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Nat Carter’s Interview With Jodi Theisen From Hot Pink Chilli

A great thing about being a social person and sharing my “stuff” out there “on the line (LOL Vince Vaughn), is connecting with other like minded people in fitness and health. There’s a lot of people out there who don’t really use social media/blogging for what it was intended to be used for i.e BEING SOCIAL! However, I do and there are loads of cool people out there to meet. One in particular is Jodi Theisen, blogger at Hot Pink Chilli, health foodie, fitness enthusiast and mum. I asked Jodi a few questions about her blog (she’s done a really cool thing and decided to make blogging and sharing her knowledge a full time career- talk about putting on the big girl panties and a strong woman following her passion!) and also ask her about her philosophies on food and lifestyle. Hope you enjoy! 

Nat: What is Hot Pink Chilli About?

Jodi Theisen: Hot Pink Chilli is all about real food – whatever that might translate to
for your own body. I strongly subscribe to the idea of bio-individuality,
that one person’s food can be another’s poison – what works for one does not
necessarily work well for another. I love food that tastes amazing but at
the same time feeds your body – real food, made delicious! Hot Pink Chilli
emphasises the quick and easy route too, we are all busy mums, partners,
business women, students etc so the thought of spending hours preparing
meals on a daily basis is just not feasible or enjoyable for most of us,
life is just too short! Nourishing food does not have to be tasteless,
confusing or time-consuming and that’s where I come in! 

Nat: Why did you start a blog in the first place

JT: I started Hot Pink Chill after an incredible 6 month discovery of what my
body has been trying to tell me for years that it doesn’t tolerate! I
discovered through an accidental process of elimination that I am intolerant
to gluten, most grains, dairy and refined sugar. Symptoms that I had been
enduring and medicating since high school suddenly made sense to me: asthma,
chronic hayfever, acne, debilitating fatigue, depression, mood swings,
bloating, gas and a very unhealthy waist measurement. To name a few! I
started my blog to document my new way of eating, as a point of reference
for myself for when I was at a loss as what to cook. Transitioning from the
mainstream S.A.D (Standard Australian Diet) to all of a sudden one of real,
whole, unprocessed foods, definitely takes a bit of thinking outside the
box! And Hot Pink Chill is where I started all my deep thinking! 

Nat: Has blogging assisted your journey or health change 

JT: Absolutely! It keeps me accountable –  knowing that so many people relate to my health journey. It also keeps me thirsty to learn more, I never stop learning the more I read and experiment theories with my own body. 

Nat: 3 things that people would never know about you just by looking at

JT: I met and married my husband very young and we are still so happy and crazy in love!

I was born and bred in Durban South Africa, we emigrated together on our 1st wedding anniversary with a suitcase each and a dream to travel. 12 years later, we’re citizens and wouldn’t consider anywhere else ‘home’.

We lost our eldest daughter 9 years ago. A perfect 40 week pregnancy went horribly wrong an hour into labour and after 25 ½ hours on life support she passed away in my arms. Our perfect baby girl, Aliya. This life tragedy has shaped me into who I am today – for better or worse. 

Nat: Do you have something to compare your previous way of life with the
one you live/follow now. Do you feel better eating a more nutritious diet? 

JT: I take a very ‘whole’ view of my health. Eating a nutrient dense/’clean’ diet is as much about how I feel as how I look. Some people wear their heart on their sleeve, I wear my food! When I’m making consistently poor food choices there’s no hiding from it: my skin starts breaking out, I’m forced to medicate my asthma, energy levels plummet, my insulin & blood sugar levers are all over the shop, I don’t sleep well, I struggle to wake up, my head feels foggy (like a food hangover), I’m snappy with my kids and I feel like everything spirals out of my control. The day I go back to my tried and tested clean foods, that I know work well with MY body, everything starts to settle down one by one, like dominoes. I only worked what my body functions on optimally a few years ago by way of elimination. I cut out sugar and noticed my moods stabilize and the fog clear. Then I cut out dairy and gluten and within 2 days, symptoms I had been plagued with my entire life suddenly disappeared! Hayfever, asthma, bad skin as well as many IBS type symptoms too: Poof! I try to avoid those 3 things in my daily diet and I’m so glad I do because when I dabble in some icecream or bread I feel unwell within half an hour. I’m very fortunate to have worked this out and that my body is now such a reliable gauge for me.

Nat:  You dabbled in the competitive fitness “arena”, tell me about that experience 

JT: I had always been curious about bodybuilding but never thought I had enough discipline to compete –  until I started to meet a lot of mums and women ‘my age’ who said that if they could do it, then so could it! It took all my focus and all the discipline I could muster to get my body to stage condition. It helped that lifting weights is my favourite way to train but being a foodie, honestly, I found the diet dismal! That aside, my 16 weeks of prep fascinated me – taking my body and health to such a different place. Your first comp is always going to be very much trial and error – seeing how your body responds to carbs, fat, cardio and weights. There are so many variables to the final outcome when you step out on that stage but I was fortunate to have an extremely experienced coach who was only a text away when the cravings hit! The show itself was fantastic, I absolutely loved it! I got my crazy orange tan on, my 6 inch stripper heels and a gorgeous blue bikini not much bigger than a postage stamp and I was on such a high all day! Loved it. 

