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Meet Naturally Sassy: Making Meals for Dancers

  • May 6, 2016
  • by Laura Di Orio

These days, most dancers know the importance of good nutrition. If a dancer’s body is his/her vehicle, then food is the fuel that drives it. Plus, food can also provide nutrients that are anti-inflammatory, stamina-building, mood-lightening and cancer-fighting.

Over the past few years, dancer Saskia Gregson-Williams, currently a trainee with the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, has become passionate about nutrition and creating meals that are healthy, delicious and easy. On her blog, Naturally Sassy, Saskia shares these recipes, as well as health articles, inspiring interviews with foodies like her, healthy city guides and product reviews. Now, the dancer-nutritionist-chef will partner with Capezio to share some of her delicious food ideas and recipes for dancers right here on Capezio Spotlight! Here, get to know a bit about how Naturally Sassy came to be.

Saskia suffered with chronic eczema all her life. The same year her eczema reached a peak – covering her body, causing pain and making her insecure – Saskia also caught a severe strain of food poisoning that left her in bed and out of the dance studio for weeks. Even when she returned to dancing, she felt weak, lethargic and depressed. She knew something had to change. So, she started reading up on food and slowly making changes to her diet. She cut out acidic inflammatory foods like dairy, gluten, meat and refined sugars. And soon, Saskia’s eczema cleared up, she re-gained strength, and she felt better. Now, she follows a diet that is simple, healthy, plant-based, unprocessed and, most importantly, delicious.

“As dancers, it’s easy to think of food as something that keeps you slim,” Saskia says, “and in so many cases it can be seen as something that hinders your success and not an aid to it. Changing your mindset to think of what you eat having a purpose can entirely change the way it makes your body feel. I now make my meals thinking of how I can help or combat the specific problem I’m facing that day: inflammation, lack of energy or even reduced stamina.”

And even though being nutrient-rich is a top priority in Saskia’s recipes, so is tasting scrumptious. She says she’s always inspired by the dishes and flavors – the “naughty but delicious” meals – she used to enjoy when she was younger. But now she makes them vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free – everything from peanut butter-chocolate cheesecake to lasagne.

“It’s all trial and error!” Saskia says of her process in the kitchen. “Luckily, after two years of constant recipe-creating, there is less error that goes on, but it’s very much a hit-and-miss process. I do sometimes look to recipes for inspiration, but every recipe I create is entirely from scratch.”

In August 2015, Saskia released her first cookbook, Naturally Sassy: My recipes for an energised, healthy and happy you. She says the book is geared toward people with little time – perhaps a busy dancer like yourself! – and who want an uncomplicated, healthy meal. The cookbook contains “one pot wonders” and “15-minute meals”, as well as a “how to” section, making it easy to follow.

For Capezio Spotlight readers, Saskia promises to share recipes that help a dancer’s body reach its fullest potential. “Recipes that aren’t only mouthwateringly delicious,” she describes, “but will also help recover your muscles after an intense workout, energise you first thing, boost your stamina and keep your body fit and healthy.”

With these recipes, as well as her blog and future cookbooks, Saskia hopes to inspire others to get creative in the kitchen.

“The stigma with healthy eating is that it can be really bland, boring and hard to maintain,” she says. “But, in fact, it is anything but. You can make everything from chocolate mousses, banoffee pie and chocolate tarts to lasagne, curry and pizza – all completely healthy and natural. You just have to be open-minded, and be playful!”

Stay tuned for Saskia’s first healthy and delicious recipe on Capezio Spotlight!

For more, visit Saskia’s blog at www.naturallysassy.co.uk. To purchase her cookbook, visit Amazon. And follow Saskia on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.

Produced by Dance Informa.

Photo credit: Ester Keate for Pepper & Mayne of London.

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