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 a 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 become a pastry chef, and then a food stylist/photographer, recipe developer and healthy food blogger.
I believe prevention really is the best kind of medicine. By nourishing your body with a plant-rich, nutrient dense, whole foods diet (and choosing organic whenever possible), you’ll be well on your way to living a happy, healthy life!
WHY PLANT BASED, WHOLE FOODS
I started this blog at the same time I started seriously eating gluten and dairy-free, 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. After allergy testing my parents were told to stop feeding me ice cream every night. I’m not sure how long the dairy ban lasted as I definitely remember being able to eat cheese and ice cream as a kid 😉
As a 5 year old I can remember coming home from school every day with a terrible headache, which often developed into a migraine so I’d put myself 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 saw a holistic naturopath. After documenting all the additional ailments I had, such as digestive issues and peeling nails, she 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 chocolate way too much!). But I did cut back on dairy and gluten and started to notice the headaches reducing. Around the same time I started work 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, I merely had to touch it and I would come out in hives. It was at this point that I realised I had to get serious about my food intolerances, and made a huge effort to cut dairy, gluten, soy and sugar (see below). I started to see positive changes pretty quickly, which inspired me to start this blog to share my new dairy and gluten-free recipe creations.
Despite these initial dietary efforts my headaches didn’t completely disappear. 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), as well as processed foods wherever possible.
At this point I realised by avoiding dairy, gluten, sugar, meat, chicken and fish, I was 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 foods. Also, when eating out I will occasionally eat fish as there aren’t that many restaurants serving vegan, gluten and soy-free food – yet. But like everything in life, it’s a balance. If you can eat healthy 80% of the time, you’re definitely still on the winning side!
WHY SUGAR FREE
After leaving my pastry chef role I also 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 again 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, simple carbohydrates or alcohol, and felt so amazing I didn’t want to stop! The only reason I relaxed 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 can usually find me in a raw food cafe, working out, or walking with my husband Nick and our extremely large Alaskan Malamute Chewbacca (left; Chewie sadly passed away in November 2020) and our highly spirited (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.