Healthy Eating Tips

I Couldn’t Find a Cookbook That Worked for My Health Situation, So I Wrote My Own—And I’ve Never Felt More Empowered

Photo: Kat Jamieson/Blended
I wrote my book, Blended, because I wanted to: 1. Celebrate wellness in a healthy, balanced, non-restrictive way, and 2. Inspire others to create beautiful, effortless dishes and tablescapes at home for themselves and their loved ones.

When I was going through an array of health problems in my 20s, I couldn’t find a role model I truly related to. It seemed like everywhere I looked, wellness figures were touting such restrictive lifestyles and setting unrealistic, unattainable goals that just made me feel bad about myself. I remembering thinking, Where's the woman opening up about her health struggles in a genuine way, embodying a balanced lifestyle and sharing easy, healthy recipes I can make at home? Where’s the girl who loves a martini, but also starts her day with a big green smoothie? Where’s the girl who loves to eat out and can take down an entire large pizza, but also appreciates a delicious homemade meal and a hearty salad? Where’s the busy gal who still loves hosting an elegant dinner party?

I’m so excited because with Blended, I’m carving out a new type of wellness category; one that encourages everyone to do what works for them, doesn’t involve a diet of any kind, and celebrates a truly balanced and beautiful way of living.

What helped me get to a happier, healthier mental and physical place was a combination of many things, not just one thing. Within this book, I share what helped me personally. I am so thankful that today, I feel healthy, happy, and vibrant. My digestion runs like a well-oiled machine, I appreciate my body, I no longer suffer from debilitating anxiety, and I enjoy so many delicious kinds of food. I want every person to be able to have their cake and eat it, too.

My health journey before writing Blended

At age 25, my life as I knew it completely changed. The year had started off so well: I was running my company and doing what I loved, living in a charming West Village apartment with my boyfriend of eight years and enjoying all that New York City had to offer. Halfway through the year, my boyfriend and I broke up.

Devastated and lonely, I decided to go out almost every single day and night. I couldn’t stand being alone with my own thoughts and feelings. I would go to coffee meetings in the morning followed by wine dates at night. As you can imagine, this took a huge toll on my mental and physical health. It was during this time I started to feel indigestion all day, every day. I developed anxiety and brain fog, and I was often doubled over with stomach pain. Desperate for relief, I went to doctor after doctor and spent thousands of dollars looking for answers. I remember a top gastroenterologist in the city told me to take antacids everyday as needed for the rest of my life after an endoscopy detected severe inflammation. I was dumbfounded and shocked.

Frustrated and still in pain, I decided to schedule an appointment with a naturopath. The naturopath was able to give me some helpful suggestions, but she pushed way too many supplements on me and gave me the longest list of things I couldn’t eat, which was extremely overwhelming! She wanted me to give up gluten, dairy, sugar, and meat. I remember thinking, Nope, that’s no way to enjoy life...especially if we don't know that I actually need to give these foods up for the sake of my health! This left me even further frustrated.

I then booked an appointment with a nutritionist and another naturopath a friend recommended. The nutritionist told me the opposite of the naturopath: He said to go paleo and suggested his whey protein powder shakes and bars full of chemicals. Then, the new naturopath told me to eat tons of nuts and seeds to balance my hormones and get enough healthy fat. The problem was, unknowingly to both of us at the time, I had a serious nut and seed intolerance, so following this protocol made me feel even worse.

At that point, I felt defeated and like I was running out of options. I was spiraling and felt ill and depressed every single day. I started to become anti-social because I felt like none of my friends understood what I was going through. I was scared to go out and eat something that could make me feel worse, and I was embarrassed. Just when I thought I had exhausted all options, a friend told me he had just returned from an amazing week at a wellness self-care facility in the desert. He was happier than I had ever seen him, and went on and on about how this place helped him prioritize rest and find inner peace. I booked a week at the facility and thank goodness I did, because it changed my life. What was so special about this experience is that it educated me on food, gentle nutrition, energy, and the mind-body connection—all things I had never even thought of or heard of before. It taught me a 360 approach to well-being that truly opened my eyes to the importance of balance, digestion, sleep, and more.

When I landed back in New York, I had so much energy and never felt better. I wanted to continue feeling like that—and to continue learning about health and wellness. So, a few months later, I packed up my apartment and moved to Venice, California. From there, I took a deep dive into self-care, and started doing everything from meditating to pulling away from toxic friendships, going to therapy, taking walks daily, eating more fiber, getting more sleep, and more.

And in the process, I became my own best friend. It was during this time that I started writing my book.

Kat Jamieson's recipe for shaved brussels sprouts salad with green apple, jicama, and lemon poppyseed dressing from Blended

Ingredients
1 1⁄2 pounds brussels sprouts
1 Granny Smith apple, halved and cored
1⁄4 jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks

For the lemon poppyseed dressing: 
2 lemons, juiced and zested
1⁄4 cup + 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot, diced fine
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp poppy seeds

Instructions
1. In a large bowl, shave brussels sprouts very thin on a mandolin.

2. Slice Granny smith apple thin on the mandolin and squeeze half a lemon on top. Mix well and add to the bowl with the brussels. Add in jicama matchsticks.

3. In a medium bowl whisk together lemon juice, a teaspoon of lemon zest, mayonnaise, Dijon, shallot, maple syrup, and poppyseeds. Add a sprinkle of salt and fresh cracked pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

4. Dress the brussels, apples and jicama with the dressing.

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