A New Era Of Style

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Model Mange Tout

We chat with Danielle Copperman of Model Mange Tout & Qnola.

Danielle Copperman is our favourite kind of nutritionist, believing that eating well and living healthily is less about following rules and making radical dietary changes, and more about learning the beauty and real benefits of natural ingredients that are both nourishing and full of flavour. She recently launched a range of quinoa-based superfood breakfast products, called Qnola. She makes simple, healthy food using natural, wholesome ingredients, including pseudo grains, healthy fats, natural sweeteners, organic meat and fresh, local produce. All of her recipes are free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar and are high in nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Danielle believes that learning about foods and the effects they have on your body is key to restructuring your lifestyle in a sustainable way. Here we speak to her about Qnola and life as a model of healthy eating.
You are so many things at the same time: entrepreneur, model, food writer, and chef. How do you combine all those things without getting a burnout?

Whoever said I wasn’t burning out was lying! It happens! It is seriously challenging, but seriously rewarding. My problem is that if I want to do something, I want to do it right away. I can’t wait and I can’t leave it to someone else. I’d always rather try myself and this even applies to my personal life. In business however this means I am the product developer, the chef, the manufacturer, the brand designer, the graphics designer, the web designer and developer, the copy writer, the cleaner, the accountant – the list is literally endless. That is just within Qnola as a business as well, not including my other jobs (blogging and modelling). Strangely for me, as Qnola is so demanding, I see modelling and blogging almost like a break from work, but they all work well together and balancing all of these jobs without getting burned out is a challenge. I’ve learned to prioritise, and also to delegate. The best but hardest move was hiring my first employee last year.

Was healthy eating something you grew up with?

Yes, but not in the same way it is now. My mum was a nourishing cook but also a traditional one like most of our mothers and most of their mothers. But I was unhealthy and loved sweets and junk food. At school people made fun of me for being stick thin, and I used to get home and ask my mum what I could eat to change that. I only really became concerned about eating healthily when I became a model.

How did your path to really clean eating evolve?

I moved to London from my home in Bath at 18. Before then I had never cooked much, and whenever I did it was never very exotic. I loved baking though and creating things but I never gave a thought to whether it was good for me. When I moved out of my parents home I was forced to cook for myself more, and as I began making more of my own decisions, I wanted to make sure I was making the right ones. My interest in clean eating began when I started modelling full time, and more seriously. I would eat salads and granola thinking I was being healthy, but my tastebuds weren’t satisfied. I felt miserable and tired and also wasn’t feeling any healthier. I took it upon myself to research online and read books and then eventually took a biology A-level before studying a diploma in diet and nutrition.

What does your daily eating routine look like?

My days are always different, and even if I plan one day to the next, things always come up to throw me off course. Without fail though, I always start my day with a hot drink. I usually have hot water, lemon and ginger or a homemade mushroom powder mixture dissolved in water. Then depending on my schedule, I’ll do some yoga and some emails before having a smoothie or some breakfast, usually Qnola, a cucumber, avocado, beetroot salad or some eggs. I drink water throughout the day, as well as lots of herbal and green tea. I’ll have a juice as a snack if I am on the go too. For lunch, I’ll usually have a vegetable heavy salad, soup, salmon or eggs. For dinner I’ll either have leftovers, homemade broth with vegetables and chicken or salmon, eggs if I don’t have time, or a quick raw salad with mackerel or salmon.

Was there anything that shocked you about our modern day food that made you extra determined to eat as clean as you do?

I think, seriously, granola was what changed it all for me. Breakfast products and cereals in particular are so falsely but passionately advertised as healthy and nourishing. Yes, to some extent I’m sure some cereals do really reduce the risk of heart disease etc., but most cereals contain gluten, have been heavily processed, are high in sugars and don’t satisfy our bodies’ or minds’ nutritional needs. I think realising how falesely advertised granola was made me question other things too, and then I began to understand ingredients more, rather than just eating things marked with labels. It changed the way I thought about all kinds of foods and made me realise we cannot trust the media or marketing whose sole aim is to make money, not positive changes.

How do you come up with new recipes and what does an afternoon of experimenting on new recipes look like?

I usually get inspiration from new things all the time. I will make a note of them and then when I have spare time I will figure out how I want to tackle a recipe and what I need to buy. Then I’ll schedule in some time to test it and I usually just end up playing around with quantities and working out how to use the nutritious ingredients I want to. Sometimes I’ll have a short list to work through and will spend an afternoon working through each recipe. It gets messy but its so fun and so satisfying to find new, more nourishing ways to make great food!

What cooks have inspired you to create the recipes you do?

I get inspiration from everywhere. Many people, many places, many countries and many traditional recipes which I think could easily be made with more nutritious ingredients.

How do you live a sustainable life?

I try not to waste anything, particularly where food is involved. I shop locally and buy from a local grocery store and fishmongers, meaning I rarely have packaging to deal with. When I do I recycle what I can. I walk as much as possible, and I cook for myself as much as possible, controlling the amount of  waste which always becomes leftovers.

What is your favourite Qnola product?

From our official permanent retail range, the Beetroot + Pistachio Qnola, hands down. Out of our limited edition flavours the Winter Edition Vanilla Chai and the Triple Chocolate Easter Edition with Goji Berries are my favourites. I can’t tell you what exactly, but we’re just developing some new and truly delicious products that I hope to have in stores this summer or early this fall.

What is your best food memory?

A steak in Mexico, Hawaiian sandwiches, coconut shrimp, lobster and bean rice on the roadside in Belize, crepes in France, Mum’s birthday cakes, Thanksgiving sweet potato stuff, soldiers in eggs, Dad hiding butter in my porridge!

What’s next for Qnola?

Weird and wonderful things! Our next set of products is completely different but also incredibly consistent with what we believe. One thing remains the same, and that is they both have Quinoa in, of course. But they are unusual, and although I think the response from consumers could be varied, I’m pretty confident in them and excited to give it a go regardless. Then we also have granola bars and powders and events coming up and much more blog content too.

What is your connection to Rêve En Vert?

I really connected to the ethos and a brand that is entirely based around sustainability. I love the products because they are made beautifully and well but also ethically – its amazing!

What are your top picks from Rêve En Vert?

The Edith A. Miller romper, the Base Range slip and underwear and the Isabell De Hillerin long skirt in white – I seriously covet that piece!

We are running a promotion with Danielle March 29th – April 12th, get a free sample of Qnola with any order from Rêve En Vert!