A little story about me...
During my twenties, I traveled all around the world and had a lot of fun, however, I had a pretty narrow view of health. This was surprising considering I was now a trained nurse!
Later, after getting married and settling back home in N.Z my daughter was born. She was a happy healthy baby and we felt very lucky. But at the age of two, she began to have multiple tantrums and behavioural issues... going into what we called “exorcist mode” biting, hitting and trashing her bedroom, altogether horrifying and deeply disturbing.
I thought this was just the terrible twos, but it lasted another 3 years!
It wasn’t just my daughter’s behaviour that was causing problems. Our family seemed to catch every illness that came along. Our immune systems were just not coping very well. I had regular colds, low energy, constipation, allergies and eczema. My daughter had dark circles under her eyes, often complained of sore tummies and was moody, foggy in the head, emotional and anxious. Overall we were not happy campers.
I finally started to "wake up" and become conscious of how what we were eating was affecting how we were all feeling.
I bought a "NutriBullet" and made daily green smoothies. I began watching food documentaries on Netflix: “That Sugar Film”, “Food Inc”, “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead”.
The simple act of eating more fresh fruit and vegetables improved my outlook. The documentaries reminded me that food has a huge impact on our health. I started to reduce the number of refined carbohydrates and processed foods we were eating. It all started slowly but as I felt better, I began to make even more changes one small step at a time.
However, it was at this time I found myself swung this way and that with each new media article I read ... very confusing.
With a view to helping others, I enrolled with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I learned about nutritional science and many dietary theories, but it mainly taught me to evaluate how these many theories related to my own family and myself. I eventually learned how to tune out all of the media noise around me and listen to my own body and what it was truly trying to tell me....
That is how The Conscious Kitchen was born.
My work now is with individuals and families taking them on an empowering food journey toward greater health and happiness.
Using my skills as a photographer and stylist, I also work with health-conscious businesses to elevate their brand and "get visible" amongst the plethora of visuals out there.
Today, we are all in great health, and, in fact, I have never felt better. My daughter finds it much easier to deal with life's frustrations, rarely has sore tummies or colds and is much happier.
I no longer think of foods in terms of "good" or "bad" but rather think about how they will make me feel and ask myself if eating them is what I really need, or is it something else?
Yes, life is busy and women have many demands made of them, but I discovered that by making small changes and, getting back to basics, a lot can be achieved.
It isn’t complicated, but it does take support, a little bit of knowledge and a lot of courage.
If it wasn’t for my daughter, I may not have started on this journey. Sometimes we need a ‘wake-up’ call and her health was mine.
Because life is too short to feel like crap!
Growing up my Mum was passionate about healthy eating and was determined to feed us real, nutritious food. As a single parent money was always pretty tight so we had lots of homegrown fruit and vegetables and vegetarian meals with lentils and rice. In fact, probably part of the reason we never had much processed food was simply that we couldn’t afford it. In retrospect I was very lucky to have this upbringing. But at the time I felt very different from the other kids. I was that kid with the rice wafers, tahini, and sprouts that all the kids teased for eating weird food that looked like polystyrene (the 80's was a little different to now!)
As a teenager, I began to rebel against the "healthy food" and eat the more "normal" processed food to be just like my friends. Soon my health suffered. I got terrible acne and was treated with Roaccutane. I developed a twisted ovarian cyst requiring emergency surgery, got glandular fever, migraines, a benign cyst in my breast... well, you get the idea. I felt pretty terrible generally. Only in recent years have I begun to join the dots and understand the extent of the connection between my health back then and what I was eating and drinking not to mention the stress and hormonal fluctuations of being a young person.