Bianca Osbourne is a chef, cooking expert, cooking show presenter on CTV and host of the On My Plate podcast. Born and raised in Edmonton, Bianca is on a quest to help Canadians rise to their healthiest and highest selves. Bianca has appeared on CBC Radio, Breakfast Television, GUSTO Worldwide Media and is a regularly featured expert chef on The Marilyn Denis Show. Bianca also teaches Food Media Studies and Food Business at Centennial College in Toronto.
Just in time for the New Year, Bianca joins host Chelsea Brown on The Millie Podcast, giving listeners a taste of her unconventional, action-based approach to manifestation. Chelsea and Bianca discuss how profound personal transformation can consist of small, incremental moves; Bianca’s personal mission to mentor women; her experience as a Black woman in media; how opening up and being vulnerable is a messy, but crucial, journey and so much more.
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Bianca Osbourne: I didn't really like myself that much and I feel like that reflected in how I would treat other people, because I was treated myself poorly on the inside. And so I think for a lot of people who are at the start of the journey, you have to know that it's messy. The stuff you figure out about yourself and then you have to be honest with yourself about can be really dark.
Chelsea Brown: Today, I am excited to be talking with Bianca Osbourne. I'm a huge lover of food, so this episode is especially exciting. Bianca is a chef, cooking expert, cooking show presenter and host of the On My Plate podcast.
Bianca: A lot of people are like, "I hate leftovers," and it's like understanding how leftovers can be different. You can take a chicken tomato soup, and then turn it into a Thai chicken stew by adding coconut milk, ponzu sauce, soy sauce, sprouts, cucumber. It's a whole different meal.
Chelsea: She is a sought out expert for radio and TV, appearing on CBC Radio, Breakfast Television, and she appears regularly as a featured chef on The Marilyn Denis Show.
Bianca: Look, we have to normalize doing things and failing at them. Not everything is going to be a bang, it can't. And I feel like one of the reasons I am deeply in gratitude about where I am in my life now is because I've had so many stops and starts, or things that I just was like, "Please, please, please work," and it just didn't.
Chelsea: Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Bianca is now based out of Toronto where she also teaches food media studies and food business at Centennial College.
Bianca: Once you're able to admit fault, admit non perfection, guilt and shame are less stingy. You're just like, "Yeah, it is what it is."
Chelsea: Bianca's passion is mentoring women, helping them to find the same joy and clarity she found for herself.
Bianca: When you give you receive. The more you give I just feel like the more you attract. It's like just circulation energy.
This is great. Bianca, this is our first in-person-
Bianca: Of this whole thing?
Chelsea: ... podcast recording. Yeah.
Bianca: Oh, I'm a first.
Chelsea: You're the first. As you know, I'm a total lover of food. How did you discover your passion for food? Is it something that you loved from the beginning?
Bianca: It's always been a part of my life and I have good memories with food. And then I also have some fraught energy around food as well, just from diet culture, having allergies, having a severe allergy at one point. But getting into food, I realized that I wanted to cook because my mom, when I was younger, she has much improved, was not a very good cook.
Chelsea: Oh, I thought you were going to say-
Chelsea: ... the opposite that she was so great-
Bianca: No, no, no, no.
Chelsea: ... you learned from her.
Bianca: One of my grandmas, she's passed away, RIP, but my grandmas are excellent cooks, so they brought up the rear for my mom there in that regard. And then I just remember this one pivotal moment. I think I was like 11 or 12, and my mom... No, I might have been older, I might've been like 13, and my mom made something healthy and it was the driest chicken breast and really shrivelled green beans. And I remember just being like, "These are shrivelled, I don't want to eat them." And she was like, "Fine. Cook for yourself." And in my head I'm like, "Okay-
Chelsea: I will.
Bianca: ... I will and I will do it better than you." I just love to eat. I think food is beautiful too. It's just so photogenic. So many things that inspired my journey into food like Nigella Lawson. I loved all of her early cooking shows. I still watch them.
Chelsea: That's amazing. I read, I think it was on one of your blog articles or on your Instagram that you really pull from your heritage.
Bianca: I try to, but what I have learned from my grandmas mostly is technique. My grandmas have been layering flavours since I was little and it's one of the most integral parts of cooking in my opinion.
Chelsea: What are some of those little you, your grandmas cooking?
Bianca: There's this thing that my grandma used to make and she's passed away, so I'm so choked that I don't actually have the recipe for hers, but it's something called cou cou. If anyone is from Barbados or anything knows what I'm talking about, I'm not being ridiculous. I knew it as cou cou and it was just corn meal with a broth she would make with onions and tomatoes. And sometimes there'd be fish in it. It was so good, so good. And she'd make that for me all the time.
Chelsea: Aw. You and I were talking this morning, I was spamming your inbox about this coffee you were drinking-
Bianca: Oh yeah.
Chelsea: ... and you are very open about your battle with eczema.
