Australia’s best-loved home cook Julie Goodwin has always been open about her love of food for the enjoyment it can bring.
The MasterChef champion told Australian Women’s Weekly back in 2016 that for her, food is as much about the sharing of delicious meals and the relationships that builds as it is about simply fuelling the body. So it’s no surprise that Goodwin isn’t a sucker for fad diets – not even the paleo diet that’s won plenty of fans, including fellow high-profile chef and TV personality Pete Evans, who’s well known for promoting its health benefits.
The paleo diet, commonly referred to as the caveman diet, is hugely popular these days. It’s designed to emulate only what humans are thought to have eaten during the Paleolithic era. It promotes poultry, fish, eggs, fruit, vegetables and meat, while avoiding legumes, grains and dairy products.
Speaking exclusively to Starts at 60, the MasterChef winner, 47, said: “I don’t believe in fad diets and I certainly don’t believe in diets that are pushed from people who are not doctors or nutritionists. No one’s been able to explain to me why you would want to follow a diet from people that are extinct.”
Many health experts in the past have criticised the diet and labelled it another fad. Alexa Nella, a dietician at the University of California, told News.com.au that it “puts most [people] at risk of deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D”.
Rather than jumping on the paleo bandwagon, Goodwin advises speaking with a health care professional first. “I think that each of us have a responsibility to our own health,” she added. And when it comes to looking after our health the best rule of thumb is to choose foods that are “as close to nature as possible” Goodwin reckons.
She also believes that eating seasonally is important and carries benefits to your health and wallet. “It’s so important to know what’s in season … you’re buying as local as possible, you’re buying [produce] at its peak nutritionally and it’s cheaper,” she said.
However, with supermarkets supplying many kinds of produce all year round, it can be hard to remember which is actually in season and at its best.
So what’s in season this month? Goodwin says apples, pears and strawberries continue to be a great choice, while root vegetables are also at their best now. If you’re feeling inspired, she recommends dishing up a delicious hearty pumpkin soup or whipping up some good ol’ homemade jam!
“I love making jam, but I just love eating strawberries as they are … I [also] use them as a garnish on a nice dessert,” she said.
Goodwin has made a name for herself as a talented cook, turning her MasterChef win into a hugely successful career. She opened up cookery school Julie’s Place on the Central Coast and writes regular recipe columns for Australian Women’s Weekly. Goodwin has also published six books, and revealed she is “gearing up to start writing my seventh cookbook”.
Clarification: Julie Goodwin did not ‘attack’ fad diets, the paleo diet or Pete Evans, as was reported in a previous version of this story, but was responding to a question on the issue as put to her by Starts at 60.