It's time for another #healthspotalk, yay! Sorry being MIA on these lately, time has just been flying by and life got in the way. But they are coming back with a bang, because today I am introducing you to the lovely Claudia from Bare Vitality. Claudia runs a holistic health and fitness business in Balmain, Sydney, but also wears many other entrepreneurial hats. Like with many of my friends here in Sydney, we initially met through Instagram and hit it off straight away. I have yet to go to one of her training sessions, but in the mean time I'll let her take over and share her story with you.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Ultimately I love to eat and create healthy food, run, bend, stretch and be happy…. And then share all of this with others! I run BareVitality, a holistic health and fitness business based in Balmain, Sydney. I am a Holistic Personal Trainer, certified Holistic Health & Lifestyle Coach, newly Yoga Teacher and health blogger. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and personal experiences to support others in creating their own lifestyle that allows them to not just survive but thrive.
What was the catalyst that turned you into a healthy foodie?
I have always loved cooking. As a child, cooking and baking was one of my favourite things to do and I always loved helping prepare dinner and baking with my grandma. I was also very sporty and developed an interest in health and fitness at a young age. Next I was researching and experimenting and then educating my family on ways they could be making healthier choices themselves. The ultimate catalyst was when I was first diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at 16 years old and was told to avoid all dairy, gluten, sugars, anything artificial, night shades + a few other odd things. Which meant I had to become super creative in the kitchen! Back then there weren't all these amazing gluten free, sugar-free….. whatever else free recipes and eating out options available. Since living without chocolate and some other favorites of mine wasn't an option, I started making all these things by myself in my own kitchen.
Why do you eat the way you eat?
Because I just feel so much better! Struggling with Crhonic Fatigue Syndrome, making sure I do things that give me energy has become one of the most valuable aspects of my life. Anything that helps I give 100% too!
Describe your day on a plate.
I mix it up a lot however currently a typical day would be:
- When I wake up: A warm glass of filtered water and apple cider vinegar
- Breakfast: A bowl of whole grain oats with berries, coconut oil, chia seeds and nut butter + an almond milk flat white
- Mid morning: A bliss ball + a fresh veggie juic
- Lunch: A big veggie and lentil soup with a slice of sourdough or gluten free toast
- Avo snack: Some veggie sticks and hummus or a little cup of homemade granola with kefir
- Dinner: A protein source (chicken/ fish/ lentils/ beef..) and veggies + some brown rice
What are the 5 things we will always find in your fridge/pantry?
Almond butter, organic chocolate, an array of herbal teas, organic eggs and coconut oil.
What’s the biggest nutrition misconception you are always having to clear up for people?
Not to avoid healthy fats. Our body needs high-quality fats to metabolise and run efficiently. Without healthy fats, you are more likely to actually put on weight! I come across far too many women avoiding nuts, eggs, avocado, coconut etc..
Tell us about your workout routine.
Due to my health, my workout routine has to be adaptable. I exercise depending on where my body is at and what it needs. I am a big believer in creating a holistic workout program. In my fitness business I have my clients participating in a range of different exercise styles within their fitness program to gain optimal results.
Typically, I aim for a gentle 10 minutes yoga flow each day and I always walk my dog to the park (about a 10 minutes walk in total).
Along with this, I try to incorporate 1-3 runs a week.My background is in running so this is what really sets my soul on fire. I also like doing some resistance training using functional movement.
What does living a wholesome lifestyle mean to you?
Creating a lifestyle that makes you thrive each day. Loving who you are, respecting your body and building a life that fulfils you and gives you purpose.
What tips and tricks can you share with my readers who are suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
- Accepting that the journey is yours and this means that it is YOUR responsibility to take charge of your healing journey. If you wait on a miracle cure or a singular magic potion to heal, you will never properly heal.
- Address your health from a holistic approach: my healing and management program includes aspects from diet and nutrition, to sleep patterns, a movement program, meditation & stress management as well as supplements and prescription medication.
- Let go of expectations: those of yourself and those by others. Step back, be selfish and make your healing the first priority.
I know that you have come incredibly far on your own health journey, but that there are certain health issues that you are still dealing with today. How do you manage to cope with everything while running your business at the same time?
Through my CFS journey, I have been very lucky. Along with a lot of trial and error and persistence, I have managed to recover from about 85% of the initial symptoms. But as a result of my weakened system, I experience a number of other health complication which I have to manage from day to day. As mentioned above, acceptance of this journey is paramount. I've learnt that health has to come first! If I don’t place it as the priority, I am unable to give anyone anything- literally I become bed ridden!
I am very lucky that as a result of running my own business I have lots flexibility. I have had to accept that I will probably never have the health I used to and therefore had to create a lifestyle that makes me happy around my obstacles.
In doing this I needed to create boundaries on what I will take on and ALWAYS book in time for a midday sleep and reset.
Honestly, the hardest part of it all is managing the expectations of others. I try to avoid my health influencing my relationships (both work and personal) as I don’t want this to define who I am. But many people are unaware of my reduced abilities which can often leave me feeling the weight of expectation… all part of the learning journey I am still on!
What are your favorite healthy cafés in Sydney?
Living in the Inner West I seem to get very stuck in the Inner West haha! My favourite locals are About Life, Egg Of The Universe and Kafeine. I also did a post about my favorite Sydney hotspots here.
A recipe from Claudia - Raw Tiramisu Cups
Ingredients (serves 3)
1 cup almond meal
¾ cup dates, pre soaked
1 tbs coconut oil, melted
1 ½ cup raw cashew nuts, pre soaked
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp hymalayan salt
3 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs ground coffee beans
1 cup raw cashew nuts, pre soaked
2 tbs coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup dates, pre soaked
2 tbs cocao powder
1/3 cup coconut milk
Pinch or 2 of salt
Cocao nibs to sprinkle on top
- In a high speed blender or food processor, blend together the ingredients of the base layer until smooth and creamy. You will need to wipe down the sides of the blender regularly to ensure the ingredients are combined evenly.
- Using your fingers, crumble this layer evenly into the bottom of 3 small glasses.
- Clean the blender and repeat this process with the middle layer ingredients, spooning the mixture on top of the base.
- Finish by repeating again with the top layer and sprinkle with cacao nibs for an extra crunch.
- Refrigerate or spoon is and enjoy
Thank you so much, Claudia, for sharing your wisdom and very personal journey with us today. If you want to stay up to date with what Claudia is up to, you can give her a follow on her Instagram and Facebook.