Bianca: Yeah, yeah. It was bad. It's completely healed now, but I am one of those people that I just announced a prevention, was with a pound of cure. I don't ever want to go back to that because I literally have it. And I say have because I think you always have it, because I noticed when I'm stressed or not eating well, I get little flare ups. But I have it from like my chest to my ankles pretty much, it's bad. And it only started happening maybe two years ago, two years and a little and it was 18 months of just the worst, worst, worst time. So now that it's healed, I feel like I have to tell people all the things that I did.
Chelsea: For sure. What foods do you prioritize to monitor the eczema? Because I know you encourage this natural path and that's what almost cured yours.
Bianca: It was a twofold thing for me, it was like a food allergy, but the food allergy, there was a point where I was eating so restrictive because I was allergic to something called salicylates and it's like they're in everything. Everything you want to eat, they're in. And so I was eating such a restricted diet and I was like, "Okay, this is going to help me heal." But then I would have a tiny bit of salicylates and I'd be itchy all over again, and I'm like, "This is not a way to live. This can't be it."
And I actually had a client because I used to be a private chef before I went fully into what I'm doing now and her daughter had eczema and she sent me a message and she was like, "Have you ever considered upping your vitamin D and looking into that?" And that just sent me down a path of discovery about just deficiencies in general, and I had a lot of them. So fixing those ended up being what it was, the salicylate food allergy was just like the canary in the coal mine kind of vibe.
But I've had to really become my own medical doctor, medical investigator, because no shade to the Western medicine, but I was dismissed there and just given the prescription for the cream. And if you have eczema, you know exactly what I'm talking about and it doesn't fix anything, it just numbs the pain in the moment, which sucks. If anyone's listening, you're trying to heal anything, just stay curious, you have to.
Chelsea: Now I'm curious. Just for our overall health as well, because I'm sure even if you don't have it, I'm sure it would still like help you glow-
Bianca: Yeah, for sure.
Chelsea: ... when feel really good inside. What exactly did you do?
Bianca: I started taking collagen every day, I'd take vitamin D. But look, I just want to say this for your purpose, I'm not a doctor, I'm just telling you my story. Do not sue anyone of us, this is what I did. So I started taking vitamin D, but also when you take vitamin D you need magnesium because it requires that to uptake it. So if you don't have enough magnesium, you get deficient in that. So you take magnesium.
I also take Zinc, Selenium. I try and find ways to get these things in food as well. But it happens that a lot of these in food have salicylates, so at the beginning I was just implementing now I'm like able to eat the food versions. And then I gave up dairy, which was so hard.
Chelsea: And are you still off dairy?
Bianca: Yeah. The occasional like parmesan sprinkle, but yeah, it's tough, it's tough. That's a tough one. And because I recipe develop as a profession, so there's just some things that have to have a dairy element, so I just give it to my roommate or something.
Chelsea: What is your process when you're developing a new recipe?
Bianca: I actually feel like I lost it on a job that I really wanted, this is like two-and-a-half years ago, was actually the best thing that happened to me, but I lost it on a job, recipe developing for this big brand because they didn't like my process when I explained it to them. Generally I just think of like the protein. So if it's vegetarian, is it going to be beans? Is it going to be lentils? Is it going to be like tofu? Because that changes the whole dynamic of everything else I pair with it, especially vegetarian food.
If it's going to be chicken, there's different directions I could go on. You can also go in similar directions with chicken and beef, but you can also go in completely different directions. So I usually pick the protein first. Then I pick a vegetable, a star. I just build it up as like the elements. And then I always end with spices and herbs, because those are the things that bring it together and also change it up. You can have very similar ingredients, but a different sauce and a different herb and it's wildly different.
I usually just ask a client, I'm like, "What do you need? Do you need like chicken, beef?" I get those details. And then if they give me free rein, then I just think of things with those things and that are different.
Chelsea: And you said it was the best thing that happened to you that you didn't get the job?
Chelsea: Do tell.
Bianca: I've been doing what I've been doing. I graduated from culinary school in 2009 and I've just been hustling for years, over a decade now at this stage. And I just got to a point where I was like... I moved to Toronto to try and chase my dream of being on TV and I just didn't have any inroads yet. I'd only been here about a year-and-a-half, but I was just exhausted and I just wanted a real job. I saw my friends having jobs and regular paycheques and I was like hustling from all corners of the city cooking for people and just tired.
So I applied for this job. I just wanted the security of that job and I thought it was adjacent, it was a recipe developer. But now when I look back, it was 9:00 to 5:00, Monday to Friday, downtown Toronto, no flexibility. The girl who interviewed me who would have been my direct boss was just an energy I don't think I would have vibed with very well. But when I didn't get it, I was devastated. I was so sad. I was at a private chef client, I went in their pantry and cried for like 30 minutes when I got the email. But six months later, I got my first segment on The Marilyn Denis Show, and that's-
Bianca: ... where it all the career I have now really has sprang from. It's crazy how the universe is just like, "No, honey. Not yet."
Chelsea: Yeah, absolutely. And I think we all have different coping mechanisms as well for rejection or not rejection.
