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Health is the cornerstone of every life.  If you are not well, you cannot live the life that you want to live!  It stops you from achieving professionally, personally and individually.

There is so much saturation with health information in the market place today, that I often find people telling me that they are left feeling hopeless with respect to how to get healthy!  The key messages I get are that there is so much information and how does one decipher which source is correct?  It creates so much confusion that often times people are left feeling helpless and confused as to how to make a start to getting healthy.

I don’t prescribe a certain diet or methodology.  I do prescribe encouraging people to look within and listening to their own bodies.  Based on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition school of thought (more on this under Courses – IIN), we are all different when it comes to what sort of foods work for individual people.  Therefore, it’s very important that people look to their own bioindividual solutions to get healthy.

The key fundamental thing to getting healthy is to have the right mindset and to understand your individual triggers!  More on this below!

Why get healthy?

1.  Cognitive Health

For me, being healthy is all about being in a body that functions well cognitively and that allows me to perform the numerous functions that I need to get through in any given day as a full time single parent in a way that I love my life and have fun!  I need a lot of energy as I am forever chasing a very energetic 10 year old boy, so being healthy is at the cornerstone of everything that I do.

2.  Longevity
I am committed to living a long and healthy life.  I always joke that I intend to live to 125 years and I really believe I will.  I want to live a long life as I have a lot to get done in this lifetime, but most importantly, I want to live it well!

How did I get healthy?

I have listed below some of the things that worked for me and helped me get healthy.    Remember, we are all different and what worked for me may not necessarily work for others.  However, having said that there are some key and fast rules behind some of the things that I did which relied on evidence-based scientific research!

1. Gave up my stressful life 
I was a Chartered Accountant for the past 13 years and lived an extremely stressed out life.  If it wasn’t month end, half-year end, year-end it was special projects, new developments, staff issues.. an endless list of work tasks that always spilled out of my everyday life into my personal life and I was forever working up to 10 to 12 hour days, bringing work home and going in to complete work on weekends! My life was a mess! I had lost my balance!  I had lost my health! I was in a state of flux!  I worked my last day for an employer on 20 July 2012 and I have not looked back since!  Immediately, upon ceasing my job, I noticed that I was less stressed, started focusing more on my personal life and wellbeing and started to regain my balance.  By far, this has been the number one thing that has helped shape the life that I currently have now and I am loving it!  I intend to never lose my balance ever again!

2.  Started eating healthy and got a Thermomix! 
Growing up in an Italian family, food has always been very important.  I grew up with the catch-phrase, “Mangia, Mangia!!!”.   I was privileged to have an amazing mum and nonna that grew their own vegetables, fruit trees and poultry and made amazing meals.  There were no processed foods in our household growing up.  My siblings and I, didn’t even know square boxed packet foods existed until we left home.  So making the transition to healthy eating was easier for me as I had a great grounding.  I had started to lose my way over the years as a busy accountant.  I would often find that I was dining out at nice restaurants more frequently and I was starting to cut corners with some processed food pantry items.  One of the first things that I did that fundamentally changed my life forever was to remove all the processed foods from my pantry and get a Thermomix.  I went from buying organic bread and paying $10 for a loaf of bread to making my own from my own basic ingredients in the Thermomix overnight!  I make my own gluten-free flour!!! The transition was very easy once I had the relevant kitchen tool as the Thermomix does all the hard work for me.  I now make my own bread, pastas, ice creams, crackers, desserts, pizzas.. I am saving an average of $70 per week from making my own food and absolutely loving it!  The healthy food that I make from scratch has changed my life!  I am quite proud of my culinary efforts which can be viewed here http://instagram.com/rickietamburro.  I am forever sharing my food exploits on Instagram!!!

3. Giving up alcohol
I gave up alcohol for good on 27 August 2012.  I have found that this has made a significant difference in keeping my weight down, as I am not taking in as many liquid calories!  It was not my original intention to give up alcohol for good but I went on a detox which lasted two weeks, I then extended to 4 weeks, and the rest is history!  I started to enjoy the mental clarity that I gained from being alcohol-free.  I found I was not as bloated.  I began to sleep better and had better mood control.  I also enjoyed not feeling compelled to have a glass of wine with dinner just to unwind.  I hated that feeling that I “needed it” to relax.  I now enjoy a cocktail or two but of the vegetarian variety!

