OVERCOMING HER OWN HEALTH CHALLENGES INSPIRED THIS BURLEIGH HEADS NATUROPATH
Igrew up in Western Australia, the only child of a single mum. Mum inspired my appreciation of healthy living but it was my nan who taught me to cook.
I spent a lot of time with Nan. She lived on a big block with ducks, chooks and a vegie garden and she cooked, like everyone in her era cooked, and she was patient enough to let me help her.
When I was 12, I developed an unexplained heart disorder. My heart was racing 24 hours a day at about 250 beats a minute. They tried drugs to slow it down but none of them worked, then defibrillation to try to get my heartbeat back on track. Eventually I was put on a new drug and told I could never come off it. It came with terrible side effects though and every time they tried to cut it back I’d end up in hospital. Eventually I tried a naturopath. There weren’t that many of them around in those days but anything was worth a shot. She thought the condition was triggered by shock at the sudden death of my Nunky, my grandfather, all those years ago and gave me herbs and minerals to support my cardiac and nervous systems. Within six months, I’d weaned myself off the medication I’d been taking for almost 10 years.
I felt so empowered, I decided to study naturopathy. I graduated dux of my year and eventually set up my own clinical practice in Perth. I met and married my best friend, Paul, and we had our first daughter, Saoirse. We were a young couple working hard to get ahead when I had another major health crisis.
I was doing the supermum thing, working in my practice, expressing breast milk between clients, putting a lot of pressure on myself when I fell in a heap. I was diagnosed with an auto-immune condition called Graves’ disease. Here I was, a naturopath, having another health crisis and back on another drug.
It was about the same time my husband was offered a work opportunity in Queensland. I resisted it at first. I had a busy practice and my family was in Perth, but we came to the Gold Coast and, looking back, it made me take a break and focus on getting well. I re-evaluated my life. I went back on to the herbal medicine to support my nervous system, I meditated and concentrated on being a full-time mum. After 18 months I was in remission and did a deal with my endocrinologist to go off my medication. I fell pregnant with our son, Jesse, and have had no issues since. I know my limits now.
I’ve always been what I call a freestyle cook. Food, real food, is important to me.
One day, a naturopath friend and I were talking and we thought how brilliant it would be if there could be a resource of recipes and advice that everyone could access to take the mystery out of eating well.
The idea got into my head and I started a blog, Well Nourished, sharing everything I knew about food, cooking, throwing meals together and shopping. A friend’s husband asked me how it was going to make money and I said I had no idea. But that isn’t what it’s about. I’ve got enough. It’s about giving back.
Well Nourished has been going for five years now. I love it when people tell me they use my recipes. I still pinch myself. I feel privileged. No, it doesn’t make money and I’m still no technology whiz.
People tell me I need to market myself more, but it’s not about me. I’m normal and boring. It’s all about helping people eat real food. It’s that simple.