It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
Amy Chaplin is an author and chef, whose approach to whole foods and cooking is endlessly inspiring. Her cookbook is nothing short of a kitchen bible to us. We had the pleasure of meeting up with Amy in NYC a few years ago and had the best time chatting about our favorite subjects like sprouted flours, cookbook publishing, and acupuncture. Needless to say, we were excited to get a peak at her self-care routine.
In this interview, Amy tells us about the valuable self-care tips she learned from her mother, her favorite meals made with pantry staples, the skincare brand she’s been using since she was a teenager, her approach to exercise, stress, and so much more.
— Is routine important to you or do you like things to be more open and free?
I like both. I like to have a morning routine and create a work routine for whatever project I’m working on but I also like to have time for free thinking and spontaneously connecting with friends.
— What do your mornings look like? If they differ from day to day, describe your ideal morning.
I get up early, 6 am is the usual time but sometimes eariler depending on what I’m working on. I make warm lemon water, light a candle and mediate for 10 to 15 minutes. In late summer the sun is coming up just as I finish and I usually sit for a bit and often reply to messages from Austrlia (they are going to bed around that time). Then I feed our two dogs (my wife takes them out on a long morning walk) start making breakfast and make sencha tea. Sometimes I skip the sencha and have a matcha latte after breakfast but I try not to have too much caffeine, as much as I love it! If I’m working on recipes from home, I quickly shower, dress and get started right away….sometimes before breakfast but it depends on what I’m testing :)
— Do you have any bedtime rituals that help you sleep well?
I stop working on the computer before dinner and leave it closed. I leave my phone downstairs so its far from my bedroom. I get into bed and usually read cookbooks or watch an episode of any series I’m currently obsessed with :)
— Describe your typical or ideal meal for each of these:
Breakfast – soaked oats + chia (recipe is in my book) or activated grain porridge with homemade nut milk, cardamom and berries. I usually eat grains once a day and it’s usually in the morning.
Lunch – Beans of some kind —depending on recipes I’m testing. Kraut or other fermented veg, greens—salad or steamed depending on weather. I usually add some toppings too: hemp seeds, toasted seeds, sunflower sprouts, scallions anything to make it tasty
Snack – Seeded crackers and nut butter/avocado/bean pate or chia pudding or coconut yogurt
Dinner – An egg or tempeh, avocado, steamed veg and a dressing of some kind—this is often quite small as I’m not always hungry if I have a good lunch or if I’m testing and sampling recipes.
— Do you partake in caffeine and in what form? If not, what is your drink of choice in the morning?
— Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, how do you keep it in check?
I used to but I haven’t eaten sugar on a regular basis for years. If I’m craving something sweet I eat a few spoons of Anita’s coconut yogurt—it has a naturally sweet flavor from coconut with no sweetener. If I have a berry compote around I’ll have some of that with it but I never sweeten them as I’ve gotten used to just the sweetness of the berries. Of course there are times when I’m testing recipes for cakes and muffins and I do enjoy tasting them and the same goes for good raw chocolate. I’m not rigid about it as its part of being a chef but I don’t seek out sugar on a daily basis.
— Are there any particular supplements, herbs, or tinctures/tonics that you take regularly and find to be helpful with your energy level and general wellness?
I change depending on what my acupuncturist recommends in the way of Chinese herbs. I have been taking spirulina to increase protein and greens lately. I take a vitamin D. I’ve been adding maca powder to my breakfasts for years so don’t really consider it a supplement. I like adding locally grown ashwagandha (from Furnace Creek Farm) and reishi or chaga mushroom powder to hot cacao drinks. I drink nettle tea everyday because I love it, especially when you can get it fresh from the farmer’s market.
— Do you exercise and do you have a particular exercise routine that you repeat weekly?
With my job being so physical, these days I gravitate towards Qi Gong and yoga—the gentler classes. I also tend to exercise by default. Walking everywhere, long dog walks, biking and general schlepping around the city and up and down stairs with heavy bags of veggies!
— Do you find exercise to be pleasurable, torturous or perhaps a little of both? How do you put yourself in the right mindset in order to keep up with it?
I used to push myself with torturous classes and long runs but now I do less and enjoy it more. I know that I am more productive when I make time for movement but it has to be mindful. I do yoga at home and love it when I have the time for long luxurious classes…especially restorative.
— What is your idea of beauty – external, internal or both?
Beauty to me is an inner glow that comes from something beyond what and how we take care of our bodies. Mostly it comes with time and a spiritual sense of oneself, our path, the world and other beings around us.
— What is your skincare approach – face and body?
I’ve used Dr. Hauschka since I was a teenager. I have a huge respect for biodynamic growing practices and love the way they preserve their products naturally. I think its one of the most difficult things with natural skin care products—preserving.
— Are there any foods, herbs or supplements you find to be helpful to your skin/hair/general glow?
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