Foodie Friday: Claire Obeid
I first met Claire Obeid when I was a magazine girl and she was a PR girl, but these days we’ve both see the clean, green light and ventured into the health world. Claire is now a Hatha Yoga Teacher, Holistic Health Coach and creator of The Wellness Project. Claire is on an ongoing quest to cultivate true health and happiness through balance within her own life and those of her clients. She helps corporate, private and group clients to live as the best versions of themselves. No rules, no diet – just the fundamentals of connecting in to who you are, feeding your body in the best way possible and nourishing the soul.
Meet Claire …
What was the catalyst that turned you into a healthy foodie?
After years of abusing my body and mind, it was my first experience on a yoga mat that really set about true change. As I started to open up and connect with my body – really listening to its messages – I began to care about what I was putting into my body. Ultimately it came down to respect. I’d finally developed a deep sense of respect towards my body and its capabilities. So eating well simply became about honouring that and wanting to be the best version of myself.
What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your diet?
It’s simple. It has to be real, wholefood. Nothing processed, packaged, refined.
No sugar. Lots of good quality fats from wholefood sources. Veggies and lots of them. A high vegetarian diet, but I do eat animal based protein so it must be grass-fed or pastured, otherwise I won’t eat it.
If you were trying to convert someone to your dietary philosophy, what would you make for them?
Well, I try to avoid converting people to my dietary philosophy, even as a health coach because I believe that we are all different and we require an individual approach based on lifestyle, genetics, culture etc. Having said that, the way I eat isn’t based on anything weird and wacky – its simply real foods that our great grand parents would recognise. So, if I were making a meal for someone I would start with a big yummy green smoothie to take the ‘fear’ out of healthy food and show how tasty it is.
I would then make a balanced meal that was predominantly veggie (crunchy veg and leafy greens) with a decent helping of good quality fat (coconut oil, olive oil, real butter) to absorb all the nutrients and a sprinkling of some of my favourite superfoods – hemp seeds, chia seeds, apple cider vinegar. For a meat-eater I would serve only grass-fed/pastured products to highlight the quality of the meat, the fat and the life of the animal. Otherwise I like cooking fish and seafood for lots of yummy Omega 3s or beans (chickpeas etc) for veggie based protein.
To finish a delicious raw cacao, coconut + nut based dessert.
How do you stay healthy while travelling?
I’m about to head off to Bali and then India at the end of the year – so I’ll tell you after that! Usually, I just go with the flow. I don’t gorge on bad food, I’m still selective of what I’d like to eat, but I’m also relaxed about it. When I was on the Inca trail the food was cooked each day by our porters. Some of it most certainly wasn’t ‘healthy’… but that wasn’t the time or place to get stressed over it. Sometimes when you are in places where you can’t get what you want, you just have to let go of the anxiety around it, which I feel is more detrimental to your health and accept the moment as it is.
If I can though I pick up lots of fresh fruit from farmer’s markets or street vendors like I did in Brazil and munch on that. I’ll also grab some nuts, carrots and other easy to eat veg. I tend to hunt down a healthy smoothie or juice bar and hit that up everyday! If I am backpacking I’ll buy a few things when I first arrive and store it in the communal kitchen – eggs, some veg, healthy snacks and try and fill up on that in the morning so I’m not making bad decisions throughout the day.
What are your go-to meals and snacks when you are super busy?
I always have a batch of cacao, tahini and nut bliss balls, which give me lots of energy. I also have a huge batch of activated nuts and seeds in my fridge so I’ll grab a handful and snack on those. A quick smoothie can fill me up too. I also make and freeze healthy gluten-free ‘muffins’ filled with homemade almond meal, nuts and fruit. And a little trick I picked up from Sarah Wilson – ‘frittatini’s’ – mini egg + veg frittatas that I also store and freeze individually. It makes grabbing and going a lot easier!
Juices or smoothies: Which do you prefer? What’s your favourite combination?
This is a hard one. I’m the Resident Health Coach at Urban Remedy who do both! But I think I have a soft spot for smoothies. I love a green smoothie with lots of added superfoods or a cacao, tahini, coconut smoothie – it’s so moorish and feels naughty, except it’s quite the opposite!
What’s the biggest nutrition misconception you always have to clear up for people?
Ahh – I love this question! I’m constantly trying to help women see that fat is not something to be afraid of. The misconception that GOOD fat makes us fat has been drilled into us for a good few decades now, and it’s very unfortunate. Even when my friends and clients know, theoretically, all the information behind why we need fat and why it doesn’t make you physically fat, it is still a habit that dies hard – they still reach for low-fat, fat-free, skim products that are pumped with sugar and salt. It’s the one thing I am on a mission to change!
If you could prepare a meal for anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and what would you make?
I’d make my parents their favourite Middle Eastern dishes, which I grew up on – amazing, health-giving food was made with so much love. I hope one day I can make even half of those meals with such skill and show my parents that I have absorbed and learnt from them. I know that’d make them proud.
What does being a Wellness Warrior mean to you?
It means sharing information (just like someone else did for me) that will help bring about balance, true health and happiness for others. It’s our birth right to love and respect ourselves and live in our truth – mind, body and spirit. It took me a while to figure it out – that no one else is going to make your life better but you – but I’ve never looked back since so I hope to pass that on to others.
It’s also a personal journey where I get to focus on being the best version of myself. That rocks my world – it’s a lifelong project but I love every moment of discovering, exploring, understanding, achieving, failing, laughing, crying, experiencing… it’s all about wellness ultimately.
A Recipe From Claire
What you’ll need:
1 bunch of coriander
1 bunch of parsley
500gs of chickpeas
1 tbs gluten free baking powder
1 tsp cumin
1-3 garlic gloves to taste
Other spices that work well cinnamon, turmeric, sumac, za’atar, pepper and salt – all optional and to taste – I put a dash in of whatever I have. Not complicated, just use what you have.
What to do:
1. Chuck everything into a food processor and blend.
2. Look at your mixture, it might be too sticky (add in a touch of any flour you like – chickpea/coconut/whole wheat).
3. If it’s too dry, add in a touch of water to soften.
4. Blend again
5. Take a spoonful of each mixture to roll into a ball or a flat pattie (whatever shape really!)
6. Heat coconut oil (ghee, butter or olive oil) pan.
7. Quickly fry off, until golden brown on all sides.
8. Serve with a tahini, olive oil and lemon juice dressing and a big side of dark leafy greens.
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Positive affirmation for the day: I instantly replace toxic thoughts with nurturing ones.
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