ELLEBEING: First off, tell us more about Postmodern Foods and how you got into the plant-based food business?
DENISE: Postmodern foods are plant-based, organic, seasonal, health-supportive cold-pressed juices, smoothies, salads, savories, and desserts. I fell in love with plant-based, nutrient dense foods when I fell ill in Los Angeles in 2010. I went from doctor to doctor and none of them could tell me why I had sudden onset arthritis and horrible stomach pain. The first doctor I walked into asked me if I had HIV! I spent months getting negative test results for everything from cancer to IBS, and then I decided to take my health into my own hands by changing my diet and lifestyle. I never had a weight problem, but I hadn't led a particularly healthy lifestyle as a young adult - drinking a little too often, sleeping too little, and eating whatever was cheapest. It's only a matter of time until those trade-offs catch up with you, and I'm just grateful I got my wakeup call at 29 so I could start making the changes in my diet that would not only elevate my health and well-being, but also improve my mood, ability to access joy, and my overall spiritual well-being.
ELLEBEING: Congrats on turning your life around like that. It's very inspiring to hear your story! Tell us, what does a typical day of eating look like for you?
DENISE: A typical day of eating, truthfully, is wake up and have 1-2 cups of organic, pressed coffee, usually black, but sometimes with a coconut oil-based "butter" that I make, and/or a little water to cool it down (I don't like it too hot!) [note: most people would say this is a no no, but coffee is a diuretic which is great first thing in the morning, it's warming, I enjoy it, and it works for me!]. After coffee, later in the morning I'll usually have a vegetable-based juice. Early afternoon I'll have a salad, usually one of Postmodern's, and possibly a juice as well, depending upon how hungry I am - I usually keep a few on hand in case I need some extra energy! For dinner I'll usually do a little grains, veggies, fats - like I'll make an organic rice-based pasta, make my own (usually simple) pasta sauce, and toss it with a combo of raw and cooked veggies or greens. I'll usually have a small glass of organic wine with dinner as well. Post-dinner I'm usually not hungry (you shouldn't eat 3 hours before sleeping!), but if I am I'll have a handful of pistachios or a small bowl of organic popcorn. Filtered water throughout the day as well.
DENISE: I'm a huge fan of squash! I mentioned I also like pasta, so a great sub for that in the fall is spaghetti squash - roast and scrape noodle-like strings from nature's pasta machine ;) then top with sauce/toppings! I also love anything with a little too much sage. Pecan pie is my favorite Thanksgiving dessert, but I've yet to settle on an "interesting" enough version that is vegan/GF.
ELLEBEING: Do you ever splurge and eat something that is not vegan or plant-based?
DENISE: Very occasionally if I'm out at dinner with friends I'll have a little bit of cheese, but honestly the last time I did this was at a mexican restaurant in DC and literally everything came with cheese on it! Usually it's just one little thing, and I try to pick around it. We ordered guac and it came with cheese stirred in, shredded on top - I think the chips it came with even had cheese on them. I was sick the whole next day...so no more cheese exceptions. If a restaurant doesn't have vegan options, I'm opting out.
ELLEBEING: What veggies have the best beauty qualities? (like clear skin, healthy hair, etc.)
DENISE: The best beauty foods are foods that are high in vitamins and minerals! AKA plant foods. That's what helps to build healthy hair, nails, skin, but more importantly it's also what helps to build healthy organs supporting your overall health. The beauty of eating all plants is the only thing you have to worry about is making sure you get variety everyday, cover all your "color" bases, focus on plants that are in season, and seek out high quality organics - this will get you the highest concentration of vitamins and minerals as a starting point. From there you can add things like seaweeds (atlantic-based seaweeds) that are basically nothing but vitamins and minerals - almost no calories. Sometimes though it's more about how you eat in order to support your lifestyle, e.g. try to eat dinner about 6PM, so you can have dinner fully digested by the time you sleep at 10PM! Early bedtime and sleep that's unencumbered by the digestive process is one of the best gifts you can give to your body... and as they say, you need your "beauty sleep."
ELLEBEING: Tell that to my puppy who will not let me sleep in :P Finally…let's talk workouts. How often do you workout and what's your typical workout?
DENISE: I'm so busy I don't get to work out as much as I used to! I love it when I get the chance, and when I do it's usually spinning or swimming or running - I did a triathlon in 2010 and I hope to get to train for another at some point in the future, but those are still my go to workouts. Most days though I get my exercise running around the kitchen at work and taking my pup for long walks (which I LOVE doing!)