Lina Bou talks about the importance of using local and seasonal ingredients for a well-balanced gut. Lina combines her knowledge as a Nutritional Therapist, her creative flair and her love for cooking to create delicious, nutritious meals.
Discover nutritional therapist Lina Bou’s recipe for healthy living, with this inspirational cookbook for the modern lifestyle.
Cooking isn’t just about eating the right foods – it’s about being inventive, having fun and enjoying a healthy relationship with what you eat. Whether you’re looking for tasty brunch ideas, delicious dinners, energizing snacks or mouthwatering sweet treats, Lina shows you how to make simple, nutritious vegetarian meals (suitable for all!) easy enough for anyone to rustle up with the minimum of fuss. There are also suggestions for vegan alternatives, plus recipes free from gluten, dairy and sugar – the most common intolerances. All recipes feature a health-benefit key, indicating at a glance whether they help improve your immunity, boost your energy, balance your hormones, and more. And there’s advice on sensible detoxing, too.
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Steve Nobel: Hello and welcome. My name’s Steve Nobel, and today I’m speaking with Lina Bou on her book, “The Good Food Good Mood Cookbook (2018): Easy and Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for the Modern Lifestyle.” Cooking isn’t just about eating the right foods, it’s about being inventive, having fun, and also enjoying a healthy relationship with what you eat. Lina is a nutritional therapist who’s passionate about health, fitness, and food. And her websites are: linabou.com and mytasteofhealth.com. Hi Lina.
Lina Bou: Hello.
Steve Nobel: So welcome, and I know you’re speaking from sunny France.
Lina Bou: Yeah.
Steve Nobel: How did you get interested in this whole field of cooking in the first place?
Lina Bou: Well, it started when I was growing up in the countryside in Sweden. I never thought I would be working as a chef, for real one day. I’ve always been very creative and living in the countryside and always close to nature, I loved eating and I loved experimenting with food and I think my passion was nutrition, and sports also when I was young. I started to study nutritional therapy when I was about 18, 17 years old, and with my studies in nutrition, it was super interesting and on the side it was always the cooking that I did because, you know, you have to eat and I just love to cook.
More and more, working in nutrition and helping people with their lifestyle, and with herbal medicine, and with diets, and stuff, I really missed being creative at work. Also, I like to really inspire people and sharing recipes and cooking rather than tell them what to do. So more and more, I came into cooking, like as my friends told me, “Lina you know you should start a blog, this is always amazing what you’re cooking.” I was like “No, I just do it for fun you know.” I started my blog just for fun and it went super well and I realised that maybe this is something I would actually want to do to use my knowledge in nutrition and herbs in food. So it was a bit like that, it came in. The passion for creative stuff like to use colours and to create with my hands is very important and then the fact that I knew also the nutritional parts, was just like the perfect combo kind of. So it just fell through very naturally and I fell in love with that idea.
Steve Nobel: I’ve been thinking a lot about cooking lately because, in my parents’ day, there was a lot of time, people had time for cooking and now people are always on the go, fast living. I’ve noticed around, some people, including myself probably, have lost the art of cooking. Because cooking is an art, isn’t it, it’s not just something you have to do.
Lina Bou: Yeah, totally! That’s for sure me. I always say that cooking is the best art I can do because I can feed life. It’s so powerful and I think also the fact you say that people are very busy today and wouldn’t have time to cook and if you’re not passionate about food or like cooking, it’s hard to put that extra intention and time in that. I also believe it’s not complicated, it doesn’t have to be a superstar chef or you don’t have to spend a lot of time cooking. The important thing is that you have good ingredients. No recipe in the whole world can take over the quality of the vegetable so if you have good produce like good vegetables, organic, local, it’s pretty simple and then you just add whatever you want. But the most important is the quality, yeah that’s the most important I think.
Steve Nobel: Well in London there’s again this kind of polarity between very unhealthy eating and whole surge and organic and farmer’s markets, I guess for us might be the same. So there’s a lot of people going out eating fast foods or just throwing stuff in the cooker and don’t even check what’s in it. But then there’s this whole organic thing and I’ve been really taken up by that, over the years been eating more organically. Do you see this in other countries? That there’s this kind of blend of some people super interested in the whole … Maybe the majority of people not so interested.
