Karina and I are super excited to share this very inspiring interview with you, we hope you love it as much as we do!

This blog post is written by Annabel.

I love it when I meet people that I’d like to be friends with, don’t you? Lisa & Karina are two of those people. We met fairly briefly at a blogging conference last year but I know I liked them and would love to get to know them better. Step one: coffee and lots of chatting over coffee recently which has lead to me writing a bit of a blurb and introducing myself to all you gorgeous Live All The Days people. I’m sure we could be friends too!

I am Annabel Bateman and the ‘Annabel’ behind the food & wellness blog, What Annabel Cooks. I am married to Leigh (15 years) and we have 3 boys, Alex 13, Ben 10 and Charlie 9. This is my crazy, high energy family:

I’ve pursued a variety of careers and businesses, beginning with law, then life coaching, motherhood, mediation in the family law context, food blogger, cookbook author and increasingly lover of essential oils & growing a business with doTERRA. Underlying all these twists and turns has been a passion and desire to help bring hope to others. Increasingly this is playing out in the natural health realm.

 What Annabel Cooks

What Annabel Cooks began as the modern equivalent of my grandmother’s recipe exercise book – a way to record my recipes in one place. Initially it was just for me and a few friends who wanted to follow along. Over time it’s changed as more and more friends, then friends of friends, then others wanted to check out what I’m cooking. My cooking is guided by what I eat, which sounds logical but it’s about what I eat for MY health. At the end of 2015 I released my first cookbook: What Annabel Cooks – Real Food that will make you flourish. It’s a book full of tips and tricks for healthy eating, recipes the whole family will love and are gluten, grain and dairy free.

My personal health story

I have Hashimotos which is an auto-immune thyroid condition. It was diagnosed 20 years ago when I was 22 and I have always been interested in an holistic approach combined with Western medicine to help manage it. This has taken many paths over the years but about 5 years ago the way I eat became clearer and clearer to me is critical to my gut health, inflammation in my body and consequently my Hashimotos. This has been an up and down/trial & error style journey too. In general terms I describe the way I eat for my body as ‘paleo-ish’. I don’t eat gluten, at all. 95% of the time I don’t eat grains either. I’m better off without dairy but have it sometimes. I mostly limit sugar to natural forms and again try not to have too much (hard with my wicked sweet tooth). I limit nightshades (eg tomatoes, eggplants) and try not to over-do nuts/seeds and eggs. I eat clean protein, lots of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats. I eat very well and don’t feel like I’m missing out.

Eating for health

Eating this way has made a massive difference to the way I feel – daily feeling bloated is a thing of the past. I’m clearer headed. I have more energy. It hasn’t been the total solution but it’s certainly a critical part. Does my family eat the same way? My husband does pretty much because he eats what I cook. My kids have slowly transitioned away from carbs (bread/pasta/rice) with every meal but they still do eat those things. They eat a healthy and balanced diet but none will chow down a massive salad and they aren’t the most culinary adventurous kids I know. They are getting better as they get older and are presented with less options! You won’t find lots of lunchbox ideas on my website but you will find lots of family friendly meals, breakfast options and snacks both in my cookbook and online.

Getting to the point where eating ‘clean’, real food is normal has taken years. Years of trial and error to know what works for me and to come to peace with those self-imposed limits. Once or twice a year I like to do a 30 day challenge where I go back to basics (no gluten, grain, dairy, sugar, alcohol or legumes) just to reign it in and remind myself how good I can feel! I’m now running these challenges as part of my business too and people are often surprised how easy and tasty it is after the initial sugar cravings and headaches have gone away! My personality likes the cold-turkey approach, but if you like slow and steady, that’s fine too, perhaps try cutting out bread and pasta ( & not replacing with GF alternatives!) and see how you go.

Overtime my body doesn’t feel addicted to sugar and gluten/grains in the way it used to. I’m not as attached to certain foods and I think some of that is habit and other is chemical as sugar really is physically addictive, so when it’s out of your system, the desire for it genuinely decreases!

Food hasn’t the been the total solution for my health though. Despite a good diet and taking medication, my thyroid blood test results haven’t been ‘great’ for a number of years. I see a holistic GP and naturopath regularly to stay on top of things and both have been on at me for a long time about reducing cellular inflammation – critical for the body to heal, rest, communicate and function at it’s best.

Essential oils for health & wellness

In step essential oils. I had NO idea that essential oils could be therapeutic, I thought they were simply smelly things. Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils from doTERRA have incredible health & wellness benefits. Not only that, the fact that you can COOK with many of them, piqued my interest too. Now I’m hooked. Not just because they smell incredible, add a massive flavour boost to my food but because THEY WORK! It’s only since using essential oils that my thyroid levels are in the right range and the right end of the healthy range! Even better than that, I have been able to reduce my medication by more than half and I can now for the first time ever, see the possibility of being off medication.

What I love about doTERRA is the absolute commitment to bringing us the worlds best and most rigorously tested essential oils. I can feel confident that the scientific research and stringent standards mean that I can trust them to use them therapeutically.

It’s really quite easy to incorporate essential oils into your lifestyle and benefit the whole family’s health. They are safe to use with kids and adults. They are cost effective and don’t have side effects. I diffuse oils (so they are breathing in the goodness) to boost my family’s immunity, reduce feelings of stress, assist with focus, provide energy or calming depending on the time of day or needs. We apply essential oils topically e.g. in my facial oil, on sore muscles, on pulse points and bottoms of our feet. I also take some essential oils internally (not for kids under 6). Adding a drop or 2 of lemon to my water, for example is a really cost effective way of getting the benefits of the detoxing/cleaning properties of lemon. Peppermint essential oil makes the most incredible choc-mint anything. I add ginger, fennel and black pepper when making bone broth. I use citrus oils in bliss balls or salad dressings. The options are endless. What I love is having natural remedies available to support my family’s health needs as a first port of call!

I am so passionate about health and inspiring wellness in others. If you’ve got questions or want more information, I’d love to hear from you. I can be contacted via:

0409 076 040

annabel@whatannabelcooks.com

whatannabelcooks.com

www.facebook.com/whatannabelcooks

www.instagram.com/whatannabelcooks

For more information about essential oils you are welcome to join my Facebook group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/inspiringwellnesswithessentialoils/ or go to www.whatannabelcooks.com/essential-oils

Annabel xx