Some of you will be aware that I recently attended the brilliant “What should I eat” event organised by Business Chicks that bought together foodie experts Lola Berry, Damon Gameau, Jessica Sepel, Luke Hines, Joe Wicks and David Gellespie to answer questions on what the heck we should all be eating… particularly as “there are more mixed messages (out there…) than you can shake a stalk of celery at”
For those that don’t recognise everyone on the panel (no shame there because to be honest… I didn’t know them all before the event either.!) Here’s a brief introduction to them:
Lola Berry is a leading Australian nutritionist and author of five best-selling books… including the 20/20 Diet. She is definitely one of those people that you feel instantly comfortable with, it’s like you’ve know her for years and she certainly lights up a room with her gorgeous, beautiful presence! There’s a sparkle that just hits you and you come away feeling that little bit brighter… she undoubtedly rubs off on you!
Then there’s Damon Gameau… he’s the guy who made and starred in “That Sugar Film” and that I couldn’t help but visualize him in a spandex suit (which he wears with pride in end credits of the film! By the way, if you haven’t seen it yet… you simply MUST do so forth with!). Damon was approachable, humorous, loves eating satsumas on stage and was simply awesome when it came to photos, we could see that his acting skills were obviously invaluable for him at these times!
Jessica Sepel is a qualified (bachelor of science) nutritionist, health blogger, wellness coach and best-selling author of “The Healthy Life”. She loves cooking with love for her husband… and is a real advocate of taking magnesium to reduce stress and tiredness, which at the time and given the limit of my scientific knowledge… led me to remember from my school science lessons that magnesium strips burn fast and very bright. Funny I thought, as fast and bright is the complete opposite of tired and stressed!
The crowd went mad for Joe Wicks… who I could label the “Tom Jones of food” … but, in truth, I was very thankful that the crowd here didn’t follow tradition and start throwing their knickers on stage.!! I mean… no one and I repeat NO ONE should be forced to pick up pairs of knickers off stage! Anyway, he has a HUGE following on Instagram, is known as “The Body Coach” and he’s also behind the ‘Lean in 15’ on-line diet and fitness plans… I will always remember his phrase to “prep like a boss” and it was great see him waving the British Flag! … not literally of course…
In introducing Luke Hines, I simply cannot help but smile… he’s got that positivity, presence and sense of happiness that you just cannot help feeding off! I can certainly see why he’s one of Australia’s most loved health and wellness experts… he’s also been co-author of 6 best-selling ‘Clean Living’ books and the author of “Eat Clean” – he’s a very accomplished and gorgeous man in many… many ways!
Last but by no means least, there was David Gillespie… who is a former corporate lawyer and now the best-selling author of the “Sweet Poison books”, “Big Fat Lies”, “Free Schools” and “Toxic Oil”. David is exactly as you’d expect… candid and straight to the point, with an awesome, dry sense of humour. He provided the majority of the banter on the panel, suggesting for example that… as he has 6 children he is without doubt an expert at cooking for children! … he also implied he has awesome skills in the kitchen and was certainly not afraid to put the “cat amongst the pigeons” like when he provided his own views on supplements… with two nutritionists on the panel…
So that – ladies and gentlemen – was the panel for the event… I guess the questions to answer now are; What did I make of it all? .. What stuck in my mind? .. What did I attune with or pick up on? .. What were my priorities and niggles? … and finally, what did I want to change as a result? … There’s no doubt that everyone who attended will have heard and taken away something different and that each of us will end up doing our own thing as a result and this is, I think, the total beauty of an event like this… we take away what we as individuals want and need… For me Luke Hines summed this up brilliantly when he said “We’re all going to have an opinion, (on what we should eat) what’s awesome for you is great… but what’s awesome for anyone else is awesome too …”
On which note… I’ll admit and maybe have to apologise for, but I glazed over a bit with all the recipe suggestions, the need to get in the kitchen, the sugar industry and the whole supplement thing as – quite frankly – I feel I’ve smashed that area and have never personally bought in to the whole supplement thing… Where I found my attention drawn was to emotional drivers on what can be done and what successes the panel had had with them.
