I’m so pleased to have the opportunity to introduce you to Jane Gammage! She is a Life Coach, a passionate Graves Warrior, an inspiring healthy foodie and the creator of the blog A Journey with Graves. Whether it be through her honest and heartfelt write-ups on her personal journey to wellness or the amazing programs she’s created to help others find their way to better health and happier lifestyles, Jane will leave you feeling inspired. Her joy is contagious.
Meet the lovely Jane:
Tell us about your health philosophy.
My health philosophy is quite simple; eat clean, eat well and eat for my needs. I have had to re-evaluate my nutritional requirements since being diagnosed with Graves Disease in 2014, I am now very conscious of what I put into my body.
Over the past 18 months I have managed, by changing my diet AND my lifestyle, to get off all medication and manage my condition through diet, supplements and being conscientious about my lifestyle.
What’s your favourite part of your health-esteem journey so far?
I would say that the best part of my journey so far has been rediscovering the joys of eating simple, unprocessed foods and taking the time to plan and prepare meals so that I know I am getting the correct nutrition to help heal my body.
What changes were necessary in order to achieve your state of self-love?
You know, there have been so many changes but I think the hardest thing I had to do was realise that the pre-Graves Jane does not exist any more; I was always the last one on the dance floor, the last one to leave the party and the first one to suggest a night out.
My biggest fear was that if I couldn’t be the “old Jane” then who was I going to be? It took me a while to start to make the changes I needed to my lifestyle, but once I started people appeared in my life to help me make the transition, and now I love to stay at home and enjoy my own company and that of my family and close friends. My social life is completely different these days and other than the odd night out I live much more quietly.
What has Graves Disease taught you?
My experience with Graves was extreme, I had a severe thyroid storm and I almost didn’t make it, I lost half of my body weight and I could barely walk when I was discharged from hospital.
So for me, having Graves has taught me to appreciate my life and to live it in the best way I know how. I live now with a purpose and a reason and I appreciate every moment of my life.
What inspired you to train to be a Life Coach?
It had been a dream of mine to be a Life Coach for a long time and I had completed my training just before I got sick. Things obviously took a turn in a different direction with the diagnosis of Graves. Once I started to get better I realised that what I wanted to do was help people to navigate their way through their own traumatic journey and then I found that I was drawn to working with teenage girls.
What is your favourite part of your experience as a Life Coach thus far?
Being a Life Coach means a new adventure every day, I never know where my guidance is needed and it is the expression on a client’s face when they make a realisation for themselves that fills me with joy.
I am always grateful to be chosen to coach someone. I also love writing courses and workshops that help teenage girls and women discover themselves and their power, to reconnect with their inner child and to blossom into the goddesses they are supposed to be.
What was the inspiration behind your Holistic Girl campaign for young women?
Holistic Girl is something that had been sitting on a shelf for a very long time; there were two main contributing factors to its creation.
First, as a teenager I was very, very shy and my Mum sent me on a deportment and grooming course and I totally fell in love with it – I did some catwalk modelling, learned how to teach other to walk, sit, stand and generally follow the guidelines of good posture and self care and I started working with young girls to pass this on when I was in my early twenties.
Secondly, I was researching nutrition for my diploma and I came across a wonderful programme that was freely available for use so I grabbed it with both hands and I started dreaming up what was to become Holistic Girl many years later.
What does the 8 week Holistic Girl program entail?
The programme is designed to empower girls and give them the tools they need to navigate their way through the transition of their teenage years. The girls look at where they are now; physically, emotionally and spiritually and I help them to set goals, both short and long term, constantly working towards increasing their self esteem and confidence.
We look at nutrition, fitness and lifestyle as well as basic grooming and deportment. I have produced a daily journal for the girls to carry with them at all times with sections to record their daily eating, drinking and movement along with lots of fun activities for them to do.
Tell us about your Campaign – My Journey to Wellness. What motivated you to begin this campaign and what do you hope to accomplish?
