Having grown up in a small country town in Queensland where fresh wholefoods weren’t readily available, it wasn’t until she finished school that Claudia Cramer discovered the power of plant…
Having grown up in a small country town in Queensland where fresh wholefoods weren’t readily available, it wasn’t until she finished school that Claudia Cramer discovered the power of plant foods. Now a qualified Nutritionist, she shares her food philosophy, and her knowledge on the link between diet and immune health.
…Make sure to check out Claudia’s day on a plate at the end of this post for some inspo!
What inspired you to become a Nutritionist and Clinical dietitian?
After finishing high school, I noticed a link between the foods I was eating and how I was feeling. I was fuelling my days with energy dense, nutrient poor takeaway foods. Coupling this with going out and drinking alcohol on the weekends, I was not feeling my best and knew I needed to change my diet as it was affecting my mental health and self-confidence. I decided to start a food diary and began my passion for improving my own health.
I decided to follow my personal pursuit in feeling healthier and happier by moving to Brisbane and enrolling in a…Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Science. After completing this I began my Masters of Dietetics studies.
…Since then I have worked in [hospital-based] Clinical Dietetics, and completed my Sports Dietetics qualifications. I am always on the pursuit of learning more about food and the body so I don’t think I’ll ever be ‘done’. There is so much to learn being in a science-based career, which really excites me.
What is your personal food philosophy?
That you can eat delicious wholesome food and still hit your goals. Whether this is in the way you look (decrease body fat or increase muscle) or just for general healthy eating and feeling good. I believe you shouldn’t have to restrict food or deprive yourself to [do this].
Can you explain the link between what you eat and how your immune system functions?
Without getting into any specific research papers, some foods have the capability to ‘switch’ on or off specific markers in your body. For example: Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) represents a family of transcription factors, which can regulate a large group of genes involved in different processes of the immune and inflammatory responses. It has been [shown in studies that] turmeric [is] able to ‘modulate’ this marker in the body…The function of certain foods (and what the food is made up of) [can] influence the health of our bodies.
What kind of food would you recommend for immune system support?
A lot of herbs and spices, such as oregano, thyme, garlic, ginger, turmeric and cumin. I love to also use herbal teas to support the parasympathetic (rest and relax) and digestive systems…[and] plenty of fruit and vegetables of varying colours and textures, to assist in getting a wide range of vitamins, minerals and fibres.
What does your idea of health look like?
Being ‘symptom free’ as much as possible and feeling good in your day-to-day activities.
In what ways have your studies changed how you picture health, and the way you live?
They definitely made me realise it is not as easy as telling someone what to, and what not to eat. There are so many more factors involved [than] we realise, including the psychology of eating, availability and affordability of food and then also personal motivation.
I found that I ‘over-thought’ what I was eating [while I was studying] a few years ago…as you are immersed in food and nutrition all day, and I found I limited some foods that I thought were ‘bad’. Now, I have a beautiful balance of enjoying cooking delicious and wholesome food and eating for enjoyment without restriction or deprivation.
Your insta feed is so pretty! How has social media played a role in your career?
It has actually played a HUGE role. I find that I get offered a lot of [work and other opportunities] through social media and people ‘knowing’ my Instagram. I started it during my undergraduate degree and it was simply a place to showcase and document what I was eating and cooking.
We’d love to know your favourite Soulara meals!
I love all of the curry meals the best. They are so hearty with such tasty and wholesome ingredients. I can’t go past the Golden Coconut Dahl.
And your day on a plate?
Post workout: Soy piccolo or a small long black with milk.
Breakfast: Usually a piece of multigrain bread topped with avocado, an egg, pesto and sauerkraut.
Morning snack: Protein pudding (protein powder mixed with water and coconut yoghurt, [topped with] seeds and nut butter. Or dried apples and apricots.
Lunch: Homemade tofu curry with vegetables and coconut rice.
Afternoon snack: Stewed apples with cinnamon and coconut yoghurt.
Dinner: Gut Bowl with stir fried red and green cabbage, silverbeet or kale, onion, spices, ghee, pan-fried tofu. Topped with pesto, hummus, sauerkraut and seeds.
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