Amanda Haas and Jenna discuss her journey rising from an associate at Williams Sonoma to becoming their Culinary Director. We dive into Amanda’s mission to help people eat healthier and feel their best, her bestselling cookbook, The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook, and simple shifts we can make to build healthy habits.
We then delve into Amanda’s 12 Life Tips including the importance of saying your dreams out loud, making the decision to only spend time with people who uplift you, and always having fun.
Most importantly, we talk about the journey of becoming and living as your true self and sharing your essence with the world based on Amanda’s beautiful sentiment: “You have something to contribute to the world because of who you are.”
Highlights from the Transcript
- On going to culinary school: “It’s scary to walk away from a solid job and go to culinary school but the second I walked in that door I knew that was where I was supposed to be.”
- On pursuing your calling: “If you know what you want to do you have to go for it. The money will follow. Joy will always come from that…Every day I wake up and I can’t believe this is my job. I get paid to cook and eat. It’s unbelievable.”
- On food as medicine: “I was treating food as my last place to feel well and I should have been treating it as my first line of defense…That showed and empowered me that it’s on us to figure out what our bodies feel good eating and what we need to do to feel our best. Food can either be the best medicine or the worst thing for you…You have to trust your instincts. You know how you feel. Listen to yourself and really pay attention to how you feel.”
- On inflammation: “Inflammation is our body’s response to outside irritants and any stressors. If you cut your finger and your finger swells around the cut, we want that inflammation so our body can care for and heal itself. When we start to get chronic inflammation in our body – which shows up in many ways from muscle spasms to stomach pain – it’s a horrible way to live. A lot of the western diet – that has a lot of gluten, sugar, and processed foods – perpetuates chronic inflammation. Diseases love inflammation. The more you can do to live an anti-inflammation life the better you are going to feel and the stronger you’ll be to fight off illness.”
- On building healthy habits: “My first piece of advice is: Eat real ingredients. If you’re tempted to eat something out of a box, find an alternative, like almonds or trail mix. A lot of packaged foods have ingredients that don’t make us feel good. The longer the label the worse it probably is for you. You’re always going to better off eating something that comes from the earth. There are also certain ingredients I don’t keep in my house. It makes it a lot easier when it’s not in front of you.”
- On sharing nutritious meals: “In my personal life, I started cooking with ingredients I can have and invited everyone over for dinner. If I make food that tastes great and I can eat as well we all win…There are so many things you can eat. In The Anti Inflammation Cookbook, we don’t say it’s a gluten free book. It just happens to be gluten free. It’s more about: What are the great ingredients you can be having? Let’s make beautiful, colorful, delicious food. And, P.S. It happens to be good for you.”
- On Amanda’s life tip – “If you want something in life you have to say it out loud:” “It’s a commitment to yourself. I was really afraid to say that I wanted to write my own cookbooks. The second I did, it happened. It forces you to be really honest with what you want out of life. When you tell other people they hold you accountable to your goals…I honestly think that we all have something really unique to contribute to the world. Why keep it to yourself? If you can identify what you love, shout it from the rooftops because everyone else deserves to have a piece of who you really are.”
- On surrounding yourself people who uplift you: “You need different people in your life at different times. You might wake up one day and think: How did this happen? That relationship doesn’t feel right. Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you leave feeling worse about yourself? When you feel that, it’s a moment to acknowledge: I don’t need to do this…Over time in business, we’re all trying so hard to succeed it’s easy to think someone can talk to you a certain way because it’s just work and that’s the way it is. But, what I’ve come to find, is that there are so many people out there who want what is best for you. You don’t have to work with assholes or have them in your personal life. Trust your instincts. If you’re not feeling great about a relationship don’t leave room for it in your life. Stick to your tribe.”
- On being who you are: “Every day is a journey. ‘Aging gracefully means accepting yourself for who you are…’ This ties back to knowing that we are all unique and celebrating that. There are a million people who write cookbooks but I believe there is space for all of us. I might not be 23 anymore but I still have something to contribute to the world because of who I am. Then,’The confidence to be exactly who you are in all circumstances..’ When you’re trying to impress somebody, it’s like trying to be cool in high school. Life is short. If you are who you are, people are either going to like you for who you are or they’re not…Life is so much simpler when you just be who you are. You don’t have change for other people.”
- On having fun: “Surround yourself with people you love and who love you back. Do what you love and don’t take yourself too seriously. I’ve never believed that you have to be serious to be good at something. I believe you can have a great time doing your job. When I’m dancing while cooking or sharing a meal with friends, I can’t believe this is my life; Having fun is just one more way to make it that much better.”