Naturopath Georgia Harding is on a mission to make the world a healthier place, one meal at a time. Her website Well Nourished provides free recipes and healthy lifestyle information, with a particular focus on family friendly food and children's health. Despite a long standing interest in healthy eating, a couple of years after the birth of her first child Georgia was diagnosed with Graves disease (an auto-immune condition affecting the thyroid gland). Read more about her personal story here. I was curious to find out how this diagnosis has helped shape her perspective on food, health and life. Here is what I found out.
What is your food philosophy?
To enjoy sourcing and cooking a variety of whole, low human intervention foods and the pleasure of sharing them with family and friends. I believe that’s where you’ll find the true healing potential of food. I don’t follow or advocate any particular diets, because we are all very different and have different nutritional requirements. Plus, stressing about food kind of defeats the purpose.
How has your diagnosis with Grave's disease influenced your views on health and wellness?
I instantly understood how I came to be at that place and I suppose my diagnosis just reinforced to me how important self care, relaxation and stress management really is. I had gone back to work in my busy practice when my baby was just 5 weeks old, which in hindsight was really silly. I did a very good job at looking after others but forgot to take care of myself. I ate well and generally had a lot of stamina. So, I pushed myself to the limit and totally neglected my right to down time. I suppose being diagnosed with a serious illness just reinforced how there is so much more to health that just eating well.
Were food choices important in your journey to regaining your health?
Food choices are always important for health. But for me at that time, not really because cooking and eating well has always been a big part of my life. My food choices were generally pretty good before during and after my diagnosis. Food is and always has been an area I don't compromise on too much.
What lifestyle changes have helped you manage your condition?
Meditation and yoga are now a big part of my life. I love the buddhist saying “You should sit and meditate for 20minutes a day, unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour”. I rarely have the luxury of an hour, but even 10 minutes of mindfulness makes a difference to my health. I also love regular reiki and massage, such a treat to stop and hand myself over to another.
Were any herbal or nutritional treatments useful in your recovery?
Yes, plenty and they changed as my condition progressed. I consulted with a good friend who is a very talented Naturopath. Bugleweed and lemon balm helped balance my thyroid and a mushroom complex supported my immune system. I supported my gut and nervous system with herbs and nutrition throughout, and still do.
What would you tell someone who is looking to take their first step towards better health?
Keep it simple. Eat a really good breakfast every day. Avoid becoming hung-up on all of those little things you “should” be doing and take simple steps to improve your health and wellbeing. If you are simply able to make and enjoy a home cooked meal with your family, your in a good place. Make sure you relax (even just 10 minutes a day) and move body every day.
Do you have any personal advice for someone who has been diagnosed with a thyroid condition or chronic illness?
Make informed decisions and make sure you treat the underlying or root cause, as this is the only way you will ever truly heal and be well. For me, that involved managing my stress and taking time out for myself. Everyone is different, there is no such thing as a one fits all approach.
Georgia is also the author of two nourishing Ebooks: Rise & Shine and The Well Nourished Lunchbox.
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