I have eight principles of health I’ve followed since I was 13. I learnt them in my teen years, when I read various health books and discovered these profound yet simple fundamentals which have changed my life, healed me of many health struggles along the way, and continue to be the underlying values which influence my every decision.
N - nutrition
E - exercise
W - water
S - sunshine
T - temperance
A - air
R - rest
T - trust
They’re easy to remember [as this acronym] and I like to believe that with every day and every breath we’re given a fresh start to create anew with nature, and that our body is always working to bring us to a place of health and harmony – body, soul, and spirit.
Any time I’m feeling less than ideal, I think to myself, ‘which of my eight health principles have I missed today?’ Living to be 48 this year, I haven’t always felt the picture of health that people see on the outside. There’ve been many times I’ve had to work on myself to overcome health issues like chronic fatigue, and I’ve learnt along the way that every tiny thing we do matters. What we put into our bodies and our bloodstream, what we put onto our skin, how we clean our homes, what fibres are touching us, the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the quality of our food, our air, our water – it goes on. The bottom line is, no matter how low we’ve felt, it’s never too late to create a new body.
“Humanity has wandered so far on a mass scale from remaining in sync with the source of all health and happiness: nature.”
For most of my life, I have much preferred to spend money on blueberries or cacao over fancy face creams or a designer handbag. When my family were young, I’d bundle up the three little ones from where we lived in a shed on a couple of acres, take most of our weekly income and spend it on all the organic goodness I could find. It definitely wasn’t cool in those days to drink carrot juice and live in the remote countryside. It’s still not mainstream by any standard, but more recently, perhaps partly due to the sway of social media, we’re beginning to actually see the ripples of change made by the pioneers and investors of an ‘alternative lifestyle’ from the last few decades. It’s so refreshing to see the results of this change and the products that are more readily available as a result – even in supermarkets. Now we are beginning to understand that it is actually the norm - from thousands of years past - to live closer to the earth, and that humanity has wandered so far on a mass scale from remaining in sync with the source of all health and happiness: nature.
I could be lost for hours finding new superfoods, rediscovering local produce at the organic farmers markets, investing in foods and ingredients that are as nature identical as can possibly be. I’ve always made everything from scratch at home, even my skincare products. Processing greatly alters the potency and therefore the benefits we obtain and the results displayed through our skin, nails, hair, immunity, and zest for life. I look for 100% organic natural foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains and superfoods have made up the bulk of my family’s diet for most of my life. There have been some supplementary foods as I like to call them, such as organic home-grown eggs, goat’s cheese, wild-caught local fish, and oils, which must always be cold-pressed and extra virgin.
I spent my thirties and forties living on a lot of raw foods, focusing on eliminating many varied health problems that manifested throughout my twenties, and now that I’m transitioning into the later half of my life – with perimenopause, too – I’m finding that I need even more of the balancing, warming foods than before. It’s the evolving process of listening to my body. Natural, unprocessed foods, supplements and holistic healing works for me. Food is medicine.
I try to incorporate nature into my day from the moment I arise, although when I’m busy with family and work it’s not easy to maintain, so I take the micro-moments until the opportunity for the macro-moments arrive.
Sunshine directly into the eyes first thing in the morning is key, bare feet on dewy grass even just for a few moments whilst taking in lemon water, a fresh pressed juice or a medicinal warming beverage is wonderful to activate and sync the whole body back with nature. I find grounding or earthing regulating for hormones and every cell of my body, helping to set intentions for the day. It’s a simple five-minute action that really works for me.
When I’m home, I love to tend to my bees, work in the organic garden, surf, practise yoga, walk in nature, anything outdoors is so fulfilling and makes me feel alive. When I’m in the city, I find a park and strip off my shoes, bare my skin a little and reconnect. There’s even a tree that receives a regular hug when I shoot at a particular studio in the city!
“Being in alignment with the Earth is what makes the most difference to my skin, body and mind. The more I feel in-sync, the more glow and effervescence I feel...”
Hydrotherapy has been an empowering healing ritual I’ve loved for my whole life. It really reconnects your body, soul and spirit to your true self and the health and beauty benefits are next-level. When I’m home, I take three rounds of steam baths and cold plunges.
I love to moisturise my entire body with a cold-pressed organic oil and have many favourites for this, as the skin readily absorbs post-hydrotherapy. I also love to create my own face masks using superfood ingredients from my kitchen, afterwards rejuvenating my skin with fresh aloe vera from my garden. When I couldn’t afford those, I would simply use the cold-pressed organic oil I had in the kitchen.
I nourish my skin by amping up my intake of raw foods, especially berries, an abundance of green leaves, probiotic-rich foods, cacao and the best local raw olives I can find.
I have also been taking an array of IKKARI products including the Detox Support Tonic, Ceremonial Cacao, Nutrient Capsule: Wild Herbs, Plant Protein Superblend, Clear Skin Face Oil, Daily Elemental Protection Cream, Overnight Renewal Cream, The Ikarian Body Oil and the Aura Balancing Mist, as they have nature-aligned ingredients that are in sync with my ethos and make my skin feel all loved up, just like I’ve been to the spa.
Nature = potency. For a long time we’ve considered products of all descriptions that are ‘backed by science’ or ‘clinically trialled’ to be the be all and end all when it comes to what really works for our wellbeing, health and even what will deliver unprecedented beauty results. I’m not saying there is no relevance here, as it is interesting and valuable to be sure. My personal experience has been to put nature first and foremost while we wait for science to catch up or verify what is happening because we’ll always be learning and even unlearning what we thought was true from nature, our ultimate teacher.
Being in alignment with the Earth is what makes the most difference to my skin, body and mind. The more I feel in-sync, the more glow and effervescence I feel - as I’m two years away from turning 50, hardly experiencing as much as a facial in my life, it’s working! When I’m really not looking my best, I’ll spend a couple of hours grounding, forest bathing, exfoliating my entire body with salt, swimming in wild water, allowing my skin to breathe completely bare, taking in sunshine, hydrating deeply and nurturing with high antioxidant foods - and boom, I’m glowing. Try it for yourself.
It’s a non-negotiable for me to consider ‘what would nature do?’ When I’m presented with any problem. Nature has truly been my inspiration, in all things I want to emulate. The longer I choose to align the more I am affirmed that the body trumps and we are indeed nature too!
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt about looking after myself both physically and mentally is that no one else will do it for you. You have to put the time into learning and acting on the knowledge you discover, but once you’re in the swing of it, these healthy principles will actually save you time and money. As you invest daily in your health, your inner-outer beauty and overall wellbeing will shine through, resulting in true happiness.