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Alex Pendlebury on nutrition, balance & life!

This year has been a wild ride. So we think it's a good time to take a moment, pause, reflect, and check in with yourself and how you’ve been managing all the ups and downs. Have you lost some balance in your life? Have you slipped away from those good habits you know make you feel best? It’s not too late to turn things around and get back on track with whatever goals you may have set earlier in the year!


An inspiration to all of us here at Dineamic, we checked in with ambassador Alex Pendlebury to chat all things nutrition, balance, and life in 2020. A qualified nutritionist and former gymnast, Alex has valued health and fitness for as long as she can remember. She values the power of good food and has built an established career through a range of ventures, including as a regular contributor to our recipe and meal development.


Read on for the full Q&A! 


What do you think is key to maintaining a positive relationship with food?

I think knowledge that good food is what fuels us. We need it to be our best. Physically to move well & to look well, emotionally to be happy, socially to be able to interact well with our friends, family and colleagues. Good, healthy food is what makes us get up and go! 


And also avoiding fad diets! You don’t want your diet/relationship with food going up and down, you want to try and stick to a balanced diet year round. If you have a day of overindulging don’t beat yourself up over it the following days, the next day just try to eat a heap of fresh food including fruit and lots of veggies and move on! Don’t go searching for a ‘quick fix’ like a no carb diet or skipping meals because that doesn’t work in the long run, and can really do damage your relationship with food.

What's your food philosophy and what influences your food choices?

I’m big on just keeping it simple and sensible. It’s a boring message but it’s the one that is the most enjoyable and sustainable in the long run. My philosophy is simple: 


Eat well - Healthy foods, most of the time. Eat whole foods, less processed, lots of plant-based. Don’t over eat. Moderate alcohol. Water, drink lots of it!


Be active - Get out and do something, anything! Each day. Try to work up a sweat a few times a week. Walking, playing sports, running, riding, weights, boxing, yoga, boot camp, swimming - mix it up.


Balance your lifestyle - Sleep, get lots of it. Socialise with family and friends, love and laugh! Work hard, love what you do. Manage stress. Take time out of your busy life to relax. 


Paint us a picture of what your average day looks like when it comes to food?

I usually have cooked oats with banana or berries, chia and hemp seeds in the morning. 


Mid morning, a coffee (almond cap) and make some corn thins and chopped carrot sticks with avocado, or hummus or nut butter. Or a piece of fruit and some rice crackers.  


Lunch is usually a big salad with heaps of different veg and tuna or brown rice. Or avocado toast with tomato and lemon.


Arvo snack is something like puffed corn and yoghurt. Or a protein smoothie. Or on the weekend I might have a glass of wine!


Dinner is always different. Grilled Fish and veggie stir fry or salad on the side, fried rice with a heap of chopped veggies, chicken and veg stir fry, a Dineamic meal with extra added veggies if I’m hungry! Homemade baked potato chips with guacamole and a salad, a rice salad, DIY Mexican wraps, veggie curry and rice or legumes, quinoa and chickpea salad, prawn and veg risotto.


After dinner I might have some Cobs popcorn and a hot cacao (choc) drink or a cuppa or chai tea and a few squares of chocolate. 

How would you define balance?

In terms of day-to-day eating, I think it’s as simple as making sure your meals are made up of fresh (unprocessed) wholefoods and eating plenty of vegetables and fruit. And if you occasionally feel like indulging in something sweet, some French fries or a glass of wine, then go for it! 


And in terms of meals, I like to think of a balanced meal as one including:


  • A few different vegetables (baked, stir- or air-fried, fresh chopped, salad) or fruit
  • Some complex carbs (like potatoes, brown rice, oats, any grains, whole grain sourdough bread, legumes, etc.) 
  • A protein source (like legumes, fish, lean meats, seafood, dairy like yoghurt) 
  • Plus a healthy fat source (including avocado, nuts, seeds, hummus, olive oil, and dairy) 
  • Favourite Dineamic meal from the new range and why?

    I can’t decide out of two! I loved the Middle Eastern Vegetable Tagine with Turmeric Couscous – I just love good plant-based meals full of grains, veggies and gut-loving fibre! And I also really enjoyed the Yellow Curry Coconut Chicken with Wild Rice Blend and Steamed Veggies - I love simple meals with a tasty twist! Usually curries are too dense for my liking but this is very well balanced. 

    What is one piece of advice you wish you could tell your younger self about health! 

    I would say not to compare yourself to others and focus on your own body, and your own journey! To NOT go on restrictive diets which make your weight yo-yo up and down. It really can affect your body in the long run. Keep it balanced and healthy year-round. The more you restrict your food the more likely you are to binge-eat later on, and that is not good for you or your mental health!

    What is your favourite cuisine? 

    Mexican, Italian or Greek. Anything fresh and I love seafood!

    Place you wish you could travel to right now! And why?

    I would travel to Greece or Hawaii! I just love the Greek islands…Santorini, Mykonos (the quiet side!) and Kos. They are so beautiful but also casual and have such a great chilled out vibe. And I love the fresh salads and seafood there! Hawaii is a go-to spot for us being a bit closer flight-wise, and we love it there too.  


    Want to try Alex’s favourite Dineamic meals? 

    We always love catching up with Alex. She gives great tips on how to recapture our best selves! If you’d like to try Alex’s favourite Dineamic meals, check out the Middle Eastern Vegetable Tagine or Yellow Curry Coconut Chicken. But why stop there? If those don’t tickle your fancy, you can shop the whole range of delicious, nutritious Dineamic meals here