Bianca: Oh no, it's rejection, but I feel we have to normalize doing things and failing at them. Not everything is going to be a banger, it can't. And I feel like one of the reasons I am feeling deeply in gratitude about where I am in my life now is because I've had so many stops and starts, or things that I just was like, "Please, please, please work," and it just didn't. Now I get why didn't.
Chelsea: You mentor women and girls, this is a really big part of your life.
Chelsea: And you're open on your blog and you're writing about transitioning into who you are now and how maybe in the past you would gossip.
Chelsea: What was that like?
Bianca: Okay. I come from a long line of gossips. I love a spot of tea as I call it, just because I love it. I love gossip, I do. Before my gossip was a little bit more mean-spirited and I was saying things that I would never say to someone, and that's where it's dicey. But what really changed me was I got caught up in my own gossip scandal and where people were talking about me, and it was just one of the most hurtful experiences of my life. And I just vowed that if I'm going to say stuff about people, I have to be committed that I will say it to their face.
And that usually keeps my mouth pretty quiet about things, unless it's some of them very trusted. Gossip is just one of those things that I understand how fun it is, but it's not really good for forward motion in life when you're talking about people. It's bad energy, it is.
Chelsea: Absolutely. And you mentioned how it was maybe your struggle with your self.
Bianca: Oh, of course. I just feel like all the things that you aren't to yourself, you are to other people. So if you aren't kind to yourself, you're probably unkind to other people. If you talk S-H-I-T to yourself, negative self-talk, it's likely that you do that about other people. And I just feel like how you treat others is a reflection of how you generally feel about yourself. I think that once you can give yourself compassion, you can start giving it to other people, once you can appreciate yourself, you can appreciate other people.
I used to look at other people's lives and be like, "I want that." And once I appreciated what I had, it's like I started to draw more things into my life. It's a very interesting concept to just energetics.
Chelsea: Yeah. And what would you say to someone from your own journey who might be suffering from these feelings and then in turn holding themselves back? How can they overcome that as well? Because it's really hard to open up the way you have and talk, and own this, and share publicly that you were once-
Chelsea: No, no, no, no terrible.
Bianca: Oh, no. I say that all the time, I was not great. And people say, "No, you were always fun and funny." It's like, "Yeah, but I didn't really like myself that much and I feel like that reflected in how I would treat other people, because I was treated myself poorly on the inside. And so I think for a lot of people who are at the start of the journey, you have to know that it's messy. The stuff you figure out about yourself, and then you have to be honest with yourself about can be really dark.
Or even having to drudge up some inner child past stuff, things that may have happened to you, that you may have done that you carry shame. There's just so many things and grieving. I didn't grieve the death of my grandmother for years and that was a real holder, a backer of life. And so I just think that once you start to work on yourself, the other things start to fall into place. One of the things that I also recognized about my gossip scandal is that happened right before I moved to Toronto and it was at a time where I was changing a lot.
Now I look back and I remember at the time I was like, "Oh my God, this is the worst thing that's happened to me. These are all my friends. These are people I cared about. I thought they cared about me. I'm moving to Toronto with no support, blah, blah, blah." But now looking back, I realized it was me becoming a different person from them and that challenges people where they are too, which reflects on how they treated me. But also it was like the universe being like, "I'm not going to give you any reason to have one foot in Edmonton," where I'm from, "and one foot in Toronto. You're going, you'll have nothing to keep you there."
Because there were times where I tried to change my mind, but that happened and it made it, so I had no reason to stay. So I think that you have to know that when you're making these transformations and working on yourself, you're going to lose relationships. You might be called to move to another city. There's just so many things about it that people, when they talk about manifestation, it's all this love and light, "Oh my God, you're going to rise and it's going to be crystals." And just like, "Okay, no, it's going to be dark.”
Chelsea: I loved how you approached this actually. Tell us, what is your approach to manifestation?
Bianca: I think you just have to become the person that gets to live that life. That's manifestation one-on-one. The people who manifest things really easily and just draw and attract things to them, they have an energy about them. Some people are born with it, like I don't wear green very well, but I'm jealous of that because I have had to work on it. But I just think that all of the things... Because the life I live is 100% manifested down to the letter almost.
But I just think that it all started happening for me when I was comfortable being the expression of myself, not something someone else wanted me to be, not wanting to be liked or it was just Bianca. New year's, 2018, I just decided I was going to just be myself and live my life and we'll see what happens because I just didn't really have any direction. I was just private cheffing, but to what end? I just was like, "I'm going to be just the best Bianca and work on that."
And then all the things just start falling into place. They do, but again, not in the sense that one day the heavens open and it's just all easy. But in the sense that now when something doesn't work out, I used to be a person that would spiral for days, it's like anything happened. And now it's like, "Okay." I have the strength of belief in myself that whatever happens I can take care of it. Before, I just didn't have any belief in myself. And you can't manifest from a place of feeling like you lack, so I want.
Chelsea: You talk about your steps toward transformation doesn't need to crack your life.
Chelsea: These can be small steps.
