When I was 13 years old, I went on a “health kick”, but it was never about health. It was about control.
I moved from Japan to boarding school in Sydney. I didn’t know where I fit in. I wanted to fit the country crowd, but felt I never could. I wanted to have my city friends, but the group had changed. Boys from schools we had dances with heard I was “from Japan” and threw racial slur my way. In a small boarding school year, there was emotional bullying. A boarding mistress pulled me aside one evening and told me I’d never have the grace, beauty or intelligence of my 2 older sisters. It was tough. So, I looked for ways to take control of a situation where I felt greatly out of control.
I decided to do a “health kick” and gave up chocolate, just to see how long I could go. It felt good, so the next food went, then the next, until I stripped my diet of anything deemed “unhealthy” and in my darkness, anything I thought “fattening”. Maybe, if I was very thin, then all these other things would go away. I could fit in. When I was focused on being “healthy” I felt control. So, it continued. A food eliminated here or there. No snacks. Food and weight journaling. Avoiding meal times. Drinking tea and coffee to stay “energised”. Exercise in secret. Pills to eliminate food. Purging. Copious amounts of water. Sometimes DAYS without food. Multiple doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics.
Starving and feeling I could “control it”, was addictive. But the reality was, what I thought I had control of, was 100% controlling me.
My “health kick” morphed into anorexia and bulimia nervosa. It stayed with me all throughout those teen years and chased me into my late 20’s. It wasn’t really until the birth of my first (Jet) that I began to shift the deeply rooted behaviors and thought patterns I had around food and my body.
At this time I was also half way through my studies in nutrition. As I started making changes with my own health, I was simultaneously learning the science of nutritional medicine to positively steer my body and mind in the right direction. A direction that was sustainable, abundantly nourished and honestly, a life with food that I actually, and finally, enjoyed.
I share this, because many of you may have arrived here seeing my beautiful images, videos and recipes of food and a positive, nourishing connection with it. I’ve worked SO hard at this because this is my past. Since those initial steps forward and away from such a disordered approach to eating and a very dark and negative view of my body,
I have combined my own personal experience with my education and clinical experience to help others understand how they too can feel their best. To feel empowered by their health by including positive practices and good quality food and nutrition into their lives everyday. To be gentle when there are bumps in the road with their health and know that with sustainable practices, you can move over them. To feel guided by someone who has been there too, and who is passionate about supporting others all along the way.
My work as a nutritionist
From humble beginnings
In 2012, Brown Paper Nutrition was launched into the world! Many of you would have known it as “The Brown Paper Bag Nutrition and Wellness”. I created Brown Paper as a Facebook page sharing healthy recipes and nutrition tips, alongside my online and face to face clinical practice with a focus on women’s health.
I wanted to really give people a “taste” of what good health felt like, (and I had a love of cooking too) so I set up a whole foods stall at the Bondi Farmers Market on a Saturday selling my delicious, nourishing muffins, raw treats, super seed bircher and various items I was trialing in my kitchen and loving. It was an INCREDIBLE time of connecting with my community and growing. It was how I met a number of people who then opened doors for me to work with them in the corporate sphere. It’s where I built confidence to integrate whole foods catering into my business too. It’s where magazine editors and other inspiring people in the media came for chats which then lead to my work on TV and in magazines. It was a big start for me. I was a single mum trying to make it all work. And it was definitely hard work, but it was so, so worth it for the people I met and community that built, and supported me in my work and life as a result.
Brown Paper Nutrition today
From a small market stall and clinical practice, to beautiful whole foods catering, a published book “Seasons to Share” (Murdoch, 2016), travelling around Australia and other countries in the world to conduct nutrition workshops, a regular TV segment on Channel 7, partnerships with incredible brands including Nutritionist and Ambassador for Remedy Drinks, being the creator of top selling nutritious products sitting proud on supermarket shelves with Mt Elephant, writing and filming numerous online nutrition courses, ebooks and guides, and having my gorgeous family throughout, I really do feel I’ve covered a lot of ground in the health and nutrition sphere. And, I’m still honestly just as passionate about serving and supporting my community’s health and nutrition today as when I started all those years ago. I learn and build on my own knowledge every day, and I want to pass that onto you.
So my hope is that when you land here now, and read mine and Brown Paper Nutrition’s story, you feel this is a place to find trusted, holistic nutrition guidance and support. It’s my mission to help you build a healthy relationship with food and your body, so you too can build a life that’s abundant with nutrition, that keeps you energized, happy and feeling empowered by your health, always.