We are kicking off our first interview with a female vegan expert with a bang! First up, we are super excited to share with you Claire Sharryn Roberto, a vegan chef, integrative nutrition health coach and plant-based restaurant consultant. You may know her from her drool worthy instagram (@clairsesharrynroberto) where she posts about her striking plant-based creations, wellness tips and more. Claire is a globetrotter and lives where her work takes her-currently she is located in Bahrain where she is helping with the opening of a super foods wellness café/tonic bar. Claire, aka ‘The Vegan Girl Power” is the epitome of experience, wisdom, inventiveness, drive, passion, commitment and awesome personality! Inspiration for her vegan creativity is found through her constant travels from all over the world, all for the love of delicious vegan food, all for the love of offering her clients the best experience possible, with care and passion coming straight from her heart. We are so happy to be able to interview her because not only is she super inspiring, but we find women to be underrepresented in the vegan community. Here Claire tells us about her love for food, her journey to becoming a chef and the importance of switching off.
Tell us a little bit about you and what you do.
My name is Claire Sharryn Roberto. I am a plant-based chef. This is the tool that I use to project my compassion on to as many beings as possible. Growing up, my Ouma instilled the love of food + community on to me. She taught me that the centre of all of our universes starts in our gut. With learning this emotional quality from her I decided to take it a of couple steps further by studying to be chef + an integrative nutrition health coach. It is now my belief that through the love I have for cooking + the knowledge I have in nutrition, as well as EQ, I am able to show the world that not only can our food be preventative + healing but as delicious as any of the unhealthier fast food counterparts out there. Through my connection with my body, my emotions + my food, I have been able to heal myself of an eating disorder + auto immune disease. Just like cooking mindfully provides the essential vitamin, called vitamin L(LOVE), connection to your individual needs is the prerequisite to living a purpose driven life. I am so grateful for my connection to food. It has allowed me to create positive change around the world through my plant-based restaurant consultancy company. Claire Sharryn Roberto Consultancy takes pride in not only providing culinary training, but in nutrition education + coaching as well as business set-up. I feel it is within duty show people there is a mindful possibility surrounding food + there never have to be extremes…
What was the inspiration behind becoming a chef and health coach specialising in Ayurveda?
As I mentioned before, my Ouma was a big inspiration for my love of food, cooking + baking. Without a doubt the Italian blood that runs through my veins is pure inspiration in itself.
I essentially wanted to study + become a health coach so that I could help myself to heal from an eating disorder. Ayurveda played a very big part in helping to shift my mindset.
My deep passion into understanding the reasons behind the abundance of lifestyle diseases, as well as bringing back the ancient Ayurvedic ideology that “food is medicine”.
What are some of your daily inspirations, challenges and rewards as a chef/ health coach/instagram influencer?
Most of my daily foodie + recipe inspiration come from my belly! I am literally always hungry + keen to fill the gap with something nostalgic + delicious. Childhood memories play a big part in my recipe development. Creating the healthy alternative for the masses is another motivating inspiration factor. The Claire Sharryn Roberto Consulting Co travels all over the globe, creating + opening up healthy, plant-based café’s + restaurants. Along with this travel comes a lot of stress for my being. My natural Ayurvedic constitution is high Vata. Traveling causes a lot of stress for high Vata types + tends to bring me out of alignment + balance. However, as I live an Ayurvedic lifestyle, I am able to manage this by practicing Vata pacifying techniques to combat the imbalances.
What do you find is the hardest challenge balancing your work and personal life?
Taking time off for relaxation + rejuvenation – away from work.
What is your self-care philosophy? What do you do to keep sane? What products do you enlist to help?
This is a big one for me, being in recovery from an eating disorder, self-care is of utmost importance. My form of self-care practices are:
– Making time for myself to have quiet, slow mornings, starting with meditation – all of these are highly beneficial for me + set up for a good day.
– Eating meals at the same time every day, in a state of gratitude + mindfulness, away from distractions.