Luke made the point that in the weeks the group had all been together… the resounding opinion across the panel was that there is no “magic bullet” or “quick fix” and that it is all down to “individual responsibility, which takes effort… we should love ourselves, make ourselves do it and have more confidence in the kitchen”. I did laugh out (very…) loudly when he replied – with a cheeky smile – to the suggestion that he was “fortunate to have all the time in the world for this” with… but how long do we all spend on Instagram or watching the bachelorette?! – including him!!! He made the point that it’s all about prioritising our time… maybe getting up or going to bed earlier, so we can all cook incredible meals, exercise, be rested and brighter.
Jessica ran with a comment about needing to be confident in the kitchen… whilst recognising that finding alternatives to those fast, cheap, ready meals can scare people. She made the point that to replace self-doubts and fears, we shouldn’t over complicate or overthink things… just let it be slow and simple… use positive emotions of cooking for and with love… and know that you are worthy of feeling your best… Hell she even suggested if the whole Kombucha thing is not for you… just don’t go there!
Later on, Luke introduced us to the concept of “bio-individuality” which allows us, as unique individuals, to express amazing things when it comes to food – it’s primarily about our individual nutritional needs, “it’s about being happy and it’s about being proud of what we eat… and there is nothing more rewarding than to get in the kitchen and make it ourselves!” Now THIS was for me was the hammer that hit the bell… the one at the circus where you take an almighty swing and hear that resounding thud and bell ring out loud!
This was my eureka moment, my key take-away and something I recognise as “Self-Actualization” or in simpler terms… how we as individuals are motivated to realise our full potential… how we express our creativity, pursue knowledge, express ourselves, maximise all our capabilities even. It’s been said that it IS our final level of psychological development, our icing, let’s say on our sugar-free cake! …come on, let’s face it, when all our basic and mental needs are met it’s then all about fulfilling our own personal potential, right?!
Damon Gameau suggested that we should consider a holistic approach and that we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of or demonise food and when you do… just do as Lola Berry suggested and put it down to a “wobble day” and don’t feel guilty, just honour yourself and don’t beat yourself up… I have to say that Lola has a unique style of keeping it real and grounded… She was spot on with this, we will all probably stuff things up occasionally in order to reach our full potential and – having just read this article about Lola – it’s clear that this statement was made from experience… she is one awesome lady! On a similar message, I also adored Luke Hines’s suggestion to “cherish it… and enjoy these moments” and that we shouldn’t associate them with guilt – at this point, I think I fell in love with his…. philosophy!!!
Overall I think it was a great evening… but what about the answer to that headline question set by the Business Chicks of “What should I eat”? I hear you ask, well… I came away with SO much more than that!! … I feel like I have the answer to how should I eat, feel and what I can do to improve it!…so my sugar-free, just eating real food journey will continue in the knowledge that I am capable, I have time (hell!… I owe myself the time…), I’m taking responsibly, I’m doing what I need to do and… I am bloody proud of me! What’s more important though, is that I categorically believe that anyone can do this.!!!
So, finally… if you haven’t already dipped your toe, just HAVE A GO.! and remember… whichever way you decide to go, just remember “what’s awesome for you is OK but what’s awesome for anyone else is awesome too…” because Luke Hine said so, and who are we to argue!!
P.S. Whilst I was getting the books I bought signed… I was chatting with Luke about what I did and he asked me a very good question; “What did I think the links were between what you eat and mental health?” to which, at the time – due to my usual social awkwardness – I responded with a somewhat scrambled and garbled answer… Now though, having had some time to reflect on it, this is the answer I wish I’d given Luke but wanted to share with you… “Firstly, without a shadow of doubt, food impacts our mood.!! and if you don’t believe me, try doing a ‘food and mood’ diary.! (which is scarily informative). Secondly, it is about self-actualisation, the need to reach our full potential… and to achieve this, we need to take responsibly, be proud, be happy and put things into action in a positive way… accepting the negatives and being able move along, building resilience.” Yup I think that’s my reflective and informed reply!!!
I’d really love to hear others’ thoughts on this topic – on the idea of food affecting mood or maybe emotional eating, I often wonder which comes first. What do you think?
Thanks for reading!
Ref : Maslow’s (1943, 1954) hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising of a five tier model of human needs