When Cassy Joy Garcia turned 24 years old, she decided it was time take control of her life and get healthy.
Fast forward six years: Garcia dropped 10 dress sizes, is now the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed & Fit, hosts the Fed & Fit weekly podcast, and authored the new cookbook: Fed & Fit: a 28-day food & fitness plan to jump-start your life with over 175 squeaky-clean paleo recipes.
In this cookbook, Garcia offers her readers more than just recipes: She lays out a comprehensive but yet easy-to-follow 28-day regimen guiding people of all fitness levels to healthier habits in and out of the kitchen. Her recipes are grounded in paleo principles and promise to serve up big flavors to make mealtime enjoyable and delicious for all.
We were fortunate enough to chat with Garcia to find out more about her new cookbook and how she makes “squeaky-clean” food taste good.
The Daily Meal: What is your philosophy of cooking?
Cassy Joy Garcia: My philosophy of cooking is two-fold: first, flavor doesn’t have to be sacrificed in order for food to be healthy, and second, anyone can cook. Anyone! It may take a little time and patience, but you can learn how to cook and you might even begin to love it, too.
At the beginning of my health transformation, I ate a lot of bland food and quickly grew bored with my meals. I started experimenting in the kitchen, seeing if I could create healthy, healing dishes that would also get me excited about mealtime. I learned to lean on spices, citrus, and the pan-searing technique to build flavor — I learned that healthy doesn’t have to be boring!
How did this inspire the recipes you chose to include in this book?
These recipes are as healthy as healthy gets; I didn’t even use any sweeteners, natural or otherwise, for the desserts in the book, either. Instead, I had to rely on the main ingredients to flavor the dish. For example, when making [ice pops], my trick is to roast the fruit before blending and freezing. The roasting helps to draw out some of the natural sugars and deepen flavors. Often times, we can mask empty flavors by using an abundance of cheese, salt, or sugar in a dish, but my recipes had to be delicious enough to stand on their own, unmasked.
What is your favorite recipe in the book and why?
One of my favorite recipes is also one of the simplest! I adore the Italian Stuffed Eggplant. I love it because it’s packed with a lot of flavor and offers up a large portion of healthy vegetables in the process. My husband frequently requests this dish!
How do you hope readers will use this book, what do you hope they take away?
Whether it’s because of the 28-day Fed & Fit Project, the slightly geeky Four Pillars of Health (fitness, mindset, nutrition, and sleep management), the workouts, or the recipes and instructions to help a person to become a more confident cook, I hope that readers walk away with a sense of calm assurance that they can successfully live a healthy lifestyle.
Is there anything else you would like the share?
For the beginner cook, I recommend you check out the Simple Meal Components chapter; it is dedicated to short five-step (or less) recipes that only use five ingredients. These recipes are a great way to build confidence in the kitchen.