Paleo in Melbourne: Meet Dorota Trupp: one half of the team behind Trupp Cooking School
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself; how and when did your passion for good nutrition start?
I have a straightforward attitude towards life, which was shaped by my early experiences growing up on a Polish farm. There, I experienced the wonders of living with nature’s cycles and those early years gave me strong foundations. I have learnt to be hard working and very down to earth. I draw inspiration from those early years, especially living the modern lifestyle in a big city like Melbourne.
I have always been an introverted observer, someone who loves to analyse everything around me. At a very young age I had an understanding that good nutrition and lifestyle choices had a direct impact on health. As a young girl I used to look at the diets and lifestyles of my school friends and family and often I would make links and conclusions regarding the health problems they experienced. As a teenager, I used to read the medical dictionary for amusement. I loved knowing how the human body worked and I hated to be sick, especially without understanding why. My father died of bowel cancer when I was 14 years old and this event has certainly played a major role in my career choices.
Originally, I didn’t have the confidence to pursue medical study, even though I really wanted to. Instead, I chose to study Environmental Protection as I was also a very passionate environmentalist.
Years later, I moved to England before eventually settling in Australia. Experiencing some health problems bought my focus back to health and especially nutrition. I realised that my new lifestyle and fundamental dietary changes had a negative impact on my health. Mainstream medicine didn’t helped and, as a seeker by nature, I eventually discovered the wonderful world of complementary medicine. I was drawn to this field of study like a magnet. I have healed myself on the journey and also completed a Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Nutritional Medicine at Endeavor College of Natural Health in Melbourne. Everything has come full circle as the Environmental Protection study I had completed in Poland supported and gave a deeper understanding to my profession in nutritional medicine.
2. And how did Trupp Cooking School come about?
Trupp Cooking School is the brainchild of my husband, Walter Trupp who is an internationally renowned chef and cooking teacher. Walter dreamed of opening the school for many years. We have worked for about 4 years to finally bring the cooking school to life. There were many people involved in this concept that helped us prior to launching the school. I am more than thrilled to join my husband professionally, together we designed and run very uniquehealth cooking courses that no one else has on offer! Check out our bestselling courses such as “Heal Your Gut with the Lost Art of Fermentation & Probiotic Foods”, “Detoxify your body in 5 days”, “Energize and Alkalise your body”, “Baby and Toddler Nutrition” or “Integrative Care and Support of Cancer Patients”.
3. What is your food philosophy? Does it ever change as you learn more new research?
My food philosophy is influenced by a combination of my traditional upbringing, education and most importantly, by listening to my own body through trial and error.
Yes, my philosophy changes, as I learn more and discover new research. Over the years I have tried various diets and have been through periods where I would cut some foods out, or would introduce something new.
When I learn about something in the field of nutrition that is interesting and makes sense, I try that new dietary approach to gauge its effects and determine what it does for me. I always have done and will continue to experiment as new knowledge and ideas come to light.
I also use food as a medicine. When one of us is sick, we adopt a particular dietary treatment plan that helps the body recover from illness. I also use nutritional supplements.
Over the years on my journey towards better health, I discovered that removing processed foods of any kind wasalways better. I have tried diets that made me feel fantastic, helped me to lose weight or recover from illness. On the other hand, some diets made me feel terrible, even to the point of making me unwell. For example: I was not my normal self on my recent experiment with a 100% raw-food diet. In that instance, I went against my constitutional needs.
Interestingly, a selection of whole organic/biodynamic foods that satisfies my individual constitutional needs serves me best and supports my health.
4. What is the most efficient way, from your point of view, to spread the information about good food and good health? Clearly the cooking school is a great way of tapping into and combining both, but do you have other tricks up your sleeve?
The most efficient way to spread the information is by reaching the wider audience! I wrote a book with my husband and we worked very hard to bring it to life. We published “Trupp’s Wholefood Kitchen” with a fabulous publishing house (Melbourne University Publishing) earlier this year. The book is available in all major stores across Australia, as well as online. We will continue to write books and teach through our school and other public events, as this is what makes us happy and fulfilled in our careers.
5. While the foods we eat are the most important element of our overall health, exercise is also a factor. What is your favorite form of exercise and how often do you aim at doing it?