Nat: Did you feel at your peak fitness/performance or did you find it

JT: Athletically and obviously aesthetically I felt at my peak. How can you not when you’re eating such a finely tuned diet, timed by military precision and waking up every morning to obliques and a 6 pack?! Healthy though? I felt healthy up until peak week. The 6 days prior to the show I had to carb deplete and then the day before the show, carb load (to fill my muscles with glycogen to make them appear bigger) dehydrate (to make my skin thin enough for my muscles to pop) and that was tough. Low body fat % plus being carb & fat depleted made me feel like my brain had gone to sleep and instead I had a marble bouncing around in my head. I actually felt like I was a danger on the roads – I was completely and utterly zoned out. I could hardly hold a conversation, I couldn’t remember anything, it wasn’t a healthy state to be in. So yes in that respect I feel like it is definitely unrealistic to strive to be so lean permanently. Plus I had no energy to lift, which is my favourite thing to do! You have to fuel your body to hit the big weights! 

Nat: Would you do another comp again? 

JT: Having said all that above, believe it or not I would compete again. It is very satisfying reaching such a lofty goal that not many other people can say they’ve also done. I loved feeling strong & lean, I loved the controlled environment it took to get me there. On the other hand I have 2 very impressionable little girls who are 5 and 6 years old and I want to be the best role model that I can for them. Whilst I believe that demonstrating a love for food and exercise is definitely positive – I am all too aware that their little self images are developing too. They’re too young to understand that to Mummy it’s a sport and it’s about the achievement. All they see is the self-gratifying posing, flexing, teeny tiny bikini etc and I don’t want them growing up placing that much emphasis on their looks because they don’t understand what it’s really about for me. I want them to be comfortable in their skin, I want the emphasis on their chosen sport to rather be about having fun, being fit, strong & accomplished. My wish is for them to grow up with a healthy relationship with their bodies, to view their body as a vessel by which they achieve anything they want to! Whether that be academics, sport, missions, music, art – wherever their talents take them. So no, no more comps for me for now. 

Nat: What’s a typical “day on a plate” for you 

JT: Breakfast: soaked oats with eggs whisked in and berries on top OR a smoothie with frozen banana, frozen avocado, chia seeds, coconut milk, protein powder, peanut butter, raw cacao and stevia. 

Post workout shake – protein powder & banana

Lunch – Salad with cooked chicken or steak, pinenuts, plenty of raw vegetables and olive oil and balsamic reduction

Afternoon snack – Anything with nut butter on the side!

Dinner – slow cooked lamb with roast sweet potato, capsicum, mushrooms & zucchini and cabbage (yes, roast cabbage!)

Post dinner snack – Iced chocolate made from raw cacao, almond milk and stevia on ice, hits the sweet spot everytime! 

Nat:  What’s your best piece of advice for someone looking to start “cleaning
up their act” in terms of their diet 

JT:  Listen to your body! If you feel tired, bloated, nauseous, gassy or anything other than light and fueled, then something isn’t agreeing with you and you need to find out what that is. 

Stop exercising to burn calories, rather eat to fuel your workouts! This change in perception might be all you need to turn your relationship with food into something positive! You can’t eat crap and expect to train effectively and why would you bother training if you can’t do so properly – don’t waste an hour of your life in the gym hating it! I guarantee you that if you ate well before and after you train, it would change your workout!

Don’t be scared of fats! Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar and processed rubbish does! Your body was not designed to process chemicals so it doesn’t know where to store them, how to eliminate them or what to do with them. It therefore can’t tell you you’re full so you keep eating and eating and eating, getting more out of shape, sicker and more miserable. 

Perhaps going cold turkey on everything all at once isn’t the best approach. You’ve been in this state for years or eating this way for years, your body might go into shock, make you feel worse before you feel better and so you throw the towel in. Plus it’s expensive when you start eating clean so going slowly makes it easier on to budget for. 

Choose one meal to change per week. Breakfast – chuck out the highly processed, sugar laden boxed ‘food’ and instead replace it with whatever real food takes your fancy: bacon and eggs with avocado and sourdough toast, or a thick nutrient dense smoothie (high in protein and fat) or oats with eggs whisked in (it cooks up like custard, yum!) and fresh fruit or crushed nuts and seeds over yoghurt with low sugar fruit like berries, citrus or apples. Once you’ve found something you like, that likes you back, move onto the next meal. 

Swap outs are another great way to start to eat clean. Swap your man made vegetable oils for natural oils like coconut, macadamia, ghee and avocado (which actually has a brilliantly high smoking point for cooking). Swap your low fat, high sugar yoghurt for full fat, Swap white bread for authentic sourdough or bread made on the premises with no more than 5 ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, oil and water)

Nat:  Do you sometimes struggle with getting your kids to eat healthy or is
it just a way of life now? 

JT: As my girls transitioned to solid foods it was not negotiable to not eat their veggies, proteins and fats. I do not apologise for my stance on real food so treats are either homemade or nutrient dense such as homemade icecream with raw honey, popcorn slathered in butter and pink salt, raw chocolate balls made on dates and nuts or almond meal cookies with naturally coloured icing. If we’re out we’ll grab a raw food bar from the health food aisle and a coconut water. Generally kids who are part of the process will try more foods. Whether it’s getting them in the veggie garden, letting them cut, stir, press buttons on your food processor, set the table, make the meatballs, whatever. Miss 6 has always eaten anything I give her and is very experimental with her food whereas Miss 5 is not. She went to bed hungry for 18 months because I refused to give in to your fussiness. I’m probably going to get taken down by angry mob for saying that but I firmly believe that a fussy child (disabilities aside) is only created. You can’t crave what you haven’t tasted so if all you’re feeding your kids is wholesome real food, they won’t know any different. Now that they’re a bit older I have relaxed a bit so we have our weekly treats like sometimes fish and chips at the beach or icecream after the movies. Then let them run it off! 

Head to Jodi’s Hot Pink Chilli blog to find out how to make: Monkey Poop


x Nat 
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