[This post is part of an ongoing series of interviews with cookbook authors, bloggers, women entrepreneurs and home chefs whose work I enjoy and admire. If you've got someone in mind you'd like me to approach for an interview, please shoot me an email at email@example.com, or leave a comment here and let me know! And now, enjoy today's installment!]
[Don't these look amazing? And they're both vegan and grain-free, too! Recipe at bottom of post.]
Today, I’m delighted to share my interview with Kathy Smart, healthy gluten-free living advocate, bestselling cookbook author, and powerhouse speaker. I’m also sharing a fantastic cookie recipe from Kathy’s book, Live the Smart Way (recipe at end of this post!).
Kathy Smart was catapulted to fame after her self-published cookbook, Live the Smart Way (a collection of gluten-free, whole foods recipes–not a vegan cookbook, though many recipes are) caught the attention of Dr. Oz and she subsequently appeared on his show. Kathy shared her message about gluten-free whole foods and healthy living and charmed audiences everywhere! These days, you’ll find her traveling all over to spread her message about living well with food allergies. She regularly appears on national TV and at Gluten-Free Expos across North America (and one coming up in Italy, too!).
I chatted with Kathy about her allergies, her health journey, her cookbook and her newest venture in conjunction with Lisa Cantkier (of Gluten-Free Find), the online Gluten Free Smart Store. So sit, back, get ready to experience Kathy’s awesome energy first hand, and enjoy some cookies!
You’ve had food allergies for many years. When did you first change your diet to
“The Smart Way,” and what’s different in the way you eat now compared to the way you ate before that?
Yes, I was first diagnosed with celiac disease and a severe dairy allergy when I was 12 years old. Before I changed to eating the ‘Smart Way’ it was really about eating food that didn’t make me feel ill. At the time it wasn’t about how a food tasted, but whether a food would not cause me to feel sick. When I was 12 and diagnosed with celiac disease, I made it my life’s mission to start creating recipes with my mom for other people just like me! Recipes that didn’t just not make me sick, but food that tasted delicious!
For someone just recently diagnosed with food allergies, what are two or three of the best recipes in the book that you’d recommend?
I would say the two [of my] favourite recipes would be the Protein Pancakes and the Honey Curry Chicken. These recipes are both very simple, nutritious and most of all absolutely delicious! [Ricki's note: I tried the Chocolate Zucchini Cake, vegan option, and the Chocolate Chip Cookies, also vegan. Both were delicious].
What has been the biggest change in your life since you published The Smart Way?
The biggest change would be all the media attention. As a very shy child sometimes I still feel like that little girl that was really shy and would always blush. The importance of sharing how gluten free eating can be healthy and delicious overpowers that feeling, but sometimes, it can be a bit overwhelming!
The Smart Store just opened (congratulations!). Can you explain what it is, and what my readers might find there?
GlutenFreeSmartStore.com is an all gluten-free online store offering a wide range of gluten-free products and healthy choices. Shipping is available to consumers within Canada and the USA. Our mission is to provide accessibility to healthy options. Many of the products you will find are also GMO-free, organic, free of other common allergens, and eco-friendly. You will find high quality products from top food producers and manufacturers, such as cereals, bars, baking mixes, cookbooks, cosmetics, skin care products, supplements, and the list goes on and on. There is also a “Smart Approved” section which includes products that are low on the glycemic index, low in starch, contain no refined sugars, and are a good source of protein and fibre. We are very excited about the new store because we source many healthy, unique products that are often times more challenging to find on the market.
You run The Smart Store with Lisa Cantkier of GlutenFreeFind.com and have written a guide together (Gluten-Free Beginnings Easy Starter Guide). Can you tell me a bit more about your partnership and what led to working in The Smart Store together?
Lisa and I met about 2 years ago when she first launched GlutenFreeFind.com, which is a gluten-free online resource directory focused on healthy living. Afterwe connected, we realized we had a lot in common. For example, we are both celiacs, holistic nutrition enthusiasts, and passionate about helping others. We discovered that we share many of the same philosophies about gluten-free living, and we instantly formed a special friendship and working relationship.
We believed a resource was needed for adults and children who are new to gluten-free living, from a holistic perspective. As you know, a new diagnosis can be overwhelming, so we created a guide that has been written intentionally as a short, easy read and a place to begin. The guide includes information about important topics such as gluten-free grains, gums and seeds, how to prepare/cook them, cross contamination, hidden sources of gluten, and so on. There are also 10 of my own favorite, healthy, delicious recipes included.
With so many unhealthy gluten-free food choices on the market today, we realized the need for accessibility to healthier choices. With the upcoming launch of my own nutritious gluten-free cereals “Smart Starts”, it seemed natural to have a place online where they can be available to everyone. Our
entire overall mission is to provide accessibility to healthy choices.
Thanks so much, Kathy! Best of luck with this new venture, too. I was delighted to see that the Smart Store offers a “refined sugar free” category as well as a “vegan” one!
And now. . . a recipe from Live the Smart Way. Kathy’s cookbook contains all kinds of whole-foods recipes (including those with animal products along with a good selection of vegan recipes). Where Kathy’s approach meshes well with mine is in her choice of real, whole-food ingredients and natural sweeteners. I’ve been nibbling on these cookies all week. . . . totally without guilt. Take a look at the ingredient list, and you’ll see why.
Yes, these are Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist: chickpeas! Well, you know how much I love adding beans to my sweet treats of all kinds, so these fit perfectly with my palate–and my food philosophy.
Good Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies. . . with a Twist
reprinted with permission from Live the Smart Way by Kathy Smart
These easy-to-make cookies are even better the second day (if they last that long), as they seem to settle and get even more dense and chewy. I tried these both with chickpeas I cooked myself and with canned chickpeas (as you see in the photo). The home-cooked version was thicker and I was easily able to press it down with a fork. The canned batter was much softer, so I simply spread each cookie out to flatten it, as you see in the photos above. Both were sensational. I’ve also included my adaptations in parentheses.
1 can (15 ounces) [My Canadian can was 19 ounces or 540 ml; I just measured out 2 cups chickpeas, whether home-cooked or canned]
1/2 cup (120 ml) natural peanut, almond or cashew butter [I used almond]
1/2 cup (120 ml) Sucanat or coconut sugar [I used coconut sugar]
[20-30 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, to your taste]
1 Tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt
3/4 cup (180 ml) dark chocolate chips [I used unsweetened carob chips]
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.
Add all ingredients except chocolate chips into a blender [I used my food processor] and purée until smooth. Remove blade and stir in the chips.
Using a small ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoonful, scoop out dough and place on cookie sheets. If dough is thick enough, flatten the cookies with a fork; otherwise, just flatten them with a silicone or rubber spatula.
Bake 15-20 minutes, until bottoms are light golden brown. Allow to cool completely before removing from the sheets. The original recipe yield is 16-18 cookies, but I got two dozen. May be frozen.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 3 and beyond, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, vegan, low glycemic.
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