I believe that all successful brands are driven by a very personal passion – so I’ll start this blog with a frank confession. Food and I were not always friends. I grew up never thinking about my relationship with food. As a child I was only concerned with when my next meal would be, and whether it would feature chips or chocolate! But as I entered my teens I became more aware of my body. Bullies latched on to my larger size – and their words hit me like a two-tonne truck. Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure about food. I decided that it was ruining my life.
That’s when I developed Anorexia and eventually ended up seriously ill in hospital. The experience shaped my relationship with food for the next six years, until I made a wonderful discovery that changed my perspective forever!
My favourite frenemy
Food means so many different things to different people. Fuel. Taste. Happiness. Friends. For a long time it was something I felt needed to be controlled, rationed and be cautious of. I was told that calories were to be counted. I was under the impression that the only ‘nice food’ was bad for you. I thought that ‘low fat’ was a good thing. Of course, I had it all wrong! Eventually I realised that food is my friend – and I learned all the amazing ways that different macronutrients, vitamins and minerals can benefit our bodies and minds. I became fascinated with learning all about the ways in which food helps us to grow physically and mentally and supports us as we pursue our hopes and dreams. I think it’s remarkable that bone broth can heal the gut. Coconut oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. A cup of green tea a day can ward off cancer and helps our skin to produce more collagen. Food is amazing – and it’s most certainly possible for it to taste good and do good, too!
Knowledge is power
Recovering from Anorexia was a long and difficult journey – but although I was technically ‘better’ and out of medical danger some of the misinformed beliefs I held about food stayed with me. I carried on eating crap and starving myself on and off until I was 20. Then through my job at a magazine I met lots of different people – and a couple of them were nutrition and raw food specialists who offered some interesting new perspectives – showing me a side of food I’d never seen before. Around the same time I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome – so I was keen to learn how I could adapt my diet to alleviate the symptoms and feel better. Soon I began reading about nutrition and learnt the real meaning of what it is to eat and refuel and nourish. I stopped starving myself and instead made sure I was eating more of the good stuff – and unsurprisingly I started feeling much better! I also became passionate about creating recipes and incorporating healthy, delicious food into my diet every single day – and that’s what led me to where I am today.
The happy ending
Anorexia is tough to come back from. Years later I made an unspoken promise to my body – if I was going to have survived this and live with the various physical consequences of what happened, I was going to have to treat it better. I had to start looking after myself if I wanted to live my life to the full! And sure enough, as my relationship with food changed, my relationship with my body changed. I’ll never be ‘cured’ of body dysmorphia or the faint panic that’s sometimes triggered again over what I’m eating or how I look. But I live happily and healthily and have learned to love food because now I know that it is a powerful tool that helps both brain and body to achieve anything they want to.
Why healthy chai? A tasty treat with benefits
Life’s too short to spend every day eating salad (sorry salad – I do love you 💕!) – so little treats and everyday indulgences are important. It would be wrong to say that it’s impossible when popping to a café enjoy a drink with a friend or eating out at a restaurant. But that’s how it can sometimes feel for those of us with intolerances – or people who want to live more healthily and nourish their bodies each time they eat.
When we went to live in Melbourne I found myself in free-from foodie heaven. It’s also where I first tasted chai and fell in love with it! I loved the spicy, warming, comforting and nourishing drink so much that I’d pop out and have one almost every week. But when we returned I couldn’t find anything like what I’d got used to back in Australia – so I wanted to bring a slice of that back here to the UK, where the ‘healthy food’ industry is booming for all the right reasons with companies specialising in raw, refined sugar free, tasty treats.
Aura Chai is Melbourne-inspired, Manchester made. It’s whole spice, vegan, gluten-free and sugar free. I only use high quality, natural ingredients – organic where possible – to ensure that each cup of chai is full of flavour and a long list of fabulous health benefits so you can enjoy a tasty treat that feels good and tastes good, too!