For Sally Obermeder, the road to living a healthy life has been paved with both highs and lows. In 2011, Sally, 44, was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer the day before giving birth to her daughter, Annabelle. Following a year of chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy, Sally was determined to rebuild her health and the strength of her body. She started by making green smoothies and eating clean wholefoods. The results were phenomenal: her skin got its glow back, she shed excess weight and her energy levels skyrocketed. Since then, Sally reached new heights with her career as a TV presenter, as co-host of Channel 7’s The Daily Edition.
On the health front, Sally, along with her sister, Maha, has been advocating a balanced, wholefood approach to nutrition through their luxe-for-less lifestyle website SWIISH.com and their books: Super Green Smoothies, The Good Life and Simple and Lean. We caught up with the mum-of-two to chat about health, healing and daily nourishment.
Tell us a little bit about yourself …
Hello! I’m Sally and I’m a mum of two girls, Annabelle and Elyssa; wife of Marcus, a TV host, the CEO and co-founder of SWIISH.com. Oh, and I love Italian food so much that I also consider myself Italian!
After working in finance for several years, I made a huge career change and got into TV. After years and years of unpaid experience and hard work, I joined Channel 7 as a TV presenter covering food, fashion, entertainment and lifestyle. I’ve been lucky enough to interview some of the biggest names in movies and music including Angelina Jolie, Beyonce, Hugh Jackman and my favourite, Jon Bon Jovi!
In 2011, the day before I gave birth to my daughter, Annabelle, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of stage three-breast cancer, which absolutely shattered my family and I. I was juggling life with a newborn, going to chemo and radiation, undergoing surgeries and trying to keep myself positive and alive for the sake of Marcus and Annabelle.
Although cancer is absolutely horrific, it does make you reassess what’s important in your life. I was in hospital recovering from a surgery and I rang my sister and best friend, Maha, and told her I wanted to start a blog about things we’re both passionate about: fashion, travel, health and beauty (that didn’t cost a fortune). That’s how SWIISH was born.
What inspired your passion for health and wellness?
After all of the chemo, radiation and multiple surgeries, my body was exhausted. My hair had fallen out, my nails had fallen off, my skin was pale and gaunt and I had absolutely zero energy. I needed to do something to bring my body back to good health so I started drinking green smoothies every day. Green smoothies gave me my glow back, as well as my hair and nails. I lost the weight I put on during chemo, improved my digestion and they gave me a ton of energy. I became a lot more conscious about clean eating for all my meals, and making sure I chose lean, whole foods as often as possible.
What’s your food philosophy?
My family and I follow the 80/20 rule; we eat everything in moderation. Everything I cook needs to be fast, simple and never forgo taste – life is too short for bland food. I’m all about fresh herbs, spices and sauces. I pile my plate with veggies first, protein second and carbs last.
Walk us through a typical day in your life …
The time I wake up usually depends on my girls. If Elyssa – nearly 18 months – isn’t already awake, I try and wake up around 6.30am to have a coffee. I drink a black coffee with collagen powder and XCT oil, and then I have a glass of our Super Green Superfood Powder. If I can, I’ll squeeze in 15 or 20 minutes of meditation.
A few times a week, I go to the gym with my sister, Maha. It’s a good way to catch up, although we’re usually so out of breath there’s no time for talking.
After the gym, I head to SWIISH HQ where I have a green smoothie with protein powder. If I’m not out shooting new clothes for our online store, I’m in the office ordering new stock, meeting with team, reviewing upcoming marketing materials or working on strategy with Maha.
At 11am, I head into the Channel 7 studios where I prepare and film The Daily Edition. Between 11am and 2pm, I’m in production meetings, reading the latest news and getting my hair and make-up, when I eat lunch, which is usually leftovers from the night before. Today, it’s a fresh salad with a tin of sardines. I also have a litre of sparkling water while I’m in show prep.
Once we’re finished filming, I head home to Annabelle and Elyssa and spend the afternoon playing with them at the park.
If I have to head back into SWIISH HQ, I’ll take the girls with me, which they just love because they get so much attention. If I’m in the office, I’ll have a decaf almond piccolo in the afternoon with a second glass of our Super Green Superfood Powder.
Once we’re home, it’s all about dinner, bath and bed. Tonight, I made our chilli lime steak bowl from Simple and Lean. It’s so filling, delicious and the flavour combinations are out of this world. It’s then time for an hour or two of hanging out together, [with my husband] a bit of TV and catching up on emails. I can’t go to bed without a little sweet treat so I’ll usually have a peppermint tea and one of our choc caramel sambos.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee, always – preferably an almond milk piccolo.
What is your indulgence of choice?
There’s definitely more than one. Tiramisu and pavlova are definitely up here. I could also never go past a big bowl of pasta ragu or a spicy arrabiata with buffalo mozzarella. Plus, I’m always up for a cheeseboard at the end of a meal. It’s just the ultimate!
What are three foods you can’t live without?
Baby spinach, chilli and medjool dates.
What’s your go-to snack when you’re on the run?
A superfood energy ball or lemon protein ball. I make a big batch on Sunday afternoons and store them in my car, at my Channel 7 desk or at SWIISH HQ.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out on their health journey?
Like I said, it’s all about balance. Don’t beat yourself up over having some chocolate or having a bowl of pasta. The guilt is just as bad for you as ‘bad’ food.
Start small; just change one small thing in your diet or in your exercise routine until it becomes a habit.