Daphne Oz

For me, food has always been medicine – and so much more. A little background: I grew up in a family of surgeons and alternative medicine practitioners. I’ve studied integrative health and gotten my culinary degree. My perspective out of all of this is: if it’s not delicious, I don’t care if it’s healthy! But I’m also not willing to settle for mediocre food just because it’s the most convenient option. Life is too short – and bad food will make it feel even shorter.

I wanted to strike the balance between what is nourishing, accessible, convenient and smart and what is beautiful, delicious and fun.

I wrote my first book, The Dorm Room Diet, to detail how I developed a healthy lifestyle plan in college that really worked. And by "really worked," I mean that allowed me to live a totally normal life, not restricted by rigid diet plans or neuroses that ruled out whole food groups and made eating a misery, and still successfully helped me to lose the 30 extra pounds I was carrying around. Yay!

In creating a lifestyle where it was possible to be healthy AND happy, I realized that keeping the process easy and flexible was as important to my long-term success as committing to health in the first place. I wanted to strike the balance between what is nourishing, accessible, convenient and smart and what is beautiful, delicious and fun. And since this worked so well with food, I decided to apply the same metric to the rest of my life: to my style in my home and my wardrobe, my relationships with family and friends, my career and my play time.

This process led me to write my latest book, Relish, which is really two books in one: a cookbook with more than 80 recipes that strike the perfect happy-healthy balance, and a lifestyle guide all about creating a more delicious, rewarding, maximized life, done in a way that recognizes most of us are already doing so much right! It’s about figuring out those little things we could be doing a little bit better that will yield huge results. If it doesn’t feel overwhelming, we can enjoy the journey as much as the destination. That’s the good life!

Start your journey in the kitchen, because you’ll see immediate rewards for your efforts. Make the environment a little more relaxing and beautiful with candles, music or flowers. Try your hand at dishes you already like so you know what you’re working towards. Then start experimenting with making things a bit healthier without losing the indulgent taste you’re craving.

If you don’t currently cook much at home, remember: health should be a priority and not an obsession, and the same goes for homemade meals. Sometimes, I’ll skip roasting a chicken at home and just pick up an organic rotisserie at the supermarket. Then I’ll make a gorgeous salad and a hearty grain dish to go alongside, or some roasted veggies, and that’ll be that. I’ll have a few bites of whatever I want for dessert – deprivation is the worst. What you do most of the time is what counts, and keeping the process easy – and tasty – is key.

I’m thrilled to get to share some of my favorite entertaining essentials, smart tips for making healthy living something you actually want to do and of course, some of my favorite happy-healthy recipes as this week’s Kitchen Daily Guest Editor.

Let’s eat! xx

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