Plant-Powered Peeps: Meet Jess from Jess Cox Nutrition
This week’s plant-powered interview is with one of my all time favourite nutritionists – Jessica Cox. Jess runs a popular nutrition clinic in sunny Brisbane, Australia, and has become somewhat of a celebrity-chef in social media circles. Why you ask? Jess combines solid nutritional principles with delicious healthy easy to make (and gorgeous looking) recipes, topped with a dollop of her own unique humour.
What I love about Jess (other than the fact she’s marrying a Kiwi bloke very soon), is her balanced and holistic approach to nutrition. Jess provides an array of incredibly delicious looking and tasting intolerance-friendly recipes, as well as therapeutic nutrition advice focussed on organic plant-based wholefoods. Another element I love about Jess’ approach, is she’s passionate about preventative healthcare and the use of food as a medicinal tool. I truly believe this is going to be an increasingly significant part of our healthcare system going forward.
In terms of creds (and I do love a good credential), Jess has a Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc) in Nutritional Medicine, and is registered with the Australian Natural Therapies Association (ANTA). She also happens to have a Bachelor in Visual Media majoring in Photography, which is why her food shots are always so darn drool-worthy.
Without further adieu, come on down and meet Jess (and her delectable carrot cake pancake recipe)…
Why did you decide to turn to a more plant-powered organic lifestyle?
I was brought up on an organic, strongly self-sufficient farm in Country Victoria, so it’s actually always just been part of my lifestyle. When I say organic, in those days it was not in a ‘trendy’ way. My parents just planted everything we ate because they were on a low income and they also wanted us to have a healthy upbringing.
How has your health (physical and emotional) been after following that approach?
I’ve always maintained a good level of health through my years primarily due to always having plenty of whole-food/plant produce as part of my diet. I swayed as one does when I first left home and went to uni. I soon however realised the connection between healthy eating and overall well-being as I started to feel lethargic.
If you had to give someone 3 reasons why they should switch to more plant-based organic food & beauty products, what would they be?
- A great plant-based intake supplies you with an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants not found in any pill or supplement.
- Organic food (where possible) will always taste so much better and have a greater shelf life. This means less wastage, which in my books is always a good thing.
- A diet rich in plant-based foods provides ample amounts of fiber to help keep your digestive system healthy. Without a healthy digestive system our health begins to suffer.
What does a day on your plate look like:
~Sweet – buckwheat pancakes with fresh or stewed fruit, tahini, organic non GM soy yoghurt and mixed seeds OR quinoa chia porridge with fruits or vegetables such as pumpkin, tahini and seeds
~Savoury – besan (chickpea flour) and buckwheat pancakes or gluten free wholegrain toast with smoked salmon or organic nitrate free ham, tahini, lettuce, sprouts and sauerkraut.
~Left overs from dinner which is usually a grain, vegetables and a form of protein
~Gluten free buckwheat wrap with mixed salads, greens, hummus, chutney and tempeh
~Something I may have made/baked something such as a gluten-free wholegrain cookie or muffin
~Piece of fruit – often a banana and a soy dandelion tea
~Banana boat – banana split with tahini, seeds and cacao nibs.
Varies a lot – usually an organic meat from our local butcher, otherwise salmon or dory, served with:
~Buckwheat or quinoa salad mixed with roast vegetables, seeds and vinegar or lemon juice and lots or fresh herbs
~Green pea mash and sweet potato wedges
~Potato salad with parsley, capers, lemon zest, mixed lettuce greens and anchovies
Wraps – kofta balls, grilled eggplant and cauliflower, herbs, hummus and tahini
Now, your favourite foodie indulgence…
As a foodie my greatest indulgence would be occasionally eating out at fine dining restaurants. I am always after new taste experiences and I love an amazing degustation with matching wines. A to die for experience. Especially with good NZ pinots… 🙂
What do you think the biggest fear or misconception is about going more organic or plant-based?
