Growing up with a Lebanese mother, food, cooking and eating were an integral part of Janella Purcell’s childhood. The problem was Janella felt she was always overweight and didn’t have great health. It wasn’t until her early 20’s that Janella decided to change her diet and in turn, her life. With many changes made along the way Janella’s health improved and she was able to find a happy place with her weight. It wasn’t long before a combination of new diet choices, food intolerance and a natural curiosity with the desire to learn more, that Janella decided to study Naturopathy and Nutrition.
Janella has also studied Traditional Chinese Medicine and Transformation Kinesiology and has a deep interest in Ayurvedic and Japanese healing philosophies.
With all of this knowledge behind her, Janella now educates others on how to cook, shop and eat without using red or white meat, refined sugar, carbohydrates and fats, or anything artificial or processed. Yep, it is possible to have a great tasting diet that’s good for you!
Janella, here at Raw Blend we encourage people to create ‘a healthy mix for life’. What does creating ‘a healthy mix for life’ mean to you?
Balance. Wellbeing is not only about having the right diet for you, but getting the right ‘mix’ of rest, sleep, exercise, love, support, understanding, creative expression, clean water and air, meditation and play.
When I look at a healthy mix for life in what I eat and consume, this means I choose wholefoods to cook with, I choose organic and fairtrade produce. For me, food is medicine and I have a smoothie shelf with all of my favourite superfood powders to play with each day. I support brands that also encourage a healthy mix, being ethical, sustainable and supporting health whilst also looking after the planet. One brand that has this balance right is Lifestream wholefoods and we’re working together to help people make an easy choice to support their health.
With that in mind … what does your day on a plate look like and why do you eat this way?
My fresh produce comes from either my garden, or the local farmers market. I have very little plastic in my fridge and cupboard so that automatically means limited packaged foods. I bulk my grains, nut and seeds in bulk from either the local farmers market or health food store. The fish I eat is either caught by use, locally around Byron Bay, or else I eat a sustainable and ethical brand – in either glass or BPA-free cans.
Brekky – a smoothie with some coconut water, fresh fruit, Lifestream Essential Greens or Aloe Vera Juice, and some ginger. I’ll then have some Byron Bay chickpea tempeh or local organic eggs in spelt Mountain Bread or one of my ‘Seed Crackers’. I add pickled beetroot, hemp seeds, cucumber, avocado, baby kale
Lunch – Something I’ve made using one pot to last a few days. This could be Miso Soup with Tofu and quinoa and rice noodles, Dahl, Veggie Fried Rice, Fakes (Greek Lentil Soup)
Dinner – Lightest meal of the day, if I have anything. Maybe some locally caught wild fish and baked veggies, or my Seed Crackers and hummus or Tahini Dressing.
Living a healthy life doesn’t mean just eating well … how do you keep your mind and body healthy?
I really do believe good health is about having the right balance in your life. Feeling supported at work, also by your family, community and friends. It’s important I sleep at least 8 hours a night and meditate twice a day or 20 mins. I like to exercise so something happens each day. I’m not into killing myself at the gym like I used to. I’m now show more respect to my body by doing gentle exercises that I love like bush walking, pilates, yoga, lighthouse runs, gardening and generally keeping active.
Do you have a health, wellness or fitness guru?
Well, I feel I am the captain of my soul and the master of my ship. Our bodies don’t have a voice so our symptoms are there to tell us when something we’re doing, feeling or believing is not working for us. I really listen to my body as when I haven’t in the past it gets very loud and cranky, then all hell breaks loose.
My Mother has played an integral role in my life, especially when it comes to my health. She has led by example, which I find the best way to teach. She is 73 now and hasn’t slowed down on her exercise (she beat me up Mt Warning on my birthday last year. That’s a 5 hour return trip to the summit), she eats beautifully, goes to bed early, rarely drinks and has a strong and clear mind. I have been lucky to have been guided by her throughout my life, and still am.
Name me one Super Hero food that you cannot live without!
That’s not easy, but I would probably say olive oil.
If you could share with the Raw Blend Family one piece of your wisdom, what would it be?
You can eat all the kale and green smoothies you like, but if your life is out of balance – wellbeing will elude you. Work hours need to be reduced, as does screen time, too much stress, feeling unsupported and alone, and living a sedentary life. Good health comes from feeling happy and joyful most of the time; waking up feeling grateful and with a purpose.
We are lucky enough to have Janella share one of her favourite recipe with us. Check it out below!
Janella Purcell’s Super Natural Food Bars
GF. DF. VG. V. SF. GrF. R
You don’t have to use this exact recipe, it’s more of a guide. Never again do you need to buy a muesli bar, not now you know how to make these little bars of goodness. Plus the added benefit of no packaging. Soaking the nuts and seeds not only soften them to make them easier to digest, but soaking also removes some of the hard-to-digest enzyme inhibitors from the skins of the nuts.
- 1 cup pitted dates, or dried figs
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- ¼ cup Lifestream spirulina
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup cacao nibs
- 1/2 cup coconut shredded
- 2 tbsp maca powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp cardamom, ground
- 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Cover the dried fruit, nuts and seeds in clean water and soak for at least 8 hours, which softens them up. I soak them in the morning and then make these later in the day or overnight and do them in the morning.
- After soaking, rinse them in a colander and let them drain.
- Place the soaked dried fruit and nuts/seeds in your food processor and whiz for a minute to get a chunky paste.
- Add in the remaining ingredients. You may need to add a little water to get it to a nice puree, scraping down the sides once or twice. At this point you should have a thick paste that kind of looks like granola. If it’s too dry, add in 1/4 cup more coconut oil and process again. The processing will heat the coconut oil enough to help it blend everything else together.
- You could also make these into bite-sized balls or scoop the mixture out into a large glass pan and press it down firmly with a spoon to even everything out.
- Freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for one hour to harden the bars or balls If you make these as bars, cut them with a knife and package them individually.
Note: These will keep for one week in the fridge and 1 month in the freezer.
– Add chia and flax meal, goji