Growing up with a Lebanese mother, food, cooking and eating were an integral part of my childhood. As a young girl I learnt how to cook mostly with meat, chicken, vegetables, white rice, garlic and olive oil. It was a healthy diet and research shows that eating the diet of your ancestors is one way to better health.
But the problem was I was always overweight and didn’t have great health. It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I changed my diet. My health improved and my weight found a happy place. But what does one eat if they’re avoiding meat, chicken, wheat and other glutinous foods, dairy, sugar and you’re living in the late 80’s? Hardly anyone knew what gluten was let alone finding products that didn’t contain it. And where will I get my calcium, iron and protein without animal products in my diet? I started reading cookbooks the way others read novels. My mind was like a sponge when it came to recipes, food and its affects.
I wasn’t alone it seemed with my intolerance to some foods. I decided to study Naturopathy and Nutrition to try to find out what was going on. (Constant curiosity has since led me to study Traditional Chinese Medicine and Transformation Kinesiology and a deep interest in Ayurvedic and Japanese healing philosophes.)
My part time job while studying Natural Medicine was cooking in a vegan restaurant. I was in heaven! After I graduated I worked in a great, organic food store in Sydney. This is where I really learnt about the retail products available and different diets – from Macrobiotic, vegan, anti Candida, gluten and dairy free to appropriate foods for ceoliacs, athletes, children and babies and pregnant and nursing Mums.
The education I received during this time from the customers, other staff, manufacturers, wholesalers and suppliers was invaluable. Working in this kind of environment was perfect for me; it gave me experience as a naturopath and herbalist and I felt good sharing my knowledge of food, cooking and nutrition.
Now with working in the media and with my own practice it gives me much pleasure being able to educate others on how to shop, cook and eat without using red or white meat, refined sugar, carbohydrates and fats, or anything artificial or processed. Yep, it is possible to have a great tasting diet that’s good for you.
To all things in moderation, including moderation.
For me there is no doubt that the food we eat affects your health and state of mind. On top of that, even the most healthy, natural foods can make you sick simply because you are not eating them correctly. Many may disagree with me, but after a lifetime of study and practice there are few things I am more sure of.
– Janella Purcell