A Q&A with Janella Purcell
Well-known naturopath, nutritionist and chef, Janella Purcell, talks to us about health, wellbeing and the importance of rest
What is your core food philosophy?
SLOW (Seasonal, Local, Organic, Whole). Seasonal — I strongly believe in eating seasonally, which is why I wrote my second book, Eating for the Seasons. Local — eating locally grown produce will usually mean it’s grown in the seasons it’s meant for. Organic — this means my seasonal and local food has been grown without the use of GM technology or toxic herbicides, fungicides or pesticides, and Whole — unprocessed, unrefined food just the way nature intended it to be.
What is your 12-week Deep Healing Program? Who is it for?
I decided to create this program as most of the patients I see have complex health issues. One 90- or 60-minute consult isn’t enough time for me to cover everything (although I try) that needs to be addressed. Plus, I found that unless things are repeatedly drummed in, changes don’t happen or last.
The other reason clients are having success with the program is because they are accountable to me (and themselves) each week, so they can’t really use the same old excuses they give themselves. If they decide they’re going to go to bed earlier, for example, they know that next week I’m going to ask how that was going. Twelve weeks is a good amount of time to make lasting changes.
How has GMO technology, toxic chemicals and irradiation affected and altered our health?
I don’t understand how anyone thought using left-over chemicals used in WWII warfare was a good idea. Regarding GMO technology, we just don’t know the whole story yet as no transgenerational studies have been conducted. We’re starting to put the toxic, wasteful and secretive pieces of this scary technology together, and it’s not looking good for us or the planet.
As for toxic chemicals, they destroy our gut flora, immunity, mood and brain, not to mention their detrimental effects on our flora, fauna and waterways.
Irradiation destroys most of the nutrients in food and, perhaps even worse, denatures it, making it toxic for us.
What are some initial signs and symptoms to look out for if the gut is out of balance or unhealthy?
Symptoms range from skin problems like eczema and psoriasis to the more obvious digestive complaints like bloating, reflux, SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), heartburn, and diarrhoea or constipation. Recently, though, we have added neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety and Autistic Spectrum Disorders to the list of gut issues.
What cosmetic chemicals should we avoid?
There are about 70,000 registered chemicals, all known to be toxic and carcinogenic. The detrimental effects of these chemicals on our health are well documented, but most of us have no idea about them or where they are. To give you an idea, they are present in our soil, water, air, food supply and everyday personal care and household products many of us don’t think twice about.
In relation to cosmetics, you should avoid these toxic chemicals: Parabens, stearalkonium chloride, Diazolidinyl/Imidazolidinyl Urea, Dioxins, Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate (SLS), Petrolatum (or Mineral Oil), Phenoxyethanol Propylene Glycol, Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) and PVP/VA Copolymer.
When it comes to sunscreen, try to avoid a combination of two to six of these active and toxic ingredients: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Homosalate and Octinoxate.
What are your top four foods to eat for a happy mind?
- Omega 3 oils from sustainably caught fish like anchovies, sardines and mackerel, or hemp, chia, walnuts or flax.
- Fermented foods like kefir, quark, lubne or yoghurt; or sauerkraut, kombucha or kimchi; miso and natto miso.
- Prebiotcs like asparagus, green banana flour and Jerusalem artichokes
- Wholefoods rather than refined foods. Processed foods are usually high in trans-fats, palm oil, salt, sulphur and other toxic additives, which destroy gut health (and have many other detrimental effects).
What does your morning ritual look like?
Wake, brush teeth or oil pull (this removes bad bacteria that has built up overnight), eat, take my herbs and supplements, feed chooks, and take a brisk walk for 30 minutes. Sometimes I meditate both in the morning and in the afternoon, plus I go through stages of taking aloe vera juice, slippery elm and apple cider vinegar.
What do you do to relax and unwind?
Garden, cook, read, play the piano, meditate, and my husband and I regularly go fishing off the beach. At the moment I’m renovating our cottage in preparation for my spring weekend healing retreats. I’ve found a new creative outlet in renovating.
You’re currently writing your fifth book, titled Complete Gut Health. Please tell us more.
It started off titled A Gut Full, and being all about the gut, but as I was writing I was conscious of how complex modern diseases are. There were many conditions I couldn’t leave out — those that masquerade as gut problems. So it went from a 30,000-word book to a 130,000-word almanac that covers everything from adrenal fatigue to endometriosis, obesity, SIBO and thyroid issues. I have included a 30-day reset (and accompanying app), complete with many new and easy recipes to get heath back on track. It’s not a diet book; it’s a 400-page guide, designed to treat modern diseases of the 21st century, naturally. It will be available on February 1st, 2018.
What’s coming up for you?
Getting the app ready for when the book hits the shelves is my main priority, plus I’m really looking forward to opening up my cottage (that usually doubles as my clinic here in the Byron hinterland) for healing weekend retreats. I’m very mindful of having enough time out these days as I don’t want to end up where I was three years ago, about to crash from adrenal exhaustion/fatigue/burnout, taking years to recover properly. Writing this book has made it very clear to me just how important rest is for all of us. For me, that means connecting to nature and being still.
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