Welcome to the latest edition of my Friday Foodie series, where each week I feature my favourite health and wellness stars. Each week, they share their tips for healthy living and their favourite recipe.
This week I am featuring Melanie Eager, who is an Nutritionist and Wellness Coach. Melanie was one the amazing and inspiring people that I met at the Pro Blogger event in August. Melanie has recently launched her website Eager For Life, which you have to go and check out.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, what you do and what inspired you to lead a healthier lifestyle?
I’m a nutritionist and wellness coach at Eager for Life. I have recently moved from Western Australia to the beautiful Sunshine Coast with my husband and two fur babies, Randall my South African Jack Russell and Gracie my Australian whippet!
In 2013 I was eventually diagnosed with post viral chronic fatigue after being unwell for 18 months prior to this. During this period of being sick but nobody being able to give me some real answers, I went on my own soul searching journey. I started to question the food I was eating and the lifestyle I was leading. At the time I thought I was leading a pretty healthy lifestyle but getting sick was my body’s way of quietly telling me things had to change. I got a gentle wakeup call that I listened to but I believe if you don’t do this, your body keeps giving you louder messages until you listen. Luckily for me, it was enough to make me sit up and listen.
I had been working in the corporate world in a science role for 15 years but I wasn’t fulfilling my passion and I knew things had to change. I already had great scientific and medical knowledge but decided to take on further study so that I could add to this wealth of knowledge and teach others how to be healthier and happier. It took me a further couple of years before another wakeup call of corporate burn out really taught me to let go of the big salary, the interstate travel and the flashy hotels and step out of my comfort zone to teach others how to live the best life possible.
This was one of the scariest, but most fulfilling decisions that I have ever had to make. Your health is your wealth and I wanted to reclaim this and teach others to do the same. Now every day I live my passion and I am so blessed and grateful for this. I want to reach as many people as possible to regain their health so that they too can regain their wealth.
What tips would you give to someone who has just commenced living a healthier lifestyle?
Don’t be hard on yourself. Take it step by step and work on it slowly. It’s a constant learning curve that can be fraught with confusion. Find what works for YOUR body because we are all so different. I would also recommend not starting to remove things from your diet. Start slowly adding things, such as lemon water first thing in the morning and you will find you naturally start to let the unhealthy habits go as they no longer feel good for you and your body.
I would also suggest trying to buddy up with a friend or colleague to motivate and spur each other on. Offer to bring lunch to work on alternative days or go for a walk together at lunch time. There is nothing more motivating than starting to live a healthier lifestyle alongside somebody else for support and encouragement.
Do you have any tips for eating well on a budget?
My top tip would be to shop local as much as you can. I am very blessed where I live in Queensland that there are numerous farmers markets with an amazing selection of fruit and vegetables. There are also so many roadside stalls, which I am totally in love with. Get to know who grows what in your local area and exchange produce. If you eat local and in season you will find that your shopping bill decreases and your health increases!
Don’t be afraid also to make a big healthy pot of something (soup, curry, stew) and either freeze it or have it again a day or so later.
How do you deal with food struggles from your children and/or family?
I don’t have any children and can’t complain about how well my dogs eat, especially my whippet-she has an amazing appetite! I do most of the cooking at home but my husband and I have similar beliefs and philosophies so there are normally no issues, but he does like to snack more than me! So I always make sure there is a good supply of bliss balls and healthy snacks in the freezer for him to take to work.
We also live by the 80/20 rule so we eat well the majority of the time, therefore an occasional (less healthy) snack is fine.
What is your favourite food?
Curry or kale, that’s a hard one to choose between. But I could eat both for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Who is your favourite foodie and why?
Vegie Head Adele has to be my favourite foodie. She is a great inspiration to me, showing people how healthy and nutritious plant based food can be. She is also very authentic and genuine and that is an extremely important value to me personally and in running a business. I am a great believer in ‘walking your talk’ and she certainly does this.
What is something that you enjoy doing when you have some ‘me’ time?
I love to get outside and be active, whether that’s taking my two dogs for a walk, going for a stand up paddle or a run. I grew up in the UK and moved to Australia 10 years ago for a much more active, outdoors lifestyle. So I embrace this as much as I can. We also love to go camping as much as we can-it’s a great family holiday for us that we all enjoy.
In January this year I ran my first ultra-marathon (50km) and I am keen to sign up for another ultra event next year. We moved to the Sunshine Coast a month ago and I am currently enjoying exploring the new area and finding some great running trails.
What is your favourite recipe to cook? Can you share the recipe with us?
Chia puddings are a great favourite of mine, because they are a healthy food that can be eaten for breakfast, a snack or dessert.
I know you love them too Vanessa so in honour of us both recently moving to Queensland I made this recipe for us:
Passionfruit Chia Pudding
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 3 passion fruit, cut in half with middle scooped out plus extra for topping
- Optional: 1 tablespoon sweetner such as rice malt syrup
Add all ingredients to a high speed blender or food processer and blend until combined.
Pour into a bowl and stir to ensure that none of the chia seeds are clumped together
Place in the fridge for about 4-8 hours, ideally overnight
Add fresh passionfruit as a topping when ready to serve
A little more about Melanie and where you can find her.
Melanie’s youthful presence belies a deep belief in helping others. With two science degrees from London University, a science career spanning nearly two decades and an ever increasing knowledge in the role of nutrition and complementary therapies Melanie is uniquely placed to guide you through the maze of wellness options. Sharing her personal journey from chronically fatigued to running an ultra-marathon Melanie will inspire you to get your health on track and offers a smorgasbord of options from tailored coaching sessions to vital nutritional guidance. Whatever options you choose with Melanie you will find her energy and commitment to you will leave you Eager for Life.
Although Melanie is located in Queensland, all coaching is carried out via skype and Melanie currently has clients all over Australia
Website - www.eagerforlife.com.au
Facebook - www.facebook.com/eagerforlife
Instagram - https://instagram.com/eager.for.life