I believe food is the ultimate key to health, and prevention is the best kind of medicine.
By nourishing your body with a plant-rich, nutrient dense, whole foods diet, you’re well on your way to a happy, healthy life!
Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here. I’m José, the creator of Swoon Food – a site dedicated to inspiring healthy eating and living.
I’m passionate foodie on a quest for ultimate health & longevity, and I love to help busy people (like you) nourish their bodies from the inside out.
Originally a medical research scientist, I followed my lifelong passion for all things sweet to became a pastry chef, and then a food stylist/photographer, recipe developer and healthy food blogger.
I believe prevention is the best kind of medicine, and by nourishing your body with a plant-rich, nutrient dense, whole foods diet, you’re well on your way to a happy, healthy life!
Why plant based, whole foods
When I started this blog I had just started eating gluten and dairy free seriously, after half heartedly entertaining the idea for the past decade.
I’ve had a dairy intolerance my whole life. As a 1 year old I was constantly sick, allergic and asthmatic, and after allergy testing my parents were told to stop feeding me ice cream every night. But I’m not sure how long the dairy ban lasted as I definitely remember being able to eat all the dairy and ice cream I wanted as a kid – and I wasn’t complaining.
As a 5 year old I can remember coming home from school every day with a terrible headache that often developed into a migraine, and wanting to go straight to bed. Despite some basic food intolerance tests, no one could figure out the cause. Because the headaches appeared to start in my neck I was sent to numerous physio’s and later chiropractors, but nothing seemed to work.
The headaches continued into my 20’s, until I eventually found a holistic naturopath who, after hearing all the other things I had going on like digestive issues and peeling nails, told me I needed to stop eating dairy, gluten and sugar ASAP. I didn’t listen to her at first because I didn’t believe food was the cause, plus I loved sweets and chocolates way too much. But I did cut back on dairy and gluten and did start to notice the headaches reducing. Around this time I also started working as a pastry chef so eating completely dairy, gluten and sugar free wasn’t a realistic option.
By the time I left my pastry chef work I was so allergic to wheat flour that I merely had to touch it and I would come up in hives. This was when I got serious and made a huge effort to cut dairy, gluten and sugar (see below), and finally started to see some changes. This is also what inspired me to start this blog to share my new dairy and gluten free recipe creations.
Despite these efforts my headaches didn’t completely go so I started looking at other inflammatory foods that could be contributing. I wasn’t eating any red meat, so I gradually started reducing the remaining animal products (chicken, eggs and fish) and processed foods.
If you’re avoiding dairy, gluten, sugar, meat, chicken and fish what do you eat? Well you’re pretty much left with plants in their whole, unprocessed form. Plant based, whole foods are now the basis of my diet. I’m not perfect and do occasionally have days where my diet is more processed than whole food, but like anything it’s a balance. If you can eat healthy 80% of the time then you’re definitely still on the winning side.
Why sugar free
After leaving my pastry chef role I realised I was a serious sugar addict. This was no doubt one of the main driving forces behind my love for all things sweet, as well as my bold career change. I knew it wasn’t healthy or sustainable long term – at least not without some serious consequences of which I was beginning to get a taste.
I decided it was time to get serious about my health once and for all. So with the guidance of my naturopath I put myself through a complete sugar detox. Almost immediately I saw changes. Brain fog, dizziness, tingling in my fingers, migraines and digestive issues all started to clear up, and the positive changes continued to multiply the longer I continued. I went 8 weeks completely sugar free and during that time I ate no sugar, carbs or alcohol, and felt so amazing I didn’t want to stop! The only reason I did relax my sugar free diet was because we went on our honeymoon and I couldn’t bear to miss out on all the delicious Vietnamese food.
I was so inspired by how a simple diet change can impact your health in such a hugely positive way that I want to help share this message with as many people as I can. I’m continually researching this topic and the more I learn, the more I’m inspired. If the idea of cutting sugar speaks to you, you can read more about it and the concept of doing a sugar cleanse here.
My other passions
When I’m not creating or photographing food you’ll likely find me in a raw food cafe, practicing yoga, or walking with my husband Nick and our extremely large Alaskan Malamute Chewbacca (pictured left – but sadly passed away November 2020) and our highly spirited (read naughty) pup Sadie, an Airedale Terrier (right).
I love to travel (albeit only within New Zealand at the moment!), and share many of my foodie adventures on Instagram.