Fully Booked recently exchanged some questions and answers with Tess Masters, an Australian actor and presenter living in Los Angeles with a passion for nutrition—hence, her growing popularity as a health advocate, and the monicker, ‘The Blender Girl’. Now, she has a cookbook of the same title that is growing in popularity. It teaches interested readers how to make plant-based milk, cocktails and drinks, dressings, as well as complete meals—all with the help of, in Tess’ own words, one of “the greatest culinary gifts the gods have bestowed on us since fire and spoons”: the blender.
When people hear the word ‘diet’, they usually think of severe rules and restrictions. How would you describe your book to someone with this mindset?
I prefer not to follow one specific ‘diet’ or way of eating. Instead, I embrace and share the concept of bio-individuality—that each person can find his or her perfect blend of food, exercise, spiritual practice, healthy relationships, etc. to find a way of living that can adapt and develop as needs do with age, climate, stress levels, physical activity and so on. Yes, I share my perfect blend and way of eating in the book as a reference point for the philosophy that informed the development of the recipes. However, I do not prescribe a particular way of eating. My book celebrates healthy fast food made with fresh whole ingredients—fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, oils, and natural flavorings and sweeteners. However you choose to eat, whether it be omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, gluten free or anything else you can blend up some of my recipes to add to your current lifestyle. Eating fresh food is a boon to health, and I offer simple recipes that make fresh food easy, accessible, and fun.
You have so many recipes on your blog! Is there a particular recipe you can call an absolute favorite?
Gosh, it’s hard to pick one particular favorite. But, the Creamy Cauliflower Soup immediately springs to mind because it has been a family staple for many years and is still one of my most requested recipes from readers and friends. In fact, it is so popular that it was the first recipe from my website that I included in the book. This delicious soup is made with just a handful of ingredients but has a deep rich flavor and delightful creamy texture that serves as a great example of how you don’t need complicated ingredients or a lot of cooking skills to make a show-stopping healthy meal. People swoon over this soup. It’s not to be missed.
What was the hardest part in writing this book? And how did your family and friends support you in the writing process?
Choosing the recipes and condensing all of the information that I wanted to share was the most challenging part of the development of this book. There were countless recipes to choose from and I only had so many words and pages to do it in. I am so grateful to my incredible editor who helped me communicate my story with clarity. My recipe testers and friends also helped narrow down the recipe choices with their discerning taste buds and honest feedback. My friends and family were also an incredible support. I wrote and developed the recipes for this book in 90 days and my community rallied in a stupendous act of support and generosity—chopping, blending, and tasting with me to get the recipes juuuuust right, and also giving me much needed loving talks when I was exhausted and all blended out!
Did your ‘Piggies’ play a role in the creation of this book? Do you have any memorable stories from them on how following the Blender Girl lifestyle changed the way they live?
Yes! My ‘piggies’ were an invaluable part of the creation of this book. I was fortunate to have 55 loyal recipe testers blending all over the world using all kinds of machines. Some of them were readers I have become friends with over the years. Others were family members and friends who were not vegetarians or vegans, but omnivores who had never been exposed to this way of cooking and eating. Their willingness to dive in and eat this food for 90 days was inspiring, and their feedback was critical to the final recipes you see in the book. I am so grateful. It turned out to be a life changing experience for many of them. I have received countless emails and phone calls sharing incredible stories of weight loss and increased energy. Many of them are now drinking green smoothies every day, eating more vegetables, and have purchased Vitamix machines and dehydrators. The same thing happened on my photo shoot for the book. At the end of the first week, many of the crew came up to me and said, “We are just loving the food! At first we thought, ‘A vegan blender book! Yuck!’ But, wow!” After the shoot several of them purchased blenders and dehydrators and are still sending me notes and photos of their smoothies and other healthy creations. It really warms my heart, and I hope the book will have this effect on many more people – knowing that you can throw together healthy delicious meals with very little time or cooking skills.
We all know that exercise goes hand in hand with proper nutrition. What sort of exercise or workout routines have you found most compatible with your ‘blended lifestyle’?
I love to walk, hike, stretch, and practice yoga and pilates. I also lift weights, skip, and I still occasionally attend a boxing class. I also love to dance around the house when nobody is watching! Just as my perfect blend of food changes as my needs do, so does my exercise routine. But, I always make sure I ‘move’ in some way every day depending on how I feel.
Could you please share with us what is in the future for The Blender Girl?
I have a fun year ahead. I am excited. The first book launches April 8th, at which time I will embark on a national US book tour with appearances on local and national media, book signings and demos at Williams-Sonoma and Le Creuset signature stores, Whole Foods, and book stores. I will then travel to Australia for the Aussie book tour. I also love public speaking and will continue to share my message that way too. I am also working on my app which will launch later this year. Then I will start writing and developing the recipes for my second book.
Thank you for answering all these! One last question, what single piece of advice could you give to encourage those who are hesitant to embark on a journey of healthy eating?
Thank you so much for featuring me. I love my readers in the Philippines. One piece of healthy eating advice: You are what you eat. Eating healthy foods is the greatest act of self love that you can give to yourself and your family. However, you choose to eat, include fresh fruits and vegetables in your life every day. That’s a great first step. Then make additional changes in a way and at a pace that is comfortable for you. This gentle approach will give you the best chance of maintaining long term healthy eating habits.