Mom of April: Thandie Newton
March 24th, 2008 | Category: mom-a-licious mom of the month
We here at Mom-a-licious would like to introduce you to Thandie Newton.
When she was 12 years old, she decided she wanted to be a vegetarian. She was a very sensitive child.
Her Mom was supportive, but said that if she wanted to do this, she had to educate herself and learn how to prepare nutritional meals without meat.
So, at twelve years old she learned about lentils, beans and protein!
And keep in mind all the research she did was pre-internet.
That’s just the beginning.
Talking with British actress Thandie Newton (pronounced Tandy) was a joy. Her approach to food and to motherhood and to her work is full of amazement, appreciation and, yes, sensitivity.
Thandie started out as a dancer, so, as you can imagine, she is very familiar with how dangerous it can be to eat poorly. She saw, first hand, many young women become critically ill because of eating disorders. She herself battled with bulimia during this time in her life.
Because of restrictions imposed by the boarding school and the schedule she kept as a dancer, Thandie learned to ignore her eating impulses.
I think this is a common problem: when are we truly hungry and when are we just bored? When are we satiated and when are we stuffed?
What turned it all around for Thandie?
While pregnant, she realized that eating was a way for her to nourish her growing child. The journey was profound and it caused her to educate herself about organic meats and fish from sustainable sources. She also began to eat when she was hungry and stop when she was full – a new experience for her as an adult.
She said, “Being pregnant was dreamy.”
This realization that we’ve become disconnected from food and from our bodies caused Thandie to make some changes in her life.
As a result, Thandie no longer shops at supermarkets – she shops at local markets, trying to support her local farmers and merchants.
She said her approach has become much more holistic. By going to local markets, she’s using less gas. By supporting local farmers, she’s also saving gas as nothing needs to be shipped thousands of miles to get to her.
She now relishes seasonal fruits and vegetables. Waiting all winter for a beautifully sweet strawberry in the summer deepens the appreciation for every lovely bite.
Since being pregnant, Thandie has learned to appreciate the cycle of food beginning with planting a tiny seed in the soil, to preparing those veggies to nourish the children you love so dearly.
Thandie then began talking about making eating fun for her children. She said she wants to give them more than just food. She said her children, like many children, love the story of food. So she and her children make up stories about the food they are preparing.
It helps them appreciate our planet. And the stories foster a sense of living in the moment and of being truly fascinated by everything.
What a wonderful gift to give our children.
Thandie doesn’t restrict the food her children have. She makes candy just as available as broccoli. She said her children just have more fun squeezing oranges for juice than opening a bag for candy.
It’s about being educated and being aware. Respecting yourself by respecting your food and where it comes from.
In Zimbabwe, where Thandie’s mother is from, there are incredible restrictions on food. They have to buy bread by the slice.
We take so much for granted.
It’s because of the appreciation and respect Thandie has for food that she makes sure her family uses everything. If Thandie roasts a chicken on Monday, she’ll use the leftovers and the bones to make a soup on Tuesday and a stock on Wednesday. Nothing is wasted.
This helps her children be conscious of how they are nourishing their bodies and to appreciate all they have.
By the way, her daughter, Nico, loves Domenica’s Avocado Sorbet!! Imagine a four-year-old loving Avocado Sorbet!
Thandie breastfed her daughters, Ripley, who is now eight years old, for 13 months and Nico, for 18 months. I asked her if she was working during this time.
What was that like?
Well, each set is different. When she was working with Jonathan Demme (The Truth About Charlie, 2002) she said he was fantastic. As they were shooting a scene a little “flower of milk,” as Thandie put it, appeared on her very tight t-shirt and Jonathan Demme yelled, “Cut! Thandie needs to nurse Ripley!”
He was very supportive.
Not every set is so supportive and Thandie has had to deal with various frustrations while filming, but even so, she is still grateful.
Thandie spoke very highly of Domenica. They were fortunate enough to have spent a long weekend together and Thandie raved about Domenica’s cooking. She said eating three incredibly healthy and delicious meals a day may her feel clear headed and energized.
“Domenica’s food doesn’t burden the body with heavy dairy, sugars or saturated fats, but you’re not sacrificing taste, you’re simple eating lovely food.”
She said she wants to emulate Domenica’s food. And that having her book and making her food is like having a little bit of Domenica right in your home.
The most challenging part of this interview for me was determining which of Domenica’s Manifesto points to highlight.
# 1: Know what is in your food and where it comes from – if an ingredient has more than four syllables, it probably doesn’t belong in the human body.
Yes, that fits Thandie.
# 2: Eat and serve local and organic as much as possible.
Yes, that fits Thandie
# 7: Have fun with your kids. The best part of having kids is feeling young again: laughter, goofiness, playing hide & seek, and Saturday-morning kisses.
# 16: Live with gratitude.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Thank you, Thandie Newton, for sharing your loving approach with us here at Mom-a-licious!!
We are honored.
Until next time, Eat Delicious and Stay Mom-a-licious!
Written by: Elizabeth Borrud