June 03, 2012

Inspirational Friends: Jessica from The Wellness Warrior + A Giveaway!

Happy Sunday my friends!

I can't believe it's been almost a week since we landed in Finland - time is flying past way too quickly! Next week things will get really busy; the wedding guests will start to arrive from what seems like all corners of the world (Australia, Japan, France), we will get to start decorating and propping the venue and I will have appointments for rehearsal make up and hair. Amongst all this madness, my soon-to-be husband and I have been going for long walks in the forest, breathing in the clean air and the calming smell of the trees. I just love being away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, in this remote part of the world what I call home.

Before I'll introduce you to my next inspirational friend (see previous friends here and here), I would like to announce the winners of my first-ever giveaway - Sarah's new e-book "I Quit Sugar Cookbook". I was really overwhelmed by all the great responses I got from all of you, 120 comments altogether! Needless to say, my task of  choosing just three winners was extremely hard! 

Thank you all for sharing your personal stories on why you want to quit sugar. It was truly eye-opening to see how sugar addiction is causing so many health problems, but it was also encouraging to realise that so many people acknowledge the connection between sugar consumption and health problems and want to break free. 

After reading all the comments many times, I finally chose three winners. It seemed to me that these people were all at different stages of life and had very different causes as to why they felt they needed to quit sugar. Jacqueline wants to be a good role-model for her newborn baby and acknowledges that taking care of her own health is just as important as caring for her daughter. Friendly Cook, on the other hand, is going through a menopause and has decided to heal herself by fixing her diet. I love the fact that she also acknowledges the connection between gut, mind, body and soul. That is so important! And finally, Marianne, who has a very similar approach to mine in that she want to eat a clean diet where artificial and processed foods are not masking the flavours of real food. 

Congratulations to all of you and I hope this book will motivate you on your sugar-free journey!

Giving birth to my beautiful baby girl, Sofia, almost 9 months ago, was the catalyst for me to take a good look at ME, to heal and grow stronger after delivery to be the best possible mum to her - to be energised to enjoy every single giggle, cuddle and developmental achievements, and to create a home where she is nourished with good wholesome, home-cooked, REAL food to give her the best start in life I can. Giving up sugar has been the crux of this transformation, and I thank those like Maria and Sarah for their support and inspiration through their website.
- Jacqueline

I have been chronically I'll and nutrition is key to getting back on my feet. When I went into menopause my intolerances became severe. I am making gradual changes to my diet and want to quit sugar as I come to truly appreciate the links between the gut and mind body and soul. I see this now as a journey to health rather than I'll health. Love your blog which inspires me.
- FriendlyCook

Because I'm sweet enough! I want to experience the delicate flavours and sweetness of foods as they are, with nothing added or taken away. Its then when we really appreciate the life cycle of the produce, how its grown, matured, been minimally processed etc to reach our pantries and tables :) I want to get away from cravings and reaching for something like sugar as a pick me up or energy source. 
- Marianne
Can the winners please email me at scandifoodie [at] gmail [dot] com 
and I will organise the e-books for you? Thanks!


Now, on to my next interview! Jessica Ainscough is a truly inspirational young lady who runs a website called The Wellness Warrior. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2008, she decided to turn her life around and start healing herself. Her daily blog is dedicated to wellness tips and advice, healthy recipes and green living. Please continue to read Jess' interview on her vegan diet, yoga routine and her latest e-book!

AND! I am beyond excited to announce that Jessica has kindly offered to give a copy of her new e-book, Make Peace with Your Plate ,to one lucky Scandi Foodie reader!

I will announce the winner at the end of this month, June 30th. To be in the running, all you need to do is to leave a comment below answering this question: 

What does making a peace with your plate mean to you?


I'm looking forward to hearing from you and good luck!!

What inspired you to become a vegan?

I became vegan for health reasons first up. I was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and became vegetarian. When I was re-diagnosed with the same cancer at the end of 2009 I became vegan. Animal protein is one of the biggest tumour promoters, so I knew that in order to heal I would need to give it up. The cruel way that animals are treated when they are raised for our food is heart-breaking, and knowing what I know now I would be vegan purely for this reason.    

What do you love about being a vegan?

I feel amazing! I have so much more energy, I feel lighter, my mind is clearer, my eyes are brighter, and I feel a sense of calm within my body and mind. I also love knowing that I am being kind to our animal friends and our planet just by choosing not to eat them.

Can you tell us about the concept behind your website, The Wellness Warrior?

