Meet the Foodie Experts of Brookdale Health Hydro

Chef Juliette Stephenson and dietician, Caryn Davies are the creative duo behind Brookdale Health Hydro’s nutritious and tantalizing meals that keep guests satisfied and leave them feeling fabulous.  I asked this dynamic pair for some of their tips for achieving healthy eating habits, and also to share some of their personal food preferences.

1. What are the best detox foods?

Juliette: Freshly prepared, natural, clean, homemade; nothing refined or processed. Lots of water infused with herbs, fruit slices, and other natural ingredients like cinnamon bark to make it interesting.

Caryn: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage contain phytochemicals that are natural detoxing elements. Also turmeric, ginger and garlic.

2. What about fad diets?

Juliette: New diets are always popping up but while we do keep up with trends and cater for allergies and intolerances here, it’s not about diets and quick fixes but about balance, reality, and a way of life.

Caryn: It’s important to include all food groups, which is what we do at Brookdale, that ensure all nutrients are available. Excluding any food group can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

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3. How to deal with food cravings?

Juliette: If it’s a caffeine craving, green tea contains natural traces of caffeine.

Caryn: Do something physical. Go for a walk, swim, do some yoga to take your mind off the craving.

4. What are some of the favourite dishes at Brookdale?

Juliette: Salmon but guests also love the freshness, textures and also the flavour combinations.

Caryn: Baked oatcakes at breakfast. These contain oats, raisins, milk, and eggs that are soaked overnight then baked and served with almonds, fresh fruit, and yogurt.

5. Recommendations for snacks?

Juliette: For mid-morning and afternoon snacks, kombucha goes down well and so do smoothies, both dairy and dairy-free.

Caryn: Trail mixes, nut butters, seed crackers, apple wedges.

6. Favourite kitchen equipment?

Juliette: A good knife.

Caryn: A vegetable spiralizer to make things like zucchini noodles. Also, a vegetable peeler to make cucumber ribbons and the like. Items like these make food preparation so easy and also help with food presentation.

7. What advice do you have for people wanting to adopt a healthier lifestyle?

Juliette: Remember that real food is simple and natural. The ingredients are not altered but the flavours are enhanced with herbs and spices. Processed, man-made food carries other negatives like all the packaging that’s so bad for the environment. We need to consider the natural environment when making food choices.

Caryn: Think about the food and where it is from and what processes it undergoes before reaching your plate. For example, think of a bowl of brown rice. Can you picture it in its natural state? Yes. But rice cakes – can you picture the processes involved in those? Probably not. Another suggestion is to buy only foods from the shelves on the periphery of supermarkets. Those outside shelves contain the natural foods.  The middle isles are packed with processed foods.

8. Do you have other helpful tips when shopping?

Juliette: Fresh, natural foods not dressed up in packaging or a long list of ingredients are the real deal.

Caryn: Real food doesn’t need labels. But read labels and be aware of how food is marketed. There’s often a lot of ‘portion distortion’ in processed foods and a lack of fibre and nutrients.

9. What is always in your fridge at home?

 Juliette: Fresh herbs; homemade salad dressings and pestos.

Caryn: A big variety of fruit and veggies.

10. What would be your chosen last meal?

Juliette: Smoked Norwegian salmon with roast veggies. Lots of freshness, texture, and crunch.

Caryn: Roast chicken, roast veg, gravy – the whole nine yards!

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Words Andrea Abbott

Photography Craig Scott

Leigh Hermon

A journalist by trade, features writer on occasion and now the digital editor of SA Country Life. The first chance she gets, Leigh will tell you about a podcast she was recently listening to and how you simply have to make the move from radio. In a previous life, she once taught English on Jeju which left her with an insatiable craving for kimchi.

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