The idea for My Journey to Wellness came to me in January of 2016 when I came off my thyroid medication and I actually felt better than I did on them. I started seeing lots of posts and comments on Facebook from people saying they had their blood test results and they were “normal” but that they still felt dreadful and I realised that they just didn’t have the information I have.
If you have an autoimmune disorder you cannot treat just one little part of your body you have to heal your whole self. So I decided to demonstrate this publically and so My Journey to Wellness was born.
What inspired you to become the Healthy Foodie you are today?
Oh that’s quite easy to answer; I do not want to be on medication and I have learned (the hard way) that food is definitely the medicine we need. A big shout out to Hippocrates for all the wisdom we chose to ignore but have begun to rediscover.
Describe a typical day on your plate.
Typically breakfast is a green juice fortified with half and avocado to keep me going through the morning. At the weekend breakfast is more likely to be bacon and eggs or just plain eggs. I love eggs in any form so I can switch between poached, boiled, scramble and fried depending on what I fancy.
Lunch is often leftover protein from dinner the night before with a salad; a particular favourite is a kale and cranberry salad with an olive oil and orange dressing – its light and scrumptious and is a great accompaniment to just about any protein.
Dinner varies from roast chicken and salad to steak with a sweet potato hash or salmon with some oven baked asparagus, depending on how hungry I am. At the moment I really love experimenting with my spiralizer, making zoodles and ribbons to have along with homemade pesto’s of kale, basil, spinach and a variety of nuts.
What is a daily health ritual must?
Early to bed! I have suffered with disrupted sleep for a long time – even before the Graves – and now that I know better I try to be in bed by 10pm every night during the week. Even over the weekend if I am at home it is usually early nights for me.
What advice would you give for someone wishing to make some health invoking changes?
Only do as much as you are comfortable, take baby steps and be kind to yourself. You have to remember that your whole body has been affected. No matter what the diagnosis, so your whole body needs your love and attention. Also don’t forget the spiritual connection, whether you pray, meditate or talk to your angels. It is important to have a soul connection and a belief.
What’s your biggest health misconception pet peeve?
That the medical profession do not give all the facts and all the information to patients so that they can make informed decisions about their own health. You really have to go out and search for answers and not everyone is in a position to do so.
What is your favourite health food staple?
Coconut oil. It is so versatile and I always feel that food cooked in coconut oil tastes nicer and has an amazing golden colour to it.
What’s your go to healthy snack?
Nuts! When you eliminate foods one of the first to go is nuts and this was hard for me because I LOVE nuts. I am able to eat them again and I always have raw nuts with me.
What does Health-Esteem mean to you?
Health-Esteem to me is a feeling of wellbeing. It’s being able to listen to and understand my body’s needs and always being kind to myself.
Please share a favourite health-inducing recipe.
My favourite meal right now is homemade beef patties and sweet potato hash. Since starting on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) I have been completely hooked on these two foods. I have the patties for breakfast with some spinach, for lunch with a salad and for dinner with the sweet potato hash and some greens.
There are recipes for both of these items in various books; some have added grated apple (awesome for breakfast) and some with different herbs. Here’s my version of both:
500g minced beef
1 finely diced onion
Crushed garlic – to personal taste
Fresh ginger – to personal taste
2-3 teaspoons turmeric
Salt to taste
Coconut oil to bind
Mix everything together in a big bowl.
Form into patties or meatballs and fry in coconut oil.
I cook these in batches and freeze individually for easy bites.
Sweet Potato Hash
1 sweet potato, diced into 1cm cubes
A diced onions
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
2 teaspoons Turmeric
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
In a large pan heat the coconut oil.
Cook the onion until soft.
Add spices and stir well, cooking for about 1 minute until fragrant.
Add sweet potato cubes and stir well.
Turn down heat, cover and cook until potato is soft.
Keeps well in the fridge for a few days.
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