My website started out as a cathartic way for me to express myself as I was healing from cancer. I started it a week before going to the Gerson clinic in Mexico and beginning two years of intense Gerson Therapy (juicing, coffee enemas, and a vegan diet). Over time it has evolved into a sanctuary for natural health and wellness information and inspiration.

Your latest e-book is called “Make Peace with Your Plate. How to End Your Tortured Relationship with Food”. Can you tell us a bit about this book and why do you think so many of us struggle with finding a balance?

Sure! I wrote this book because one of the major benefits I have discovered since cleaning up my diet is that I can now eat whatever I feel like eating, and as much as I feel like eating, without guilt creeping into my mind and excess weight creeping onto my thighs. The premise is to eat a whole food, plant-based diet. I think a lot of people struggle to find peace with their diets because we are constantly bombarded by false marketing from the diet and food industry. We are told that eating low fat is good, that we need to eat meat and dairy, and that eating processed food is okay as long as it has the Heart Foundation tick of approval. Not only is this all false, but it keeps us in a cycle of deprivation, binging, and guilt because it makes it impossible for us to reach the vitality and wellbeing that we are seeking,

What role do yoga and meditation play in your life? What advice would you give to someone wanting to incorporate more of these practices into their lives? 
 
Yoga and meditation are crucial for keeping the drunken monkeys in my mind tame.  I meditate for at least 30 minutes each morning – it is the perfect way for me to set the tone for my day. I go to two yoga classes each week – one Bikram and one Vinyasa, and I also try to practice at home on my own whenever I can.  My advice for those wanting to get into meditation would be to start small with whatever you have and wherever you are. You don’t need a fancy room or cushion. Start with just a minute each day of silence, stillness and deep breathing.  Then work up to five minutes each day. When you have that sorted, go for 10. Then 15, then 20, then 30.  As for yoga, I would recommend going to a class to begin with. The energy in the room and the guidance of the teacher will make all the difference.

Besides following a vegan diet, what are some simple things one can do to promote a compassionate and cruelty-free lifestyle?

My biggest tips are to consume the least amount of chemicals as possible. Aside from refraining from eating meat, this is one of the kindest things you can do for the planet and your body. This means eating whole foods, and using natural and organic beauty and cleaning products.

What tips do you have for people wanting to make the switch to a vegan diet?

When you first make the switch, it’s important to eat plant foods that are filling. Our minds can trick us into thinking that without meat, our meal won’t be complete. Swap meat for plant proteins like legumes and quinoa, and fillings foods like whole grains and potatoes.

Who is your vegan inspiration?

Kris Carr. She is a wellness goddess.

What is your favourite vegan meal to prepare?

At the moment it’s a raw cashew cheesecake that I got from the e-book Eat Awesome by Paul Jarvis. It is the best thing I have ever eaten, and it’s totally healthy.

What are your future plans? Any upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?

At the moment I’m working on an e-program called The Wellness Warrior Lifestyle Transformation Guide. It’s a 12-step program that will guide people through their wellness transition - from wherever they are to wherever they want to be. It will cover the importance of wholefoods, mind stuff, emotional stuff, self care, movement, money stuff, and finding your purpose. I am having so much fun creating it, and can’t wait to show it off when I launch in August.

Thank you Jess!


25 comments:

  1. Making peace with my plate for me means eating a self approved diet. A lot of people in my social world think I'm overdoing it with eating no meat, drinking no coffee, eating as less dairy as 'possible', taking my superfoods everyday and don't want to support chains like Mac Donalds. But, at the end of the day, I don't have to justify myself to them. I want to look in the mirror and know that I'm holding on to my standards, that I feel good in my own body because I'm nourishing it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. For me making peace with my plate means eating a diet that I feel good about. I do not want to justify my decisions to no one else, since I feel so good after I stopped eating meat, dairy and gluten. I feel good with my new diet and I am in peace with myself, so I am also in peace with other people around me :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Making peace with my plate is about taking away the hassle and agony of food choice. It is when the path of least resistance is a wholesome and compassionate diet with no feeling of self-deprivation. When truly good food becomes easy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. For me making peace with my plate means listening to my body and eating food that is good for me and for our planet in the long run. Yoga and meditation really helps me get in touch with what my body needs and don´t need.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If we are all made up of the same things, from rocks to stars to people to every other creature on the planet, it seems we might be seeking for positive ways to resonate with all the things we share "being" with. I know that for things to live, other things get used up and changed in the process...even plants do this by synthesizing nutrients from soil and water...but for me a peaceful plate is one that recognizes my own place in the wider cosmos. I don't need or want to take more than I need to live with health and good energy...for me, eating a plant based diet that doesn't lean too far toward heavily processed things is part of that exploration...it's part of figuring out how I'm a part of the world. It's part of being in the world. That's exciting to me. I like that there are people who are trying to make a world with more consciousness in it, however they choose to do that. But for me, eating is one of the most powerful things I can do to tune in. I like to feel like my energy is balanced with the things I share the world with and my diet is one of the areas that I can sense that balance or imbalance most keenly. Being aware of upsets or imbalance in my diet and nutrition is a way that I can stay on top of when things are getting out of whack, as well. It's part of mindfulness I guess. And I feel like this concentration can help me be a better friend to the world at large. It's something!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Another inspirational guest writer. Thank you!

