Rockin’ Women Wednesdays – Sherry Strong

Return to food.

That’s Sherry Strong’s motto. She is a visionary and pioneer in the world of nutrition and healthy food. Long before green smoothies ruled the wellness world – yikes – and gluten-free was a hashtag, Sherry was shouting from the rooftops her messages of health, real food and real women.

We met in Melbourne about 10 years ago for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. We both presented organic food demonstrations for a wonderful regional roadshow – and literally went off in different directions. I headed north-east with a hilarious posse of industry experts including the riotous Helen Waterworth from the King Island Dairy, Roy Moorfield, sommelier and curator of the Cathay Pacific First Class wine list – and a bunch of other hungry larrikins. It was a raucous two-day event across regional Victoria! I know that Sherry had a similar adventure.

Proud to say that back then, Sherry and I were the only women in food and wellness in Victoria. In fact, there wasn’t even a wellness industry – so we’re an anomaly. Looking back I know why we have survived the food fads and health trends along the way – and still come out on top as the must-have mentors and experts in our field – because we offer an authentic, no-nonsense approach to good food. It’s the no trends, no fads and no-fly-by-night approach.

What keeps us our skin in the game are two key drivers:
Passion and Gratitude.

A few years ago I was invited to speak at the inaugural World Wellness Summit in Melbourne. A ground breaking event with international luminaries including Anne Biging, founder of the Healing Hotels of the World, whom I have worked with in the global spa industry since.

This was such an incredible event curated by the three beauties, Sherry, Taren Hocking and Megan Dalla Camina. This trifecta of fillies are a veritable powerhouse when it comes to leadership, event management, women’s health and leaning in – gender diversity and equality in the workplace.

Sherry-Strong

Please welcome Sherry to our world of Rockin’ Women Wednesdays.

You’ll love her story – and her food.

Like Sam, I came from the gourmet food world, I was a chef working in great restaurants. I knew the pulse and pressure of a commercial kitchen wasn’t for me so I started a cooking school in 1993 called the Foodlover’s Workshop which in a round about way led to becoming the Victorian Chair of Nutrition Australia and where my love of food took an interesting turn.

I started to study nutrition at Deakin University and discovered that the food industry had influenced the teaching at most universities and what they were teaching was not a true reflection of unadulterated science and nature and more a cherry picking of the food industries idea of science. I then started on a holistic journey to marry the love of food that tastes good with food that makes you feel good (while you are eating, after and the next morning).

Life took an interesting twist after giving a paper at the Australian Symposium of Gastronomy in Tasmania in 1999.  I was ‘little girl frightened’ to stand in front of the Stephanie Alexander, Maggie Beer and Gay Bilson’s of the food world to share my little insights on how food and the power of the social context in which we eat it, contributes to our nourishment. Not long after I branded myself as a food philosopher and since have shared philosophies I’ve developed (that help people relate to food, their body and the environment in a much more natural way) around the world on television, at Universities, global conferences and at TEDx Tokyo in 2009.

After over 21 years doing this work what I’ve learned is that a philosophical approach to food and eating is far more enjoyable than a prescriptive approach and in many respects healthier.

These days I’m more interested in:

  • what makes you feel alive than what you are eating
  • helping others get what they want more than getting my name out there
  • feeling peace around the food choices I make, both the perfect and imperfect ones.

After 22 years in Australia, I returned to Canada 3 years ago, this week actually. I now live in nature on Bowen Island with a constant stream of visitors who I get to cook for and eat with. Life is short but if you do it according to your destiny its glorious and enough. Now that’s what I’d like to talk to you about when we share a meal, not the calories, chemicals or even nutrients in the food.

Rockin’ Women Wednesdays  Q&A for Sherry

What’s your survival food when you’re on tour or working late in your business?

It is so all over the place but a constant is the kind of chocolate that is so exquisite a square or two savoured and nibbled on is satiating and gives my brain a little ‘just one more task’ jolt without keeping me up when my head does hit the pillow.

What’s your healthy go-to comfort food – either at home or in a restaurant?

I make this uber rice bowl that is like love, comfort and gratitude in my mouth with every bite. I taught over 400 people cooking classes last year and whenever someone stops me at the farmers market, that is the recipe they mention.

Do you have a secret remedy that keeps either your voice / mind / body in shape?

In the summer I’m mad on continental cucumbers and I’ll eat a whole one for breakfast. Cucumber is great for a lot of things but in particular I notice when I have this habit my skin glows and my nails are amazingly healthy.

www.returntofood.com

Sherry-Strong-Rice-Bowl

Uber Rice Bowl with Steamed Greens, Avocado

1 cup Lundberg’s Wild Rice Blend (or 3/4 cup brown rice with 1/4 cup of wild rice)
2 cups spring water
1 cup broccoli
4 small bok choy, well washed
2 small firm zucchini made into Zuudles, (with a ZuudleMaker or Spirooli avail here)
Lightly steam your favourite greens
3 small spring/green onions finely sliced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

  • Cook rice about 35 to 40 min until water is absorbed and rice is tender
  • Lightly steam your favourite greens
  • Add steamed vegetables to onion and avocado
  • Dress with Teriyaki Dressing and serve over steamed rice

Teriyaki Dressing

1 Tbsp organic tamari
2 T. organic sesame seeds
2Tbsp cold pressed organic Olive Oil
2 tsp coconut palm sugar
1 tsp of freshly grated ginger
1 clove freshly grated garlic

  • Mix well

Sometimes I make a Tamari Omelet to go with it 

2 farm fresh eggs
2 tsp organic wheat free tamari
2 tsp coconut oil, cold pressed

  • Melt oil in 8 inch skillet and heat to ‘low to medium’ temperature
  • Whisk tamari into the eggs
  • Pour eggs into the pan and cook gently until the top is just cooked through
  • Roll omelet into a scroll and slice into spirals
  • Place on top of dressed greens and sigh!

Want more food?

Melbourne masterclass has only 6 seats left.
Game Bird price $250 expires by 1/8/14.

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