How would you describe your health philosophy?

In one word? Plants.

Plants play a vital role in our lives as humans. We share a symbiotic relationship with nature, depending on each other for survival.

Plants for nutrition – A diet that is predominantly plant-based, consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, has been repeatedly shown to reduce the risk factors of chronic diseases and improve overall health.

Plants for medicine – herbal medicine is still the primary medicine used in many parts of the world. When used correctly and tailored to an individual’s unique needs, herbal medicine can work alongside the body’s innate healing mechanisms to restore balance and promote self-healing. In essence, herbal medicine is like concentrated nutrition, full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals as well as the unknown/unnamed magic in herbs, they can serve as a gateway to adopting healthier overall health practices.

Plants for mental and spiritual health – Spending time in nature among plants can also have significant health benefits. Outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking, or simply barefoot on the ground can replenish our body with fresh air and vitamin D from the sun, while grounding us physically and spiritually.


Recent research into the practice of ‘Forest bathing’ reinforces what many already know, the mental and physical calmness we can experience when in nature.

Spending time amongst plants, watching a sunrise or sunset, and taking in our surroundings while breathing deeply can help us to spiritually connect, even for those without a formal religious or spiritual practice. Spiritual health is an essential component of overall health and wellbeing.

How did you learn about Natural Health?

My journey towards natural health began with my upbringing. Growing up in a family of six children, my mother made health a priority by keeping our diets clean and free of junk foods. I remember being the only kid with brown bread sandwiches and Promite instead of Vegemite. My mother also instilled in us a sense of environmental responsibility and was a ‘greenie’ herself. Recycling newspapers was just one of the things she did, but I recall feeling embarrassed using recycled porridge bags and wax paper for my school lunches, quickly unwrapping them and stuffing them into my school bag, worried about being judged by the sea of brown paper lunch bags and plastic-wrapped white bread sandwiches.

In my early twenties, I became a vegetarian. This was in the 1990s, and at the time, the Natural Health Society and Vegetarian Society combined forces. I eagerly devoured their monthly magazines, which were full of natural health stories of people who had turned their health around through food and lifestyle changes. I became hooked on learning more about the human body and its incredible capability to heal itself. In those pre-internet days, I couldn’t wait for the next magazine to arrive, and soon I was borrowing books from the library to learn even more. One book that particularly opened my eyes was Diet for a New America by Robbins.

Now, more than two decades later, I am writing for and participating in the same society that planted the seed for my career path. It’s amazing how life can come full circle like that.

Has your health career had a defining moment?

Working with cancer patients. I have walked this path myself and had the privilege of supporting many on their journey. One lady, Jan, had a profound impact on me. Jan was a sweet lady in her seventies with terminal bowel cancer. She declined chemotherapy, not wanting to feel sicker.

When Jan arrived, she looked depleted, but the love between her and her daughters was palpable. We created a personal health plan for Jan, including natural protocols, fresh juices, foot massages, and lots of laughter. When Jan returned a month later, the transformation was remarkable. She bounced up the stairs, glowing.

Although Jan passed away about a month later, her story was defining for me in two ways. First, lifestyle changes can transform health. Second, it highlighted the importance of ‘dying well.’ Jan’s experience showed that dying well is possible, surrounded by love and care, with a body nourished and able to engage with loved ones. Jan’s daughter has become a friend, and her mother’s journey has been a gift to me.

What is a health habit or practice that you think people often overlook?
Movement. We now are living the new adage ‘Sitting is the new smoking.’ In the Western world, most people, myself included, sit for extended periods while working, then at home use remote-controlled devices for everyday tasks. However, our bodies are designed for movement; it’s crucial for basic health, maintaining muscles and flexibility, and improving mental health. Regular walks, getting a sweat up and stretching for ten to fifteen minutes a day can provide extensive health benefits.  Many people, as young as fifty, are hunched over and stiff, but it’s possible to remain fit and active, as evidenced by Blue Zone and NHS members. It’s essential to prioritise movement to feel amazing at any age and enjoy a healthy, vital life.

What is the most common piece of health advice you give?

As a herbalist, I make a point of letting clients know that what they eat day to day is foundational to healing. Aim to make plants three-quarters of every meal, lots of greens and non-starchy veggies with a quarter starch veggies or wholegrains. Have meat-free days, starting meals with a salad, eat fruit for snacks and opting for vegan options when dining out. If you’re in need of a caffeine boost, try a fresh veggie juice instead of that second or third cup of coffee.

Afterwards, take a moment to check in with your body and see how you feel in the hours and days after eating different foods. Learning to listen to your body is one of the best things you can do for your health.

What is the best piece of health advice you have received?

To stop. By more than one person, lol. I do tend to be high energy but finding the balance for time out is my own health journey. It is important to consider all aspects of health, including emotional and mental well-being. Often, we push ourselves to keep going out of a sense of obligation, a desire to assist others, or a need to feel needed. However, these things become irrelevant if we do not take care of ourselves and end up sicker than those we are helping.

It can be difficult to find the time to stop and replenish our body, mind, and soul. To create healthy boundaries around our time, but it is crucial and even more so in the modern non-stop world.

Personally, I still struggle with following this advice, but I am getting there and feel so much better when I do recharge.

What is your favourite healthy meal?

My go-to favourite is a green smoothie. I am aware that chewing food is optimal for digestion, but I find smoothies to be a quick and easy way to meet nutritional needs, particularly for the time-poor.

My smoothie ingredients vary, but typically I include rotating greens, berries, mangos, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, nuts, and a green powder blend such as spirulina, barley grass, or chlorella. I’ll add some carob or cocoa nibs to enhance the flavour. Once I’ve blended everything, I pour the smoothie into a thermos and sip on it throughout the morning.