-Spending time only with those who lift me higher.
– Knowing + honoring my limits – giving myself permission to choose an alternate plan if something makes me feel uncomfortable.
– Service – helping others can sometimes be the greatest form of self-care.
– SETTING BOUNDARIES – a big + difficult one! This really enhances our ability to practice self-care efficiently because if you think about it, it’s difficult to be mindful or practice self-care if our days are so full doing things we shouldn’t be doing that we can’t event remember to take a moment to breathe.
– Taking a break from social media when the time feels right.
Take us through an average day in the life, the first thing you do in the morning through to the last thing you do at night.
The importance of a consistent daily routine can’t be underestimated. It sets the tone for the entire day + brings me a sense of calm + well-being. It gives the body, mind, + spirit the chance to ground + cleanse, to start afresh.
I set aside time everyday for the practices that help me.
A day in the life of Claire’s self-care routine looks a little
something like this:
– wake up at 05:30/05:45 everyday
– scrape tongue, brush teeth, oil pull, drink herbal tea (right now I’m loving licorice + chai spice), wash face, eyes + mouth
– meditate for 15 – 20 minutes
– journal/write gratitude list
– take l-glutamine
– without distraction, calmly enjoy a cooked breakfast of grounding foods – think grains (I love oats + I LOVE PORRIDGE), soaked nuts, seeds, homemade plant milk, warming digestive spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, fennel etc.(most mornings I have porridge!)
– get to work on whatever needs attention for the day – I do most of my action oriented work between the high Pitta hours of 10:00 – 14:00
– take mindful breaks for herbal tea or milky chai
– around noon (when the digestive fire is at its best) I prepare + eat a cooked lunch – this is my main meal of the day
– winding down in the late afternoon is super important + this is the time I usually focus on more creative endeavors
– dinner is also around the same time everyday (not too late) + is a lighter meal to aid digestion
– dry brush/abhyanga(Ayurvedic oil massage)
– spend time with loved ones, drink tea,chat
– take triphala + probiotics
– floss + brush teeth
– lights out by 21:30 every night
What does your perfect day look like?
A bit of a tricky one to answer since I don’t have a home base + am constantly traveling, but if I spending time in nature, spending time with my fiancé, spending time with my cat (or a cat/animal), spending time adventuring + relaxing (balance always), then I am happiness personified. I pride myself in the simple things in life.
Where are your three favorite destinations to travel to alone/with family/friends? Do you have any trips planned?
I travel to a new country every month + what I find is that there is always something enjoyable + fun to do in every country! Bali will always hold a piece of my heart + soul. I have travelled there seven or eight times, I have lived there twice + I will always return. Venice Beach in California lit up my soul too + I can’t wait to return someday soon. I travelled to India alone a few years back + it was one of my favourite trips – partly because I was exploring solo + partly because India is a feast for the senses. In two weeks time Gary + I are traveling to Europe. We have hired a luxury motor home + we are going to road trip all over for six weeks (#vanlife). Excited is an understatement.
What’s your day on a plate?
This is very much determined by my mood, the weather, what country I’m in, + what my tummy is asking for… so I’ll just respond with some of the usuals…
Currently I am OBSESSED with blended zucchini oatmeal… Gary made it for me one morning after a bout of tummy trouble. It’s comforting, nourishing, grounding, soothing qualities were so welcomed that I feel those same feels every time I tuck in to its creamy goodness. I like to season it with a bit of olive/coconut oil + star anise. Winner. I also love a smooth quinoa, sweet potato, flax + vanilla bean porridge. My Golden Ayurvedic Mung Dal Porridge is another absolute fave!
