Reese Carter, is a self-confessed herb nerd – and has been since he was a little kid, trying to recreate his grandpa’s veggie garden from the age of ten. Since then, he’s studied Naturopathy, graduated with a Bachelor degree in Health Science, modelled for fitness and fashion brands around the world and released ‘The Garden Apothecary’ – his debut book full of homemade remedies for everyday ailments. We’re so excited to feature him on the blog today!
- Tell us a little bit about yourself – who you are and what you do.
I’m a naturopath and green-thumbed herb nerd. What’s a herb nerd? Basically, I like to educate and inspire people about growing, sourcing, and making your own herbal remedies — think calendula skin creams for eczema, and soothing tea blends of lemon balm, passion flower, and lavender to help relax at the end of the day.
I’m also a huge advocate for fad-free, whole food nutrition as a major preventative health measure in halting lifestyle disease. I practice from a clinic in Paddington, as well as sharing my message through my blog, web series, and books. But whether it’s through nutrition or natural remedies, my main mission is the same: to help people become hands on with their health again.
- What was the ‘uh ha’ moment that inspired you to get in to food or health and wellbeing?
A nasty bout of glandular fever that spiralled into a post-viral fatigue syndrome was what first sent me to a naturopath. When I saw just how big a change diet, exercise, and herbal medicine had on my energy, mood, and immunity, I realised it was powerful stuff. It wasn’t until much later though, living in London and wondering what I was going to do with my life, that I had a ‘lightbulb moment’ and realised that I could actually make it a career!
- Talk us through a typical day in your life…
I start every day with a workout. I’m a fan of high-intensity interval training as a mix of cardio and resistance, and will always do it fasted. After that, it’s home for my favourite meal of the day: breakfast!
Firstly, I whip up a quick smoothie. I keep it super simple: frozen raspberries and raw cacao for antioxidants, unflavoured whey protein for muscle recovery, a dollop of Greek yoghurt for probiotics, then unsweetened almond milk to blend.
Then I have my real breakfast (yes, I eat a lot). Currently, I’m loving this pumpkin and zucchini breakfast loaf that I make. I slice it up and freeze it so that it’s as easy as toasting a slice, and topping it with a soft-boiled egg, and serving with some greens (usually either spinach sautéed with garlic, or char-grilled broccolini).
I like to sit and take my time with breakfast. I’ve done my workout, and now I slow right down and eat mindfully. That way, I’ve set my day up just right and am ready to take it on.
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WINTER WARMERS: Sydney turned chilly all of a sudden, reminding us that we've still got a month of winter ahead of us. The Garden Apothecary contains food-as-medicine recipes to keep our bodies nourished and immune system strong through cold and flu season. This is my Apothecary-in-a-Bowl Soup loaded with homemade chicken stock, garlic, thyme, lemon, and medicinal mushrooms like shiitake. Plus, it's delicious. You'll find it in the "Flu Fighters" chapter of my book (link in bio). #herbnerd #herbnerdbook #nutrition #winter #wellness #recipe #health #immunity
My mid-morning snack is pretty minimal since I have such a big breakfast, and is usually a long black (my one coffee for the day) and a handful of raw almonds.
My work has me running around like a mad man most days, flitting from meeting to meeting. There is a poke place near me though that I’ve developed a huge crush on, and they do a special for me with a half cabbage, half brown rice base topped with tuna sashimi, edamame, nori, radish, spring onions, avocado, and crispy shallots. If I happen to be home for lunch, it will be something super simple like a grilled chicken breast on steamed greens.
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Ok so I finally did it: my website has a recipe blog. I'll still be sharing The Garden Apothecary web series with you (speaking of which, did you see my most recent vegan ice cream vid?) but this is a way to share food and remedy recipes more often with all you legends. This is tonight's light dinner to make use of a giant pink grapefruit I had sitting in my fruit bowl, staring at me and daring me to eat it. I roasted a chicken and made this simple beauty of a salad. It'll be up on the blog later this week, but you can add your name to be notified at reececarter.com.au now. #herbnerd #nutrition #fitness #recipe #blog #summer #salad
Like a lot of people, I feel an energy slump mid-afternoon. But I always make sure I balance any sugars that I have with a healthy hit of protein and fat, to lower the glycaemic response and deliver sustained energy until dinner time. If I’m organised, I will have made some of my peanut butter and chocolate “Reece’s Peanut Butter Protein Balls” and will enjoy two of those. If I’m in a hurry, a sliced green apple with a little almond spread makes for a very satisfying snack.
Dinner is my time to unwind and relax. I’m also usually exhausted though, so tend to make a whole week’s worth of dinners on a Sunday and then just have them ready to go. Now that the weather is getting warmer, salads are a favourite. I like to change it up, but this week, I’m all about my Vietnamese-style chicken slaw. In winter, I’m much more likely to be found eating something warming like a chunky soup, or stuffed roasted sweet potato.
The last thing I have for the day is a big pot of herbal tea. It kind of acts as a end-of-day ritual, after which I don’t allow myself to look at work emails or social media. After my tea, it’s all about relaxation and getting ready for a sound night’s sleep. The most common tea I have is just a handful each of lemon balm and peppermint from the garden, with a slice of lemon. Bliss.
- Coffee or tea?
Both! Coffee to start my day, and then herbal tea to wind down at the end of it.
- What is your indulgence of choice?
Massage, absolutely. I don’t believe in restrictive eating, and don’t like to think of myself as having ‘cheat’ or ‘binge’ foods. Instead, I treat myself to a massage when I’m stressed so that I’m not tempted to use food as a crutch. I probably go once a week!
- Three foods you can’t live without?
Broccoli: It might sound like a weird one, but it’s always been my favourite veggie. Plus, cruciferous veggies have such amazing health credentials (the liver and gut love them) that I think they deserve to be celebrated.
Peanut Butter: Is there any smoothie or sweet treat that can’t be made better with the addition of peanut butter?
Eggs: The perfect protein! Fried, scrambled, poached….you name it!
- … And any last words of advice or tips for those starting out on their health journey?
Firstly, make healthy eating a celebration, not a punishment. If you approach wellness from a positive headspace, it is much more likely you’ll be able to make it a permanent fixture in your life.
Secondly, prioritise your health as highly as you prioritise your professional and social lives. Diet and exercise are often the first things to fall by the wayside when we “get too busy”, and it takes a disciplined mind to carve out space for wellness every day.
And lastly, forgive your slip ups. Don’t dwell on past attempts. Every day you take a step towards improved wellbeing is a good one.
To see more of Reese, head over to www.reececarter.com.au!
For more nutrition guidance and 100+ healthy, delicious recipes, check out Jess’ online Program – the JSHealth Program; your 8-week plan to quit diets, find balance and live the healthy life. Find out more here.