This week’s inspirational person is…
Occupation: Holistic Health & Wellness Practitioner
Tell us a little about who you are, what you do, how you got here:
I was diagnosed with CFS at the beginning of 2011 following a slow decline in health over about 20 years. This diagnosis put a swift end to an 18-year corporate recruitment career and a business I had put my heart and soul into – yet at the same time it created the catalyst for the most monumental, amazing transformation I could ever have asked for. I am now a Reiki Practitioner and a student at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York, studying to become a Health Coach. I have a blog where I share recipes and chat about the ‘ingredients’ that played a huge part in my recovery. I am working on a gluten/sugar/additive free recipe book I hope will be published early next year. In February I will become a Certified Practitioner of Hypnosis, NLP & EFT.
What does ‘health’ mean to you?
Health is to achieve a mind, body and spirit balance in life – through ensuring you nourish all facets equally. Health is something I will never, ever take for granted again. I recognize now that one reason I became so unwell was because of the complete lack of balance in my life. I worked very, very hard throughout my career and it consumed me. I moved so fast in all aspects of my life that I would never slow down enough to learn to meditate (for example), or to appreciate the slow and gentle pace of yoga. Spiritually there was no connection. I whole-heartedly believe that my ability to find this balance has hugely impacted on my return to health.
How do you manage to stay so fit and healthy, please share with us your dietary philosophy/secrets:
Interestingly I had always believed my diet to be really healthy. Prior to my diagnosis I was the fruit salad queen – every morning for breakfast I’d eat fruit salad with low fat yoghurt. For lunch I’d have cans of tuna with beautiful big salads, maybe sushi. I’d have fresh fish probably 5 times a week and would incorporate tofu and other soy products. Whilst I ate a little meat there was never any skin on the chicken or fat on the lamb. In fact there were next to no saturated fats (at all) in my diet. Little did I know what that diet was doing to my body. The turning point was my diagnosis and the toxicity readings. My mercury count was so bad it didn’t rate on their scale. My body was full of heavy metals, in part as a result of my diet.
I have since learnt that (good) saturated fats combine with heavy metals and aid their removal from our bodies. I am no longer able to eat fish (for their mercury content) and I barely eat fruit (sugar content). I am not allowed soy (for it’s impact on protein absorption). My gluten/sugar free diet consists of organic whole foods, green juices, animal protein (which I have learnt my body cannot cope without), nuts, seeds, good saturated fats (with a heavy leaning towards coconut oil) and dairy. And the odd berry!
It is hugely important to me that I move my body every day and whist I am still a way off my fitness capability of a few years ago I walk twice a day and do some strength work at home. I give myself Reiki every night when I go to bed.
What brings balance to your life?
Reiki – it balances me, grounds me and keeps me spiritually connected. Reiki has taught me how incredibly powerful my intuition is. It has taught me valuable lessons around mindfulness and listening to my body.
Your favorite healthy recreational activity?
Walking my dog (Wilson) – in the parks, on the beach, in nature. I can’t tell you the daily joy these outings give me! If not walking the dog, swimming with the dog in the ocean.
Who is your greatest health inspiration?
My mother. Four years ago Mum was diagnosed with 2 brain tumors and thyroid cancer. Following brain and thyroid surgery (and months and months of treatment) she is miraculously still with us. Not only was mum’s recovery miraculous but her positivity, strength and courage was nothing short of incredible. I did not hear mum complain once about her predicament – she had the most positive attitude you could possibly imagine. Fundamentally Mum believed she would live and it was that steadfast determination and belief that ensured she did. I have gained so much strength from her.
Where is your favorite place on earth?
I have lived in a number of big cities and seen quite a lot of the world but without question it is Coles Bay, Freycinet Peninsula in Tasmania. It is the most spectacularly beautiful place in so many ways. We have a family holiday home and I was fortunate to live there for 4 months last summer during my recovery.
What is your favorite healthy meal/snack?
Now that’s a tough question – I am food MAD! My favourite healthy meal would probably have to be a breakfast smoothie. In fact I think I could dedicate a recipe book just to my smoothie recipes! I love having fun with these – throwing all sorts of ingredients in and seeing what happens.
As for snacks? I’m nut mad. I activate them, spice them up, and turn them into nut butters. You name it. They are my greatest weakness!
What is your favorite healthy neighborhood restaurant?
That is forever changing but at the moment it is Monk Bodhi Dharma in Balaclava – the most gorgeous little vegan café I have ever stepped foot in. There is so much love in that place.
What is next on the cards for you, what are your goals and aspirations?
My current goal is to complete my portfolio of recipes and find an interested publisher (also my current mantra!). The first book will be called Cooking for Me and will I hope, be the first of many in a series of whole food cook books.
Please share with us one of your favorite healthy recipes:
Very Lemony Cheesecake Smoothie
- 3/4 cup Coco Quench (or milk of choice, and add more if you like a runnier consistency)
- 1 scoop pure whey protein (or an egg, optional)
- 6 mint leaves (or however many you’d like to throw in!)
- Grated peel of 1/2 lemon
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tbspn coconut cream
- 2 tbspn natural yoghurt (this gives it the cheesecakey flavour)
- 1 tbspn chia seeds
- 1 tbspn ground flaxseed or LSA
- 1/4 tspn vanilla powder or essence
- Coconut flakes & extra lemon rind for decoration (and crunch)
Throw all of the above in a blender and blend until smooth. If you don’t use Coco Quench (which is quite sweet) and instead use another (non sweetened) milk you may like to add a little stevia during the blending process. I let mine sit for 15 mins to let the chia seeds work their magic and thicken it up even more. Then top with coconut flakes and a sprinkling of lemon rind and go grab a teaspoon!
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