    I will sit down and ask my body to guide me to ways of making peace with my plate. I think it's all an evolving journey, and the further we travel the more changes we are inspired to make.

    Rainy hugs from Sweden.

    xx Charlotta

    ReplyDelete
  7. I became vegan a yogi and my life is transformed...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Making peace with my plate means living in agreement with nature and at peace with myself. I first became vegan in September of 2011 and my vegan journey began simply for health reasons. I was in dire need of transforming my lifestyle and after reading several books and watching several documentaries on the subject of food, it became clear that my obesity problem could lead to many horrible diseases. I became increasingly aware of how programmed most American's are...most of us live on auto-pilot and look for convenience in all areas of our lives. Unfortunately, we are also manipulated through the millions of dollars spent on advertising to look for convenience in food…hence the term fast food.

    When I finally chose to take control of my life and the choices I was making, a switch went off in my head and becoming vegan made the most sense to me. As I mentioned earlier, initially, my decision to become vegan was for health reasons, but as I began to live the lifestyle, I became increasingly aware of not only the cruelty and disease that exists in the production of animal products but also became aware of how choosing to consume these products has a domino affect on the sustainability of our earth. How land and forests are having to be cut down just to be able to fit more livestock on that land to feed all the people who consume it. How fish are having to be farm raised in unnatural conditions just to keep up with consumer demand. Our population is over 7 billion people right now and growing.

    The ironic part in all of this is that we don’t need animal products to live happy, healthy lives. There is plenty of protein, calcium and all the other necessary nutrients in a plant-based diet. So, I grow the majority of my food in my yard. I ripped up my grass and instead, I grow food. What I don’t grow, I buy from my local farmer’s markets or local health food grocer. Imagine what would happen if we all made the switch and decided to start growing our own food and chose 1 day a week to be a meatless day (Meatless Mondays), what a wonderful step toward preserving this beautiful earth we would make.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Making peace with my plate means living in agreement with nature and at peace with myself. I first became vegan in September of 2011 and my vegan journey began simply for health reasons. I was in dire need of transforming my lifestyle and after reading several books and watching several documentaries on the subject of food, it became clear that my obesity problem could lead to many horrible diseases. I became increasingly aware of how programmed most American's are...most of us live on auto-pilot and look for convenience in all areas of our lives. Unfortunately, we are also manipulated through the millions of dollars spent on advertising to look for convenience in food…hence the term fast food.

    When I finally chose to take control of my life and the choices I was making, a switch went off in my head and becoming vegan made the most sense to me. As I mentioned earlier, initially, my decision to become vegan was for health reasons, but as I began to live the lifestyle, I became increasingly aware of not only the cruelty and disease that exists in the production of animal products but also became aware of how choosing to consume these products has a domino affect on the sustainability of our earth. How land and forests are having to be cut down just to be able to fit more livestock on that land to feed all the people who consume it. How fish are having to be farm raised in unnatural conditions just to keep up with consumer demand. Our population is over 7 billion people right now and growing.

    The ironic part in all of this is that we don’t need animal products to live happy, healthy lives. There is plenty of protein, calcium and all the other necessary nutrients in a plant-based diet. So, I grow the majority of my food in my yard. I ripped up my grass and instead, I grow food. What I don’t grow, I buy from my local farmer’s markets or local health food grocer. Imagine what would happen if we all made the switch and decided to start growing our own food and chose 1 day a week to be a meatless day (Meatless Mondays), what a wonderful step toward preserving this beautiful earth we would make.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Making peace with my plate means eating a diet that makes me feel good and healthy, but is also sustainable for people and planet. I want my plate to be in harmony with my mind and philosophy of life. I know, I still have a lot to do to with my very day , but I'm getting there... Without web sites like Scandi Foodie it would be so much harder! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am still on my journey and trying to make peace with my plate. This book sounds awesome and I would love to win to help me on my way. I am mostly vegan now but still struggle with the mind and know that information is the key to unlocking my journey forward. I have just found out that I am depleted in b12 and now have to have injections for life. So it's important for me that I get more information on my diet and learn as much about nutrition as I possibly can. thanks for the great post x

