Georgia Bamber is one of those people who is truly thriving on a plant-based diet. She talks the talk as well as walks the walk. She describes herself as a plant-based lifestyle advocate and health educator, ultra marathon runner, ironman and mother. That is quite a list! Through writing, speaking and online teaching she hopes to inspire people to harness the benefits of a healthy plant-centered lifestyle. Georgia has a long and impressive list of professional qualification which makes her an excellent researcher. This ability for collecting information makes her your ideal source for what’s making news in the world of plant-based nutrition.
This week I spoke with Georgia to find out what going on in her world…
How would you describe your approach to food?
I would say my approach to food is very conscious. I am very aware of the food that I, and my family, eat, and always have an eye as to the impact it will have on our health. Nearly everything we eat is cooked from scratch and is of course plant based. I grow nearly all the vegetables and some of the fruit we eat in our veggie patch. There is nothing better than picking something fresh from the garden and eating it even just minutes later – the taste is out of this world. So the emphasis is very much on real, whole and super fresh plant foods. That is not to say we don’t have treats every now and then. I LOVE baking and bake my own bread as well as yummy cakes and cookies.
What led you to discover this style of eating?
This way of eating happened over a number of years. After living in Asia as an expat for 10 years, my family and I craved open spaces and dreamed of living on a farm. So that is just what we did- we bought a farm on the South Coast of NSW and set about creating our own little corner of paradise. The first thing we did was put in a veggie patch and plant an orchard. As I started to learn about growing food, I began reading more and more about how the foods we eat affect not only our own health, but that of the environment and of course the animals who produce much of our food. I very soon went vegetarian and not long after fully vegan. I haven’t looked back and love eating a plant based diet.
You have described yourself as a writer, mother, vegan & athlete. How does the plant-based diet intersect which each of these facets of your life?
The food that I eat actually affects pretty much every aspect of my life. Firstly it provides all the energy I need to fuel the many activities I do every day. I research and write about food and wellness, so the ins and outs of plant based eating are a big part of my work. As a mother, plant based eating affects the food choices that I make for my family – we eat fully plant based at home, though the children sometimes eat animal products when they are out and with friends. As an athlete eating plant based has helped power me through many long endurance events including Ironman races, and ultra marathons up to 100km. Eating plant based is great to fuel training and is awesome for muscle recovery, which allows me to train more and bounce back quickly.
What benefits does your family receive because of your food choices?
There are so many benefits, but the main ones are that as a family we are all fit, trim and extremely active. My husband also trains for endurance events and my sons are keen sportsman as well. We are also in great health, which is worth more than anything.
If readers out there were interested in transitioning their family to a diet richer in plant-based foods what steps would you suggest they take first?
I think helping your children understand how the foods they eat affect how they look and feel is a great first step and educating them as to which foods are the best for them to eat. A lot of children just don’t make the connection. I think the best technique to eating more plant based is to crowd out the foods that you no longer want to be eating. So start by just adding more fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes to your meals, and you will naturally find that there is less room for the animal products. I run a challenge the 7-A-Day Fruit and Veg challenge that gets people eating 7 servings a day for a week. The feedback on how just this small step changes the way people approach eating has been really amazing. You can join the challenge here.
What plant-based nutritional research has you excited right now?
I am fascinated by the microbiome and how the foods we eat affect the bacteria that live within our bodies. Few people realise the affect that these microbes have on our health and even our mental well being. What is amazing is that people who eat plant based diets have completely different microbiomes to omnivores. Without the fibre from plant based foods it is hard for a healthy colony of microbes to exist.
What are your top ‘go to’ family friendly snacks?
We love hummus with veggie sticks and bread sticks, yummy smoothies and my home made banana bread.
Can you recommend any books, films or online resources that have changed the way you look and health and nutrition?
Like many plant based eaters my eyes were first opened by T. Colin Campbell’s book the “China Study”. But probably the most compelling book I have read is Michael Greger’s “How not to die”. I challenge anyone to read this and not start to rethink the way that they eat. Movies – of course Forks over Knives is great, and Cowspiracy is a real eye opener for anyone who wants to understand the impact of the food they eat on the environment.
How do you get inspired to prepare a meal?
I am generally inspired by what is growing in my veggie patch – So fresh seasonal ingredients are definitely my main source of inspiration. I am also big on meal planning, so I love sitting down on a Sunday afternoon and flicking through my various recipe books to find inspiration for the week ahead.
What is the next exciting project that you will be sharing with the world?
I am SUPER excited because I am just about to launch the “21 Day Plant Based Boot Camp” a program all about helping people who either want to try out a plant based diet, or transition to this way of eating. It really is for anyone who wants boost their health and energy levels. The program will include video lessons all about plant based eating, a private online community, live calls, meal plans, recipes, awesome preparation ideas and tonnes of tips and tricks that will make getting more plants on your plate easy. It is a fantastic program that I can’t wait to share. For more information you can visit www.eatingcleanandgreen.com
Georgia has shared one of of her kid’s favourite meals which is black bean tacos.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion – finely chopped
- 1 medium zucchini – finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic – finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder ( or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
- 1 can black beans (drained)
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- Fry the onion, garlic and zucchini in olive oil over low heat for 10 minutes until zucchini is soft and onions are translucent.
- Add the cumin, chilli powder and salt – cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the black beans and chopped tomatoes to the pan along with a cup of water to the pan.
- Simmer for around 15-20 minutes until most of the water has evaporated and the bean mixture is thick.
- Serve this bean filling with taco shells or in tortillas.
- Great toppings: chopped fresh tomatoes, shredded lettuce, guacamole, hot sauce, vegan sour cream.