- Tell us a bit about yourself, what you do and what you are most passionate about?
I’m an entrepreneur with a passion for health and wellness, and am approaching 15 years in the wellness industry. I started a more public career as the blue team trainer back on SA’s The Biggest Loser and wellness consultant on SABC 3’s daily morning show, Expresso, and I love writing for magazines and online platforms – in 2011, Darren Scott and I co-wrote a book about his weight-loss journey titled No Fries on Us. More recently, I founded the LIVERIGHT FOUNDATION, an NGO which provided healthy free street fairs to the needier wards of JHB in April and May last year, and at the moment we have launched the sixth season of well i am, an online challenge which supports and incentivises healthy transformations with big cash prizes. On the production side, I launched a self-produced show called, ‘101 Exercises to Try Before you Die’ in 2014, aired on TRACE Sports Stars on DSTV, and now with the birth of my daughter, I am now putting energy into a new online platform called Mumentoes, which is dedicated to bringing holistic wellness information and tips to viewers about pregnancy and family health. I love creating wellness content to share with viewers, and enjoy the public elements of my work, including guest speaking, running workshops and speaking on TV and radio. On a more personal note, I love travelling, healthy cooking (and not-so-healthy baking too), reading, researching, time with family and of course now time with my baby, Bella.
- You’re a Green Monday SA ambassador, please tell us more about the movement and why you decided to join?
I have been a vegetarian for close to 9 years now, and I’ve never been healthier. That said, what I love about Green Monday is that it supports my philosophy of balance – you don’t need to commit to a drastic lifestyle change, but rather just ONE meat-free day a week. It is so attainable! Green Monday promotes an important ideal – that small, consistent changes go a long way; if everyone cut back on just one day of meat-eating, that would reduce one seventh of the world’s meat consumption!
- What other green practices do you include in your day-to-day life? (e.g. supporting local farmers, recycling, using cruelty-free beauty products, not using plastic shopping bags, etc.)
Our family only uses organic body and face products – including baby Bella and my pup, Harley! I only use organic, anti-cruelty makeup and we veto plastic shopping bags in favour of reusable material ones. We keep paper and plastic separate for recycling, use the pulp from daily veggie juices for compost, and stick to organic, paraben-free washing powder wherever possible.
- Name 3 things in nature you find most beautiful.
I love watching animals in their natural environment – birds, wild animals on game drives or cows, chickens and sheep on farms. Definitely no zoos or animal enclosures! Then, I have great respect for the ocean – coupled with fear! I find it mesmerising and it is one of the elements motivating my living in KZN versus more inland. Finally, I am a flower fan through and through! There are always fresh bunches of flowers around my house, and I love spending time in beautiful gardens or orchards.
- If you inherited an acre of land what would you do with it?
I would build and run a wellness retreat. This has been a long-term dream of mine – creating a beautiful getaway for individuals to recharge. It would include daily yoga, exercise classes, cooking classes, meditation and general wellness education, helping individuals learn to cope better, practise self-love and manage the stress of modern life. This would ideally be a farm environment with plenty of animals around, and some of the proceeds of a monthly retreat could go towards one of my favourite charities.
- If we came to your house for dinner on a Green Monday, what would you prepare for us?
I love a good wrap! It’s a simple meal, but a surprisingly effective one when it comes to pleasing a variety of taste buds. I’d offer three types of wraps to choose from – a regular tortilla, a whole-wheat option and a gluten-free or carb conscious one, then supply a spread of fresh toppings for guests to build their own meal. Toasted sunflower seeds and tasty spreads like red pepper hummus would be definite features! A tailor-made meal always creates a happier guest than a prescriptive one. Dessert would either be a delicious, avo-based vegan chocolate mousse, or a raw cacao tart with a toasted nut base, which always goes down a treat.
- Do you have a green tip for kids?
I think some general advice would sit more with the parents, in teaching their children first and foremost to respect the environment. Building this general respect can have a blanket effect on all behaviours, from not wanting to litter, to treating animals well to learning to recycle. It’s important to start this education early.
8.What do you work toward in your free time?
I love trying out new recipes – particularly baking – as well as reading, catching up on a good series or walking on the beach with my pup, Harley. Daily exercise is a real joy of mine, as is spending time with family and a group of friends, which doesn’t happen as often as I would like.
- What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
The decision to sell my gym was right up there! When I realised it was no longer my passion, I gave myself 30 days to either find a buyer or close it entirely. I had no back up plan and this was a real leap of faith for me – I just knew I needed to clear old habits to make space for bigger and better things. I got a reasonable enough offer, made the leap into a more exciting career path and haven’t looked back since.
- What makes you angry?
People not honouring their word. Congruency in what you say and what you do – on big and small scales – is a crucial element of integrity, and I am always disappointed if someone over-promises and under-delivers.
- How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Probably a good 200 pairs! That’s including every type of shoe. Shoe-lover that I am, I still find myself sticking to those 5 or 6 favourite pairs – they come with me everywhere! But in general, I am sucker for pretty detail and plenty of variety. Once a year, I have a clothes and shoes purge, give my housekeeper the goods to sell in her community, and we both turn a respectable profit from it.
- If you woke up and had 300 unread emails and could only answer 30 of them, how would you choose which ones to answer?
That is pretty much a daily occurrence for me! Depending on which projects I am working on at the moment, I will scan my mails for the people in high places who demand immediate responses – these are the mails that my company, invoices and livelihood depend on. Any mails flagged as urgent follow, then any mails that appear to be offering a new opportunity of any kind. Any personal mails from loved ones make the cut as well. Subject lines are very important for grabbing my attention, as is that little red exclamation mark!
- What would you say are some small steps that people can take to improve their relationship to the environment? (Nr.1 is of course to eat green every Monday [😉] )
It is exactly that – small steps taken consistently make the biggest change! I would implore people to choose 5 small habit changes that they find sustainable and to commit to those wholeheartedly. The whole world committing to a few small changes – be that scrapping plastic bags at the shops, going organic, or skipping meat once a week – can transform the planet! Much like improving one’s health, slow and steady wins the race and promotes positive change long-term.