    ReplyDelete
  12. Making peace with my plate means enjoying the time with my loved ones and not focusing solely on what I will eat!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Making peace with my plate is being aware, really aware,
    of what is on my plate – how will it make me feel, is it good enough to be on my plate then on my fork and in my body.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Maria, I am really enjoying your current series of posts. It's so great to be introduced to all of these amazing and inspirational people. Just when I start to fall off the 'bandwagon' you throw a new person to be inspired by into the mix and I start to reassess my goals. I've never been one for Yoga but I have now added it as a goal and I hope to make as much peace within myself through yoga as through my healthy eating choices.

    To answer the question more specifically, making peace with MY plate is about realising my limits and stopping when I've had enough. I often justify over-eating because I'm eating 'healthy', whether it be vegan, gluten free, sugar free or all of these. I want to learn to make peace with myself without indulging and then feeling guilty but by eating what I need then moving on.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your story is quite fascinating. I am curious...do you have a background in nutrition (e.g. degree or certification)? I only ask because you seem so knowledgable about the topic, I am wondering if it is all self taught.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Making "peace with your plate" means to me to come to personal conclusions about what my body needs to be healthy and happy rather than what we're "fed" (ha ha pun intended) by the mainstream media about nutrition and body image. I have already discovered Jessica's website and check it out almost everyday. I love the inspiration boards. Jenn (jmessier@iaia.edu)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Absolutely LOVE her. She has been such a fabulous role model for everyone in the health community regardless of where you are on your path. She is extremely genuine, uplifting, positive and a true 'wellness warrior' ! She really lives up to her name and is playing such an important role in transforming people's lives. We are so blessed to have her share her journey. Great pick!

    ReplyDelete
  18. She has such an inspirational story! But making peace with the plate means that as inspirational as someone like this is, it's not the life that is feasible for everyone, so the key is strive to be healthy and green but not beat yourself up for not living up to someone else's standards.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Bautiful! My gosh! What a woman <3 Thank you for introducing, Maria!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I can't say I am yet at Peace, but I believe in the journey and I am amazed at all the wonderful, inspiring stories I have encountered thus far that are helping me on my way.

    ReplyDelete
  21. to me, making peace with my plate is something I've struggled immensely with for years...I think, though, that it encompasses feeding yourself enough of the things your body needs without having a negative impact on your mind. I know this can be difficult for many people, especially myself.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Peac with my plate will come the day I'm able to eat everything, without throwing up or getting so bloated it looks like I'm about to give birth. Peace will come when my mind and body agrees, not going two different directions. That's what I believe. And also reducing foods signifiance, its meant o nourish, not to stress or make ill.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am starting on my journey to making peace with my plate, and trying to discover what 'healthy' really means. I have had type 1 diabetes for more than 20 years now, and I now realise that unless I completely change my eating I will continue on a downward path. I am in my late 20's but most days feel so much older than that! I think this book sounds like the perfect beginning to my journey! xx

    ReplyDelete
  24. I want what I eat to be a gift to my body. As a young person from a family of heart disease and diabetes, I have recently discovered that I can make peace with my plate by being kind to my body. Peace with my plate is a very large part of my life's serenity. And the most wonderful part is that making peace is a delicious process!

    ReplyDelete
  25. After quite a few years of struggling and trying to find the best way for me to eat, I finally made peace with my plate when I decided to stop worrying and just eat what makes me feel better. To stop feeling guilt when I ate something “unhealthy” and, most importantly, when I decided to enjoy whatever I ate. Reading and informing myself opened a lot of doors for me, I found a whole new world when I started finding sites like Scandi Foodie, that cook vegan, vegetarian or just simply, healthy foods. I come from Mexico, so my diet consisted mainly of meats with some vegetables at the side, something my mom always fomented and for which I'm thankful because it made easier my transition from eating a lot of meat to eating mainly fruits and vegetables. I admit that I'm not a vegan or a vegetarian, nor I always eat raw and organic food because my economic situation and the place where I live don't permit it: way to expensive and scarce. But I don't worry about that, I take what I can and what I like from all these different lifestyles and form my own. I give myself one or twice a week the pleasure of eating something greasy or sweet and it makes me feel good. That's the point of being in peace with your plate, enjoying what you eat and what makes you feel good inside and outside, something that reflects in your life. Making peace with your plate it's not only about being relaxed and calm about your eating, it's about being at peace with yourself. :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment!