Last Spring, I had the opportunity to meet Andrea Beaman, Natural Foods and Health Expert, for hot tea n’ chit chat. A few weeks ago we got together again for more tea n’ chit chat… this time I decided to pop the interview questions and post Andrea’s responses to share with all of you.
Tell me about your Top Chef experience; did you find it hard to introduce nutritious cooking to the judges?
My Top Chef experience was great. I got to work in kitchens with professional chefs. I’ve never done that before. I’m a home-schooled chef. So, it was thrilling. I did find it difficult to cook with ingredients I don’t approve of. I use only naturally raised, organic or certified naturally grown ingredients. It made it tough for me to compete in that type of environment. But, I stuck it out as long as humanly possible.
Tell me about hosting WISE UP! and FED UP!, which allowed you to travel across the country in search of alternative therapies, organic foods and healthy lifestyles.
I love hosting both Wise Up and Fed Up (Fed Up was recently nominated for a cable award – best food series). Hosting those shows allows me to share my knowledge of food and healing with millions of people. I feel grateful that I get to teach from such a cool venue (cable tv).
What do you enjoy more; teaching cooking classes or traveling to find new discoveries? Are you a kitchen girl or an outdoorsy gal?
I am both a kitchen gal and an outdoorsy gal. I love to go outdoors hiking, biking, walking, swimming, fishing and hanging in nature, and then come home to cook up a fantastic meal. Life is delicious!
What was your diet like growing up? Do you think this affected your long term health?
My diet growing up was total CRAP! I was a chronic dieter and it definitely affected my health. I was eating everything that was fat-free, sugar substitutes like nutrasweet, diet soda and other “non-food” foods. I wasn’t eating food that was nutritious or wholesome and it caused my system to break down.
At the young age of 28 you were diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and a goiter; how did you take the steps to heal yourself?
I changed my diet and my lifestyle and I changed my life. I began taking full responsibility for my health and my life and amazing things happened. My skin cleared up, my body reached a normal healthy weight (without dieting), and my health improved.
Can you elaborate on your thyroid condition? What discouraged you from modern medicine and led you to a more holistic approach?
The doctors had recommend radioactive iodine for my thyroid condition and then to be on synthroid for the rest of my life. I watched my mom go through radiation treatments when she had cancer, and I vowed that I would never destroy my body in an attempt to heal a condition. I believe the body needs loving support, not destruction, to heal.
What, specifically, did you do to heal yourself through nutrition?
I began eating real food, straight from the farm or the ocean. Eating real food meant it was food in its most whole form (not in packages or boxes filled with chemicals and carcinogens).
As a graduate of IIN myself, I learned a vast array of useful information about natural healing; was IIN a valuable resource to you? Did you use your education at IIN to continue to heal yourself and your clients?
I healed my thyroid disease first and then attended IIN. I used my education at IIN to help set up my business model. It gave me the structure I needed to start my practice.
What is the most difficult struggle that you see clients facing? What is the hardest part for them to overcome, as I’m sure many clients are used to eating the SAD (Standard American Diet)?
One of the most difficult struggles I find with clients is that they put themselves last, or just don’t want to make the time to cook and prepare meals. It seems like this is a horrible chore for many people. Until clients get into the kitchen and begin cooking for themselves, optimum health may always be out of reach.
Tell me about your memoir and accompanying food guide that helps people heal from diseases.
My memoir is an inspirational story of hope and healing that teaches people why sickness comes, then it motivates people to get moving in a healthier direction. The accompanying Eating and Recipe Guide shows them how to do it; how to cook, what to cook and how to make it taste delicious.
What is your ideal meal to create in your kitchen?
Every meal for me is the ideal because I listen to my body’s needs and I give it what it craves. I never begin the day without breakfast. It helps set the precedent of self-care and self-love for the rest of the day.
When did you discover an appreciation and passion for food?
I became passionate about food when I discovered it had an effect on my body. It was no longer just a “substance” I put into my system. It became the fuel that drives me forward.
What is your favorite food that you can’t live without?
This question is too difficult to answer because there are too many foods I can’t live without.
Can you share with us a recipe for Thanksgiving?
A delicious veggie-heavy Thanksgiving or fall dish that features squash and a turkey and rice blend.
- 2 acorn squash halved and deseeded
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion peeled and diced
- 1 small red apple cored and diced
- 1/2 cup celery root peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 tbsp. fresh sage minced
- 2 cups stock or water
- 1 cup wild rice blend (wehani, red rice, black rice, long grain, wild, etc.) soaked overnight
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 12 oz. cooked turkey diced (dark meat, white meat)
- 2-3 tbsp. herbed turkey gravy (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly oil halved acorn squash and place flesh side down in a baking pan.
Cover and cook 35-45 minutes or until soft. While squash is baking, saute onion in a frying pan until translucent. Add diced apple, celery root, cranberries, and sage.
Add stock and wild rice blend (discard the rice soaking water), and bring to a boil. Add sea salt, cover and reduce flame to simmer for 50-55 minutes.
After rice cooks, fold in pre-cooked turkey pieces.
Fill squash with wild rice mixture and tops with herbed turkey gravy.
A delicious turkey gravy made with fresh herbs
Combine flour with turkey stock.
Add fresh herbs, sea salt and pepper.
Cook on medium heat until mixture becomes thick and creamy.