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S’Blended Sustenance

THE EXPERT: Tess Masters, The Blender Girl

Written By: Janea Wilson

Photographed By: Angel Manuel

Juicing quickly became one food trend that rose to massive popularity in recent years. And why shouldn’t it? It’s a great way to make sure you eat or drink your recommended daily fruits and veggies. You get a nice jolt of energy, packed with all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs, and it’s great for those who have food allergies. Like food blogger Tess Masters, who, through her own food journey, experimented and tweaked recipes to develop her “perfect blend, ” and became the woman now known as The Blender Girl.

Masters whips up her own take on the concepts of juicing and blending to create recipes that are allergy- free and allergy-friendly. They are dairy, egg, nut,  soy, and corn free, but definitely do not skimp on flavor. She sees blending as her “guiding metaphor in life, ” always expanding her ideas about how to mix together her world experiences to “find a healthy balance for happiness.”

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Q: As a food blogger, how do you keep your recipes fresh?

Tess Masters: For me, “fresh” is anything I’m excited and passionate about. I don’t always
follow food trends. I share easy recipes that I enjoy, and hopefully show people that healthy eating can be easy, delicious and fun. When you’re genuinely excited, it’s easy to get others excited.

Q: I like that you wrote on your website that you follow what you call the “Tess Diet.” You really embody the idea that everyone has individual needs, and that it does take the time and effort to find out what works for their individual bodies…there is no “one size fits all” diet. Is this what you’re thinking, too, when you’re creating recipes to blog?

TM: Absolutely. I deliberately create recipes that are extremely flexible and customizable, so each person can make the recipe his/her own and find the perfect blend. I recommend substitutions and many ingredients are optional. A key phrase I use a lot is “tweak to taste.” A great advantage of cooking in and around the blender is that, in sharp contrast to most culinary disciplines, such as baking, there is very rarely a point of no return with my recipes. Blend, taste, tweak. And then blend, taste, tweak again.

Q: Do you ever envision the “healthy” lifestyle becoming more affordable?

TM: Yes. More media outlets and blogs are covering healthy living stories, and bloggers are posting tips and recipes. Awareness is growing. As more people embrace fresh foods over processed foods, and choose organic, demand will drive supply and bring prices down. I really love CSA programs, community gardens, online bulk discounts, etc. that all make healthy options more affordable and accessible now. I hope for more change and am proud to be a small part of the movement.

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Q: Besides trial and error for putting together the “Tess Diet, ” what drives your culinary passion? What made you want to start a blog to begin with?

TM: Besides what we think, what we eat is one of the only other things we can control in life. I think eating healthy foods is the greatest act of self-love to ensure you experience optimal health for yourself and your family. I started my blog to share my journey with food and connect with others. Discovering fun, easy ways to incorporate healthy choices excites me. Getting messages from readers about how the food has changed their life is the best part of what I do, and drives me to continue making discoveries and sharing.

Q: How do your Aussie roots connect with your California lifestyle? How does this influence your recipes?

TM: Australians are very relaxed and laid-back. I think there is a similar sensibility in Southern California. My cooking style is a no-frills and lots-of-spills approach where you show up, throw your personality into the mix and see what happens. You can be bold without any fear. After all, we’re going to blend it anyway! If the food happens to look gorgeous, it’s a bonus. But, I’m not actively trying to be, or encouraging any other cooks to be anything other than what they are. Everything is super easy, accessible, and ultimately, should just be relaxed and fun.

Q: Is there anything (besides the foods you can’t eat) you won’t cook with or eat?

TM: I don’t like processed junk foods, refined sugar, hydrogenated oils, and I’m not a fan of plastic.

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Q: What are some of your favorite healthy foods? How about guilty pleasure foods?

TM: I love leafy greens, avocado, lemons, limes, berries, cucumber, fresh herbs, almonds and chia seeds. I love chia puddings and guacamole. For guilty pleasures, I love chocolate, ice cream and creamy mashed potatoes.

Q: How has your acting/presenting/voice- over career fused with your blogging?

TM: It’s been wonderful how my two professional worlds and my personal passions have fused and collided and informed the development of each other. Being an actor and a storyteller has made me a better recipe developer and cookbook writer. Being The Blender Girl has opened up opportunities as a presenter and voice-over artist to voice commercials and host videos as a spokesperson, and enables me to bring a perspective and experience to the role that I wouldn’t have had as a general actor/presenter for hire. I get to work on projects I’m truly passionate about. I also feel like I have more to offer to a project that is food or healthy lifestyle related.

Q: Do you have any upcoming projects or releases you want to share or talk about?

TM: I just released The Blender Girl Smoothies app for iPhone and iPad. I love smoothies, and after being overwhelmed with emails of love from people who had made every smoothie in the cookbook, there was clearly a demand for more of these full-flavored dimensional shakes. I want to go on a flavor journey with smoothies like I do with a texture meal. So, I wanted to create an app that not only contained incredible recipes, but was also a comprehensive guide for people to make their own unique blends. There are 100 recipes that contain three optional boosters that work separately and together. So, you can boost with one, two, or all three choices. Blends get more nutritionally dense and/or more flavorful with each addition. The blender tips, smoothie tips and detailed glossary show you how to incorporate leafy greens, herbs, spices, superfoods, etc. and how to pair flavors. I also love the unique story feature that invites you to search by what you feel, need and crave at any particular moment. It’s really fun.

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Q: What advice or tips do you have for anyone who wants to figure out their own version of the “Tess Diet”?

TM: Be gentle and patient with yourself. Be flexible and open to all possibilities. Keep a food diary to determine which foods affect you in a positive and negative way. A clear pattern develops very quickly. Then, go and have any possible intolerances and allergies confirmed by a healthcare practitioner. Research, read, and then experiment and find what works for you, introducing new concepts and foods one at a time, so you can understand what works and what doesn’t. The one thing that all food philosophies agree on is that water and non-starchy green vegetables are a boon to health. So, use these as your base. And always have fun. Food is one of the greatest pleasures of life. Acting from a place of joy and abundance will keep things joyful.

The Ins And Outs Of Blending & Juicing Your Way To Health

The Blender Girl

www.healthyblenderrecipes.com