Award-winning food writer, blogger and certified health coach Lee Holmes talks to us about the ‘beauty’ of living and breathing a ‘supercharged’ diet…
What were the triggers that turned you to your ‘supercharged food’ diet?
About five years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was given a cocktail of drugs; immunosuppressants, anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-cancer drugs and a lot of steroids. The drugs weren’t working; in fact they were making me feel worse, so I slowly weaned myself off them and decided I would begin a quest to use food as my medicine. That’s when I started researching different healing ingredients and travelled overseas to learn more and more. When I came back I began creating recipes using the ingredients I had learnt about.
How easy, or difficult, did you find the change?
It’s a slow process healing yourself from the inside. It’s not an overnight fix or a fad and I’m not selling snake oil, but it became easier because the recipes were making me feel a lot better.
Did you have to make many sacrifices,or has the transition been smooth?
I had to figure out the best foods that would feed my body. Everyone is different, so it’s all about finding the foods that feed you. I eat well 80 per cent of the time and allow myself 20 per cent wiggle room. I do take time to meditate each day and have cultivated an attitude of gratitude. It’s not about making sacrifices or quitting anything, it’s about empowering yourself with knowledge and choosing foods that make you feel good. That’s why I chose the name Supercharged Food for my book. It’s a positive name and doesn’t focus on what you have to give up in order to be healthy.
What advice can you give to those who are taking up a gluten-free diet?
Choose foods as close to their natural state is possible. Many gluten-free foods are full of rubbish ingredients; additives, chemicals, preservatives and sugar or sugar substitutes. Always read the label and check the ingredients list first and foremost. My advice for taking charge of your health and wellbeing? Do so gently and in your own time. Listen to your inner voice, it will guide you.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing those who turn to a gluten-free diet?
The bombardment of the marketing and advertising messages of products that are gluten-free and claim to be healthy – you are better off eating the packaging. Don’t get hooked into marketing messages. There are plenty of everyday super foods full of antioxidants that are easily accessible and relatively cheap, such as spinach, berries, nuts, avocados, oranges and salmon.
What food stuff could you not live without?
I love to eat sardines because they are sky high in mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B12. They are real foods and are loaded with minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They can also make your wallet happy because they’re an inexpensive meal to bring to the table. The best thing about eating real foods and steering towards an anti-inflammatory diet is that I have found that I now have more energy and vitality. I believe in simplicity. I’m also crusader for real food as close to its natural state as possible. I always go for SOLE food – sustainable, organic, local and ethical. I believe in quality nutrients, but not expensive, trendy and glamorous, hyped up super foods like acai, macqui berries or smoothies. They cost a lot of money to buy and even more to make.
What product is always in your larder?
Extra-virgin olive oil.
What inspired you to write the book Eat yourself Beautiful and what message are you delivering to your readers?
The title may seem superficial, but the book is a lot deeper than that. It’s about eating your way to a healthy body at a cellular level, and noticing the amazing effects that a real food and clean diet will bring to your life. I have used many anti-inflammatory ingredients in the recipes and these ingredients have a profound effect on not only your internal environment, but also your external appearance. Many people believe that beauty is only skin deep and continue to use external beauty products, which are full of toxins and chemicals that seep through your skin – your largest organ – creating toxins and chemical build-up. The book is not about having perfect features, it’s about looking after yourself through a good diet and also having a positive relationship with food. Looking good on the outside is more about the way you feel about yourself. So being more mindful is a big part of being beautiful.
To find out more about Lee, head along to her website.