Real Food + Exercise = Healthy Body.
However, so many of us try to complicate the matter.
When we start to add things in (like artificial sweeteners and protein bars) and take things away (like nourishing fats and quality protein sources), we start to notice a decline in our overall level of wellbeing. If these little signs of whispers of our body communicating distress go unnoticed, we end up on the other side of the ‘good health’ spectrum; and climbing back out of the ‘poor health’ hole, is a whole lot harder than the way we got in!
This is what happened to Lillian. Leading what she thought was a healthy life, Lillian could rock a bikini with a moments notice. She always looked a picture of health, but what she was dealing with internally was another story. Suffering from terrible digestion, anxiety, acid reflux, bloating and then being confronted with a PCOS diagnosis, she decided there had to be another answer.
After sifting through the research, Lillian decided to make some ‘real food’ changes and has never felt better. Lillian has since started a recipe blog called “Real Food, Healthy Body” where she shares her story alongside some of her delicious recipes. I sat down with Lillian to chat about her journey and all things ‘Real Food’.
Have you always been a healthy foodie? What inspired your ‘Real Food’ journey?
I grew up eating pretty well, but during my teenage years I started eating an awful lot of sugar. My main meals were decent, but it was all the snacking on sugary foods in between meals that was making me feel like crap. I was constantly hungry and very dependent on sugar for energy. I was also struggling with a number of annoying health issues including terrible digestion, anxiety, acid reflux and bloating. Then I found out I had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is aggravated by unstable blood sugar levels. If left uncontrolled, PCOS can lead to a range of adverse health outcomes. This was probably the turning point that inspired me to start researching the way food affects the body and clean up my diet.
When we embark on a new way of life, we often face small challenges. What would you say your biggest challenge was?
Breaking some of the habits I had created over the years! I had created a strong habit of comforting myself with sugary food when I was feeling anxious or sad (when in actual fact, this would only make me feel worse in the long run). Learning different techniques for dealing with negative emotions (such as meditation) and making healthy, nourishing treats so that I don’t feel deprived has helped me start to break some of these habits.
With challenges come rewards. What would you say has been the most rewarding part of your transition?
The improvements in my energy levels and mental state make it all worth it! The impact that food has on your body and mind is truly amazing. I’m still refining the way I eat to optimise health and wellbeing, but making the switch to eating real, whole foods has honestly been one of the best things I have ever done.
Your website is full of so many mouth-watering whole-food recipes, have you always enjoyed time in the kitchen?
I have always loved cooking and developing recipes. I think when you love food as much as I do, coming up with new and delicious ways to eat becomes a necessity. I used to bake a lot of treats and desserts, and I still do, but now I just use healthier ingredients!
What would be your signature dish?
Probably some sort of raw ball or truffle – I find these are the things that my friends and family request the most! One of my favorites is my Hazelnut ‘Praline’ Truffles. They’re refined sugar-free, gluten-free and raw, and provide a good dose of healthy fats. A great option if you feel like something sweet but don’t want a sugar crash! The link to this recipe can be found here.
What is your go-to meal when you stretched for time?
A frittata is always quick and easy and leaves you with leftovers for lunch the next day. You can just throw in whatever you have in your fridge and it usually turns out well!
One of the (many) things I love about your page is that you aren’t the stereotypical cross-fit, paleo advocate; you’re also a bit of a yogi. I love that you encourage balance. Why do you think that’s important?
I think balance is important in every aspect of life. Physically, CrossFit is very demanding on your muscles and nervous system, so yoga helps to restore mobility and calm your system. I love to smash myself at CrossFit (the endorphin rush you get after is awesome!), but then I find that I need yoga to bring my body back into balance. Both yoga and CrossFit teach you a lot about focus and mental strength, which I love.
You also encourage your followers to celebrate their achievements and forget the “thigh gap” and six pack. Why is this important to you?
With the growing popularity of ‘body-focused’ social media accounts (particularly on Instagram), I think it’s really important to be aware of the impact this culture has on our body image and self-esteem. I’ve often found that scrolling through my feeds leaves me feeling inadequate. I really hope that my Instagram account inspires people to focus on health and wellbeing, because there is so much more to us than just our bodies.
People often find that social situations are the most challenging for real foodies. What are your top tips for navigating events like a friend’s dinner party or cocktail event?
My number one tip would be to have something to eat before you head out. If you turn up starving, you’re more likely to just stuff in whatever gets to you first (or end up drunk after one wine). I always try and eat some protein and good fats before heading out for this reason (like some smoked salmon with a bit of avocado and black pepper). When it comes to friend’s dinner parties, you could offer to bring a dish so that you know there’ll be something healthy on offer (and others may enjoy it too!).
What are your top 3 tips for living a healthy, well balanced life?
1. Eat real, unprocessed food.
2. Move/exercise regularly.
3. Let go of negativity towards yourself and others.
How do we find you?