This week we get to do a flip-a-roo and catch up with Cheryl Miles for a quick chat to find out more about HER journey. It was frankly a bit surreal, meeting a VOICE that I am familiar with and putting a face to that radio personality.
As a Radio DJ on @onefm913, emccee, and now self-published author of a series of (3) cookbooks, Smitten in the Kitchen – Cheryl takes us on her journey to loving herself through food.
Cheryl you are doing so many things – not just a Radio DJ, you host events, TV shows and more! How did you fall in love with cooking and eventually authoring and sharing your recipes?
I've been an avid home cook since the age of 16. If there is anything I love more than connecting with people through music, it's connecting with them through food. I've been a recipe developer, officially since 2018, and share my recipes on my blog and instagram. During the pandemic, I started writing my first cookbook. I managed to write over 100 recipes and instead of one cookbook, I created three! Because of the restrictions at the time, I did my book launch online via Instagram Live on December 2021. As I have yet to do an official in-person launch event, I revel in any opportunity to meet fellow home cooks, like at WoW2023.
To self-publish and distribute my cookbooks, I started a media company, Miles Nixon Media. Someday soon I hope to teach fellow home cooks how to write a cookbook of their own as I think it is a great way to preserve family recipes that you can then pass down. My main cookbook, Smitten in the Kitchen, 60 Recipes for Love, can be found at Kinokuniya, Epigram Books and on my website www.CherylMiles.com
That's a very young age to start cooking. Most people I know don't even pick up a frying pan till we are in our 20s or when we start living away from our parents. How did you get started on your cooking journey at 16?
I started cooking at 16 so that I could learn how to make healthy meals for myself. I was rather self-conscious about my weight and unfortunately developed some eating disorders and body image issues along the way. It got worse in my 20s when I started a career on TV and stage as an actor and presenter. The pressure to look slim, had me becoming addicted to diet pills.
It was only in my late 30s that I started developing a healthier relationship with food and my body. It's the reason why I'm also studying to be a nutrition coach and hope to be certified by the end of this year so that I can help others on their journey of health and wellness.
Food is not only fuel, it's fun too! Eating healthy shouldn't be boring and doesn't mean that you can't enjoy a treat now and then - as long as it's homemade! Other than the main hardcover cookbook, I have two supplementary cookbooks - Sexy in the Kitchen, 25 Recipes for Romance and the e-book Good Vibes in the Kitchen, 20 Meatless Recipes for Kindness.
Each cookbook comes with inspirational quotes and a curated Spotify playlist to accompany you as you cook and dine with specially selected songs to create an ambience of love, romance or kindness.
I'm most proud of Smitten in the Kitchen because it also contains love lessons, dating tips and reflections on self-love that I had learnt from being single for so long before finally getting married at 43. Cooking is a great time to meditate and unwind and my cookbooks provide little nuggets to start conversations with and food for thought.
WoW. That's a great relationship you have built with food over time. How did that all bring you to authoring not just 1 but 3 cookbooks?
Eating healthy & cooking is an act of self-care & love. Since my cookbooks are themed around romance, love & kindness, i want to remind my readers & fellow home cooks that what we put into our bodies is just as important, if not more, than how well we pamper ourselves on the outside. I also want to highlight that before we can show love and kindness to others, me must romance ourselves first. I hope to show through my recipes that healthy food needn’t be bland and boring. My hope is for more people to get Smitten in the Kitchen and start cooking again. Home cooked food is always healthier than eating out.
A lot of people perceive eating healthy or healthy food as expensive and "ang moh" and not easy with our busy lives or Asian tastes. How do you overcome this?
Healthy food needn't be expensive. You can make a salad with local greens like raw Dou Miao or even Bok Choy. All whole food is healthy when prepared with nutrition in mind and not doused heavily with sauce and unhealthy fats or overcooked. Processed and refined foods, especially when eaten frequently, are what leads to health issues. Particularly, when you are also sedentary on top of it all.
What is the most difficult part of being a cookbook author AND maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
As a recipe developer I often create videos for food brands. That means taking a break from our regular diet of salads and grain bowls to make something a little more indulgent like the Lamb & Guinness Stout Stew I intend to make in conjunction with St Patrick's Day. I also enjoy a glass of wine when I cook, so I have to be mindful not to drink too much. Before writing my cookbooks, cooking was a very personal affair. But now that I often have to film or photograph what I cook for my blog or instagram, it all gets very time consuming. I have to be sure to make time for gym and cardio because for healthy eating to be most effective, you MUST exercise. Exercise is key to reaping the most nutritional value from the food you consume.
I love that you include fitness in your day as well, and it's not just about fad diets or starving ourselves. It's all bout being balanced – what else would you like to tell our readers about eating or staying healthy?
Stop thinking of healthy eating as depriving yourself of your favourite treats. In fact healthy eating is about adding more to your plate, not taking away from it. For example, if you want to eat creamy pasta, instead of a full plate of only pasta, add more protein and a handful of raw baby spinach or arugula. This way you get your cravings appeased but you've also added protein and fibre which help boost immunity, aid digestion, and keep you feeling full. When you eat this way, you automatically make healthier choices and become more aware of your portion size.
Also food should never be one note. Include ingredients of varying textures and flavours, like something sweet with something spicy, or sour with savoury. A salad is more appetising when you play with colours but also with contrasting textures - soft foods with crunchy ones excite the palate and improves mouthfeel. So for example throw in some sliced almonds with feta cubes into your salad.
Most importantly, find time to cook! Immersing yourself in the entire cooking process actually satiates part of your appetite so you won't end up overeating. You also become a more mindful eater and a more thoughtful consumer. And lastly, stick to whole foods as much as possible.
Thank you Cheryl! For taking time out of your extremely fulfilling day to catch up on healthy eating, your love for cooking and how you keep going for the people you love and most importantly how you fuel yourself with love!
We are very excited to have Cheryl join us this Sunday 12 March 2023, with not just her cookbooks for sale, but also as a moderator for our WonderFULL Stories: In Conversation With
Session at Wonder of Women 2023
. If you haven't picked up your FULL DAY PASS – you have 1 last day to get yours now! It's only $60 for a 2 work out sessions and 3 yummy workshops! PLUS 50% of our ticket sales for WoW 2023, goes towards supporting the wonderful work being done at Daughters of Tomorrow