How anxiety, diabetes, a food bag and some sugar led to nourishing….

For those that don’t know Riwai​ was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes a decade ago and placed on medication six years ago.   As a partner this gave me a huge fright.  My old boss had Type II Diabetes and had limbs removed when I was in my early 20’s.   I remember going to our friend’s brother’s funeral recently and being so scared for Riwai as he was about the same age of this man who passed away from this horrible disease.     Last year Riwai’s doctor reached out to help us both.  I had gone to see our GP as on top of all of our EQC stress, my ongoing health was deteriorating, I couldn’t sleep and was experiencing what we now know were anxiety attacks.  These attacks were also exhausting me.  We discovered that amongst other things I was convinced that Riwai was going to die of his diabetes.   In September (the anniversary weekend of the CHCH earthquakes) we made the decision to look for a new house and a new start.  With our GP and Psychologist help we realised that we both needed to get some balance in our life and get back to living the philosophies and principles we held so dearly and promoted to others.    We are soul mates and wanted to be around for each other to enjoy this great place we live in.   Moving seemed the best option.    Six months on and how right our health professionals were!

Back in October 2014 I wrote a blog about having new conversations on dieting read more here.   I am pleased to report that seven months later this still reads as relevant to me.  What prompted me to write in October was many things 1) Riwais diabetes.  2) My anxiety was leaving me overwhelmed with food ideas 4) many of my clients were feeling the same as me around food! 5) I was puzzled that everywhere I turned was another promotion for caveman style eating and was wondering if this was the answer for us  6) Locally it felt like my industry was leaning towards endorsing supplements, diets, organic products in far from organic packaging and that the key message was 80% nutrition and 20% exercise.  7) Intuitively none of this was sitting well with me and I wasn’t convinced any of these messages was how what I wanted to encourage in my practice.

So I wrote the article and then sat on my hands… meaning I knew I didn’t agree with it all but still didn’t know where I sat in the Nutrition Debate or what worked for me and Riwai.     After my chat with my GP I also realised that I had been researching the best eating plan for us as a couple for over a decade and nothing was sticking!    Meanwhile Riwai has been yo-yoing and often in denial about his disease.  But as I wrote the blog Riwai was back learning about his diabetes and seeing his GP for regular check ups.

Seven months later and I have been prompted to write again.    This time because as you know each year I take part in training entrants for the Catch 20 body and lifestyle challenge.    I love the competition because it really works for our LeapStars to make significant changes in their lives.

Like it does each series, it comes as no surprise to me that I am overwhelmed at week five with ideas, questions, instagrams, blogposts, facebook posts all around food!   It seems as humans when we start exercising it prompts us to look at what we put in our mouths.   Again I googled healthy food and wowser it now brings me 681,000,000 results (0.56 seconds) seven months ago was 144,000,000.   It is no wonder my clients are feeling overwhelmed.   I also googled some other key phrases I have been hearing lately….

Clean Food 697,000,000 results (0.31 seconds)

Raw Food – 246,000,000 results (0.42 seconds)

Sugar Free – About 111,000,000 results (0.30 seconds)

And right on cue week the newsletter that comes from Catch for entrants is all about nutrition – this year seven pages on Sugar.  It is the first time in over three series that I haven’t wanted to change a thing.  Even though it is seven pages long it all resonated with me.   I realised that I have found a movement that resonates with me!  A way of living that could actually change how the world eats, and can help us leave a legacy for many generations to come!

I usually don’t name and shame but one thing I realised was that as I was forming opinions and our culture was deepening at Leap that really it is a good thing to speak out.  Last year I was so disappointed to see Pete Evans (who I once loved and followed) become obsessed with his way of living.   I was appalled that he used his fame and celebrity status to push what I felt was extreme views on eating and not safe for the next generations.   I was so pleased to see Karen Martini speak out.  I took a sigh of relief …  Karen Martini Warns Against Paleo.    In my stand against Chef Evans last year I joined Jamie Olliver’s Food Revolution Movment

So I did sign it an am now sharing it!   This is a great initiative to initiate change for our next generations.

I also recently went to That Sugar Film and found myself wanting to hunt down Damon Gameau to give him a massive hug.  All through the film I was nodding and writing notes, immediately went out and bought the book and followed his blog That Sugar Film.   I love his delivery style and how this was prompted by finding solutions for his unborn baby.     We have done a sugar audit and made some changes again!


We also made the decision when the fitout of the new studio beyond the gate opened to get some help with establishing a new routine.  So we enlisted the help of an amazing dietician.  We had researched her and sought reference from one of her old tutors here in Christchurch.   And this dietician may not even realise the impact she has had in our lives!  Thank you Nadia Lim for returning us both to the habits we had before the Chch earthquakes.  We are cooking from her recipe books and now have My food bag delivered each Sunday.   We are in love with food again and the results are speaking for themselves – read more here on Riwais journey.


So cheekily I must thank Pete Evens and the caveman movement, my industry last year, all the supplement pushes, crazy diet fads and all the nutrition ideas that made me uncomfortable.  Thanks to this uncomfortableness and over whelmingness we discovered our own Plan!

Riwai and I are on track, and with the arrival of the Sugar Newsletter in our  inbox we took some time to reflect.  I realised that I no longer have anxiety attacks about Riwai’s diabetes, we moved house and I am sleeping through the night again, we are discovering local produce, having My Food Bag delivered, are inspired by Nadia Lim and other great Kiwi Chefs and Cooks.  Our health is back on the right track and we are continually revising our very own NourishLeap plan that works for us in our new kitchen in a new home!

So many smiles and hugs to that – just saying! 🙂

Ps I wonder where the conversations with take us in the next six months!

Pps Here is our revised list of Nourishing Principles….

  1. Each time you eat is a time to nourish and be kind to yourself
  2. Nourish so you can perform the activities you want
  3. Keep hydrated so you can work out if you are thirsty or hungry
  4. Eat BREAKFAST every day
  5. Get plenty of rest so you can make better choices
  6. Eat seasonal produce whenever you can and choose delicious vibrant colours and quality food that makes you feel hungry
  7. Learn to read food labels so you know what is in the food you are consuming
  8. Aim for food that is not in wrappers or that contains ingredients you cannot pronounce
  9. Nourish yourself with food you can give the entire family
  10. Include some occasional foods that you love and can savour so you are not depriving yourself
  11. Listen to your body to work out what and how you want to eat
  12. Work on developing a “The NourishLeap Me Plan” that works for you, your family and your lifestyle.



Oh and If you missed the sugar film then check this out…