David Bez of SaladPride
We catch up with David Bez, blogger, author and healthy eating convert, as his latest book, BreakfastLove, is published.
In 2009, two of my friends developed serious health issues. My girlfriend at the time (now wife) and I started questioning our lifestyle and what we were eating and how this would impact us in our 30s and later on in life.
I started challenging myself to eat a healthier lunch every day. As part of this, I began a blog, SaladPride. Initially, it was more of a personal reference and for friends and family, but people responded well to the beauty of the pictures and the simplicity of what I was doing I think and it grew from there.
My lunches prior to SaladPride had been very typical. We have a canteen at work and I'm a big guy (over six foot), so I'd have a burger or something else starchy, meaty and heavy. I've worked hard to find a ratio of starches, protein and vegetables in my salads that will fill me up. It is possible!
The first thing I noticed after swapping to salad at lunch was that I felt a lot less tired at work. Instead of needing 20 coffees just to stay awake, I felt light and energised. Afternoons were transformed. After having a child, having a lunch that was filling but not heavy was a complete game changer with all the sleepless nights!
There are two things that I have discovered on my journey. Fruit and vegetables. I was never really a big fruit fan before. I preferred cake. But I've found the beauty and colour and flavours of different fruit and vegetables to be amazing.
I try to use seasonal and local produce. I tend to order a weekly veggie box with lots of organic, seasonal produce and also source from somewhere called Growing Community in Hackney. It collects vegetables from local sources. The Hackney salad has become quite famous and is used by lots of restaurants.
In Italy, I grew up on milk and biscuits for breakfast. As an adult, I embraced the tradition of coffee and croissants. I used to find that my sugar levels would spike massively as a result, I'd have cravings at 11am, 3pm, 5pm, and, despite having a healthy lunch, I was still having to manage my weight.
My latest book, BreakfastLove... has aimed to address this by experimenting with different grains, lots of fruit and nuts and making my own almond milk and cashew yoghurt, which is incredible.
I'm really into savoury breakfasts at the moment. So things like quinoa or buckwheat mixed with avocado and tomato or mushroom and egg. I love British berries though.
I'm not super strict about health. I believe in beauty and what makes you feel good. I have a real weakness for pork (it's my Italian roots), so if I feel like bacon, I'll have some. Obviously not three times a day. That might be a bit too much. It's all about balance.
I am inspired by... Ottolenghi and (although I don't venture there myself) am fascinated by molecular gastronomy. At the moment, I'm experimenting with fermentation. I'm also a huge fan of Anna Jones (author of The Modern Way to Eat) who believes in being healthy without letting it take over, something I agree with.
My favourite food Instagrammer is... Symmetry Breakfast. Two of them do it and, a bit like me, they make one new recipe every day. Their photographs and styling are beautiful to look at and they always have interesting recipes.
My main piece of advice is to listen to your body. Everyone receives different feedback from their body based on what they eat. Being healthy is about paying attention to what it is saying and understanding what makes you feel good.
BreakfastLove is published by Quadrille Publishing this February 2016. Priced at £16.99. Available from Amazon