I'm jazzed about continuing my interview series and even more jazzed to introduce you to holistic coach and personal chef extraordinaire, Jessica Hilton. I may be slightly biased because I've had the immense pleasure of coaching with her, but I think you will dig her as a person, coach, chef and fellow foodie. In addition to her coaching and personal chef packages, she is teaching at The New School of Cooking in Culver City and updates her blogs with inspirational and delicious recipes!
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you become a holistic health coach? I have always been into food and also health and fitness. I first learned how to cook, then I began to apply those principles and techniques I learned to healthier styles of eating, or what I thought at the time was healthy eating. Then I started to pay attention to all of the contradictions in nutrition. One week eggs were good, the next they were bad, so I got a couple of nutrition certifications so I could make sense of all the information. What I have realized is there is not one perfect diet for everyone.
How would you describe your style of cooking? Seasonal, farmers market driven, simple, homestyle.
What inspires you in the kitchen? Seasonal produce. I think it’s really easy to roast or grill some meat, but what is challenging is making those sides more interesting. There are many more ways to cook vegetables than steaming (which I loathe) and roasting.
What are some of your favorite cookbooks or blogs? 101 cookbooks, Food and Wine, Plenty by Ottolenghi which focuses entirely on vegetables, Anything by Donna Hay, an Australian chef who uses seasonal ingredients in very simple yet unusual recipes, I also LOVE Jamie Oliver.
What are a few of your “can’t-live-without” pantry items? Red pepper flakes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs (especially marjoram and sage), lemons for zesting, nuts of all sorts (pistachios and walnuts are two of my favorites) , feta cheese, eggs.
If you could travel to one country and eat your way through it, which one would you choose? Easy, Italy. I love the approach to fresh, local foods.
Working with your clients, what do you find are some of the most common struggles? Mindless eating and snacking. Most of my clients find themselves grazing all day long, especially when they aren’t hungry. The biggest issue tends to be not eating breakfast, which then causes them to be famished by lunch and they wind up eating for the rest of the day. So few people sit down to eat a meal and enjoy it. Rather, they eat in the car, at their desk. They don’t enjoy their food.
If you could encourage blog readers to make one small change, what would it be? Try to eat vegetables at every meal, even breakfast. If you eat an unhealthy meal, don’t give up on the day, start fresh at the very next meal.