Abigail O’Neill is an Australian fashion model, author of Model Chocolate, food photographer and an expert in vegetarian, raw and vegan cookery. She also has three equally gorgeous children.
I had the pleasure of meeting Abigail at the launch of her new booked ‘Model Chocolate’ a few weeks ago and she is absolutely radiant.
Her secret? Regular cacao consumption.
I have never been more happy to take on a challenge!
For the people who aren’t familiar with you (or just want to know more), tell us a bit about yourself..
I live on the Far North Coast (spoiled I know!), and work part-time in Brisbane as a fashion model. I’m currently working on promoting my new book launched just last week – ‘Model Chocolate’. I’m also a mother, so spending lots of time homemaking has always been important to me…
What made you choose the path of leading a healthy life and was there a particular turning point?
Hmm probably not really a turning point as such as I’ve been living a highly health conscious life almost as long as I can remember. You could say I got seriously into it all at around age 12-13 where I started to practice what I’ve referred to as my ‘eight tips for Supergorgeousness’ also known as the ‘8 laws of health’. I also feel much better avoiding wheat, gluten, dairy, non-organic produce etc so have been preparing food predominantly without those ingredients for many years.
What does your usual daily routine look like – what is on your ‘must do’ and ‘must take’ list?
Walking/yoga as much as possible, surfing x 1 pw usually, superfood packed fresh juices/smoothies, cold showers (amazing for toning and invigorating)… I don’t keep a food diary, I eat healthy all the time, no exceptions. I know for some that may be too rigid, but it works for my mind/body balance and I love it. I don’t ever crave unhealthful foods, I personally just don’t find them in any way satisfying or delicious. My raw chocolate on the other hand, is an everyday occurrence!
Let’s take a peek in your bathroom cupboard – what are your must have products?
I love Dr. Bronners Magic ‘all-one!’ castile soap in Peppermint, so refreshing and it’s 100% natural. I do have some Neem toothpaste in the cupboard there! I love moisturising with raw organic coconut oil and fresh aloes from my garden and I do enjoy an antioxidant rich cacao face mask once a week (which is in my book) along with an exotic ‘spiced cacao bath’ (see my blog). So lovely!
What do you always have in your kitchen?
I always have an abundance of fresh organic fruit and vegetables cluttering up benchspace, a mountain of leafy greens, superfoods of all kinds – obviously including many cacao products – ooh and I’m running low on my spirulina tablets from Synergy! I like a natural rice protein powder from Sunwarrior which I add to my raw chocolate Protein Bar recipe, just looking what else is here… oh yes, I have some delicious coconut kefir made from young green coconuts. There’s some fresh Kombucha ready which my children love with lots of ice during these warmer months.
How important is clean, nutrient rich food in your diet?
Nutrient rich food is probably my main goal when preparing meals. You could say I’m personally (my family are more ‘vego’) raw vegan predominantly choosing a very alkaline diet including green drinks, juices, smoothies. Although I do use occasionally have organic eggs with lots of greens and my raw ‘seed’ crackers (see my blog for recipe), cultured foods now and then, the odd very simply prepared legume dishes and lots of crisp salad vegetables, mostly raw, but some such as sweet potatoes cooked. If using grains ever I like them to be either whole grain and sprouted or absorption cooked to perfection and made into green salads, or fermented as in my 100% sourdough bread. Yes lots and lots of greens work wonders!
How do you like to move and keep fit? Is exercise an important part of your life?
I love the way exercise makes me feel! Strong, capable, happy and pretty. Actually I wrote an article (for Organice Your Life) not long ago entitled ‘Exercise = Empowerment’ – and it really does!!! I love surfing – I ride a 9.4 longboard, yoga – Bikram atm, and when I’m good, walking with sprints for good measure.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your health journey?
These days we’re influenced by so many different sources – from friends, family, blogs, magazines and now even Instagram!! I love health/healing books and have read some classics! Yes I must say Instagram is pretty cool like that. I haven’t had a lot of time to recharge what has influenced my core ideas by reading much over the last few years writing Model Chocolate. It’s just been such a busy time! But I can say that in times past I have loved some really old books like Paavo Airola’s ‘How to Get Well’, ‘Conscious Eating’ by Gabriel Cousens, ‘Back to Eden’ by Jethro Kloss (that one really is pretty dated now really but I still love it as I read it when I was only 13!). More recently – ‘Earthing’ by Clinton Ober is interesting and ‘Naked Chocolate’ by David Wolfe, which I only found, can you believe it, after writing Model Chocolate!! Dear. It has been a long time!
Ooh loving Tisano Chocolate Tea! Loving my kids! Loving a few moments more to breathe in a day… 🙂 So blessed!
Fave local cafe or restaurant?
Manna Haven Byron Bay. I can take the whole family there and everyone can order a healthy delicious meal to their liking! Vegan/vegetarian, organic as available, so tasty… and lately they’ve been serving my 100% raw, organic, SF GF DF ‘Love Me Bittersweet Jaffa Chocolate Pie’ (from the book) too!
As your parting gift to us – what is your favourite recipe
If you haven’t yet bought my book, Model Chocolate, or tried any of my healthy and delicious recipes – why not splurge out this weekend and create my ‘Raw Banana Caramel Pecan Pie’ Utterly decedent!
This slice is so simple to make, rich, creamy, delicious and packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants! True beauty food that’s so good, you can even eat it for breakfast!
Raw Banana Caramel Pecan Pie
Serves 8 – 10
1 cup pitted dates (regular dates are fine)
1 cup pecans or walnuts
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 – 2 tablespooons raw cacao powder
Banana Caramel Filling:
2 small – medium ripe bananas
1 cup pitted Medjool dates
2 – 3 tablespoons raw macadamia butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
3 tablespoons raw organic coconut oil
2 – 3 tablespoons raw mild honey
250g new season raw pecan halves
Whiz all base ingredients altogether in a food processor until ingredients become crumbly and just begin to ‘bind’. Press into into a 27cm pie/tart dish to form the Raw Chocolate Base. The food processor shouldn’t need washing, so you can move immediately onto making the Banana Caramel Filling.
Process all caramel ingredients together until it becomes completely smooth. Spread 1 tablespoon of tacky caramel mixture over the base, layer with pecans then smooth over more Caramel, followed by more pecans until all of Caramel and pecans are used. I decorated my pie with desiccated coconut, Cacao Dust and Chok Dollop (recipes in Model Chocolate cookbook).
Place in the fridge to set 2 – 4 hours. Serve with Nibana Soft Serve (recipe from Model Chocolate cookbook)
Buy the e-book for only $25 or the hard copy is $64.95!
Stumbled upon your website and was intrigued. I am a heart attack survivor and currently involved on the Board of Lankenau Hospital and a member of the Womens Heart inititave team. We are building our proram and have a fundraiser scheduled for Feb 25th on the Main Line in Philadelphia. We are looking for a chocolate vendor to participate with us and I was wondering if you do any events such as these for charity. I love that you have a book to sell as well. please contact me to talk further.