Steamed basmati rice with sautéed veggies, miso + avocado, homemade creamy almond cream veggie curries, my Sri Lanken dal with beetroot + green bean curries, sometimes more porridge (porridge life, for life), hearty soups if it’s winter, rice/quinoa pasta with my almond milky creamy saucy vibes/veggie vibes/avo vibes, the list goes on…
Lately it’s often been soup as it’s gentle + soothing for mydigestion. Think purple sweet potato, miso + tahini soup, butternut + leek, mustard + yam. If its not soup I’ll enjoy lasagne, vegetable bakes, potato dauphinoise + curry.
I don’t snack. Digestion takes around 6 hours to be completed. Constant snacking can overload on the digestive fire (agni – in Ayurveda agni means gastric fire, enzymes, + metabolism. A healthy strong agni is super important for maintaining overall health. If agni is low, then food cannot be digested properly. As a result, this undigested food will ferment in the gut + cause a heavy bloated feeling in the stomach. Undigested food will create metabolic waste + toxins, called ama. This is why Ayurveda says that three meals a day is ideal for a healthy digestion + proper assimilation of nutrients. This Ayurvedic approach to diet + lifestyle is very basic but it has created profound changes in my body, mind + consciousness.As far as supplements go, I take: Ashwgandha, L-Glutamine, Ester C, Magnesium Citrate, liquid Zinc Sulfate, Iodine, B12, Milk Thistle.
– Favorite dessert
Some faves include, ANYTHING CHOCOLATE – but I’m talking good quality cacao – so my ganache tart with sea salt is for sure up there,or baked chocolate tart, my gooey brownie cupcakes, my white chocolate (read cacao butter) + purple sweet potato oat crunchies, or even just a great bar of either dark or milk choc (vegan of course). My gluten-free, sugar-free Malva Pudding with cashew vanilla crème anglaise is pretty phenomenal (even if I do say so myself), my pear + ginger crumble with custard, COOKIE DOUGH (and cookies), passion fruit + lemon meringue pie… ok I’m going to stop now.
What is your philosophy when it comes to food?
Food is medicine. It is here to nourish, heal, create balance + sustain us. Plant-based, whole foods, organic, non-GMO. Don’t overthink it too much.
What does health beauty and fitness mean to you?
Balance here is key. Also bio-individuality. I tend towards comparing myself to others so I continuously have to remind myself that everyone is different, on a different life path, + has gone through different life experiences to bring them where they are today in this moment, so comparing myself to them + their journey is nonsensical. Health + wellness is dependent on a delicate balance between mind, body + spirit.
Must have beauty products?
Esse Organic Probiotic Eye + Lip Cream, Esse Organic Probiotic Eye Contour Cream, Lucas’ Papaw Ointment.
Something you can’t live without?
A kitchen + a cat. #crazykitchencatlady
What is next for you?
I’m currently in Bahrain to open a superfoods wellness café, tonic bar + wholesome plant-based eatery – not my own. My company, Claire Sharryn Roberto Consulting specializes in creating + conceptualizing healthy plant-based restaurants + cafe’s. I create the menu + develop all the recipes, we train the kitchen + front of house team’s on culinary skills, food, nutrition, environmentally sensitive practices, customer service, marketing + business management. We assist with kitchen design, layout + flow, restaurant/cafe set-up, as well as presentation coaching + food styling. My new Recipe App (Claire Sharryn Roberto Recipe App) will be LIVE VERY SOON + I just can’t wait to birth this baby into the world. It is filled with my Ayurvedic recipes, decadent recipes, everyday recipes, as well as all the healing recipes I developed during my healing Hashimoto’s journey. It will be birthing new content seasonally.
Is there anything we have not asked that you would like to talk about?
MY RECIPE APP WILL BE LIVE SOON (Claire Sharryn Roberto Recipe App). Get excited.
Sweet or Savoury? Again, this is very dependent on my mood, the weather, the time of day + what my tummy is asking for.
Hot or cold Hot
Lips or Eyes? Eyes
Smoothie or Juice? Probably neither since they are both raw + not ideal for tummy
Yoga or Pilates? Yoga
Coffee or Tea? Chai!
Claire Sharryn Roberto