FOODIE TO WATCH – MARITA KARLSON
She is living the dream – at least ours. The former model Marita Karlson, a Swedish-born but LA-based mother of one, is constantly on the hunt for the next healthy ingredient (preferably for one of her amazing juices and smoothies). She knows LA’s farmers markets, restaurants and foodie secrets like the back of her hand and is the authority when it comes to “living as healthy as you can”.
Meet the former model turned cookbook author and read all about her healthy lifestyle, her top 10 LA foodie tips, and what she loves to cook for the men in her life.
You want to be part of the LA food community? Stay healthy but not be bored by cooking the same over and over again? Learn how to cook for your baby the Californian way? Then you have to watch Marita’s every step…
WTL: Let’s get straight down to the nitty-gritty – how does your perfect breakfast look like?
MK: That must be wholegrain porridge with maple, fresh berries and cinnamon with steamed nutmilk.
WTL: What is your favorite dish you would cook your family on a relaxed Sunday?
MK: I would make gluten free pizza crust and top it with lots of seasonal veggies, goat cheese and herbs.
WTL: How would you describe your food-style in three words?
MK: Simple, clean and delicious.
WTL: What are your signature dishes?
MK: Smoothies, smoothie bowls and veggie stews.
WTL: What is most important for you when it comes down to ingredients and taste?
MK: The freshest local organic ingredients possible. That’s the building blocks for a good happy meal. And the taste comes with it.
WTL: You are about to write your third cookbook and have a successful Swedish food blog. When did you start your food journey and what was your motivation to do so?
MK: My health food journey started a couple years after moving to this health food Mecca Los Angeles, and after experimenting with alternative ingredients and other super foods I kind of found my way. My energy and overall health was a huge motivation to keep doing it and eating this way. Everything is available here all year around, which is also keeps me going.
WTL: Was there anything you particularly focused on during your pregnancy?
MK: Lots and lots of organic veggies and fruits, coconuts, coconut oil and probiotic plus fermented foods.
WTL: What role does your one-year old son play in your food choices?
MK: A lot! I want to and have to stay healthy for him, and he is eating what we eat, so I’m trying to build him a strong immune system and create good habits early. Which I hope will translate into something good in the future for him.
WTL: Do you cook everything from scratch for your little boy?
MK: Yes, I try to. Sometimes I bring a puree, if I’m running out of time heading to the park. But otherwise I do. I want him to get used to home cooked meals. He is so interested in food this little guy, so I hope he will help me in the kitchen some day. He he.
WTL: What does your childhood taste like?
MK: My mom is Austrian, so it tastes like “Gulash”, “Fleshknedeln” and “Karottendinst” plus lots of fruit and veggies from the garden.
WTL: And how has Sweden inspired you on your food journey?
MK: The freshness and the simplicity. To pick a few herbs from the garden, to throw a fresh caught fish on the grill – this is fantastic to me.
WTL: You create all the recipes yourself – from where do you get your inspiration?
MK: I get inspired from my daily rounds at the farmers markets around here, and of course from social media. I love working with alternative ingredients that are good for us, and people get so creative out there with all this “new” foods, which is a huge inspiration itself.
WTL: Speaking of which, how important is social media for you?
MK: It is important but I’m not letting it take up too much of my time. I do realize that it’s a great channel out to people and to market yourself.
WTL: Which Instagram accounts do you follow?
WTL: Is there a current food trend you follow?
MK: I love “bowls”. Its easy, nutrient packed and looks pretty and the variations are endless.
WTL: What do you always have to have in your fridge?
MK: Coconut water, almond milk and avocado.
WTL: How do you impress your guests the most?
MK: hm, I don’t know. Colorfulness maybe?
WTL: What do you cook for the man in your life?
MK: My man eats pretty much anything, so he is easy to please. He loves anything Swedish, like a whole salmon with lots of dill and yogurt dressing and new potato or a good scrumptious health bowl.
WTL: Is there a food that you hate?
