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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

An Interview with Alison Taafe!

Alison Taafe - Eat for Your Life

A while back, a received a copy of Alison Taafe's Eat for Your Life - and I was instantly captured by her story. Alison had been a chef for many years when her sister, Laura, was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. Alison who views food as something that can be your joy, passion and medicine decided that Laura needed to heal her life through food and natural medicine as traditional medicines simply weren't doing their job. 

They changed her diet, visited a Bio Medical Centre Clinic in Mexico which specialised in the Hoxsey Treatment - an alternative medical treatment which has seen to help patients with cancer. The treatment combines dietary changes along with supplements and medical treatments. I'll let Alison give you a little bit of insight about her, her life, her sister and her philosophy with our interview...

Kristy: Prior to your sister's diagnosis, how did you view food? Have you always seen food as medicine? 
Alison: I've been a chef for 32 years, so I've always eaten well and believed that food is a very powerful social activity - whether you're entertaining friends or cooking for the family. 

I've also taught nutrition and understand the principles of healthy eating, however, Laura's diagnosis and the journey we've been on for the past three years has really made me see food as medicine for the first time. I still love to indulge and share beautiful food with family and friends, but now I understand, in so many more ways, how healthy food can be an indulgence - and make you well. 

Alison Taafe - Eat for Your Life
Alison and her sister, Laura.

Kristy: How is your sister doing today?
Alison: Laura is incredibly well and continues to astound us all with her recovery. Everyone who knows Laura comments on how well she looks - her skin is beautiful, her eyes are bright and she feels wonderful and has resumed her happy, busy life with her husband, Rory and two young boys, Zak (8) and Elliott (11). Rory and the boys have completely come on board with her diet - it has changed the whole family's life and for the better.

Kristy: What is your husband, Steve's, favourite healthy dinner? 
Alison: That would have to be a grilled lean steak and a nice, fresh garden salad with a simple dressing - and it's one that he can make himself! 

Kristy: When it comes to entertaining friends, do you still cook healthy meals - or do you put together something more indulgent?
Alison: If Laura is coming for dinner - and she invariably is - we all eat the same thing, that is, something Laura can eat. I'll always believe sharing food should be a pleasurable experience and that you can indulge in delicious foods if you're not suffering from a terrible illness. 

Some of the foods I love to cook are Italian and Thai Cuisine, slow cooked braised beef and so on. I love the challenge of giving our favourite foods a healthy makeover - such as using wholemeal pastas and other alternatives I have outlined in my book, Eat for your Life. I've learnt that healthy foods can be exciting, colourful and absolutely delicious. 

Kristy: What is your favourite healthy breakfast? 
Alison: Fresh berries! I love to mix strawberries, raspberries and blueberries with Greek yogurt and homemade granola (the recipe is in the book). Or I might have my dairy-free, gluten free porridge and berries. 

Kristy: Since launching the book, how has the reaction been from the public? 
Alison: Wonderful! It's been heartening to know the book has inspired so many people from different walks of life. A common response to the book has been "healthy food has never looked so good!". The book received some great media attention so far and the word is spreading that you can change your life - and your health - just by eating the right foods and that a healthy diet can be complimentary to other treatments for serious illness. 

The key is to be open and change and embrace new foods and ideas. I'm seeing that people are ready for change and are more open minded than ever about healthy eating.

Kristy: How do your sister's doctors feel - are they eating their words? 
Alison: Most oncologists are focused on chemotherapy and/or radiation as a treatment for cancer - and I understand that because they are the tools at their disposal and that's how they've been trained. Diet doesn't really come into it for most, although of course they support healthy eating in general. All of the nurse at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane (where Laura has been treated) love the book and want to promote it as much as possible - so that's very encouraging.

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