Hello and welcome to week two of my series called the “Get Healthy and Happy Project”. The aim behind the series is to demonstrate that there are many and varied approaches to “healthy” eating and lifestyle. There’s no one-size fits all way to live – food choices included! The most important thing is just to do something to move towards finding a healthier and happier you.
If you missed my first post, each week I will be interviewing people I follow (and love!) in the “health & wellness” field. As you will see, each has a different take on diet but all are healthy and happy!
Who are you featuring this week?
This week in the series we have the gorgeous Rachael from rachaelallanah.com. On her blog she covers all sorts of topics on health and wellness,such as the truth about fats, sugar addiction and toxins in beauty products as well as publishing lots of yummy recipes! She is currently studying Nutritional Medicine and is an all round lovely lady! Here are her answers, enjoy.
What was it that made you decide you needed to change your diet and toxin exposure?
Firstly, thanks you so much for having me as a guest, I feel so privileged and you brought the biggest smile to my face when I found your email in my inbox a few weeks ago.
Ok down to business! I guess it was my attitude towards life, myself and my body. Through years of too much partying, working way too hard, sleeping far too little, constantly pushing through the stress, eating a low fat high ‘carbage’ diet and long term prescription medication use, I had landed myself in a state of total energy deficit (I’m talking coffee after coffee just to function. I would have had a coffee IV if it were possible!) and I was on an emotional roller coaster, if you looked at me the wrong way I would burst into tears because I felt constantly judged (which of course, was all in my poor confused mind!)
I can’t remember how or why, but I came across Sarah Wilson’s blog and this sparked my curiosity about real foods and I’m pretty sure she also introduced me to the idea of toxin free living. It wasn’t long before I was a blog addict! I couldn’t get enough information about living and eating in a way that was aligned with nature. It all just seemed so, right.
How would you summarise your view on food now (how do you decide what to eat)?
Nourishment. This is what food is really about! Oh my gosh, I think I could write pages and pages about this topic because I am so passionate about the undeniable power that food has on our bodies and our life. We literally are what we eat (and in the case of animal products, we are what we eat eats…) so for the majority of the time, I eat what will nourish me. Natural, whole foods that we as humans, are designed to eat. Oh, and I’m not afraid to kick conventional wisdom’s butt! I’m a full fat, red meat eating chicky babe who avoids industrial seed oils and refined grains because this crap doesn’t nourish me, it just makes Big Corporation a whole bucket load of cash.
Having said that, I am a foodie at heart. I like, really, love food! So, this means that if I am out for dinner with my beautiful husband or my best babes, and there is fresh turkish bread on the menu with cold pressed extra virgin olive and home made dukkah, then I’m going to damn-well have it! (Totally ate this last night and I’m pretty sure I was in dukkah heaven!) I guess what I am saying is that I don’t give myself hard and fast rules. I don’t limit myself because we only live once, but moderation is the key.
How do you feel now you have made your diet and lifestyle changes?
Like a new woman. Literally. I wish you could all have seen me back in 2012 compared to now! I think the biggest change for me has been in my mind. I used to be depressed, irrational, fearful and a total snappy-turtle! I would cry, oh gosh I cried all the time. My mind just wasn’t right, I wasn’t living, I was just surviving. Yikes, gives me shivers just thinking about it.
Fast forward to now, and here I am sitting perched up on the sofa with the sun coming though the window onto my face and I am so content with where and I, with who I am. I am so much more balanced and I see and feel things I didn’t before. Everything is beautiful, every situation has a silver lining and all the people around me love me and accept me (they always did, but now I can see it). I don’t think I can fully explain how different I am! I’m confident, I’m grateful, I’m more loving to others and I’m so darn happy! I’m at one with who I am, who I have always been.
What do you do now that makes you feel really “happy”? Did you always know this made you happy? If not, how did you work that out?
Bush walk and explore! Being out in nature brings me back to my roots. It resets my system and I’m telling you, there are magical powers out there in the wild and they have the most profound, uplifting effects. Nature absorbs all the negativity, stress and tension and it fills me with calm, content, grounded purpose. Its magic.
This kind of thing definitely has not always made me happy! A few years ago I probably would have screwed my nose up at the idea and voted that we watch a movie and eat popcorn instead! But, my perspective on life has changed and my priorities are different. I really appreciate the small stuff now and I think I prefer the simple things in life. Just recently, I discovered and fell in love with the saying ‘All you need is less’. Isn’t it beautiful?! All I need to be happy, is less! And my favourite kind of less at the moment is bush walking.
I love your post on toxins in beauty products, I noticed you don’t use Moroccan Oil anymore, why is that?
Oh I’m glad you asked this question because its something I wish I had covered in my post. So basically, I stopped using this stuff because when I read through the list of ingredients in this product, I was shocked to see that it contained an extremely small amount of Argon Oil and a whole bunch of synthetic ingredients like silicone polymers and fragrances – in fact there are more of these two synthetic products than there are of the argon oil!
So I made the easy and obvious swap to pure, natural Argon Oil.
For someone who is looking to change their diet, how do you recommend they start?
The best way to start is by adding in more of the good stuff. A lot of people get too caught up in what they shouldn’t be eating and what they want to cut out, but this can put a real negative edge to the diet change. Its important that changing your diet doesn’t cause you stress, because believe it or not, for many people stress can just about counteract any dietary changes you’re making! So, keep it simple and don’t be too restrictive. Add in lots of veggies, healthy fats, proteins, nuts, fruit etc. Get creative in the kitchen and have fun by trying new foods and new recipes. If you live a busy lifestyle, make double batches of everything so you can pop the leftovers in the freezer for later in the week.
And a handy hint for those just starting out on a healthy diet – Shop at your local farmers market! Fresh, cheap and often organic. Also, when you’re at the supermarket, fill your trolley with items from the outside of the building, the products you buy from the aisles in the middle are about 85% processed garbage.
Same for someone looking to reduce their toxin/chemicals exposure – it can be overwhelming so what do you suggest they tackle first (I know like you I hate waste, so I’ve been changing things as they run out)?
Perfect! That’s what I did as well, plus I (like most people) couldn’t afford to just go and buy a whole new cupboard of beauty products, because as any women would know, this stuff is pricey!
I focused on changing the things that I used everyday first, like deodorant, toothpaste and moisturiser. The other way I really reduced my exposure was by cutting out the amount of products I was using. I had a whole bunch of crap in pretty containers that I had purchased because of clever marketing, that I really didn’t need (and if I’m honest, a lot of it was just gathering dust anyway!) So I got back to basics and just kept the products I really needed. Hey, all you need is less!!
Thank you so much to Rachael for taking the time to answer my questions! I hope you have all enjoyed reading her responses. Check out her site and have a read! I think I will sum up this post with a quote from above:
‘All you need is less’
If you would like to make one of Rachael’s awesome recipes, I have published her delicious coconut butter today.
Next week we will have Emma and Carla from The Merrymaker Sisters – yay! And if your’e on Instagram don’t forget to to add #healthierhappier to your pictures that show how you live “healthy and happy”!
Previous posts in the series: Week One