4.  Started exercising regularly
I started to exercise 3 to 4 times per week and although I have times where I get busy and don’t exercise as much, I find I always feel better when I incorporate some exercise into my day.  The science behind exercise and the brain is compelling (look up Dr John J Ratey, MD) and it is for this reason that I make an effort to exercise even on days when I am not feeling like it.  At the moment, I am loving my yoga.  Yoga has enabled me to slow down, and really focus on the movement of my limbs and to become really present!  It has helped me look inward and harness my inner energy from the inside out!  I love my yoga!!!

5.  Undertook diagnostic pathology testing to get baseline results
As a Medical Scientist, I have always been interested in finding out more about the biological state of my body.  I undertook a number of different pathology tests to gain an understanding of whether I had any deficiencies.  This was a key foundational step to getting healthy as the results indicated that I had Vitamin D and zinc deficiency in association with heavy metals toxicity (mercury).  I also undertook a Bioscreen to understand the state of play in my gut and to understand whether I needed specific probiotics.  This was key to understanding what relevant nutritional supplementation I had to supplement with in order to get my body performing optimally!  I know many people that take supplements but have never had a test.  This is a very spasmodic and random approach and hoping for the best that something will work.  In my opinion, pathology testing is very important as it provides a baseline that provides biological information specific to the individual that you can then use to supplement appropriately.

6.  Vitamin Supplementation
Once I receive my pathology test results and understood a little more about the specific functioning of my body, I was able to, under the guidance of a good functional medicine doctor, start taking vitamin supplementation.  I have found that since I started supplementing with my bioindividual vitamin and nutrient regime, that I feel fantastic!  I have always struggled with balancing mood and behaviour, mostly anxiety, impulsivity and distractibility (I was recently diagnosed via a QEEG with ADHD traits).  I have found that since I started supplementing, that my mood is more stable and I am a lot more focused.  Cravings have dropped off completely!  I was your typical person that use to be addicted to chocolate and ice-cream, especially at night.  My cravings have completely dropped off!

7.  Giving up caffeine
By now you have probably realised that I had a mild case of food addictive patterns.  One of these addictions was caffeine.  I had been wanting to give up coffee for years, but found it impossible to stop.  I had my regular routine where I would have a short black at 10am another at 12pm and then another to get me through the afternoon at 3pm.  Sometimes another if I was working late at 8pm to keep me going.  This had created havoc with my adrenal fatigue and stress levels.  My sympathetic nervous system which was already the system that I turned to predominately, was forever getting turned on by my coffee habit!  I was in a constant state of fight or flight!  I just didn’t know it, until I stopped drinking coffee, how unsettled it made me physiologically.  I broke the habit in August 2014 when I attended the most amazing health retreat run by MINDD.  It was a 6 day vegan / yoga retreat with no caffeine allowed.  Consequently, I left after 6 days, caffeine-free and have not reached for a coffee since!  The habit has been broken and I have no intention of ever starting again!!!

8.  Maintaining the healthy equilibrium status that I have achieved
It’s been a full time, 2 year journey for me to get healthy.  I have spent countless hours researching the medical and nutritional literature in order to understand the science and to be able to apply it.  I now understand completely what my bioindividual health parameters are and what my triggers are in order to be able to sustain my newfound health!  The key message that I will give to anyone as a consequence of the experience that I gained from my own healing journey is this.  Understanding my stress profile and changing the stress levels in my life was the key factor that got me on track to regaining my health.  I was then able to undertake a systematic health and wellness protocol to regain my health.  My bioindividual pathology results enabled me to understand my vitamin deficiencies in order to plug the vitamin deficiency gaps that were playing havoc with my body and most specifically my brain.  I went through all my life having these deficiencies but never supplementing.  It was only after I had actually supplemented that I started to see my liver function tests normalise and my mercury toxicity levels go down.  The key is to understand what is actually going on fundamentally at a cellular level and then to be able to give your body exactly what it is lacking. Understanding the triggers helps so that you can start to be present to them and start to form new habits and patterns that will result in the desired outcome that you seek out for you and your health!!!

In the past, whenever I went on a health trip, I always found that I would somehow eventually relapse.  I feel that this time it’s different as I have made lifestyle changes that I have embraced and are now part of me.  I have never been so healthy, felt so alive and radiated health.  My friends are forever telling me how well I look and I tell them right back that I feel fantastic!

My one wish is that everyone can experience this sort of health bliss and to this end, I intend to continue to share my unique health story and inspire others to get healthy!