Quirky Cooking’s Jo Whitton: All about Jo!

September 9, 2013

I recently interviewed Jo Whitton the Thermomix cooking demon behind Quirky Cooking in a special series on how to get organised for a Thermomix.  I’m part of a Thermomix giveaway and I want to make sure if you’re the lucky winner you’re all organised for it! (CLICK HERE to enter).

Jo has been recognised as part of the Top 25 Food and Wellbeing Bloggers for Kidspot and soon to be the published author of her own cook book!

Jo is a great example that you’ve got to trust and notice what’s going on with your body and the health of your family. Even when you don’t know what’s going on, YOU just need to TRUST that you do know and notice it!

See the interview below or keep reading to learn more about Jo and her background and how the blog (http://quirkycooking.blogspot.com.au/) came to be!

Watch the Video or read our interview summary below

Jo Whitton learnt to cook from a very young age, using basic, fresh ingredients, and cooking ‘from scratch’.  When she started her own family, she tried to do the same, grinding her own grains, breads, cakes and biscuits, cooked with fresh fruit and veges, and tried to avoid junk food. But despite all her hard work, she was constantly fighting exhaustion, headaches, recurring colds, tummy upsets, low blood pressure, and low weight problems. Her children also began to have health issues, and it all seemed to point to food reactions.

About 10 years ago, she went to her first Thermomix demo and fell in love! But with three children and a baby that arrived three weeks later it took Jo a year before she got a Thermomix.  Unfortunately soon after Jo’s health had gotten worse.   It wasn’t until Jo went to a naturopath and started looking into what she was actually eating that it all made sense.  Jo always had problems with dairy, but because she of her love of cheese and butter, she never went off it entirely.  Tired with the new baby, Jo ended up eating a lot of home made bread with lashings of butter and cheese and a midnight milo and milk.

Here’s what Jo describes her health and experiences of improving it through food:

“I was pretty much eating bread five times a day, because it was easy.  It was just so much grains my body was not handling it.  If I was starving in the middle of the night, I just grab a Milo, that kind of thing, and my body didn’t like it at all.  I became very tired, very headachy. Every month, I would get a cold that would turn into a chest infection. I had low blood sugar problems, low weight problems. I couldn’t put on weight. I actually went down to 42 kilos. I just couldn’t get the nutrition I needed, even though we were still having all the veggies and the meat and all that kind of stuff, but it was like I wasn’t absorbing it or something. So I finally went to a naturopath. He helped me work through what issues were affecting my diet and what I needed to change.

So basically, to make it simple, I pretty much went off wheat and dairy and most sugars. Back to more basic foods. I thought I was eating basic foods because that’s how I was raised, cooking from scratch, but there were things that had snuck in that you sort of start to buy because it’s easy. So I started going back more to basics, looking more at what was in the foods, checking the packet labels, and I started to realize – about that time I got a Thermomix and I started to realize, “Wow! This Thermomix will really help me to cut down on all these additives.

So that was nine years ago.  I began using it quite a lot and making my own dairy-free milks with nuts or rice or a bit of both. My own white sauces that were dairy-free and custards and things like that. I started to make sculpted breads. Later on, I went off the gluten on to gluten-free and found that I was feeling a lot better that way.  As it progressed, I just figured out what suited my body the best and tried to work as much as possible from basic ingredients so that I knew what was going into my food, and that really helped me.

I don’t have celiac disease. I don’t have a dairy allergy. But I just know I feel heaps better when I stay off grains as much as I can. At least wheat and grains.  And I stay off dairy as much as I can and sugar, and it just makes me feel heaps better. If you look at me now compared to 8 or 9 years ago, I’ve put on weight. I know it doesn’t look like it, but I’m a lot healthier. I’m robust and full of energy. I’m happier. And I think a lot of that is – okay, some of it is because my kids are older and it’s easier. I know when they’re babies, it’s really hard for mums because they’re tired and they’re up in the night and stuff. But it’s also mostly diet, I think. That was also a problem with why I had so much trouble with my last baby, there were things in my breast milk that were bothering her. So I had trouble with breastfeeding, and she cried a lot. It was all to do with my diet.

There are so many things related to food in every area of life, that if you can figure out what suits your body, you’ll be so much better off. Definitely, ask for help if you need it and don’t think that being headachy every day and tired every day and getting that low blood sugar slump in the middle of the morning is natural because it’s not, and you can have an energetic day without all that if you’re eating in a way that suits your body.”

With the help of a naturopath, she worked out which foods were causing the problems, and learnt to replace them with alternatives. She began to eat a more wholefood diet, cutting out dairy, wheat, sugar, and over-processed and refined foods as much as possible. She avoided additives, colours and preservatives, and tried to buy mostly organic or pesticide free.

Jo began her blog in 2008  – on New Year’s Eve! She decided with the help of a friend she would start sharing her recipes via a blog because she was constantly writing out recipes.  (This was even before she became a consultant).

Jo only decided to become a consultant because she wanted the new model and decided becoming a consultant was the easiest way to afford one!  She thought she’d only do it for a bit while the kids were young… that was five years ago…!

When Jo started the Facebook page three years ago she has gained a big following – and in the last year-and-a-half – she has taken it from 3,000 to 39,000!

“I’m sort of just hanging on for the ride, trying to answer questions madly in the middle of the night. I just really love that it is very supportive and I’m hoping that nobody thinks I’m a supermum that has it all together because I don’t. I’m just like every other mum mostly. But I just have such a passion for healthy eating and for supporting people who want to go in that direction. And people who have allergies and intolerances, it’s hard and people get really overwhelmed and you get some really gut-wrenching emails from people that just desperately need just some encouragement.

And so, I want my Facebook page and my blog to be somewhere where those kind of people can feel like they’ve got a bit of support. And if I’m in a hurry and I don’t have time, I might put the question out there for everybody to answer. And you just get so many answers, so much support, so much encouragement and help, it’s just wonderful. So it’s great for me as well and not just everybody else. I get just as much encouragement from it as anyone else, from everybody else’s answers. So that’s been fun.”


And what an amazing ride!  Thanks for being so inspiring Jo!  Your creativity is FANTASTIC and we love how you are supporting  people to love their food!!

Don’t forget I’m part of a Thermomix giveaway and I want to make sure if you’re the lucky winner you’re all organised for it! (CLICK HERE to enter).

Louise xx