Bianca: Yeah. I feel like everyone thinks they need to eat, pray, love it and move across the world and do that. That works for some people, but in some cases, it might just be simple, behavioural shifts. It can be just a matter of like making the promise to yourself that if you make a promise to yourself, you're going to keep it. That was one of the first things that I decided to do. For me, a lot of the path to this was finding out who I was, keeping promises to myself.
Because when I started to show up for myself and I know that's used so much in online marketing, like, "Show up, show up." But showing up for yourself is again just being like, if you say to yourself, "I'm going to start meditating every morning," you actually do it. Because it's like when you say that and then you don't, you're not breaking a promise to anyone but yourself, but that's the worst. You got to be your own best friend, your own number one hype person.
I know that sounds really simplistic and it's not, but... I've done therapy. I've gotten a life coach. I've done like programs, all kinds of things. Every self-help book I've read, podcasts, the whole nine, all because I thought that I needed like fixing in some way. And I think what some people need to remember is you can take all that in, and I think it's important to get some of those feedback loops going for yourself, but confidence, self-love all of that., it's a state of being, not doing.
I think a lot of times we get caught up trying to be better, so we're trying to do all these things, but it's like, just live and be yourself. You can't let your daddy issues define you or your mommy issues define your life because it's your life not theirs.
Chelsea: I'm just thinking of someone right now who is going through a lot and trying things, therapy, different types of conversations. It does take the work which you talk about. Can you elaborate more on what you're saying to really resonate with someone who might be at like their tipping point? I'm totally putting you on the spot.
Bianca: No, no, no, no. I've had a tipping point too. I had a business and I have a whole other life there. I was a caterer, I owned a catering company with a friend. And then I started my own business called The Vitality Kitchen, it was like brick and mortar defined me. Everywhere I was known as vitality Bianca, it was like my identity. And then it went from being my dream to being my literal nightmare. So I gave it up, but I had no identity after that. It was the year of 2016, the year before I moved here. So I've had a tipping point moment where I literally was thinking about, what would the world be without Bianca? If I just like didn't exist anymore.
And then my mom sent me a text message, which is like she knew that I needed that. And so I think that it can get really low for a lot of people, and I get that. I think a lot of people think when you talk and you say, "Use manifestation and become a better person." And I know what it's like to struggle a lot and it still obviously chokes me up because it is still really close. And I also just feel like some of the advice I got was just, pull up your bootstraps and like that, and that's not fair.
Because I think when you're in a tough place, someone saying, "Just get over it," is awful. But I think there's an element of that I wish that I had realized that I have what it takes to get through it. Because I think part of the reason that I felt so low is I wanted someone to save me, and then I just realized that it was up to me to save myself, and it's crazy. And that's why honestly, I just talk to people like this. If someone's having a dark moment, I'm like, "Yeah, it sucks and you have to acknowledge that, but also it's like you have whatever it takes to overcome it." And that goes for a lot of sad stuff because life deals with some pretty dark hands.
Chelsea: Oh yes.
Bianca: Yeah, right? We all know.
Chelsea: Thank you, honestly. On your website, you have created seven questions to realize your dreams. And I really love your approach to manifestation because it's not always about the yoga or the crystals and the meditation. You say you have to do the work. People say, "You have to do the work," but what the F is the work?
Bianca: What is the worst? Yes.
Chelsea: So I really like your approach to this.
Bianca: These are just questions that were the big questions that came up as I was going through my own journey. Because starting The Vitality Kitchen, I only did that because I didn't have any self-confidence or self-worth, so I derived it from how people responded to things that I did. I thought I was always having to be accomplished, to be valuable. And so someone said to me, "Oh my gosh, you should start a catering company doing healthy food." And I was like, "Yes, I will do that."
For a while there, I actually believed that that's what I wanted to do. And then it just hit me like a ton of bricks that it was not what I wanted to do. I had wanted to move back to Toronto for years, years and years, but so many people were like, "That's a bad idea. Don't go to Toronto. Stay here. You can be like a big fish in a small pond," and all of that. And so I just kept building things there to maybe make myself feel like it was right at some point, I don't know. If I would just had some self confidence, I probably wouldn't have made that decision.
When I just look back to a lot of my journals, a lot of the questions that I was working out and resolving in that free writing were answering those questions.
Chelsea: So you do a lot of work on television-
Bianca: I do.
Chelsea: You're on The Marilyn Denis Show.
Bianca: I know.
Bianca: Thank you. She's amazing.
Chelsea: And you also have your own show that's-
Bianca: Yes. Coming out in early winter, 2021. 2021.
Chelsea: Very exciting.
Chelsea: Is that Combination?
Bianca: Combination Plates. It's a show about fusion, but really good fusion cooking because sometimes that goes pear shaped.
Bianca: That's what I have going for TV. I'm also starting a podcast as well. It's called On my plate and it's just looking at people's lives and life story through the lens of food because what we ate 10 years ago and what we eat now says a lot about our lives at the time.
Chelsea: You are a big player in the media space.
Bianca: I wouldn't say big player.
Chelsea: You create a lot and you also educate women. And from what I understand, you are vocal about paying it forward to the indigenous community.