MK: Yes, I don’t like beans. I know they are great for you… but I just cant, its something with the texture that scares me. And I would never eat blood pudding, which is something Swedes love.
WTL: What’s your most memorable meal?
MK: A Malibu Farm Dinner up in the mountains above Malibu, outside with horses and donkeys and the most amazing sunset. These amazing dishes were rolling out to us the whole night. It was unforgettable.
WTL: What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in the kitchen?
MK: Tried to make popcorn using white vinegar instead of oil… when I was very young! HA!
WTL: What was the worst dish you have ever cooked?
MK: I think I made some really dry falafels once, dry like dust.
WTL: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to improve his or her cooking skills?
MK: Watch cooking shows and watch cooking clips on YouTube. You learn a lot that way.
WTL: Can you please tell us a bit about what your next cookbook will be about?
MK: It will be a follow up on my first book Hälsokick. But this time with a mommy baby twist. Still lots of energizing super drinks, hearty easy meals and treats, plus some fun kids food, all wrapped in the Cali sun.
WTL: What describes you better: daydreamer or realist?
MK: Om my goodness. I have to say both. I am the biggest daydreamer, always have been… but when it comes down to it, I’m a big realist as well. Do they go together at all?
WTL: What do you like to do the most when you are not working and cooking?
MK: Strolling on the beach during sunrise or sunset. That’s the best way to recharge my batteries.
WTL: What is your secret to juggle work and taking care of a one-year old?
MK: The best way is to be effective while you have a moment to yourself. Coz you never know how much time you got while he is sleeping during the day. And also, I have to be rested and fueled with good nutrition to stay focus and clear.
WTL: What is your idea of happiness?
MK: Spending time with my loved ones… and sleep… and a pretty California coastline.
WTL: What is your favorite band and what music do you listen to?
MK: I love singer / songwriters and my two all time favorites are Ray LaMontagne and Eddie Wedder.
WTL: What was the last book you read (and liked)?
MK: Oh, hard one… I’m a sucker for biographies. Hard to name just one. I like to read about people’s destiny’s more than a novel like I did in my teenage years. I like real stories.
WTL: Which movie would you watch again and why?
MK: Dumb and Dumber. Never gets old, haha.
WTL: What is your dream destination you love to travel to?
MK: I would love to go to Indonesia. It looks beyond beautiful and their food culture is interesting too.
WTL: What is your favorite restaurant, bar or club in LA?
MK: Gjelina in Venice for restaurant, Bar would be Wallflower in Venice. I haven’t been to a club in years so I have nothing there.
WTL: What do you love about LA?
MK: The beauty that is surrounding this city, like the mountains, ocean and such. And I like that you can basically do anything here and that it is boiling with creative minded people.
WTL: And what do you hate?
MK: The traffic is horrible.
WTL: What are your secret top 10 foodie tips in LA?
MK: 1.) Eat breakfast at the farmers markets, they offer so many delicious things freshly made right in front of you.
2.) Whole in the Wall places that are packed are always a good sign.
3.) Try a Pokebowl on the Venice Boardwalk, you will not be disappointed, it is called Poke Poke.
4.) Don’t miss Downtown LA, there are plenty of amazing restaurants over there, one of them is Bestia.
5.) Indulge in raw vegan ice cream at Kippy’s in Venice.
6.) Grab something healthy and delicious in ANY juice bar scattered around town.
7.) Malibu Farm in Malibu is a must.
8.) Nobu in Malibu is a must too, everything is out of this world.
9.) Visit Erewhon Market, lots of raw food.
10.) The Old Place in Malibu is a true hidden gem.
WTL: If you could go food shopping anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
MK: It would be in Asia at one of the outside veggie markets. It looks absolutely amazing. Hawaii is not that bad either.
WTL: What are the three items you couldn’t live without in your kitchen?
MK: My Vitamix, my nutmilk bag and my La Cruiset.
WTL: If you could leave us with one thought, what would it be?
MK: If you have a dream, go chase it and listen to your gut feeling, it will guide your way and stay true to yourself. Cheers!
Picture Credit: Stephanie Bjelkstam