That it’s all ‘rabbit food’ and you will not be sustained from the food that you eat. Also that a plant-based lifestyle of eating is bland. Both of these are huge misconceptions. An organic plant based lifestyle is often the most flavoursome! Its full of fresh and dried herbs and spices, toasted nuts and seeds, zesty lemons and other citrus, and natural fats such as nuts, avocados, and coconuts. A flavour explosion really!
What’s your approach to balance & moderation in life (and/or food)?
I’m a huge believer in balance. Life and food should be balanced. Overall we should aim for balance within our meals of macro nutrients (carbs, protein and fats) along with a plentiful intake of vegetables, herbs and fruits.
Balance however is also about allowing times for being outside the rules, as life often throws curve balls and it’s important to not stress out too much about not being 110% all the time. If you want to have an amazing dinner with friends then do it. Just get back on the wagon the next day and don’t use it as an excuse to maintain an un-balanced life style.
You’ve been given permission to raid the Be Good Organics stock room – what’s one foodie product and one beauty product you’d nab…
Foodie Product: ALL of it!!! Haha! I have very big hands. Probably the maca powder.
Beauty Product: Sally B’s B Green Mud Mask
Can you share your favourite plant-passionate recipe?
Pancakes! For some, pancakes are pancakes. For me, pancakes are a canvas for thousands of flavour combinations and mouth watering textures. The layers of soft warm pancakes against melting nut and seed butters and fresh fruit is just too much to resist time and time again.
As I always say, pancakes can be quick. Once you have your basics in place it can take just as much time to make pancakes for one as it would to construct a bowl of muesli with its additional toppings. They do take a little longer to eat than a smoothie on the go of course, yet sitting down to a stack of pancakes and being in touch with the food you are eating is so much more beneficial for your digestive system.
You will notice there are no added sweeteners in the batter. I find the sweetness of the bananas does the trick fine. You could add a dash of sweetener of course if you felt it necessary.
Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
Carrot Cake Pancakes
- 4 tsp buckwheat flour, heaped
- 1 tbsp coconut flour, heaped or sesame/almond flour
- 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp chia seeds or ground linseed/psyllium husk
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 mashed ripe banana
- 4 tsp finely grated carrot, heaped
- 1/4 c plant-based milk
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- In a medium sized mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients then stir through the mashed banana and grated carrot. Make a well in the center and pour in half of the plant-based milk and mix through. Slowly add more of the milk until you have a good pancake batter consistency. You want it to be a bit wetter than a cake batter, but not as runny as crepe batter. If you add all of the milk and need more liquid, simply add a little water.
- Heat a frying pan to a medium heat and add a teaspoon of coconut oil. Spoon the batter into the frying pan to create three small pancakes. Allow them to cook until little bubbles form on the top of the pancakes, then flip over to cook through.
- To serve, stack pancakes with layers of tahini, blueberries and marmalade. Finish with a sprinkle of coconut.
- Pancakes are all about the toppings! The perfect combo is something creamy (coconut/cashew cream, yoghurt or a nut/seed butter), some fruit, a sweetener of sort (coconut nectar, yacon syrup, agave nectar, marmalade or maple syrup), and a sprinkle of something pretty (dried coconut, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, cacao nibs or cinnamon). I made mine with my Coconut Cashew Chia Cream, blueberries, a drizzle of dark coconut nectar, and desiccated coconut and they were AMAZING. Amazing.
- Make sure your pan is on medium heat only – I often get a bit enthusiastic (aka hungry) so turn my pan up super high to get those pancakes in my belly as soon as possible. Try to refrain from doing this! The pancakes need a nice medium heat otherwise they’ll burn on the outside and not cook properly on the inside…
- If you don’t have baking powder on hand it’s not the end of the world, these will still work. You can also swap some of the plant-based milk for soda water to give them a bit of ‘air’.
- Nutmeg can be quite a strong flavour, so if in doubt you can drop that down to 1/4 tsp per serving (I did this and it was delicious).
- If you’ve got company, this recipe can be doubled, tripled, or more. You can also make a double batch and save half of them for the next day, they keep very well in a sealed container in the fridge – just heat gently the next morning.