscious and caring person. My mission now is to help others find that escape out of food prison. I am so grateful I kept digging into the symptoms and found a solution. I put what I learned into a 5-day video course that you can access free for a limited time."
What do you love to cook and eat?
"It was only out of necessity when I was rebuilding my health that Alan started to help me capture the 400 delicious and healing recipe creations found on my blog and in my books. As you can see on Healthy Gourmet, I strive to make foods taste incredible and pack them full of nutrients. Some examples include:
What piece of advice would your present day self give yourself from 10 years ago?
- Avocados have the ability to boost levels of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that ramps up your immune system, warding off invading pathogens that are an underlying cause of inflammation. My favorite way to use avocado is in my key lime pie recipe which is featured on Healthy Gourmet and on my website.
- Shiitake mushrooms are very high in polyphenols – nutrients that are effective in protecting liver cells from damage. Supporting the liver is critical to the fight against inflammation in the body. Studies show that shiitake mushrooms may prevent fat deposition and lower triglyceride levels. I love our shiitake mushroom soup created for the artists on Healthy Gourmet.
- Artichokes are a fantastic weight loss food due to their high fiber content. They are also a soothing liver tonic, which helps to bring balance to the hormones. Artichokes can help prevent the development of stomach ulcers. Popular in Italian food, Ezra and I fought about artichokes in the Italian golfing episode."
"Don’t put off seeing the people you are most fond of. Spend more time with folks over 77 and people under 7. Leave your day job and trust that people need your gift and what you are teaching.
Happiness is actually a choice. When I figured that out, life started flowing much easier. And most importantly, gratitude is the way through anything, so when trouble strikes, start sharing everything that you are thankful for and it will seriously turn on your positive brain chemistry."
How do you de-stress these days?
"I love dancing, and break out 'the robot' at any opportunity, much to [my husband] Alan’s embarrassment. Check out some of my favorite dance tunes here. I love well-written recipes but prefer not to cook from them.
I like to improvise with whatever inspires me and is in season (or in my fridge!). I also do a great deal of yoga before I film so I can bring my A-game. My brother is a great yoga instructor and I listen to his yogic sleep guide all the time. You can get a free download at juliedaniluk.com."
What makes you happy?
"My happiness stems from a balancing act of contrition and gratitude for the present moment. I think we all have short-term pleasure experiences and long term happiness that comes from a deeper, consistent investment.
My short-term pleasures include roller coasters, scuba and freediving, public speaking, playing my ukulele and walking a farmers market with my husband. My long-term happiness comes from witnessing people awakening to healthy gourmet food and bonding with my favourite friends over a lovingly prepared local organic meal.
Oh, and sugar-free chocolate makes almost every human happy – it stimulates your brain to feel it is falling in love. Here is my recipe."
Who are some of your role models for living an awesome/happy/healthy life?
"I think one of my greatest role models is Kris Carr. As an irreverent foot soldier in the fight against disease, Kris inspires countless people to take charge of their health and happiness by adopting a plant-passionate diet, self-care practices and learning to live and love like they really mean it.
I suggest you read or watch anything from Dr. Vandana Shiva. She is one of the most intelligent humans on the planet and my true hero. She is one of the top environmentalists speaking up about the importance of organic farming. If we don't take care of our home, where are we going to live? Mars is so dry this time of year.
I also adore my husband Alan Smith. He has the ability to stay present and relish in the important things. He keeps me balanced by pulling me away from the computer to go for a walk in the woods. He is the rock that I am able to launch my wellness boat from. He understands the happiness that come through contribution and is always helping people with an inner peace that is a soothing balm for the spirit."
WATCH on Z Living: Healthy Gourmet, where nutritionist Julie Daniluk and chef Ezra Title join forces and battle between taste and nutrition, helping home cooks create nutritious and tasty meals that can feed a crowd. See a sneak preview here.
Tell us in the comments: What's your favorite "healthy gourmet" meal to fix?