A conversation with Anne Swain
We’re thrilled to announce our latest collaboration with industry experts and wellness professionals – introducing The Whole Kitchen’s Wellness Talks. Every month we will be inviting some of our friends, who just happen to be professional nutritionists and health experts, to sit down and talk about how they maintain a healthy lifestyle. They’ll be talking us through their philosophy, sharing some of their favourite healthy eating hacks and recipes, and explaining just how The Whole Kitchen is on hand to help support them.
We thought who better to start with than our very own certified Health Coach, Anne Swain, who has been passionate about helping people make positive lifestyle changes, having worked at UFIT running their signature Clean and Lean Program prior to starting The Whole Kitchen. We sat down with Anne to talk about what inspired her to launch the Wellness Talks, and to find out how she juggles a business, being a mother, and keeping up with a healthy, active lifestyle.
Why did you want to start the Wellness Talks?
We have such an amazing community of wellness professionals, some of whom are regular supporters of TWK, so I wanted to give them a platform for them to share with our community all their wonderful knowledge. A place for us all to learn, hear new ideas and be inspired to be the best versions of ourselves!
Talking about starting things, how did you start your day this morning?
I woke up at 5:30 before the rest of the house, did some yoga stretches and short gratitude practice where I take a few minutes to do some deep breathing and think of the things I’m most grateful for in life – it’s kind of like a mini meditation before rushing into the chaos of my day! I also like to make sure I have a large glass of water and a much-loved cup of black coffee. I’m doing a Gut Health course at the moment so today I had to take an online exam (which I passed!), but normally I would go for a run, go to yoga, swim, or head to the gym, something to get my body moving.
I like to get this all in before my son wakes up because from then it’s all systems go! We have breakfast and get him ready for preschool, then I walk him to school, which is just around the corner and a nice little commute and it gives us time to connect. After I’ve done all of that, it’s time to start my day, and honestly I can’t really describe that for you as no two days are the same!
What is a typical day for you? You know, what kinds of things do you do to keep active, and what might your day on a plate typically look like?
I try to move every day and I make sure to schedule it into my diary so it doesn't get missed. Having a young son, my husband and I often take turns for exercise in the mornings, so if it’s his turn I’ll try and do something at home, like a mini yoga session or online workout, (or choose to sleep longer if that’s what I need!), or I’ll take my son out on his scooter to east coast park in the afternoon. Once a week I also like to do an evening yoga class once he’s gone to sleep.
In terms of what I eat every day, I tend to follow my own version of a low carb/paleo diet. I don’t always eat breakfast as, personally, I’m not always hungry first thing. However, when I do eat breakfast I love having a green smoothie that my husband has made for me. On a normal day I’ll just have water and coffee and eat something later for brunch instead, which might be some gluten free toast with avocado, olive oil, salt and pepper, a bowl of coconut yoghurt with our Pecan Coconut Grain Free Granola, chia seeds, and fruit. I’m also a huge fan of just throwing together a salad with our fridge leftovers which tends to be veggies, boiled eggs, or some tinned mackerel.
Snacks tend to be nuts, maybe an apple, or our Vegan Brownies or a TWK mini cake.
We recently experimented with a vegan diet and it taught us so much, not to mention my body loved all the plants! We are keeping a lot of the principles going, so for dinners during the week we try to eat mostly plant based meals, like tempeh stir fry, vegan mushroom stroganoff, Mexican bean and roast veggie bowls, homemade curries and we’ll usually have salmon one night.
Weekends are when we like to enjoy some good quality meat, cheese and wine if we feel like it, or we’ll eat out with friends and enjoy all sorts of foods. Sundays are our prep day where we like to make a big meal that will last into the week, like a big stew or soup.
What does gluten free mean to you?
Although I have not been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, I know my body works better when I limit my gluten intake. I feel less bloated, sleep better, my digestion is better and I have more energy. I believe that a lot of people can benefit from eating less gluten, and dairy and sugar as well, so I want to empower people to try it and see how good they can feel!
Allergies is something I hadn’t ever experienced personally until we discovered that my son, who was very young at the time, is severely allergic to peanuts, cashews and pistachios. It has been a big journey so far, trying to navigate eating out, cross-contamination, carrying an EpiPen wherever we go and all the anxiety that goes around this. Coming from someone who loves and believes in the health benefits of nuts (and who co-founded a company that uses a lot of nuts!), it has been a challenge for me that I am still trying to figure out, but we take it day by day. Seeing the effects of an allergy first hand really solidified for me how important what we’re doing can be to some people.
If you had to sum it up in one sentence, what would you say your food philosophy is?
Fill your plate with as many colourful plants as possible, keep sugar low and healthy fats high, keep learning, be kind to yourself, and above all, listen to your body as it is our greatest teacher!
And in the same vein, do you have any affirmations, quotes, or mantras that you regularly remind yourself of?
- Big journeys begin with small steps
- Be the love you want to see in the world
- Be yourself
- The present is in the presence
I’m working on being kinder to myself, having more fun and letting go of control, trusting that things are just where they are meant to be.
Can you share with us, and our readers, your top three tips for living a happier and healthier life?
- Move your body everyday
- Listen to your body and it will love you back
- Plants, plants, plants!
Finally, just a bit of fun, some sentence starters, just say the first thing that pops into your head.
I can’t live without… nature, exercise, family
If I could eat only one thing for the rest of my life it would be… ha that’s a tricky one as variety is key! But, if I had to pick, the old me definitely would have said peanut butter, but now of course with my son I think it would be a seed butter, and some carrots for dipping :) (Anne assures us this is actually a delicious combo).
I’m most grateful for… my two and a half year old son who I learn so much from everyday, he is my greatest teacher.
And I relax by… doing yoga, going on nature walks with a podcast, having a cup of herbal tea and 5 mins to myself, and the occasional massage!
Thank you so much Anne, we're excited for the rest of the series, and can't wait to uncover some more insider knowledge!
Stay tuned for the delicious Green Smoothie recipe Anne talks about having for her occasional breakfasts.
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