I’ve always been fairly healthy when it comes to eating and have adopted the “Everything in Moderation” approach to all things health, food and exercise. I believe that this has served me well and has enabled me to compete in sports, raise a family, maintain a healthy marriage and build a career to which most individuals would be satisfied. Like most people, I do have areas of weaknesses that I admit have kept me from reaching my full potential but “in general” I can’t complain with the way things have panned out. I truly am one of the lucky ones.
If you’ve fallen upon this page it’s because we’re part of a unique group of people who are passionate about health, wellness and happy living. It may just turn out that we are a match made in heaven. I can’t wait to share all my practices that promote the notion that “Food is Medicine” and it’s a practical means of nourishment and protection which will help us get the best out of every day.
I am the first to admit that I don’t do “roller coaster rides” well and the choices I have made in recent years when it comes to family, friends and lifestyle is based on a fact that I love it when things “feel right”. I do acknowledge that life isn’t “smooth sailing” all of the time but I firmly believe that it shouldn’t be hard. Here’s the way I see it.
The choices that I make every day are directed at the notion that life shouldn’t be a struggle. As a result of particular changes in habits relating to nutrition, I’ve come to the conclusion that life is made so much easier when we nurture our bodies and brains with HEALTHY FOOD.
The beauty of growing older is learning from mistakes. I spent most of my twenties binge drinking and eating Chinese takeaway amidst climbing the professional ladder and competing in triathlons and Surf Life Saving events. My polar opposite energies were depleting my abilities to compete at the best of my abilities - either professionally or physically. Even though, there is such a thing as hindsight, I probably wouldn’t change a thing. NO regrets……. It feels right to have done those things and no long-term harm was done as a result.
Or was it?
Fast forward to my mid-forties and I’ve come to realise that keeping some kind of equilibrium works for me a whole lot better. I’ve learnt the ultimate skill and it’s better than any skill I have learnt throughout life. Do you know what skill that is?
I first read this in the autobiography written by professional surfer, Mick Fanning (Surf for Your Life). He made mention of this exact concept and after reading that book four years ago I’ve learnt to do just that. If my gut tells me something isn’t right, I listen to it. They say that your gut is your second brain. How cool is that?
I have followed these wise words of advice for all things, especially when it comes to food. The concept that food is medicine and that food is something that can nourish and protect us, and also help us get the best out of every day is comforting. I (all of a sudden) started to become aware that food played a massive role – not only in staying healthy physically but also emotionally and spiritually. Good food has given me balance and the ability to maintain a certain level of physical and emotional stability. Good nutrition has meant that I have been able to avoid the “roller coaster” ride that I once feared. Good food is not contradictory… it is affirming.
Food and Mood
There is no doubt in my mind (brain) that food changes mood. If you put the right things in, emotions/mood/behaviours will change ultimately for the better. It’s a snowballing affect that could change the way we behave and interact with each other. As I venture out into the world I can see that people’s food choices are impacting on their behaviour in negative ways. The demands of life have definitely impacted on the people’s health, but I am convinced that good food could alleviate many of the stressors that life brings.
A Focus on Prevention – As well as “Cures”
I believe that there is a healthy future ahead for all of us, and although many of us have witnessed major illnesses and diseases ravaging some of our closest family and friends, I believe that we will no longer focus only on cures but now want to know how to prevent the major illnesses of today from occurring in the first place.
My mother was diagnosed with fronto-temporal Dementia at age 64. She is now 75 and still resides in an aged care facility, cared for by the most amazing nursing staff available. The question remains…. “do I want to spend the last 10-15 years of my life with this disease". The answer is an outright NO and instead of waiting for a cure I am committed to giving my body the best possible future by knowing how NOT to get this disease in the first place.
I am constantly alarmed by the growing rates of dementia in our country (and globally), but am also EQUALLY concerned about the growing rates of cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, mental illness and suicide. These diseases are impacting all of us and many of my friends and family as well. I do believe that a healthy approach to nutrition could go a long way in preventing some of these devastating illnesses and am encouraged by the notion that we are no longer focussing only on cures but now we want to know how to prevent the major illnesses of today. Instead of waiting to be fixed, we want to know how not to get “broken” in the first place. How great an attitude is that?
From this moment on, I have never looked back and my family is becoming increasingly supportive as the journey continues. The important factor in making small changes each day is just that, they’re small changes. And small changes each and every day make for rather big nutritional and lifestyle changes. The proof is in the pudding (That’s a chia seed pudding…)
The changes I’ve made and the benefits I’ve seen and felt are amazing. I’ve outlined a few of these below.
- Our family predominantly eats unprocessed foods and have very few packaged-style products in the cupboard. My philosophy has been “If you need to look at the nutrients section on the package – chances are it’s not nutritious”.
- We’ve omitted as much dairy from our diets. I’ve noticed a massive change in my asthmatic son. He’s now used to almond milk and chows down on coconut (dairy free) yogurt – without a sniffle, sneeze or wheeze. There’s a win.
- I purchase fruit and vegetables (most of the time) that are spray free from local markets. Now I know that my daughter’s addiction to tomatoes and grapes doesn’t come with a double dose of chemicals. They’re more expensive, but they taste a whole lot better. Guilt free taste. Another win.
- We’ve purchased a Nutri Bullet and introduced healthy smoothies to breakfast and snack times. With a dash of greens and a sprinkle of chia seeds or almonds I know my family have started the day with a nutritious breakfast. BONUS: My kid’s teachers are loving me for it.
- My husband is also committing to these changes 100%. This kind of supportive family environment means our kids are getting a double dose of positive role-modelling.
- I’ve limited my caffeine intake – presently undertaking a total detox from caffeine and am experiencing less highs and lows throughout the day. No more afternoon naps on a weekend. I’m running on all cylinders. Watch out.
- I’ve added a few more brain healthy foods to the kid’s lunchboxes – berries, nuts (oh hang on – Nut FREE zone at school – oops), seeds, brown rice sushi, good quality cheeses (not the processed types), Low GI snacks after school. I still like to include a sandwich but make sure it’s with sourdough instead of the sugary supermarket options. I also use chia wraps for variety and avocado instead of margarine.
- ” Happiness is Homemade” - I’ve started baking more often (muffins, deserts) but make sure I substitute coconut flour or at least gluten free flour and use stevia instead of processed sugars. Almond butter is also a great substitute for margarine.
- I frequent the local markets each Saturday and make sure I purchase spray free fruits and vegetables. I don’t always purchase organic as it’s not always practical, but I do love to support the local farmers in the region. The produce just tastes better.
- I make sure I eat fruit and vegetables that are in season. Over-consuming certain foods can often lead to intolerances e.g. eating mangos in winter. Mangoes are a summer fruit so even though they are still in the shops – they taste horrible in winter and are more expensive.
- I take and Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplement each day. I don’t like the taste of fishy oils, so I take a nut oil called Udo Oil which gives me the right doses of Omega 3-6-9 fatty Acids. More information below.