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Food as medicine

Well-being is multi-dimensional and while I focus on working with people to improve their mental well-being, it’s hard to have good mental health without good physical health. So much I've been reading of late indicates that our physical health is inextricably linked to our diet (and exercise).

So in an effort to be the best me in 2018 at the start of January, I decided to improve my own physical health by embarking on a 26-day detox with the Green Smoothie Girl, Robyn Openshaw, and I cannot sing her high enough praises. Her detox is evidenced-based, well organised and supported – with guides, videos, phone links, menus, shopping lists, and great easy recipes. Best of all it relies on no gimmicks, just good old plant-based whole foods that you can find at your local organic store. Without a doubt Robyn's work has changed my life, my outlook on food and provided me with other health promoting benefits.

In addition I have found a new legendary woman who completely inspires me. (By the way in addition to her nutritional background, she, too, is a psychotherapist!). Her no nonsense, completely practical approach is refreshingly uplifting. Robyn has been researching the topic of detoxing and using food to promote health for the past 30 years. She changed her life dramatically, from being obese in her late 20’s with several chronic health issues as well as had a child who was diagnosed with a failure to thrive to raising four competitive athletic children and changing the lives of thousands of people for the better. She has an continues to make whole plant-based food diet accessible to anyone and supporting thousands of people like me through detoxes. She is a prolific writer with stacks of evidence and other experts behind her work and is incredibly generous with sharing so much of her knowledge and wisdom in using food as medicine to heal and live a thriving life.

There has been no one else like her in my life except, John Robbins. I read his book Diet for A New America in 1987 and it turned me vegetarian overnight. I was always amazed at how someone who was due to inherit the Baskins & Robbins empire could choose to walk away from it because of what he knew dairy and animal products did to our health and the world. The best thing about the book was it was steeped in evidence-based science, something hard to argue with when you saw the facts he put forth.

So I was thrilled to find Robyn’s blog on his newly released book called the The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save You and The World. In her blog Robyn has a great summary which touches on things like – are dairy products good for us? can meat cause cancer? Where do food bourne illnesses come from? are cows feed antibiotics and hormones? is a plant based diet superior? can we get protein from plants? Is world hunger affected by meat and diary consumption?

Best to read Robyn’s blog for all the amazing stats John has collected.

I’ll warn you now if you love your steak and chips at the pub or your coffee with milk and ice cream on a Sunday, it may cause discomfort. But if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia (like me) or a family with heart disease, colon cancer or obesity, or you want to contribute to a healthier planet where the 1.2B people who are malnourished can live a better life, it’s worth the read.

As for me, I’ll be getting my shopping list ready for the whole foods.

Katherine Winlaw is an internationally registered art psychotherapist who works with individuals and teams to promote personal and professional wellbeing and create workplaces where everyone thrives. The mindful art techniques she uses are available to anyone, and do not require artistic skill. Her most popular programs are for boosting staff wellbeing, improving communication and conflict resolution as well as life and career transitions.



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