A Chef-to-the-Stars Advice for Having a Balanced Holiday

Don’t call Sophie Jaffe a vegan. The private chef and health expert — whose client roster includes George Clooney and Gerard Butler — cooks up raw foods for her clients, but she doesn’t want to be culinarily typecast.

“People assume I’m [vegan] because I’m a raw food chef, but then it becomes controversial when I post a picture of my kids with eggs!” says Jaffe, who runs her own wellness brand, Philosophie, and is a certified yoga instructor. “I’m mostly pescetarian. I eat eggs and fish regularly. I love sushi. Once a month, I’ll have a few bites of my husband’s steak. I’ll post an Instagram and I’m like, ‘I’ll lose 100 followers by posting a photo of sushi.’ But that’s OK,” she says, explaining those dietary variances based on real-life situations are “putting yourself in a position of being your most authentic self.”

Jaffe studied nutrition at UCLA and studied under raw food guru Matthew Kenney before launching her own brand while working at an L.A. juice bar. Philosophie now includes one-on-one consulting, and a line of super foods-based products and supplements. “I started cleanses that are food-based, not just juice-based,” for clients that have included Clooney, his ex-girlfriend Stacy Keibler, and Butler. 

Jaffe’s diet philosophy (get it?) includes eating well while still enjoying occasional indulgences, such as enjoying heartier holiday dishes. “It’s all about balance and nutrients into your body, not just white sugar, empty carbs. and things that don’t really fulfill you on a nutritional level,” she says. “You can fill up on 3,000 calories of Thanksgiving day food and go back an hour and get more, or 2,000 calories on nutrient-rich food that’s super satisfying, and feel fulfilled on a deeper level. That’s the difference.”

The raw chef recommends making small changes in the ingredients used in your holiday menu to prevent overindulging. “Take half the dishes you would normally make and substitute things that would be healthier,” she says. Instead of having the regular mashed potatoes, bake a cauliflower mash, subbing out butter for coconut oil. Or, bring a platter of baked yams with cinnamon, instead of white mashed potatoes.

“You’re still getting the feeling of [a holiday meal]” Jaffe says. “You’re not eating salad in a corner while everyone enjoys themselves.” 

Try Jaffe’s dijon kale salad as a side dish for your holiday dinner table. According to the chef, the salad has an “abundance of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, in addition to enormously high levels of vitamins A, C, and K.”

1 head of kale chopped or torn
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Good shake of sea salt
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic chopped
1 light handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ avocado
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
Pulse to taste (flakes or torn pieces)

Put kale in large bowl with oil and salt. Massage well until all the kale has visibly changed color. Then add mustard and nutritional yeast, making sure it is spread evenly. After mixing in garlic, parsley, and pulse, top with chopped avocado and pumpkin seeds.

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