One of the things I do to inspire me within the health industry is look globally and I'll tell you this: Australia is doing some great things and has some incredible practitioners flocking to the scene and Jessica Cox is no different. She is based out of Brisbane, Australia where she provides nutrition consultations locally and globally. Her gorgeous food photography is just a testament to the beautiful, healthy foods she passionately creates and the people she helps. The world is fortunate to have yet another nutrition warrior on the scene making big waves and I'm honoured to showcase yet another colleague of mine.
You are an inspiring, Nutrition rock star practicing out in sunny Australia and I'm just curious, what lead you to pursue the field of health and what advice would you give others looking to jump into the industry?
Wowsers! Now that’s a title I haven’t been given before! Definitely like it though in a Nutritionist/Sid Vicious type of way. There was not one particular driving force that lead me to pursue this industry, it was more of a slow development rather that a sudden light bulb moment. I grew up on an organic, strongly self-sufficient farm in country Victoria, Australia 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 the also wanted us to have a healthy up bringing. So you could say a healthy life style was in my blood.
The next turning point would be in my mid to late twenties as I was disillusioned with my current career in the design and event industry, along with how taxing it was on my body. I was having problems with my hormones and found that orthodox medicine was not the road for me. I started reading up on more natural alternatives and it opened a Pandora’s box inside of me. My journey just kept going from there.
As far as advice for others looking to pursue this industry, firstly I would say that this industry is very rewarding, but you must be dedicated and believe in yourself to succeed. I completed a four year Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine), which was a hard slog, but I honestly loved every bit of it because it was what my heart wanted. If you are passionate about following a career in nutrition and interested in private practice do be prepared, as it takes a lot of hard work and determination. However, the results are beyond worth it. Also, never forget that clients are real people. It seems an odd statement, but we forget that what works on paper and in text books does not often work in real life. Work with people individually, help guide them and cater their treatment to their lifestyle. They will thank you for it.
We all run into obstacles to get to where we are today. Can you name a point in your life where you went through a tough time? Was food involved?
In my early to late twenties I struggled quite severely with endometriosis. It was quite debilitating at times and without the knowledge that I now have I felt quite powerless against it. After three operations I finally came to the realisation that an orthodox approach was not working for me, and that I needed to look elsewhere. I started pouring over books at the library (we weren’t all hip with the internet back then) and started experimenting with my food. The more I learnt the more I applied, and within time I started to see a difference. Food began to heal me in ways I had never imagined and it was like taking back control of an out of control vehicle. Very empowering.
Congrats on the recent marriage (sorry all you single men out there, she's taken), what advice could you give to couples on connecting in the kitchen - especially if they don't eat the same way!
Thanks! He’s pretty lucky. 😉
Connecting in the kitchen and through food is very exciting! Food is an aphrodisiac in many ways and it is certainly the way to anyone’s heart (man or woman I say). I believe you can always create a meal to suit both of you, even with food intolerances. It can be as simple as a small adaption for his meal or something extra that is added at the end. For instance, I’m dairy intolerant, but my husband is a cheese fiend. He also needs more complex carbs and saturated fats than me, so I adapt meals as I cook to suit. If I am making a roast vegetable salad with buckwheat and chicken I will add crumbled sourdough croutons to his with generous handfuls of creamy feta.
Also don’t be afraid to try new ideas with men. They can be creatures of comfort and get stuck in ruts, but if you give them new flavours and new grains that taste bloody awesome, it will win their hearts. My man now thinks buckwheat risotto rocks and even told me the other day her had a craving for tahini! I know!!
There are food trends worldwide, but I'm curious, what are the top 3 hottest food trends happening in Australia right now and what are your thoughts about them?
Coconut – everything coconut is huge. Coconut water, sugar…I think you could make a hat out of coconuts and it would sell right now (as long as Miranda Kerr wore it of course). Coconut products have an abundance of good qualities, but as everything it should be used in moderation. I have seen clients go crazy with it then wonder why they their blood tests suddenly have a peak of high cholesterol. I’ve seen clients also use it in excess to help with weight loss and pile the weight on instead. Moderation people!
Kombucha – the new holy grail of fermented beverages. I do enjoy komucha. I love its vinegary tang. It’s the hip drink to buy at all the alternative cafes now. It has some yeast/bacterial cultures said to be good for the digestive system. It does contain sugars though so it again should not be consumed in large quantities (although this is dependent on how long it has been brewed for).
Paleo – Paleo cafes are popping up around Queensland like wildflowers. All the cool cats are eating Paleo. I like the option of paleo cafes for those with intolerances to dairy and gluten, and also the fact that they offer lots of plant based meals. Personally however I am not a huge advocate of Paleo. I find it’s still a ‘diet’ as such and diets certainly do not suit everyone. They also don’t have longevity and (generally) do not work as an ongoing lifestyle. People will do paleo for a while then fall of the wagon. I also find that without a balance of complex carbs, especially to start the day these meals can leave you craving sugars later on and also drop your energy levels too quickly. Last time I ate breakfast at a paleo café I drove home hungry afterwards and ate toast. But hey, that’s me at that’s how my body works. Not everyone is the same.
You've been quoted as having Tahini running through your veins you love it so much. Do you have any other no-holds barred indulgence foods? Healthy or not?
Haha! So true! Man I just can’t get enough of the stuff. As far as other no-hold barred indulgences regarding food, I’d have to say I’m really not one for holding back and saying ‘oh, I shouldn’t’. Generally I enjoy eating really nutritious food and I don’t crave outside of that. I eat good quality choccy and home cooked cakes and slices, but these are part of my everyday.
I do absolutely love wine though and would adore Pinot, especially Central Otago Pinot from NZ. Wine isn’t my friend much these days but when I good pinot is around I’m not going to listen to that logic. 😉
Between running your successful brand, seeing clients and developing and posting weekly recipes, do you have any special ways you like to unwind?
It’s certainly a hectic time of life for (us) me. We are also renovating our house so often unwinding is hole punching nails or painting. It’s great for getting out of my head and doing something more physical. I generally unwind with exercise to be honest, weights at the gym or a run on the foreshore. I also love going out for food to unwind. My husband and I will go out for sushi together and then collapse on the couch and watch episodes of some tv series that we are into (Orange is the New Black at the moment – it’s awesome!). Pretty outrageous, I know.
I hear you like to get a little messy in the kitchen. Would you share one of your delicious recipes with us?
For sure! Here is my recipe for my Rhubarb Cherry Crumble Slice
What are three words that you would use to describe your relationship to food?
Obsessive – It’s my everything. I dream about it. Seriously.
Passionate – I can’t think of anything in my life that I am more passionate about. Just ask my husband.
Evolving – I am always on the look out for new ideas, new fusions of flavours and textures. I like to push boundaries with food and get people thinking outside the box.
Jessica is an accredited and practicing Nutritionist with a Bachelor Health Science (Nutrition). Jessica is available for consultations in her clinic based Brisbane, Australia. Jessica also offers Skype and phone consultations interstate and global. Contact Jessica with any queries or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information check out her websitewww.jessicacox.com.au. Source great food ideas and inspiration by following Jessica on Instagram & Twitter @jescoxnutritionist and Facebook