Lina Bou: Yeah, totally. It’s very different in countries, like for example, growing up in Sweden, the whole Swedish culture and the general vibe over the countries like in Sweden, most of the people are very conscious about their health, and that includes also the food. But also, people are very sporty and in general, people are very aware in advance about gluten and sugar and what it does because on the TV, they have a lot of programmes to inform people. There’s more alternative TV shows, for example that would never be show here in France about meditation. It’s becoming bigger in France too but what I want to say is there’s definitely this fine line between being super organic eating, all local and what people call “hippy” kind of and then the extreme, a bit interested.
Yeah the reason is also because this is somehow a business that kind of … I mean just the fact that the sugar is so addictive and the people who fall into this kind of trap of sugar and gluten and dairy products that actually act like a drug in our body in its addictive properties, and the effect it has on the body.
I feel like they inform people more about this and that people just being in nature, for example, here I am right now in the Southwest of France. It’s a lot of country and people and I think when you see the farmers, when there’s farmer’s markets, when we move in nature I think also that the awareness of food is more sensitive because you realise that these people around you are having the vegetables growing and the farmer has his sheep and he’s more aware. While if you’re in a busy city and it goes so fast already, it’s just going out and the whole energy is just pushing and fast. Also, then the cravings and the need for sugar is there and again, it’s like we need to connect to nature more and feel that you also get more into this natural state of living and eating I think. And definitely there’s a lot of things that should be better but it’s coming. I will be optimistic and say that, I hope.
Steve Nobel: Very good. Now in your book, I really like the fact that you talk about the gut being the second brain. Can you say something about the importance of the gut? Because a lot of cookbooks just go, “This is tasty, this is great,” but you’re really also including the healthy side.
Lina Bou: Yeah, for me that was the super important aspect to have with this book and also for me, I experimented a lot with myself and my diet and my health. Because when you study something, you go all in, at least I did. Just to see different diets, different herbs and everything and how it works, to then be able to say that this has an effect or not. The food and the mind has such a big importance for your health that your mind … That you’re happy.
Basically the gut is proved, it’s really science that the gut has its own nervous system that is connected to the brain. So that’s also why in the gut the serotonin production is the most going on there. Serotonin is the happy hormone so depression, for example, is often linked to a sad stomach. People that eat a lot of crap or sugar, they feed the stomach with these and the signals go to the brain and it causes depression and stuff. I also have a lot of experience where I found that people that are seeking help for their health issues and they’re looking for some sort of magic remedy and they left the pharmaceutical path, they already did all that, and now they’re coming to the more natural medicine sector to find some herb or some diet that can just be magical and change their life.
Sure, it’s amazing and magic, but so many times also it’s the fact that maybe it’s not the diet and maybe it’s not a herb or a vitamin that is missing. Many cases I found it’s actually your lifestyle choices that is the cause of the problem. It can even be a relationship that is unhealthy, it can be an environment. Because we are so affected by our environment, like in maybe 24 hours I think it is, our whole intestinal bacteria, like microbes, it affects only 24 hours after you enter a new space with the bacteria around you, even the people around you. So it’s so sensitive. And imagine if you have the environment where you live, maybe your home or your work, that is really unhealthy in terms of energy, or in terms of mould or bacteria that is unhealthy. But that really affects our gut and that really affects our health. So it’s so interesting how all of this is connected. Also, that’s why I wanted to write about this, more of it’s what you eat and that you take care of yourself but also the mind and the gut has such a huge role. Again, we say the intuition it’s in the gut, like if you feel something, you should also work on that to listen to yourself and what really feels right for you.
Steve Nobel: Yeah. Well while I’m talking to you, I’m drinking my morning concoction of lemon tincture and tumeric, which is my morning every morning. And I’ve really been getting into this, it’s really good for the gut. I’m feeling my gut happy with that.
Lina Bou: Yeah.
Steve Nobel: Do you think that the evil foods that a lot of people talk about such as wheat, sugar, and dairy, do you consider them kind of in that way?
Lina Bou: Yeah. Unfortunately, that’s the most problematic foods today and people also talk about it’s a fashion with the gluten-free stuff and whatever they come up with and they try to figure out why they complain. Sugar, we need sugar, and gluten, that’s just a fashion. But in the end, there’s so many studies that are made today on all this and it’s not only about the wheat itself. Wheat itself was amazing back I don’t know how many hundred years, it was one of the best sources of food, but with the earth and mother nature changing, with the pollution and the earth where we’re growing our vegetables and grains, when that changed the percentage of gluten today in one wheat corn, for example. I don’t know how many percent it’s higher, but it’s really a change in the natural system, in the environment. It is that that caused the problems, the problematic inflammations and of course the addiction.
