But, fear not, this addiction comes with a blender load of positive benefits.
We're all busy. Time is the most precious commodity we have. We can't bottle it, so we've taken to canning, packing, and boxing everything else. Convenience food offers a quick way to fill up on the fly. But, I don't want to compromise on my health and nutrition because I've got something more pressing to do.
Enter the blender, and healthy fast food becomes possible.
I receive countless requests for easy recipes that often come attached with an all-too-familiar disclaimer: “I don’t have time to eat healthy, and I don’t know how to cook.” My friend Lyn has a witty retort, “Can you read? Cooking is reading.” Culinary aficionados would argue (quite rightly) that there is a little more to it. But this simple philosophy resonates with me, and I offer it to you as the only skill that's required to enjoy these recipes.
You don't coat-check your teeth at the door.
I make blender-inspired recipes—dishes with a blended component such as appetizers, salads, and quick easy meals that you can attack with your trusty knife and fork, as well as staples like dips and condiments such as a pesto or mayo that can transform a simple bowl of pasta, steamed vegetables, or other "sink-your-teeth-into-it" foods from bland to brilliant.
These recipes are foolproof, and can be made by cooks with very little experience and even less time. I test all of my recipes on children. If a child can't make the recipe, it doesn't make it on the site or in my cookbooks or app.
My sister and I grew up with wild and wonderful parents, both airline crew and relentless adventurers. We lived and traveled all over the world, and tucked into any and all foods put in front of us.
Until I hit my teens, when I was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus. That was the impetus to a revolution of my diet. A naturopath suggested I forget gluten, dairy and meat, and embrace a diet high in plant-based foods and fish. Almost overnight, I felt better. It turned out I was gluten and dairy intolerant. This was my awakening to food as medicine.
I developed a keen interest in health and nutrition. I studied nutritional science, and began taking cooking classes to develop my skills and knowledge. Only in my early twenties did I truly become inspired by the power of whole foods. My friend, Toni Hudson had been married to Dirk Benedict who had overcome prostate cancer by following a macrobiotic diet. His book, Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy inspired me.
The power of whole foods
Finding macrobiotics worked for me. I did feel good. But, in sticking with it religiously for many years, I still didn't feel as good as I knew I could. I embarked on a journey of discovery, searching for the perfect whole-foods diet to keep myself in a state of optimum health. As a perfectionist, I was going to master the art of my own health even if it killed me!
My self-imposed and largely self directed crusade had me trying out every whole-foods diet known to man. I became vegetarian, then vegan. I discovered the benefits of raw foods, and dabbled in Ayurvedic philosophy, and Chinese yin and yang principles. Next, on to alkalinity, then Body Ecology anti-candida principles, blood-group strategies, and zillions of green smoothies. It was exhausting.
While all of these regimes had something to offer, none was one-size-fits-me. I would feel really good, but eventually, symptoms of lethargy and fatigue, so familiar from my early experience of Epstein-Barr, would set back in.
When I embraced the concept of bio-individuality—the recognition that one blanket strategy won’t work for everybody—things shifted.
I supplemented by knowledge with an intuitive-experiential approach, listening to the signs in my body, and teaching myself a healthier way to move through the world. I discovered that flexibility and fluidity, not rigidity, were for me keys to wellness.
Finding the “Tess” diet
Today I cherry-pick from all of the healthy diets I’ve tried, working successful practices into my immune-boosting Tess diet. This diet adapts in response to climate, stress, emotions, physical activity, and specific health questions that arise. I’m a seasonal eater. In the hotter months, I eat a high percentage of raw foods; when it’s cold, more cooked foods. But green alkaline smoothies, juices, and soups are year-round staples.
Birth of The Blender Girl
With those staples as a focus, I started this website, using the blender as my inspiration. I quickly saw blending not only as a method of food preparation, but also as a guiding metaphor for how I live.
Combining different concepts, flavors, and philosophies plays a crucial part in my ideal balance of food, exercise, work, and fun. While my approach isn’t a system exactly, it does add up to a recipe for success and happiness, and one that I believe is worth sharing.
A diet featuring ample quantities and varieties of leafy greens, alkaline vegetables, and raw sprouted nuts, seeds, and grains, combined with daily green juices and smoothies, can be beneficial to just about anyone. In addition to this, each of us will discover that individualized, perfect blend of joyful activities, fulfilling work, loving relationships, time with family, food, exercise, and more. With all this in mind, my recipes aim for versatility and simplicity.
All of my recipes are gluten-free and vegan. Whilst I'm a plant based eater, and am convinced that a diet containing vast quantities and varieties of leafy greens, alkaline vegetables, raw sprouted nuts and seeds, all combined with daily green juices and smoothies can be beneficial to anybody, I also believe that each person’s "perfect blend" (foods, exercise, joyful activities, fulfilling work, loving relationships, time with family, etc.) will add up to a unique combination, and so the ingredients each of us will put into the blender will also be a unique blend. We nourish our beings with many things, and so it only makes sense that we nourish our bodies in diverse ways, too.
So, I ask you, “What’s your perfect blend?”
In high demand as a spokesperson, presenter, and recipe developer, Tess collaborates with leading food and lifestyle brands. Collaborating with leading food and lifestyle brands, Tess is the global ambassador for KitchenAid blenders, and has presented videos and developed recipes for Williams-Sonoma, Sprouts Market, Silk, So Delicious, Earthbound Farm, Vega, Driscoll's, KitchenIQ, Massel, and others.
She and her healthy fast food have been featured in the L.A Times, Washington Post, InStyle, Real Simple, Prevention, Shape, Glamour, Family Circle, Vegetarian Times, VegNews, FootNetwork.com, the Today Show, FOX, and many others.
Away from the blender, Tess enjoys a diverse performance career. She has toured internationally with acclaimed theater productions, worked in film and TV, and lent her voice to commercial campaigns, audiobooks, and popular videogame characters.
She lives in Los Angeles.