Bianca: Yes. I just feel like with all the stuff that happened in 2020 with like BLM, it was amazing. But what I didn't want to see happen, especially as a woman of colour is to see our indigenous brothers and sisters get left behind in that conversation. Because I think some of the things that we see that are like, oh my God, the visuals that you see from the States, that his mirrored very closely here and within the black community, but also very much so almost to a greater degree and almost more accepted degree in the indigenous community.
And there's just so many things we can draw upon. I feel like I've been doing a lot of work to educate myself on, not just... Because I know for myself, one of the things that I've grown tired of is when we talk about like black history, it's always about slavery, it's like there's other history that's black. And so what I've been trying to do is, yes, I know about residential schools, I know about all the dark stuff because I've made myself aware of it. But now I'm just trying to find some of the stuff that's just like indigenous music, indigenous television shows, artists, writers, all kinds of things, designers, because I think that is true celebration.
Yes, as Canada, we need to atone for all that past BS because it's a lot, but I think that we also need to celebrate it. It's Canada's true first culture, and I think that it's important that we educate ourselves. And until the school system is going to do it the right way, then it's up to us to do it for ourselves, so I'm just trying to be a part of that.
Chelsea: Yeah, absolutely. And as a black woman, how do you find living in the space where you are now on television and working with other people? How are you finding that experience, especially with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement?
Bianca: Honestly... My upbringing was amongst a lot of white people. My mum is married my stepdad and I was like eight and he's white. So I've grown up with white siblings, white family members, a white man being my dad essentially, and to this day still my dad figure. And so I've never felt uncomfortable in the space of people asking really off-colour questions sometimes. But not out of spite or menace, but just sheer and utter ignorance. And because I'm I am comfortable in that space, I don't have a problem being someone that people ask questions to.
I don't and I know that there are a lot of people in the black community who are tired of the questions. And so, if I can make myself available for that, of course I would, especially to people who I know, and who are in my circle, and in my family, of course. But what changed for me is that, because as a black person, you're aware of all the stuff that happens and it's like a mini like, "Oh, we're outraged," and then nothing. "Oh, we're outraged," and then nothing.
So what I just found refreshing was that this time it took. It was something that was actually like a true movement. And seeing people, not just black people, all people be engaged in it was a signal of it being different this time.
Chelsea: Absolutely. I want to ask you about cyber bullying because you're someone who talks openly about gossip and bullying, and you're an advocate for inclusivity.
Bianca: Yes. I've not experienced a lot of cyber bullying. And the thing is, I feel like the biggest F-you to someone who's trying to get a rise out of you by saying something out of pocket or from left that's just meant to intentionally hurt you. The best thing you can do is turn your back to them. They're like dust, they're nothing. They don't exist. That's how I choose to approach people. That being said, I've always had a really good vocabulary, so if I need to read someone for filth, I'll do it.
But I try not to because it's not something I want to do. I'd rather ignore someone, but some people do need to be put in their place and I won't hesitate to do that sometimes.
Chelsea: Right. And what would your advice be to other black women wanting to break out into media?
Bianca: That's a tough question. I don't even know. That's a hard one to answer because I came to it so organically, I didn't go to media school, I didn't do any of that. When I say it manifested it down to the letter. I had a vision board on my fridge in Edmonton that had the Marilyn Denis Show studio, it had the logo all over the fridge. It was her and then an expert, but I put my face on the expert. That was on the fridge. There were neighbourhoods in Toronto where I'd been and I would take pictures and put them. And so I literally live in a neighbourhood like those pictures I took and I'm on The Maryland Denis Show.
I don't know how to give someone an answer to that just because how it happened for me sometimes is still like, whoa.
Chelsea: How can we improve our confidence? Because this sounds a lot like, "Just have confidence in your offering. Just have confidence in yourself."
Bianca: I honestly think the one thing that I could give advice is like I said it before, be yourself, but be the best version of yourself. Rise to your best self if that needs to happen first, because I think when I'm on TV and stuff, I'm 100% myself. When I met... Because how I got an audition was I met a friend of a producer and we all hung out and the producer was like, "Oh my God, I love you." It was very that. But I was being myself. I was just being who I was and talking, and she's like, "You should be on TV." I'm like, "I would love to be on TV."
I also think that you have to be willing to take the universal nudge that maybe it's something else too. Because I know for myself, there were a lot of things that I just tried to force so hard that if I had just pulled up on the gas a bit, you just have to ask yourself because I think rising in any career requires that at certain points you ask yourself, is this it?
Chelsea: And when do you think that right time to ask yourself, do I make a change?
Bianca: I think if you wake up most mornings like Ah. Honestly. I think that was the biggest change when I knew The Vitality Kitchen wasn't it anymore, was I started to wake up and feel weepy. And I had like morning, after morning, after morning, and I finally was just like, "I shouldn't want to cry every day." Truly, it's such a trip when you start, and that's what I mean about, it's tough sometimes when you start to really wake up to your true core self, who you are as a person outside of the influence of the other people.
