Remember the time I went to Phuket? Well, while I was researching for healthy café's and food alternatives on the island, I stumbled across Jess Moses Instagram account and was immediately mesmerised. Originally from London, the 22 year old has fled the home nest and is currently was discovering the healthy wonders of Phuket where she was working at Phuket Cleanse, a fully raw/vegan detox retreat. Back home she is not a fully raw vegan, but for her stay at the resort she was immersing herself into the lifestyle and documenting her journey through beautiful pictures. Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to pop by the retreat and get to know this beautiful soul in person, but at least I got to pick her brain in this latest #healthspotalk. Shall we start?
What was the catalyst that turned you into a healthy foodie?
Health and wellness were never big factors in my teenage years. Then during my gap year abroad all those burgers and ice creams eventually caught up with me. I came home determined to get back to the old me, but in the process I got so caught up in my weight-loss mission that I lost too much weight. Like many other young women I had lost sight of what healthy actually meant. At university, the yo-yoing continued. It was only after graduation that I finally felt that I truly had the time to "stabilise" my lifestyle and work towards an optimal self. I now nourish my body with an abundance of healthy foods, rather than going through cycles of deprivation and overindulgence.
What is your philosophy on health?
My main philosophy on health is eating well to live well. I eat well because I know I am feeding my body with nutrients which ultimately makes me feel great. For me, eating healthily is a lifestyle choice. It affects my mood, my energy and my mental clarity. So I don’t view healthy eating as a restrictive diet, rather I listen to my body and feed it with the nutrients that it requires. This ultimately brings my mind and body in tune with each other in order to lead a balanced lifestyle.
Why do you eat the way you eat?
What you put in is what you get out and ultimately, I eat good to feel good. The added clarity enables me to make healthier choices and maintain a positive outlook on life. I often explain that I am not restricting my diet of “delicious” food. Indeed, I am satisfying my needs by feeding my body with nutritional and medicinal plant-based ingredients.
I could not eat the way I eat if I did not enjoy the food. Taste is paramount and I do not compromise on this. I love to eat – especially when I know that it will nourish my body. It’s also great to inspire others and “show them the light”. I simply love giving my family a cheat treat without the cheat… nothing is more amusing than hearing them say ‘What? There’s avocado in this chocolate mousse?!’
Describe your day on a plate.
I’m currently living a plant-based raw food diet whilst working at the leading detox and fitness health retreat in South East Asia, Phuket Cleanse. Food is a big part of our programme and I am fortunate enough to have access to a wealth of superfoods and a raw vegan cuisine.
A typical lunch for me is a large fresh salad of leafy greens with a variety of dehydrated toppings such as onions, mushrooms, seaweed and cashew nuts laced with an oil based salad dressing. I then sprinkle on an assortment of sunflower, broccoli and pea sprouts - possibly the healthiest foods on earth.
My favorite dinner is our famous rawsagne (raw lasagna) – stacked layers of sliced zucchini and nut “meat” topped with a tomato and vegan cheese sauce. This is a typical ketogenic meal – high fat and low carb - which has been suiting my taste buds just fine! But before I dig in… a quick snap is always in order!
Have you noticed any major differences in your health since switching to a raw vegan diet?
My energy! Over the past few months, I seem to have endless amounts of energy which is something pretty unusual for me. For as long as I can remember, I have always felt tired and lethargic. However since I really altered my eating habits, I found that I have ample amounts of energy, without the constant need to take a nap. Even after the occasional 5 hour night’s sleep (I know I shouldn’t be advocating that), I’m feeling lively, even with a HIIT workout squeezed in at the end of the day!
What are the 5 things we will always find in your fridge/pantry?
Speaking as a true almond addict, you will always be able to find a packet of almonds (most probably soaking in bowl of water) and a jar of almond butter in my pantry; my ultimate weakness. I also always make sure that I have a constant supply of lemons as I try to drink warm alkalizing lemon water every morning. Flaxseed is another great staple of mine – they don’t call it “the vegan egg” for nothing! It’s the perfect ingredient to create a binding consistency and can be used in so many different recipes too. Finally, without fail, there will always be an avocado in sight – my one true love!
What’s the biggest nutrition misconception you are always having to clear up for people?
Before I embarked on my raw vegan adventures in Phuket, my friends and family thought I’d be grazing on lettuce leaves and carrot sticks. But to their surprise, I have been exposed to a wide variety of dishes and flavors. Raw veganism isn’t as extreme as people perceive – as long as you are well stocked, prepped and creative, the raw magic will keep flowing.
A big misconception is that treats cannot be part of a healthy diet. I love introducing people to raw vegan desserts and opening their eyes to the notion that delicious does not have to be naughty.
We often perceive fat to be the enemy. We tend to opt for low fat options without realizing that this may be loaded with sugar and unnatural sweeteners. Our bodies become accustomed to this and those overwhelming sugar cravings dominate our lives. Good fats and oils (such as olive, omega-3s and coconut oils) are actually necessary in our diet in order to absorb the vitamins, minerals and nutrients from our food. Sugars are out and fats are in.
Tell us about your workout routine.
As with many healthy foodies out there, yoga is my new found obsession. I am a beginner in the yoga world but I do love a good yoga session after a cardio workout to stretch me out and build my core strength. I have recently discovered aerial yoga which lengthens the muscles…which a shorty like me definitely needs.
For a more intense and sweat drippin’ workout, I opt for a HIIT Tabata style Bootcamp. This high intensity interval training workout pushes you to your max by performing short bursts of exercise with little breaks in between. This is perfect for me - the thought of going out for an hour long run is my worst nightmare!
What does living a wholesome lifestyle mean to you?
Living a wholesome lifestyle gives me the opportunity to live a balanced and holistic life. I have learnt the importance of focusing on a combination of mind, body, spirit in order to achieve my highest and best self.
Living a wholesome lifestyle has also helped my friends and family too. I have educated them on health and nutrition - and they’ve become professional healthy recipe tasters too! I created my @freshlysnapped Instagram account and blog as a way of documenting my healthy food creations, but it has developed into a platform to reach out and inspire as many people as possible to the wonders of eating well to live well.
A recipe from Jess - Raw sushi (using jicama rice)
I’m always keen to impress with presentation and plating. My raw sushi always goes down a treat – both on social media and on the table. This is a recipe which is colorful, allows me to be creative and tastes divine. Not to mention the ample amounts of iodine you get from the seaweed, a vital superfood for health…it’s a win-win!
Ingredients (makes 5-6)
2 whole jicamas (If you have difficulty sourcing jicama, you could try using cauliflower instead)
2 crushed garlic cloves
Raw vegetables of your choice: red and yellow bell peppers, cucumber, zucchini, spring onions, avocado
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of chia seeds
2 tbsp of sesame oil
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Peal the jimacas and great into small pieces.
Mix them in a bowl together with the rest of the ingredients.
Place your nori (seaweed) sheet on top of your sushi mat.
Spread a line of jicama rice onto your nori sheet.
Add the veggies that you chose.
Roll the nori sheet tightly to create a compact roll and then cut into small rolls.
To make a colourful finish, create fruit slices using mango, melon and papaya. Make sure the slices are wide enough to wrap around the sushi roll.
Wrap each individual sushi roll in one slice of fruit, present the sushi on a stylish plate, take an artsy photo…and devour!
Thank you so much, Jess, for this beautiful interview. Might I say, I am slightly jealous of the amazing food that you got to taste in Phuket. If I ever go to Phuket again, I will definitely make sure to stop by this time. And congratulations on your new job with Deliciously Ella, how exciting is that?!