Absolutely! Exercise is essential to health. Throughout my life I have always chosen an exercise that I can do without much equipment and at any time. I was never a fan of a group sports, even a gym session with other people in the same room somehow doesn’t feel right for me. When I exercise I meditate, this is in fact the most creative time for me, and I usually have 100 new ideas in my head afterwards, so I don’t want to be disrupted by social interaction! I would usually exercise three times a week and I have loved running and swimming since childhood. Running was my favorite type of sport up till the age of 30, when I had unfortunate disc injury in my lower back that left me with the sad reality of adjusting to a new health challenge. Running was out of the question and for some time I was becoming seriously sad, grieving for my fitness. I never suspected that joint injury could change someone’s life on so many levels. I was generally very healthy but yet unable to do most of the simple tasks of daily life. It took a long time, stamina and the supportive care of a brilliant chiropractor, Dr Ilan Sommer, to get me out of my depression. After a few months of a traction therapy, I finally had enough strength to come back to swimming; eventually I took on bicycling and Pilates classes. Now I am back to exercising 2-3 times a week. I also use the sauna or steam room following my sport session, which is a brilliant way to detoxify your body!
6. Where is your favorite place to buy good food in Melbourne? Any secret places we need to know about? How about when you eat out, any good tips? Melbourne has such a diverse and spectacular dining-scene, but it can be frustrating to find a place that tick all the boxes; including really good quality food that is healthy and suits your food philosophy!
YES! Melbourne is a fantastic place for food adventures. As you can imagine we shop for whole foods and there are several great food outlets in Melbourne. We enjoy wandering around the stalls at the Queen Victoria, Prahran and South Melbourne markets, as well as the Farmers Market at the Collingwood Children’s Farm. Apart from offering fantastically fresh produce, these places evoke wonderful memories of harvest time and celebration. As we are advocates of organic/biodynamic produce, we also shop in small organic groceries such as Organic Wholefoods on Smith Street, Fitzroy (they have a second shop on Lygon Street in Brunswick East) where not only can you find tremendously well-priced produce, but just as important, the sort of friendly atmosphere that we remember from our visits to small fruit and vegetable shops back in Europe.
In terms of restaurants, well it’s a hard one! There are so many fantastic places from fine dining to rustic or oriental venues. It is hard to recommend a good place, as we would offend so many that are wonderful and we didn’t mention.
7. Tell us your go-to dish when you’re told to “bring a plate”. I’m the only one in my circle who eats Paleo, and I’m forever confused about what to prepare and bring (even though it’s not that hard, really!)
Depending on the theme, Walter has countless dishes on offer… from beautiful light salads to his classic Dill Cured Salmon, Beef Bourguignon or Silken Tofu Chocolate Cheesecake or a Classic Apple Pie. You can find all of these dishes and so much more in our “Trupps’ Wholefood Kitchen” cookbook.
8. What’s the biggest health challenge we are facing in Australia in the next decade?
Diabetes is definitely going to present a major challenge, as it becomes an epidemic as well as obesity. Also, diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular problems and food allergies shouldn’t be forgotten. I offer several nutritional cooking courses that explore the most common health challenges we face right now caused by our modern lifestyle where I present you with innovative solutions to prevent and recover from those diseases.
I really worry about our growing children who suffer malnutrition despite being ‘well fed’. I am especially terrified by the increased rate of autism and nervous system disorders in young children. I advocate for Weston A Price Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt nutrition education foundation that brings the awareness of traditional diets and the role it plays in ensuring that we grow a healthy new generation. This ‘back to basics’ nutritional approach is especially close to my heart, as it brings back the memories of my early experiences on my Polish farm. As you can imagine it is very important to me to feed my two-and-a-half year old son a nutrient dense, whole food, traditional diet. I design and run courses for young parents that teach them the nutritional fundamentals to raise well developed, happy and healthy children.
9. Stevia or xylitol, which do you prefer and why?
Call me old fashioned, but I wouldn’t use any of them. I only use raw, unprocessed honey, a natural sweetener that has a long history of human consumption and has a great aroma! Since moving to Australia I also use Mānuka honey that has the added benefit of medicinal properties.
Stevia seems to have a long human consumption history as well especially in Japan, and shows no known side effects, but I have never tried it because I love my traditional honey. Xylitol is a relatively new invention and has shown to irritate GIT- it has a slight laxative effect and causes bloating.
You can view the list of cooking-classes on http://www.truppcookingschool.com/– a highly worth-while investment for those of you that want to learn more about healthy food and how to prepare it.
Read more here: http://paleoinmelbourne.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/meet-dorota-trupp-one-half-of-team.html