Having just stayed at the beautiful Herrington Span & Inn on a business trip for my new company’s Annual Planning Conference, I though it apt to introduce some North American flavour to my blog!
In my third Q&A, Theresa Albert – an author, a blogger, a regular nutrition expert on TV, a speaker, and a consultant to leading food brands talks to us about her career, food and, most importantly for me this last week, how to beat jet-lag!
Ok Theresa, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do…
I communicate about food and health in every way I can. In private practice, in print, on TV, in social media, in books…whatever it takes to share the word about food. We tend to think in terms of either/or with food. Either it’s healthy or it’s tasty, but not both. Given that food is the only fuel that the body uses to build, repair and fight illness, it is a pretty big part of life. Given that life is preciously short, the enjoyment of something that we do at least 3 times a day had better be a joy!
How did you get into the food industry?
I grew up in a French Canadian family where food was essentially the centre of the universe. It was only a hop, skip and a jump to culinary school/hotel school and then later nutrition.
So, you’re a nutrition expert – what does that mean?
I am a registered nutritionist in private practice but I don’t want to tell people that at a party. No one wants to sit next to me at the dinner table for fear of judgment. Given that I have both cooking and nutrition expertise, that moniker seemed the most appropriate. (Plus, it sounds less judgy)
You’ve spoken a lot about food and culture – such as at the #140conf in New York last year – why is this important to you?
We are all products of our environment whether that is a family of origin or a country. Both have their place and shape the course of an eating life as well as health. I think that culture is MORE important than what is on your fork at any given moment.
You travel a lot and must get asked this a lot, but…what food should we eat / avoid on long haul trips? Do you have a ‘beat the jet lag diet’?!
This is THE WORST thing we do to ourselves and it is a huge topic! I believe that, no matter where you are, you can make better choices. That said, travel is such a pit that it is hard to want them. When you feel bloated, dehydrated and jetjagged already…what’s an extra scotch with a side of fries? When travel is a part of your regular life, you just have to believe that it is much better when you don’t do this! Here are some easy steps to take for eating on the road:
- Take your breakfast with you. I travel with both chia and hemp seeds and sometimes packets of oatmeal. All I need is hot water and I have a good start to the day. If I can get yogurt and some berries, even better. It saves money, time and makes sure that you don’t land up with that other travel problem that isn’t discussed in polite company (constipation)
- Take melatonin one hour before bed in your new time zone and get a good sleep the first night away
- Drink lots of water
- Try to keep the coffee/tea to under 3 cups, it will only set you up for a fall. Stop drinking caffeine at least 6 hours before bed
- Get exercise early in the day. Ideally, you can walk/run/workout even for 20 minutes each day
- Be sure that each and every meal consists of 50% vegetables or fruits. That’s half of every plate
- Avoid deep fried foods (keep them for a treat at home if you must but on the road, it is way too easy to just eat the fries)
- While it is hard to control the calories in restaurant food, you can at least control the content and be sure that your body gets the nutrients it needs to recover
You have embraced digital media as a way of spreading the food love, but which social media channel has most value for you?
I was dragged in kicking and screaming from the traditional media world and I have to say that I now understand the importance of all the channels, I’m a twitter girl. I love the simplicity and immediacy of the genre and its ability to disseminate information quickly amongst friends and strangers alike. (And now I am trying to wrap my brain around Pinterest!)
You use your twitter handle for a lot of social stuff and leave the ‘Professional Theresa’ for your blog and TV…is this a conscious decision or is twitter not that relevant for your field of work?
Totally unconscious. If I had more time or more help, I would do a better job. It isn’t that I don’t believe in social for the professional, it’s just that I haven’t figured out how to manage it all…yet.
We’re all on-the-go seemingly 24×7 nowadays, what snacks would you recommend we had on our desks to give us a lasting boost to get through the day?
- a. Fresh fruit and raw nuts. Period
- b. If you have a fridge that changes to veggies and bean dip like hummus
Bottle of red or white wine?
RED, big and fat.
And finally: what do you do to switch off…cook?!
Hmmm. I will let you know when I figure it out. Haven’t switched off in about 5 years. I will say, though, that when I am cooking, I listen to music, drink my wine and breathe. I also find my head clearer when I ride my Vespa because there is no time to look at my phone, check twitter, take a call, make a list. All I can do is sing inside my helmet and watch out for cabbies.