This article is part of a new series, From the Wanderlust Kitchen, celebrating real, good food. Receive a digital cookbook of this season’s recipes from chef Seamus Mullen and Wanderlust Hollywood by signing up here.
Seamus Mullen is the kind of chef who walks the talk.
After experiencing severe pain flare-ups in his joints in his 20s and 30s, Seamus, the executive chef at Wanderlust Hollywood, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. A major part of his path to recovery has been overhauling his diet.
But it’s a tricky word, diet.
“I like to think of diet at a noun, not as a verb,” Seamus says. “It’s not something you do.”
Rather, Seamus thinks of diet as a lifestyle, a way of thinking about food and health habits that carries over from day-to-day, month-to-month. In order to get healthy—and stay healthy—Seamus has developed a diet-as-a-lifestyle that works for him. “It really is what I like to call a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet,” he says.
“We need to shift the idea of indulgence to one where after you indulge you feel good about yourself.”
To get there, he had to work backwards. “I started looking at the things that I liked cooking with most, and I started to realize that those things were really good for me,” he says—foods rich in high-quality fats like wild fish, coconuts, avocados, and olives and olive oil. He concentrated on eating more of what made him feel good and cutting out things that didn’t, namely sugar, alcohol, grains, and processed foods. “I realized that there’s no value in eating something that’s going to make me feel like crap,” he says.
Now that he’s fully adopted this new way of eating, Seamus is very vigilant about what he puts into his body. The key, he says, is that his diet doesn’t feel restrictive. It’s healthy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious, even indulgent.
“We need to shift the idea of indulgence to one where after you indulge you feel good about yourself,” he says. “Eggs are indulgent, spring peas at the height of the season are indulgent, fresh strawberries are indulgent, excellent bacon is indulgent. But those are all things that are very good for you and really are about celebrating food and enjoying flavor.”
This is what he means by diet-as-a-lifestyle. Think about foods that are good for your body and full of flavor, including foods that have quality fats and a natural sweetness, and celebrate them. It’s a philosophy he’s seen work firsthand, transforming him from being practically bedridden to an incredibly active person.
“You can live a really indulgent, healthy, happy life with food, and, at the same time, you can watch—and feel—your body change in a very positive way.”
See Seamus’s food philosophy in action by checking out these recipes from the café at Wanderlust Hollywood.
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