For years I have had gut health issues, which now are mostly under control thanks to healthy eating. I still see unhealthy habits within my eating – seriously, I anger eat. When I get angry I storm into the kitchen and eat nuts! The food is healthy but the attitude is not.

I feel that what we eat is a great place to start upgrading our lives. To work on our relationship with food, so I am excited to share an interview with Lisa Strong a health coach who can frequently be found sharing her knowledge at some of Ibiza’s top retreats.

Hi Lisa, welcome to No Mum Is An Island. I am a great believer that no mum (or dad) should have to do everything herself, we can’t possibly know it all, and we need all the support we can get, there is a wealth of information out there to help us upgrade our parenting experience, to make our lives easier and this website is a hub for just that!  We love that you have upgraded your life by becoming a Nutritionist to serve your family and clients alike to get healthy

Lisa, you have a very personal family journey that led you to give up your corporate job and becoming a healthy Nutritionist, can you share that journey? 

I worked in Financial Services for 19 years. I earned really good money, had a company car, 2 properties, 4-5 holidays per year but what also came with that was extremely high targets, 3-5 appointments per day, 70+ phone calls each day to deal and 120+ emails per day. Life was pretty stressful.  When the credit crunch hit in 2007 work stress went to a new level I knew I had to leave and that it was no longer feeding my soul (EVEN tho it took me another 5 years to actually JUMP) I have never looked back. 2010 was a big year for me I got married but I also started going through a HUGE shift, and I sat down and did a personal analysis on myself, which I now use with clients, to look at: What I liked doing. What I didn’t like doing. What am I good at and What I really wanted from my Life….. Nutrition & Overall Wellbeing jumped out at me like a lightbulb and as soon as it did I started my hunt for my next growth & learning project which was a qualification in Nutrition.

My coping mechanism to de-stress in my 20’s was definitely drugs & alcohol at the weekends with a little bit of the gym thrown in. In my 30’s the gym became my no. 1 outlet going most days, training hard and not eating enough…

Health & Wellbeing began to take a forefront as I started thinking about wanting a child. I hadn’t looked after my body as well as I should have.  I went from having an eating disorder as a teenager, then to being a full-on gym bunny, to working hard, playing hard and still not eating enough.  My periods had stopped many years previous and I was told by a fertility Dr I would never get pregnant naturally. I remember leaving the hospital crying my eyes out and Phill saying well what did you expect him to say! I knew I didn’t want to have IVF but also knew I was meant to be a mum.

Through Reiki training, many other holistic therapies including 6 months acupuncture, reflexology, Chinese herbs, mindfulness, lots of self development, yoga, meditation, less high intensity fitness, nutrition on point eating 3 balanced meals per day and not eliminating carbs as I had for years, a shamanic womb healing workshop and finally my wellness coach training. I feel I finally got my mind and body into a balanced state to not only be able to conceive a baby but hold him for 9 months. 

I just believed and knew if I was meant to be a mum it would happen naturally when my mind and body were ready so on the 30th September 2013 I worked my last day in Financial services and then on the 7th October that same year I received the news no daughter wants to hear that my mum had passed away.  I was in Ibiza at the time working on a retreat I flew home to sort out all the funeral arrangements and just as all that was finalized, 2 weeks later I found out I was pregnant hence why my gorgeous little miracle boy is called Angel as he truly is an Angel brought to be by my Mam.

So there you have it you asked for my journey there are so many more rumbles and tumbles I could add in there but I think that’s enough for the readers to get a picture that with a positive mindset and with health as our foundation we really can turn our life around.

On your website, you describe food as  “A nourishing substance taken into the body to sustain life, provide Energy and promote growth” it’s a big statement as many people do not eat food with this in mind. What advice can you offer to people who are not yet taking this approach to eating healthy food? 

You say this is a big statement however I actually don’t feel that way after all food is fuel right? That really is the main purpose of fuel however most of the Western World these days don’t even stop to think about their relationship with food. Are you addicted to sugar because it gives you that lift you need, (But then knocks you down as quickly as it picks you up and then leaves you reaching for that next fix) I really invite your readers to think about what they are getting from the food they are eating. Is it pleasure? Comfort? Is it numbing some kind of pain or emotion?

AND as important is what the food they are feeing their children. Is it a kinder egg to shut them up, is it plain pasta with readymade sauce because its quick and easy now look I am not saying I am perfect as I think if we all work on an 80/20. 80% of the time we eat whole nutritious foods such as a range of multicoloured vegetables, whole grains, lentils, good quality protein, healthy fats, nuts & seeds and then the other 20% of the time the kids can have pizza, chocolate, biscuits etc I feel this is a moderate balanced way to live without causing too many issues when they are older. I have seen it in children who are starved of sugar completely and then get to an age they can buy for themselves and gorge on it. After all, teenagers always want what they can’t have right.