It can be hard making those shifts. It can be literally life-changing or earth shattering, identity shaking, which was what that was for me, big time.
Bianca: One thing that I'm so guilty of and I've had to really get better at because it just was making me unhealthy is every time I would pursue a hobby, I would turn it into work. So if I took like a pottery class, I'd be like, "Oh my God. Okay, I'm going to do this pottery, and I'll make stuff, and I'll photograph food on it." Or if I was like, "I want to take a painting class," I'm like, "Oh my God, I'll paint it and then I'll do these like cool painted things, and I'll do these cool Instagram videos."
And it's just like, if you want to start any pursuit, whether you have a full-time job now and you want to do a side hustle or you want to go full force into something of your own, you have to remember, and I know this sounds so trite, but it's true; you have to keep some time, even if it's like a sliver, just for yourself, has nothing to do with work. Because it will consume you and will make you sick. It will.
Chelsea: What about those who dream of this beautiful career, maybe in front of the camera or not, but don't want the Instagram presence and find it exhausting?
Bianca: I get that.
Chelsea: You're like, "Put your big girl pants on."
Bianca: You know what? Honestly, you should still be on there, but I suffer from that... I think of that too all the time, because I know I can have a way bigger following, but I don't want to do a video every day. I don't want to post three times a day. I just don't want to come up with that, a clever caption three times a day. That's just insane. So I don't think you need to subscribe to that again. Do things your way, do it your way.
You can still start a business, a brand or you can outsource it if you have that kind of cash. There's ways around it, but Instagram is in the be-all, end-all. It just isn't.
Chelsea: You're also an educator.
Chelsea: You have courses in food media studies.
Chelsea: So what is food media?
Bianca: I teach at a college in Toronto, and so food media, we just talk about like the food medias you can do, so YouTube, Instagram, Facebook. We talk about print, we talk about television. What I really teach them is just how to start strong, which is... And what I think we need to all get out of is numbers, vanity metrics, just vanity, period. Like how things look as opposed to how things are.
There's so many people who have Instagrams, they have so many followers, but I know because I know them, they're fake. You know what I mean? And it's just like... But then there's people who have less followers who are doing so well. So what I think is, know who you are before you get on the gram. Share things, either be super statically pleasing or share captions that really reach people. Those are the two things, I think. And if you can do both, oh my God, see you.
But I think that food media, I just try and empower them with also like ethics, you don't steal people's pictures. If you're trying to build a brand, you try and keep it, other brand attractive, that kind of thing. And then also just the power of social media and just media. Because I think that some people, when they think of social media, they think that other media is dead. Print has struggled, but print has moved online and there's still so much "print type things" like writing that still happens. And also TV is still so powerful as a medium. I love TV.
Chelsea: Yeah, me too.
Bianca: It's one of my favourites.
Chelsea: That is so cool that you teach a classroom of students and I'm curious, is there anything that you've learned from them?
Bianca: No, I was just inspired by the fact that they're all learning from home and we're not traveling because we're supposed to go on a trip and everything. They're still willing to sign up and show up for themselves and believe that they can still have these careers as gastronomist, which essentially like food tourism despite the circumstance. I feel like that's a manifestation of itself, believing something that's not obvious based on what's around you.
Chelsea: And how fun you talk about manifestation and you're surrounded by dreamers.
Bianca: I know.
Chelsea: It's amazing. Circling back to the topic of cooking, why is it so damn hard for people to meal prep?
Bianca: I think it's hard because when people meal prep, they're so linear about it. You think, okay, I'm making this meal, and this meal, and this meal. I always tell people to make things, so have a protein, have a bunch of vegetables made, potatoes if you really love potatoes. Potatoes' two ways, have some pasta made, some rice, everything can be made ahead for the most part. You can grow your meats to order. And then that way, like I said, you can just change it up with an herb, or a different combination, or a sauce, heating it up versus eating it raw.
I think meal prep is just... Fundamentally, you have to know how to cook to a degree that you know your way around the kitchen and you understand basic cooking technique. But I think to go to the next level, then you have to start understanding how you can make things taste good. Because I think when you cook something and it sucks, then you're kind of like, "Why am I doing this?" You question it and you're like, "I wasted this. I could have just ordered," and et cetera, and it's like a spiral.
But I think if you start to understand how to like flavor things, that's when people start to have enjoyment. A lot of people are like, "Oh, I get bored and I hate leftovers." And it's understanding how leftovers can be different. You can take a soup and add... I did this on The Marilyn Denis Show. It was a chicken-tomato soup, very easy, but very delicious. Focused on techniques, so building flavor, and then turn it into a Thai chicken stew by adding coconut milk, peanuts, ponzu sauce, soy sauce, sprouts, cucumber.
It's like a whole different meal, but it's like you already did the bulk of the work. The other stuff is just like literally 30 seconds you add it in. So that's what it comes down to is just understanding again, not everything's going to be a success.
Chelsea: Oh, I know. I want to ask you, as we go into the new year and we've been in our homes, what can we be eating to make ourselves feel beautiful on the inside and outside? How can we achieve that glow from upping up the Vitamin D maybe, upping up the collagen?
