Carla Oates, also known as ‘the Beauty Chef’, has been researching, writing and teaching about organic beauty and health for the past fifteen years. An expert on all things gut and natural wellness (you can read her article on 20 Tips for Good Gut Health & Beautiful Skin here!), Carla is the author of Feeding Your Skin, a columnist for Wellbeing Magazine and the creator of the Beauty Chef range of Living skin care. Her daily eats are an absolute dream and we love her health philosophy; ‘go slow, gently and have fun’. Thanks Carla for the gorgeous interview!
- Tell us a little bit about yourself – who you are and what you do.
I’m a mum of two gorgeous teenagers, a naturalist, beauty chef, product designer and beauty and health expert who is passionate about working with nature to create products for optimum beauty and health from the inside out. I am a big believer that “beauty begins in the belly” – that gut health is paramount for healthy, radiant skin and overall wellbeing.
I have lived in Bondi Beach for 25 years and spent a lot of my childhood here too, so I have a very deep connection to Bondi and lots of great memories. While Bondi has changed dramatically, the beach remains this big reservoir of goodness; the sea air, the salt water.
I really love what I do – it’s the perfect job for me – a combination of science, and design; two of my passions. Researching, experimenting and making things – it’s the best of both worlds. I spend a lot of time making concoctions and thinking about the alchemy of ingredients and how I can enhance their benefits or nutritional potential using natural biological processes. It is lots of fun!
- What was the ‘uh ha’ moment that inspired you to get in to health and wellbeing?
I established The Beauty Chef in 2009. I had been researching the benefits of plants and natural biological processes such as lacto-fermentation for around 10 years and was writing in the area of natural health and beauty. I had published a book called Feeding Your Skin with Penguin (in 2004) and had a DIY beauty column for the Sunday Telegraph for eight years as well as being the natural beauty editor for Wellbeing Mag for 12 years (which I still am). During this time I made all my own skincare from scratch from plants and organic foods and was giving them to friends and family to use. I created quite a demand and that demand grew to friends of friends. It seemed a natural progression to create a brand.
One thing that really stood out, too, was the difference in people’s skin when they ate my lacto-fermented vegetables. People were addicted to my fermented veggies and kefir coconut water – hence why The Beauty Chef started with my lacto-fermented inner beauty superfood powder, Glow.
My interest in natural health and beauty began as a teenager when I suffered from eczema and allergies and went and saw a naturopath who eliminated certain foods from my diet and introduced others. I saw a profound difference in my skin – “uh ha”.
Carla aka #thebeautychef loves buying Certified Organic produce from her locals, @earthfoodstore and @thehealthemporium in Bondi. Did you know you can cut the presence of artificial chemicals in your body by 90% within just 7 days by embracing an organic lifestyle? If you are interested to read up on the benefits of going organic, head to whyorganic.com.au #organicawarenessmonth #AustralianOrganic #AustralianCertifiedOrganic #TrustCertifiedOrganic
- Talk us through a typical day in your life…
I eat often during the day – I love my food! I eat a good brekkie and maybe a smoothie for morning tea, a salad and protein for lunch, smoothie for afternoon tea or cold pressed juice and light dinner. I eat lots of carrots, nuts and seeds in between.
Breakfast is usually eggs in some form, with mushrooms, tomatoes and salmon or a buckwheat and quinoa, miso, apple and almond and maple porridge. When I am in a rush, breakfast is a smoothie with BODY Inner Beauty Powder.
Berrylicious! GLOW Inner Beauty Powder contains a blend of Certified Organic bio-fermented ingredients to nourish and enhance the skin from the inside out. Enjoy mixed with water, in one of your favourite smoothies or use in one of the #thebeautychef recipes on our website! #getglowing #beautybeginsinthebelly 📷 @lwskinclinic
However, breakfast is always prefaced by some form of exercise or meditation, whether it be a pilates class, a game of tennis, a strengthening class or a walk along Bondi Beach and a swim where I live (the sea air is brilliant for getting a daily dose of feel good negative ions) or a walk around Centennial Park (my bush fix in the city) – and a glass of GLOW Inner Beauty Powder with a splash of COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost – they are my internal beauty routine. GLOW is like my internal moisturiser and COLLAGEN is like my internal skin serum.
I spend most days in the office in Double Bay or sometimes I work from home. For lunch I’ll make a big salad with nuts, sprouts, avocado and some form of protein, whether chicken or salmon, and dinner means all kinds of culinary surprises, depending on what is in season. Mostly salads, veggies and a protein source – like a slow cooked lamb fennel roast or fish; love salmon and barramundi. I’m a big fan of curries and I love slow cooked soups and stews with lots of veggies and herbs and spices with bone broth.
This PICKLED PAPAYA & CHILLI SALAD is the perfect dish for those hot summer nights. Papaya is rich in an enzyme called papain, which is healing, detoxifying and helps our bodies digest proteins and fats. It’s brilliant with protein as it helps us digest whatever we consume it with. This dish is delectable and the chilli in the chicken mixture helps to stimulate digestive fire. Recipe in #thebeautychef Cookbook, available on our website x
- Coffee or tea?
I am a bit of tea addict. I drink tea throughout the day. Black tea, which I love but try to limit and lots of herbal tea. I do love a turmeric and coconut milk latte too!
- Three foods you can’t live without?
Lacto-fermented veggies, goats cheese, eggs and bone broth!
#thebeautychef COOKBOOK SNEAK PEAK: Kale Bowl With Quinoa, Fermented Vegetables, Wakame And Avocado! Fresh and nutritious, this flavour-packed dish features the seaweed wakame, a great source of minerals that can be lacking in conventionally grown produce, and that are essential for healthy, glowing skin. With some of my skin boosting, Sweet and Sour Vegetables tossed through, this recipe is my go-to weekday lunch! Recipe on website x The Beauty Chef Cookbook is available on our website now.
- What’s your go-to snack for those days on the run?
A smoothie with BODY Inner Beauty Powder.
- … And any last words of advice or tips for those starting out on their health journey?
Set achievable and sustainable goals, even if it is one small thing each week. Taking a food out of your diet that inflames you, the next week, make your breakfast healthier, the following week, try and walk twice a week not just once a week. And believe in your adaptability. I remember giving up milk when I was a teenager and (I used to drink 1 litre of it a day!) and it was really difficult. Other non-dairy milks tasted awful. Six months later, when I tasted cow’s milk again, I felt really nauseous and was so much happier drinking nut milks. Making change, takes a little time but you will be surprised at how taste buds and behaviour changes with a little persistence and patience. Be kind to yourself too. If you lapse, don’t worry. Stress is one of the worst culprits when it comes to compromising the health of your skin and body. Go slow, gently and have fun. Green juices detoxify your liver, but I’m sure laughing does too.
ROASTED STRAWBERRY & COCONUT CREAM FLAN This delightful recipe gives you the lovely sweet and creamy texture of a conventional flan, but with lots of health giving goodness. Sweet, succulent strawberries offer more than just taste, they are also an impressive beauty food. Best known for their high levels of vitamin C, they help protect the skin from within by boosting collagen production as well as protecting collagen from damage; keeping your skin looking smooth and radiant. They are also a good source of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, collagen-boosting manganese and copper as well as biotin, known to help maintain the health of our skin, hair and nails. Combined with The Beauty Chef’s COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost, rich in bio-fermented berries, pomegranate, grape seed extract, probiotics and grass fed gelatin, this recipe is both gentle on digestion and a wonderful beauty food. Not to mention a delicious addition to your weekend menu! Recipe on website.
To find out more about Carla and the Beauty Chef, head to: thebeautychef.com