In fact many adults tooo…. So be mindful of that Mamas.

 Peanut Butter Cups with only 4 ingredients 🌷Raw Cacao 🌷Coconut Oil 🌷Agave 🌷& Peanut Butter

Your ethos is all about keeping it simple fresh clean and chemical free – can you share why these elements are so important to be healthy? 

Keeping food simple, fresh clean and chemical free is important because this is what REAL FOOD is. All this processed crap that many people fill their trolleys with on a weekly basis is not food but chemical laden products pumped with many synthetic additives that our body can’t recognize when it enters is it any wonder so many of us suffer from digestive complaints. What we eat doesn’t just affect our physical body but also our mental health.

You are a real advocate for Happy gut = Happy Mind what does that mean and what top tips can you give to help us get to this state? 

Yes, I certainly am an advocate of Happy Gut = Happy Mind, having been someone who suffered from severe gut issues for many years. In my early 20’s I could go a week without going to the toilet. Yes seriously now it literally scares the SH*T out of me haha… Most Dr’s now recognize our gut is our 2nd brain. Around 90% of our serotonin (Happy hormone) lives in our gut as does around 80% of our immune system so I would say on anyone’s standards these 2 things alone make it integral to optimal health.

The digestive tract and various symptoms are pretty vast however as a starting point I would suggest a good quality probiotic and although there are probiotic foods ie. Sauerkraut, good quality natural yoghurt, kefir etc.. For anyone with digestive issues I always recommend a top quality probiotic and don’t just look at the number of bacteria in them but also the number of different strains a good guide is 6 billion+ and look to have at least 4 different strains. Having said that the different strains of bacteria determine which condition it is best for.

The other easy tip that anyone can do is ‘Mindful Eating’. Don’t eat at your desk or in front of the TV, and chew your food well some experts say 30 times however I feel this is unrealistic, for some, however, being mindful of chewing is important as our digestive system starts in the mouth.

And the 3rd tip is to not drink with a meal. In fact leave it half an hour before and half hour afterwards as the liquid dilutes our digestive fire so if this is already weak (which in many with digestive complaints it is) this is weakening it further during meals.

Many people are aware of gut health because they suffer from stomach bloating.  What creates this bloating and how can we combat it? 

WOW that’s a BIG question What creates bloating and how can we combat it! This is too complicated to answer in a paragraph as there are MANY different reasons this could a 121 consultation would be the best place to explore this issue.

You offer an Energy 4 Life Programme which incorporates Energy Exercise, Energy Balance, Energy Psychology and Energy Foods. What more can you tell us about this technique? 

The Energy 4 Life Programme is a Holistic Wellness Programme that looks at balancing our energy with techniques similar to Reiki, energy foods concentrating on raw foods, energy exercise which is yoga and energy psychology which looks at our thoughts, feelings and behaviours and its all brought together with coaching. In a nutshell, we support people to get from where they are to where they want to get too. Not necessarily in a business context (which is the difference between wellness coaching & life coaching) but from a health perspective.

At No Mum Is An Island we believe that modelling behaviour is the most powerful way we can lead our children. By living the best version of ourselves we are showing our children they can do the same too. How can being healthy eating parents affect our children? 

I feel it’s important we practice what we preach, it’s a mantra I have with regards to my work, as I feel authenticity is crucial and quite hard to come by these days. So if we are leading the way and showing them how we eat and talking about why and how it makes us feel they may not eat everything, to begin with however slowly but surely hopefully they will follow. Lead by example. So tonight I had tofu & veggies stir fry. Angel chose to have tofu & soba noodles without the broccoli & courgettes.

YES I would prefer he ate them but I also don’t beat myself up about it we eat together at the table he sees me eating all the veggies and he is still eating a fairly balanced dinner. He ALWAYS takes fruit as his school snack but he also likes biscuits and cereal.  Where possible I work towards an 80/20 rule 80% nutritious foods 20% his choices. The superhero tactic works at the moment, ie hulk eats all his greens hence he has muscles… I also use soups and smoothies to get more fruits and veggies in which works with him.

I would just like to finish with this quote  Nothing tastes as good as feeling healthy feels”  That includes wine, chocolate, etc….. Many people don’t know what it feels like to have constant balanced energy all day every day but when you do you will not turn back. I Promise.

You can find out more about Lisa’s work at www.strong4lifenutrition.co.uk and you can follow her on Instagram HERE

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