Or­di­nary people


The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - UPFRONT - ELISSA LAWRENCE

When I was 17, my dad [Steve] had a heart at­tack and died on Box­ing Day, 2006. He was 46. He had a high-stress job, he smoked, drank al­co­hol to wind down, trav­elled be­tween two coun­tries ev­ery fort­night and he ate a lot of cheese on toast and spaghetti bolog­naise.

I didn't know how to deal with life af­ter he died. I sank into de­pres­sion and ba­si­cally just gave up on ev­ery­thing. One night, I had an anx­i­ety at­tack and Mum [Bon­nie, 51] sug­gested I get away from it all. We lived in Cairns at the time and I went to a yoga ashram at Man­grove Moun­tain [on the NSW Cen­tral Coast] where I stayed for eight months.

When I re­turned, I started study­ing nu­tri­tion but I went too far. I was try­ing to eat so healthily – to avoid dy­ing like Dad did – that I de­vel­oped an eat­ing dis­or­der. I did cour­ses and work­shops in per­sonal de­vel­op­ment and then a range of jobs – fruit pick­ing, tele­mar­ket­ing, work­ing in a health food store, mas­sage ther­apy. I felt like I was look­ing for some­thing. But the whole time I was still ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent di­ets and food.

My fam­ily moved around a lot when I was grow­ing up. Dad was a mar­ket­ing man­ager for a casino com­pany, so it was nor­mal for us to move. The long­est I've ever lived in the same house is two-and-a-half years. I still can't be in the same place for too long. I was born in Launce­s­ton, Tas­ma­nia, and have also lived be­tween Cairns, In­done­sia and the Gold Coast. I moved to Bris­bane in Fe­bru­ary last year and in Novem­ber I'm mov­ing to Syd­ney.

But now I have a pur­pose in life, some­thing that in­spires me to wake up ev­ery day. Al­most two years ago, I started us­ing the name “whole food dude'' af­ter a friend called me that and it has be­come my busi­ness. I am pas­sion­ate about teach­ing people about eat­ing whole foods, blend­ing, juic­ing, detox­ing, and I travel around Aus­tralia do­ing work­shops, talks and coach­ing in per­sonal de­vel­op­ment. Teach­ing kids is a pas­sion too be­cause we can ed­u­cate them be­fore they es­tab­lish bad habits. Nu­tri­tion needs to be as im­por­tant in the school cur­ricu­lum as sci­ence and English. I'm de­ter­mined to make a dif­fer­ence.

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