I first discovered Miranda Hammer, creator of The Crunchy Radish through her awesome foodie page on Instagram. Every dish she posts is nutritious, healthy and always leaves me salivating! Self confessed veghead, Miranda is a passionate foodie we just had to hear from on Friday Foodie.
What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?
What does wellness or wellbeing mean to you?
To me wellness is about balance-not leading a life in which you feel deprived or defined by your dietary habits and lifestyle. It’s important to fuel your body naturally and cleanly, but I also think that it is essential to be able to occasionally treat yourself. Eat out in restaurants, order dessert, or have that extra glass of wine every now and then. Having a sense of balance and not kicking yourself when you “slip up” creates an environment of wellbeing.
What was the catalyst that turned you onto living a more natural and holistic lifestyle?
My interest in nutrition sparked while spending countless hours in the dance studio where I learned the essential relationship between enhanced performance and adequate nutrition. I grew up in a health-minded household, but as a result of my education, life, and professional experiences I have taken the natural and holistic approach to the next level. I work as a clinical dietitian in a hospital that serves mainly a lower income community with limited access to food and preventative education. I see patients whose dietary and lifestyle choices have led them to be incredibly sick and riddled with diseases. Observing first hand how diet and lifestyle can dramatically affect one’s overall health has really pushed me to try and be as clean and natural as possible and to encourage people around me to do the same.
As a registered dietician, what is your food philosophy and what type of foods do you normally recommend to your clients in terms of a healthy diet?
I try not to prescribe to any particular “diet”. That being said, I do lead a mainly plant-based “clean” lifestyle that focuses on eating fresh, organic, seasonal, and local. I participate in a CSA that lasts 6 months of the year, and I revel in the process of the unexpected “loot” I receive every week. I love the challenge of figuring out what to creatively do to capture the essence of such fresh and local produce.
Most of my meals are vegetarian or vegan with a focus on whole grains, legumes, and plenty of produce. I always try to have a balance to my meals of complex carbohydrates, plant-based protein, and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables.
When working with clients, I never enforce my food habits onto them, but take a comprehensive look at their eating habits and lifestyle and make manageable tweaks that clients can sustain long-term. I don’t want my clients to feel that they are on a diet because the term diet seems temporary. I want my clients to be able to make life-sustaining livable changes. Therefore, if they feel that they need to have a burger and fries every week, I will work with them to make a more health-focused alternative that would include swaps. For example, baked sweet potato fries with a lean turkey burger on a whole grain bun or in a lettuce wrap.
You’re a keen foodie so what’s your favourite thing to make and why?
One of my favorite things to make are chickpea poppers aka roasted chickpeas. They are great to snack on or to serve to guests over cocktails or to top a salad with. Poppers are a perfect alternative to a salty snack and are loaded with protein. They are also so versatile. You can switch up the spice blends to make a range of flavors.
If you were to convert someone with one of your recipes, what would be your first choice?
I am really obsessed with the latest bowl craze. I call my bowls “bowl life living”. Bowls are always my “go to” at the end of a long day that allow me to incorporate a whole grain, usually quinoa or brown rice, two or three different vegetables, legumes, avocado and sometimes a poached egg or hummus of some sort. It usually takes me 30 minutes to prepare, and it is also a great way to do a kitchen clean out. The bowls are a way to get a completely balanced and delicious meal in one dish. “Bowl life” is a great showcase for how healthy and clean food can be prepared simply without a laundry list of obscure ingredients or complex cooking techniques. It also shows that ” healthy food” does not have to look and taste like mush, but can be beautiful and delicious.
What does an average intake of food consist of for you per day?
