Although ‘organic’ has only become a popular term in the last decade, it has always been a part of my life. My early years were spent on a farm in Australia helping my eccentric grandma in the garden – and by helping I mean rolling around in the dirt eating worms.
As with many in the industry, my love for food and nutrition grew out of my own personal health struggles.
When I was three years old I developed impetigo, a yucky skin infection that usually goes away in a week or so. Mine stuck around. I was taken from GPs to dermatologists, then to a paediatrician searching for the cure. One suggested I be bathed each night and have every blister popped with a needle! Another suggested steroid cream. After 6 months of no results they recommended surgery with a general anesthetic to slice off all of the blisters – yuck!
Luckily I then saw a Naturopath. She explained how my inability to kick the virus suggested a compromised immune system. So naturally we investigated what could be compromising it. Turns out I had an allergy to yeast, wheat, and nightshade vegetables. This was interesting considering my diet consisted of nightshade veggies, pasta & more pasta! After two weeks my rash had completely cleared.
When I was 16, like many young girls, I wanted to look like the models in the magazines, so I stopped eating. I lost too much weight too quickly, and to no surprise, my periods stopped. Mum sent me to a “very reputable” gynecologist. Although it would be obvious to any professional with half a brain that they had stopped because I was not eating enough, she diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). People suffering from PCOS are commonly overweight, have cysts on their ovaries, acne, and hirsutism (excess hair growth). Absolutely none of these applied. She told me that because of this condition I would never be able to have children. With a pat on the back and a giant dose of steroids, she sent me on my way.
The steroids made me blow up like a puffer fish with permanent PMS. Next came 3 years of struggles with weight, anxiety, hormonal and digestive issues. Doctors continued to give me band-aid solutions and ‘fix it’ pills. I knew something was missing, and no matter what I tried I couldn’t get back to my healthy self.
So I decided to take my health into my own hands. I got into cooking, and started researching more about the foods I was making. I began to experiment with using food as medicine, and was amazed by the results. Without going on a “diet” the weight melted off and my anxiety disappeared – I felt amazing, both inside and out. From then on I was hooked, and so began my own journey with food, using it as my medicine.
Hippocrates said it thousands of years ago, and in our world today science has finally backed it up; Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food. And this is exactly what I studied in my Bachelor of Health Science: Nutritional Medicine.