Sexy Guest Blogger: Charlene Tomlinson
Funny, adorable and passionate, Charlene Tomlinson makes sexy food a part of her every day life. She’s the creator of Char’s Kitchen where she shares her love for a vegan-friendly way of life. Her Char’s Star cookies are in high demand exuding the type of passion that’s infectious in every one of her kitchen concoctions. While visiting Toronto, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Charlene and felt that her loving approach was exactly what Sexy Food Therapy needed in its bi-weekly guest blogger. Enjoy!
How did you find Sexy Food Therapy & how do you relate to it?
I became a part of the Vega Community website in the beginning of 2010, & discovered the Sexy Food Therapy blog from there. Melissa had made a post about a Citrus & Avocado salad that was supposed to be good for healing a black eye. Ummmm, bonus that it helps with black eyes, but the salad looked delicious! Not only that, but I was hooked on Melissa’s super adorable approach to love, life, sex, & food. She’d named her black eye ‘Ms. Shiner’; I name all sorts of random things.
I checked out the rest of her ‘Sex & the City’ style blog, & was totally hooked. Reading all the way from her first entry to her current one, I felt I could totally to relate to her; our outlooks on friendship, men, life, love & food are so incredibly similar. It’s refreshing to see someone approach life in an honest, sexy, & hilariously adorable way. I find Melissa & Sexy Food Therapy very inspiring.
What were your own personal struggles with food?
While this is an extremely personal thing to share, I hope by sharing my story of recovery that I can help others: It started in my teens, but for years I truthfully struggled a lot with eating disorders. Compulsive eating, anorexia, & bulimia alternatively had their own grips on me. It was a hard crutch to let go of, but I finally realized that letting these diseases control me wasn’t letting me enjoy life or food at all. You only live once! I went vegan in December ’07, & have had a slow transition to raw foods. Going vegan was my first step to getting healthy; my next was seeking counselling. I won’t lie, though, it has definitely been a bumpy road, but I finally feel I’ve come out on the other side. Now, eating sexy, nourishing ‘mood food’ has greatly contributed to my quality of, & passion for life. I cannot put into words how amazing I feel from the moment I wake up, & until I go to sleep. Of course, not being an extremist is also important for physical & emotional well-being. I’ve thrown the ‘food rules’ out the window & just started listening to my body. It knows me better than I do.
What is your dirty guilty food secret?
My dirty guilty food secret? CHOCOLATE!!! I am SO BAD!! I have to have it every day, or I go nuts. I don’t know how much of a secret that is, though, haha. However, I’ve been adding raw cacao powder (or even regular cocoa powder) to my green smoothies lately, & I find that it’s all I need to kill my cravings. I have, though, recently rediscovered my love for carob, which is awesome because it contains calcium, as well as a slew of antioxidants & other health benefits.
Oh, & believe it or not…bananas. I can seriously eat up to five in a sitting, & I go through about three bunches every two days. There’s just something incredibly satisfying & mood-boosting about indulging in bananas. (FYI: They are a “mood food,” as is real cocoa.)
Years ago, I was living in Thailand & working as a model. Nearing the end of my contract, I missed home a lot. My long-term boyfriend & I were having long-distance problems, & it was hard not to have my family & friends nearby. I turned to food for comfort; I started eating a lot of processed foods, & it didn’t take long for six pounds (a lot when you’re a model) to pack on. From there, I went home, split with my boyfriend, & had about a year of on & off eating too much & then not enough. My weight kept yoyo-ing, but I kept eating & not eating. My emotions were all over the place, & so were my eating habits. I didn’t start to clean up my unhealthy habits until I started to love myself.
Your view on female friends and how you bond together with food or how you help them with your own dishes.
My girlfriends are my second family! I do my best to make time for all of them, & we always have a blast. Going out for dinner and/or having drinks together is a fun way for us to relax. They often ask me for tips on what to eat, what to use for substitutions, & are avid followers of my food blog. One of my girlfriends asked me to take her shopping, too, so she could learn what to buy for a meal. She is now just as hooked on green smoothies as I am, & has discovered a love for quinoa. I am so proud of all of my girlfriends! They truly inspire me, & I feel incredibly blessed to have so many amazing friends.
I can’t leave my mom, sister, & Auntie out of this one, though: the 3 of them have been amazingly supportive in my lifestyle, & have been inspired to make changes of their own. Seeing them take big steps to improve their health continues to inspire me.
Because I have just as many guy friends as I do girlfriends, can I make a shout out to them? They (including my Dad & brother) are all just as supportive of my lifestyle. We bond over our passion for food, drinks, life, & staying active. Oh, & of course they love trying anything I make for them J
Thoughts on love & sex, what you look for in men, your turn on’s & off’s.
My thoughts on love & sex? I find the amount of effort put into them is very closely related to how a person takes care of his or herself. When you make the time to love yourself, spend time with you, lead an active lifestyle, & indulge in whole, fresh, sexy food, your passion for life, love, & sex just comes naturally. You have to first learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else. And while you can have sex without love, you can’t have love without sex. When it comes to relationships, there should be a healthy balance of respect, trust & raw passion for one another. Love needs lust in order to survive.
What I find sexiest in a man is confidence, ambition & compassion. Looks will fade as we age, but I want someone who is motivated, sure of himself, trusts me, & cares about others. He also must have a sense of humour & be able to make me laugh! I love being around funny people & having someone to laugh with.
I also find it incredibly sexy when a man is strong enough in himself to be a vegetarian. To break past that ‘manly meat & potatoes’ stereotype & say, ‘I don’t want to eat animals,’ is very admirable, especially in a man. To me, passion for green smoothies is sexier than passion for steak
A turn off for me is a man who has no goals, no passion for life, does not take care of himself or others, & harbours negative feelings. Eating un-sexy food often (read: TV dinners, fast food), being anti-social, & having no drive or commitment is not attractive to me. Again, we only live once, & time waits for no one. Make life happen!
While I’m unattached at the moment, I am in no rush to find love. It’s not that I have bad feelings about men or love; I just feel emotionally full & happy in my relationships with my family, friends, & self. I truly believe that love, like all things, happens when we’re not looking for it.
During my recent stay in Toronto, Ontario where I was visiting my Auntie, we decided to try out ‘LIVE’ raw food restaurant… & I fell in love with their Chocolate Caramel Cake! Caramel is one of my favourite indulgences, though it’s not often vegan. But RAW?! It was then I learned that lucuma powder has a caramel flavour. Though I’d heard of lucuma before, I hadn’t actually used it or consumed it. That changes NOW!
Determined to marry creamy chocolate & thick caramel together, I created these deliciously sinful Chocolate Caramel Buttons. Enjoy!
¼ cup Medjool dates
¼ cup agave syrup
1 T lucuma powder
¾ cup almonds
½ an avocado
2 T agave
2 T cacao powder
¾ cup dates
For the caramel sauce:
1) In a food processor, combine dates & agave. Process until smooth.
2) Add the lucuma powder. Process until well combined.
3) Remove sticky caramel sauce, & place in a bowl. Set aside.
For the chocolate buttons:
1) In a food processor, process almonds until chopped well.
2) Add avocado & agave; continue to process.
3) Add cacao powder; process until all is well-combined.
4) Lastly, add the dates. Process until mixture becomes a batter.
1) Grab a small handful of chocolate button batter, & roll between your palms to form a ball. In the centre, use your thumb to create a hole (like a thumbprint cookie).
2) Scoop about one tablespoon of the caramel sauce into the ’button.’
3) Continue process until no more batter or caramel sauce remains.
4) OM NOM NOM J