10 minutes with Natasha Corrett
Natasha Corrett founded Honestly Healthy in 2010 and since then has published four successful books based on an alkaline way of eating. Natasha chats to us about her lifestyle and her new book, Honestly Healthy in a Hurry.
What is an 'alkaline way of eating'?
It's pretty straightforward. Acid-forming foods are things we all know we shouldn't eat a lot of, so processed foods, sugar, meat, alcohol, gluten and dairy. It's reducing that to 30% of your diet and increasing natural vegetables, fruits, pulses, grains to make up 70% of your diet.
How did you develop that plan?
I've struggled with polycystic ovaries and yo-yo dieted my entire life so I went to see an Ayurvedic doctor who told me about this alkaline way of eating and how it could become a lifestyle, not a diet. I then spoke to my godmother [nutritionist, Vicki Edgson] and I said to her 'I want to know more about alkaline'. She helped me create a plan and I wrote the recipes. That was years ago, we wrote the first two books together and now I carry on writing recipes based on the plan she put together.
Who would this alkaline way of eating suit?
I think it can suit everyone because you don't have to put a label on it. It's about cutting processed foods and sugars and refined food out of your diet.
Is it more aimed for women?
No not at all, my husband is a key example. When we first started dating 5 years ago, all he ate was burgers and pizza, and he drank loads of coffee - he felt awful and lethargic. I knew that by changing his diet, he could have more energy. Over the course of the last 4 years he's completely changed his diet and that's just because I cook for him (otherwise he wouldn't eat!) He's still having his steak and his fry-ups and his beer, but it's 30% of the time.
Your new book is about time-saving when cooking - how do you save time midweek?
On a Sunday I cook up all my vegetables, grains, pulses etc, make a frittata and some dips - it takes an hour and 15 minutes, and that means that all the food in the fridge is ready cooking. The idea is from the pre-cooked veg, everything takes a quarter of the time to cook. For example, if you've got roasted sweet potato in your fridge, you can make my sweet potato quinoa risotto in 10 minutes, you can make my sweet potato falafels, you can make the sweet potato porridge. So the idea is, you don't have to cook a lot to be able to create loads of delicious meals through the week.
I batch cook as well – I always say my freezer is my best friend. Every other week, I'll batch cook a curry or a daal or a stew or something like that and I'll make double the amount, then freeze it into portion sizes into freezer bags. I also freeze pesto into ice cube trays, because then you can just pop it out and you can use it for mixing into pasta, or put it into hummus, or use it as a filling for ravioli.
Sweet potato porridge
What do you have for breakfast?
If I've worked out I'll probably have either porridge or eggs on toast. But if I haven't, I'll just make a massive green smoothie, and then at weekends I tend to make crumpets or pancakes.
What do you put in your smoothie?
My favourite combo is spinach, pear, mango, mint, broccoli, pak choi – I always put my alkaline super boost blend in it as well which has got spirulina and wheatgrass in it.
Who has influenced your career the most?
In business, definitely my mum [designer Kelly Hoppen]. She's an amazing businesswoman and her support and her drive is incredible. I always go to her if I need a bit of help. Cooking-wise, I'm inspired by so many different people however I'd say the main thing that's inspired me is travel. We're going to Morocco this weekend and I cannot wait because my taste buds are going to explode!
What's the most important lesson that you've learnt since setting up your own business and writing your books?
You need to be original and you need to find your own niche; don't copy what other people are doing because they're being successful. Lots of people will get on the bandwagon and copy and that's a form of flattery and it's amazing, but then once that happens and it becomes oversaturated you need to find the next way. Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself.
What's next for you?
We were in India last year and saw these really cool tuk tuks everywhere. I thought how cool would it be to have one that served food? So we got one designed up and it's finally arrived. It's called the Green Machine. It's super cute and I'm going to sell smoothies and my food out of it at festivals throughout the summer. Then after the summer it will live at a London tube station. Look out for me in London driving my tuk tuk!
Photos taken from Honestly Healthy in a Hurry by Natasha Corrett (Hodder & Stoughton £25). Photography © Lisa Linder