I am usually out the door and at work by 7:30 am, so I rarely have breakfast at home during workdays. I will typically make overnight oats loaded with super foods or an oatmeal bake the night before and grab it to go in the morning. My other “go to” is 0% Skyr from Siggis topped with goji berries, chia, and hemp seeds. I try and pack my lunch on most days. My lunches are basically extensions of my dinner the night before, but a little dolled up. I will typically have a grain salad of some sort, a raw or cooked dark leafy green, chickpeas and hemp seeds. If I buy lunch I opt for veggie sushi from the cafeteria at work with reduced sodium soy sauce. I always have fruit and nut butter, carrots and bean dip, or/and homemade trail mix in toe to fuel me throughout the day and prep me for my post work- workout. For dinner, I try and make a big meal on Sunday that can be stretched or augmented throughout the week like a soup or veggie chili. I will always have a salad made with red leaf lettuce, kale, or spinach as well as a vegetable sautéed or roasted. I’ve been really into roasted sweet potatoes with cinnamon, cumin, and coriander, so delicious. A lot of times I will make a brown “fried rice” or vegetable pasta with quinoa pasta.
What are your non-negotiables everyday?
Avocados and Nut Butter
Who are your dream dinner guests and what would you serve them?
I would have a ladies night that would include: Ina Garden aka The Barefoot Contessa. She would be so happy and cheery and know how to smooth over any awkward moments. Although she is not health-focused, I have gotten a lot of inspiration from her recipes.
Gwyneth Paltrow – Because she has a great appreciation of good food, clean eating, and fabulously healthy living
Michelle Obama- Since she is a motivating force behind the initiative of early intervention of diet and lifestyle related-diseases, and she knows how to bust out a dance move when the time is right.
Alice Waters- The leader in seasonality and local eating could offer a breadth of “crunchy” information.
Julia Childs- Because she knew how to put love and humor into food even if it wasn’t healthy.
Ideally, it will be a warm September evening when all the amazing produce is in full abundance.
I’d start with a Paloma-type cocktail with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, blanco tequila, splash of club soda, and some rosemary springs along with some za’atar and garlic chickpea poppers to snack on. I love crudo in the warmer months, so I would probably make a ceviche with local snapper, citrus, and chili. I’d follow that with a grilled peach salad with arugula and shaved ricotta salata with aged balsamic dressing, a big grain salad with quinoa, grilled vegetables, and a lemon herbed dressing. I love dips and the small plate experience, so I’d also have some grilled whole-wheat pita and mezze; white bean hummus, walnut lentil and red pepper dip, and tahini. For dessert I would have a rustic fruit tart and some really great quality dark chocolate to nibble on.
What lessons have you learned in the last few years since starting your health journey that have improved or enriched your life in some way?
I’ve learned that balance is essential-to not kick myself if I have some “naughty” foods. I have also experienced the total body effect that a clean and healthy lifestyle can have on overall appearance and how you feel internally and how it correlates externally.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
More radishing – I plan on continuing to produce diversified creative recipes, nutrition tips, clean and healthy living motivation, healthy travel trips, and maybe a cookbook!
What is your favourite quote or saying to live by?
“You Are What You Eat”
A Recipe from Miranda:
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweets and Arugula
If you follow the Crunchy Radish, you are well aware that I am a sucker for a grain salad. Maybe it’s because I can make them in bulk and have them to pack for lunch for a few days, or that they continue to get better with age or that I am usually able to compose one on whim with whatever I might have on hand.
This grain salads foundation was quinoa, which pairs well with a lemon herb vinaigrette. The complexity builds when the dressing is tossed with the hot grain and infuses each particle with a tart herby robustness.
- 2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 tbsp non GMO canola oil
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 3/4 cup water or low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley, minced
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 1 bunch arugula
- 1/2 avocado, cubed
Preheat oven to 350
Toss the cubed sweet potatoes in the canola oil, a pinch of salt, and a good grinding of pepper.
Roast on a rimmed sheet pan for 20 minutes or until tender and golden.
While the potatoes cook, place the rinsed quinoa in a pot with water or broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the spiraled center is revealed and most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn the burner off and allow the grain to steam for five minutes and then fluff.
While the grain cooks, prepare the dressing. In the serving bowl, whisk together the scallions and parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, pinch of salt and a good grinding of pepper.
Toss the cooked and still warmed potatoes in the bowl with the dressing. Add the arugula and quinoa. Ideally, the arugula will wilt a little due to the residual heat of the potatoes and quinoa. Add some more lemon juice or olive oil if needed and finish with avocado.
Thanks so much Miranda!
Connect with Miranda here