I am so so so privileged to introduce to you today a gorgeous friend and absolute superstar. Laura is the creator behind 'Laura's Mess' - a beautiful space of inspiring culinary delights. This girl is an absolute gem, one who you need in your life, ASAP. I was blessed to have Laura's smile light up my days in my old days at a hospital in Perth where Laura and I were in the same multidisciplinary team (the BEST MDT obviously). Honestly - when I passed this girl in the corridors and we exchanged smiles, hellos and other little pleasantries - and it made my day. She is such a ray of sunshine and love - I cannot sing her praises enough.
PS. After reading her responses, I'm a little more in love with this incredible human.
1. Describe your health approach in three words.
Despite sounding a little clichéd, I’d probably say ‘mind, body, spirit’. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more and more aware of the interconnection between mental, spiritual and physical health. Both mind and body require nourishment, care and training to be healthy. I try not to neglect either.
2. How did you gain your ‘health nut’ status?
During my teens and early twenties, I was definitely called a ‘health nut’… mostly due to my extreme lifestyle (I cut out sugar, processed foods, alcohol, coffee and other stimulants whilst exercising religiously). However, this unfortunately led to body dysmorphia and a severe eating disorder that robbed about eleven years of my life. It’s been a long pathway to recovery but I’ve since found a little more balance in life. I no longer deprive myself of a glass of red wine or some chocolate in the evenings. Instead, I moderate these indulgences with light exercise, plenty of water and a diet that’s about 70-80% plant based. I love coffee and don’t believe in deprivation, but I limit myself to one per day (I usually go sugar-free and choose soy or skim milk). It’s all about balance, not deprivation.
3. What is the most over used ingredient in your kitchen?
I’d have to say extra virgin olive oil. I use it every day in almost everything. Second to that would be organic spinach and kale. Aaron and I love leafy greens. We eat them raw, steamed, marinated, stir fried and pureed. It’s a daily ritual.
4. What have been the greatest challenges for you in your quest for total health?
As I touched upon in question two, I suffered from an eating disorder (anorexia nervosa) between the ages of 13 and 25. I thought I was gaining control over my life and attaining some sort of physical perfection that would solve all of my other problems… but I was sorely deceived. The disease only amplified my self-loathing, loneliness and absence. A psychiatrist told me that I’d never be free of anorexia. In hindsight, I can tell you that he was wrong. The process of healing has been long and arduous but entirely worth it. I can’t say that I’m ‘there’ yet, but I’m on the journey. For now, that is enough.
5. Who are your greatest influences and inspirations?
Firstly, God takes highest place in my life. My faith has carried me through some of the darkest times…. I’ve learned the true definitions of love, trust, patience, compassion, strength, peace and generosity through Christ Jesus and His Church. I’m always praying that I can use these qualities daily, in every area of my life. I’d like the narrative of my existence to be a tribute to the power of God’s work within me.
Secondly, my mother Kim saw my first steps. She helped me grow and taught me about my Father in Heaven. I know she’ll walk beside me unwaveringly as long as we’re both on this earth together. She’s one of the strongest, wisest and most generous women I know. She inspires me to be a better version of myself. If I could be just a fragment of the person she is by the time my life ends, I’d be doing well.
Thirdly, my husband Aaron is an inspiration to me. He loves me first thing in the morning without make-up, with un-brushed teeth and bird’s nest hair. He inspires me to be creative, to be brave and to value myself. He’s quietly strong when I’m being a wimp and he challenges me when I need it. I am so, so grateful that he chose me as his own. I need to pinch myself every day to believe it.
6. What has been your most radical change?
I used to eat a chocolate bar every day for years. YEARS, I tell you! I’ve since abandoned that habit in exchange for cacao nibs, dark chocolate, dried cherries and an occasional lemon, coconut and cacao truffle (recipe: http://laurasmess.me/2013/09/14/lemon-coconut-and-cacao-truffles/).
7. Recipe for success?
Nourish your body by eating local, fresh, organic produce. Buying local will not only support your local farmers but you’ll gain maximum nutritional value through minimal processing. Cook at home so you know what you’re consuming. Eat with people you love. Drink lots of water. Do some exercise but don’t obsess over missing a day here or there. Care for your body, as it needs to last a lifetime. Let go of stress and anxiety, as neither will add a second to your day. Treasure your loved ones and don’t take a day for granted. Life is fragile and every second counts.
8. Describe your perfect day.
Breakfast with my husband at a local café, probably followed by a long walk somewhere… something simple and relaxing in the outdoors. I love ending days at the beach, watching the sunset streak the sky as the breeze slowly cools. Nature is amazing and it restores your soul.
9. What are your words to live by?
‘Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength’ – Corrie Ten Boom (also read Philippians 4:6-7)
10. Message for the wannabe wellies?
Treasure yourself for who you are. Learn from your mistakes rather than beating yourself up over them. Take pleasure in the small things and treat yourself with kindness. Wellness is a journey that requires patience.
Sigh, what an incredible treasure. Hope you love learning about this beautiful, talented and inspiring soul and losing hours (like me) in her incredible online space.
Blessings, love and gratitude for such inspirational human connections x