Bianca: Honestly, I say this all the time, I should be sponsored by vitamin D. The amount of people that I tell to, because if anyone's like, "Oh, my skin inches. Oh, I'm not feeling so good, my digestion," like, "Are you taking enough vitamin D?" So vitamin D, whether you get one of those super cool vitamin D lights that helps your body make vitamin D, those sad lamps and such, that is like you just shine them on you and it makes you make vitamin D, you can also supplement with it, bone broth.
Having good gut health is important for everything like eczema, which is something I have. And so gut health, bone broth, collagen, pre and probiotic foods. Thing is, everyone's always talking about probiotics, but they need food too. So you got to have prebiotics, which are things like leeks, and onions, and stuff, garlic because those are probiotics food. So things like that. I love leek and potato soup made with like bone broth. It's like dubs whammy.
I also think that just like sleeping, thinking, good thoughts. Mindset played a huge part in my healing too and just doing all of the things that I do, which at one point when I was really floundering there, it was costly, it felt like. Feeling healthy, and sleeping, and having mindset and all of these things, you ultimately only impact yourself positively when you do that. And I think with the C-word, COVID and all of the things that we have to be afraid of, they all boil down to inflammation.
Chelsea: Should women and men approach this differently?
Bianca: I think everyone individually should approach it differently.
Chelsea: Of course.
Bianca: Like for me... Okay. When I was really bad with my eczema, I was going to various nutritional outposts like, "Please help me, help me," and they'd say, "Eat lots of coconut and anti-inflammatory foods, turmeric," and all these things. So I was eating so much of that and getting worse and it was like, "What is happening?" And then I figured out I was allergic to salicylates and coconut is very high in salicylates, turmeric, extremely high, cinnamon, all the things I was being told to eat.
And so health and wellness is such an individual thing, healthy food can be hurting you. It was hurting me at one point. So I think it's important to listen to how your body is talking to you, as opposed to what other people are telling you about your body. Everyone's health journey is their own and being healthy is like for you, it's different. But I think universally having good nutrient and vitamin balance and eating whole supportive foods, it's just a good thing.
Chelsea: I'm so curious, how did you find out what you were allergic to and what steps did you take?
Bianca: The type of eczema I have, because there's so many different kinds is one that also mimics an allergic reaction and a manifestation of a really bad gut bacteria, that happens, and it happens to spring up this rash on your body. It's called lichen planus. And so I went to my doctor and I was so hoping to have this terrible gut bacteria because at least it would have been a direction. So I had to call my doctor, he said I didn't have it and I was so upset, I was so upset for like days. So I was like, "I'm back at square one."
And then I read somewhere that you just with healing, you have to first just accept what you're trying to heal and have... So I had this huge ritual like candles, palo santo, the whole nine, a mirror. I looked at my body and I just was forgave the eczema. I was just like, "I guess this is my life now and I have to live with you and become friends with you." I named her Cynthia.
Bianca: I was like, "Cynthia." And my inner child energy is Yvonne, just to give you the names. Cynthia, Yvonne.
Chelsea: Now I understand all the plant naming.
Bianca: Yes. And so I did this whole thing and I was like, "Cynthia, we are one," the whole thing. And I was like, "I guess this is just my life, I have to learn to love my body this way and just manage the itch and manage the discomfort." And then it was like a week or later, my mom had gone to her reflexologist, and the reflexologist by looking at her feet was like, "Wow, you’re stressed." Mum's like, "Yeah, my daughter is struggling with this," and told her about and said the name and she was like, "Oh."
She was like, "I've actually treated people with this. It's a salicylate allergy." She should start supplementing with these things and she should start avoiding salicylates." And that was the first step, so I honestly believe I manifested the path.
Bianca: I have an eczema group where I just share some of the stuff that I have done and do, and recipes and things, and I wrote in there, mindset. I talk about mindset in here and someone was like, "It's really hard when you have it all over your body. You don't understand." I'm like, "Babe, I understand. I definitely understand." But I also think that to just assume that your mind doesn't have the power that it has is so... it's going to not help you realize the best life, that's for sure.
Once you realize the power of your mind to really positively or negatively impact, I think you really hold the key to whether it's like a sweet life or like not so sweet.
Chelsea: It's so perfectly time with the new year coming to learn these tools and easy ways to add it into your life. So I guess to end our chat, who are some of the women that you look up to?
Bianca: I look up to my mom. My mom had me when she was very young. God love my dad, but he was not that great at dading at that time, and so there was a lot left to my mom. And she did it all on her own and went back to school. My mom's just been a really big inspiration because she's also a black woman executive, very high up in her field. That, my grandma, my grandparents just because they came here with zero, my grandma slept in subway stations when she first got here because she had nowhere to live.
Bianca: That's just huge sacrifice so that I can live this very glam life. And then just Marilyn Denis. I know I say her name all the time, but truly I've been watching her since I was young and I love her. Oprah Winfrey was like the... I remember being little and... So I remember Oprah telling the story of someone saying, "Oh, you're going to be a maid." And she was like, "Nah, I'm not going to be made." And they're like, "You're going to be me." And she's just like, "No," and she always knew.
And so one time I was driving with my mom and I think I was like 14, and she was like, "When you get a job, you'll see." And I'm like, "I'm not going to have a job like you." I just knew it. And she's like, "You'll see," and in my head, I'm like, "No, I'm just not." And I remember when I said that to my mom, thinking of that Oprah story that I had heard, and Oprah was just one of the only black people that was herself and who was famous for being herself. She wasn't an actress, she wasn't a singer, she was just Oprah and I love that.
Oprah is like, you know like how there's so many celebs caught up in scandals now? If there was an Oprah scandal, I just don't know how I would take it. I think I'd be that person that was just like, "Show me proof, show me the proof, show me the receipts." I think that would be me.
Chelsea: But that's really beautiful. You had said something earlier about really having gratitude and it reminds me, hashtag grateful, and you had commented in your own way like it's not like that. But it's true because just from hearing you talk about your grandparents and seeing that struggle. And also it's clear that everything that you've manifested comes from this child dream which is amazing. Is there anything that you'd like to say to all the dreamers listening?
Bianca: I will say this, being a dreamer can be really hard sometimes. There have been moments because I have some friends who their was to be wives and mothers. And that's a beautiful dream to have and there were times in my life where I'm like, "I wish that was what I dreamed of and didn't dream of this huge, big thing," because it felt easier. So if you have big dreams, you have to know there's moments of wishing that a smaller dream was enough. I've had those moments.
And also too, you can have multiple dreams, dreams can morph and change. I think for me, one of the toughest things about like The Vitality Kitchen and ending, and it was like, for me was like, "This is my dream. This was always my dream." I held onto that, but it's also, you can have more than one dream and you can do a dream, realize it for yourself, whatever realization looks like, and then chase another one. I think it's just being open. I think sometimes when you have big dreams, you fixate on it so hard because it's like, that's it.
You don't want to lose sight of it, you don't ever want to lose the drive for it. You just have to have some openness to because it's like having big dreams and goals can be really rigid sometimes. And sometimes you just have to ease up on the gas a bit.
Chelsea: So to end our chat, you talk about wanting to pay it forward and how you're paying it forward.
Chelsea: So what are you doing to pay it forward? And how can people get involved?
Bianca: I do a lot of just like quiet things. I don't know, and I don't ever want to stop people from doing a good thing, but I bristle a little bit when people do good things, but they have to broadcast it. I just don't love that. So one of the things is I like do Ontario, feed Ontario Food Boxes. I do those pretty frequently every year. I buy a new winter jacket every year and then I just give my winter jacket to the shelter in Toronto. And for Christmas, my parents are always like, "Don't buy and stuff, don't buy us stuff." So what I do is I just take what I would buy them, the amount and then I just buy like care packages and take to a woman's shelter.
So I try and do stuff like that because that's just right here right now, I think paying it forward in that way. And I just know what it's like to be so broken, not be able to afford food. So I try and keep it in the food space for the most part, if I can. There's nothing scarier than not knowing where you're going to sleep and not knowing what you're going to eat. I think for Christmas, I just want to give like... I saw somewhere that you can sponsor a family, which I thought would be pretty dope to do, so something.
But I just think like for me, it's quiet giving. I know I don't really talk about it because it doesn't feel right for me. People can do whatever they want, but those are the ways that I pay it forward.
Chelsea: I'm so happy I asked because your whole philosophy is finding approachable ways to integrate these small acts on a frequent schedule into your life so it's actually accessible.
Bianca: And also if you only have two bucks, give two bucks. I honestly believe in... The last thing I'm going to say, the law of circulation, when you give you receive. The more you give and I just feel like the more you attract, it's like just circulation energy, give and receive. You hear that all the time. And so even if you don't have a lot, you can also give of your time. Time is a commodity that is finite, so you could argue that it's even more of like a heart-centred place and more giving because it's like really giving of yourself. And so don't think it's, I don't have any money, if you got time, give some of that.
Chelsea: Not to sound weird, but I hope that people who were gossiping about you feel really bad about it now and are proud of everything that you're doing because it's quite inspiring.
Bianca: Actually, we've mended fences, most people.
Bianca: Why would you be mad about such trivial stuff? And I feel so good about my life, where I am, my relationships. I don't want any clouds. Forgiveness was for me in that instance. And honestly, I was a part of that gospel and I didn't like it until it was about me. And so I have to recognize where I was at the time was where they were at the time too, just the tables had turned. And so people can change, we've all changed and morphed into different people. But before I knew that I was like, "I have to forgive them because my life is sweet."
Chelsea: Amazing. I'm so happy that we've connected and I hope everyone listening can apply these tools to their lives because it's magical.
Chelsea: And thank you for listening to The Millie Podcast. I hope you enjoyed this motivating and meaningful conversation with Bianca Osbourne. If you enjoy listening to this podcast, please hit subscribe, share with your friends and visit us at millie.ca.