Because the white, pure refined sugar it’s more addictive than heroin and cocaine. If we say that someone is on drugs, then people react. It’s like, “Oh my God, it’s something very serious.” But if we a 2-year-old child eating white, pure refined sugar, no one is reacting really. But if we saw what happens in their body, it’s actually pretty serious. And we have a choice that we change a lot in nature and in our bodies with this, and even the mind. People that are high on sugar 24 hours a day are dangerous. I’m not religious about food, again it’s about being happy and just enjoy life too, not being super strict and fanatic about it. But if I would say what I’ve seen and what I’ve experienced … If you consume gluten or white sugar and lots of dairy products, then you mostly have some digestive issues at least. We’re all made individual, so some people can handle a bit of milk more than others and some people have a very stable blood sugar so a cake won’t hurt them once a week. It’s very individual.
Steve Nobel: I know. I go to my local café and I ask them, “What’s the healthiest cake here?” And they go, “Oh, um…” They really struggle, there’s none healthy, I understand nothing’s healthy.
Lina Bou: Ah but that’s kind of good though, because normally they’re always like, “Oh no but this is super healthy.” It’s with almonds on top or … Eat lots of salad.
Steve Nobel: So let me ask you about globalisation and seasonal eating. Because of globalisation, we can eat anything practically any time of the year. Is it important to return to a more seasonal way of eating?
Lina Bou: Yes, it’s super important. Right now, after the book release, I’m all about … As I have farms around me, and I’m happy to have … Like I can make a choice, I can search for product that is organic, and I can work with local farmers a lot when I work for different yoga retreats or other work and that’s definitely something we have to learn. The food industry today is so big and you can get anything anywhere any time, and we forget how we can actually use stuff that is just outside, like right here. We don’t even know that plants that are surrounding us in nature and I really think it’s super interesting to learn about this.
Right now I’m reading the book from Pascal Baudar. It’s a French chef, he’s working with wild-crafted cuisine. So he’s all about the wild plants and he’s using bark and leaves and everything to do with fermented recipes and stuff. I’m more and more introducing that to my cooking because I would like to … Every time I do a pop-up in a restaurant or when I cook for people, I always like to have a little surprise, like introduce some wild plant that I took myself from nature or even do a pesto with dandelion and do stuff like this to introduce back to people the nature around us. If everyone thought a little more like this, I think the effect of it would be, especially in health, it would be so much different. I think it could have a huge effect and powerful message to the world actually.
Steve Nobel: This book is so beautiful and colourful. We’ve talked very seriously about health and the gut and everything, but when I look through your book, the kind of recipes here, it looks like you could be super healthy and have a great time eating. What are some of your favourite recipes Lina, from the book?
Lina Bou: Thank you, it makes me so happy to hear. So, favourite recipes. I think for breakfast recipe, I think granola is one of my favourites to eat for breakfast and this is so simple to make and you can do so many different version of recipes and you can even bring a little bag and snack on it, for snack. I even have a version for the people without an oven, because I lived in Paris for two years and there was never an oven in the apartment so I had to invent a recipe with the oven for granola, so you have that too. So granola, that’s one of my favourite breakfast recipes and of course with some plant-based milk or yogurt. For lunch, I love my sweet potato in the oven in cubes, and I love to serve it with a pesto. I have different pesto recipes in the book too, but I use a lot in my cooking, for almost every kind of food situation, I have some kind of pesto in the world, whether it be salads or a veggie burger, anything. So the sweet potato and pesto I make and I must include the crackers too. We can say we can put it together too because the crackers it’s the same seed crackers that I love to do with lunch or snack or do like apero, or aperitif with some crackers. That’s definitely my favourite also.
Steve Nobel: Lots of desserts here, I can’t tell what my favourite is, they all look so good.
Lina Bou: Yeah, it’s hard. But I think I have to say the cocoa chocolate dream bars is definitely a favourite. It’s a bit like Bounty.
Steve Nobel: Oh, I remember Bounty, I used to eat them when I was kid, terrible. My favourite dessert, raw coconut tart with chocolate mousse. The picture looks stunning and I just want to eat it now.
Lina Bou: Yes! Well on Saturday I’m making this dessert at a restaurant in Nice, in France, so if you can come.
Steve Nobel: Oh, I’ll jump on a plane. Well Lina, good luck with the book, it’s a fantastic book. And just to remind people of your websites: linabou.com and mytasteofhealth.com
Lina Bou: Yes, thank you so much.
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