This month’s Featured Friend Interview: Breanne Rice may look familiar to you … maybe you recognise her from The Bachelor, USA? Or perhaps it’s her new documentary ‘Too Ugly for Love’? Airing here in Australia on TLC. But the majority of you probably recognise her from her make-up free Instagram selfie that went viral, where she finally shared with the world her skin condition, Vitiligo.
Breanne began a complete lifestyle change and supported her body with the proper nutrients for a healthy digestive tract when she was diagnosed at 19 with the autoimmune disease called vitiligo. Breanne began to lose pigmentation on her face and developed what seemed to be a book’s worth of food allergies. Once she took down her chronic inflammatory response to foods and addressed the health of her GI tract, all of her digestive issues started to work themselves out. Her skin began to receive some of it’s pigmentation back, and she was no longer in constant pain with digestive issues.
Through Breanne’s own struggle she developed a passion for nutrition to support digestion, immune and allergy. Breanne is now a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner through the NTA and works with clients all over the globe. She has been published in numerous national articles and magazines including Teen Vogue and People, and is a frequent guest on national television programs. Breanne loves sharing her story to inspire other women to love themselves, despite their insecurities. We are so lucky to have Breanne share her time with us today and are excited to have her as this months Featured Friend.
Firstly, what does creating ‘A Healthy Mix for Life’ mean to you?
Creating a healthy mix for life to me means incorporating health into all areas. Healthy relationships, healthy body, and having healthy mind. When you bring all of these things into balance, you’ll be amazed at what magic in your life will happen. When you love yourself and your body, you’ll create an entire life filled with health and happiness!
Breanne, Life hasn’t always been this way for you though has it? What has lead you to eat the way you do and what does your day look like on a plate now?
When I was 19, I was diagnosed with multiple food allergies and an autoimmune disease called vitiligo. Vitiligo is a disease that causes your skin to begin attacking it’s own cells, and you lose pigmentation to your skin. At the time I was pursuing a modeling career, and I lost nearly half of the pigment on my face, which was very devastating to my self esteem. I wouldn’t go outside without makeup on to hide my vitiligo, and I hid it from nearly everyone but my parents until I was in my 30’s!
When I changed my diet and focused on eating foods that supported a healthy gastrointestinal tract and taking down the chronic inflammation I had been experiencing, many of my symptoms resolved themselves. We can be eating all of the right foods, but have issues digesting and absorbing them, or be eating the wrong foods for our body which can cause chronic inflammation and lead to other issues. I believe there is a direct correlation to the health of the digestive tract and the overall health of the body, making it so important to feed our bodies the right nutrients.
When I am choosing my foods, I always think fresh, local and organic. I want foods that are going to support my immune system, and that are not processed or loaded with harmful chemicals. I am allergic to gluten and dairy, so I am more limited than others when choosing foods. I eat lots of healthy organic meats, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats with minimal gluten-free grains. I also incorporate lots of fermented foods like saur kraut, and bone broth to help with digestion and gut health. Through my own personal journey I went back to school to become a holistic nutritional therapy practitioner, and I now work with clients all over the world, helping bring their body back into balance through food!
That is an amazing story and something that must have been so confronting for a young woman in her teens. Because of your personal experience you know that living a healthy life doesn’t just mean eating well … so how do you keep your mind and body healthy?
I believe health begins in the mind. I always say, pay attention to the way you talk to yourself, and the thoughts you think about yourself. I will challenge you and ask: What are the first things you say to yourself when you look in the mirror each morning? Do you focus on what you love about yourself and gratefulness, or are you focusing on negativity and what you wish you could change? When you focus on the positives and utilizing your own uniqueness, your life will open up the door to so many amazing and creative possibilities.
When you focus on the negative, have anxiety and stress, and what you’re lacking – not only will you be unhappy, but this also will effect your body and immune system. Our body is an amazing thing, and it’s got built in stress fighters and hormones to go to work when we choose to focus on the negative.
For me, I always start my morning with affirmations and prayer, and incorporate hot yoga and meditation into my lifestyle. This allows me to set the intention for my day, and let go of any negativity and mindsets I may be carrying with me. I also love fitness, and utilize barre, Pilates and weight lifting to sculpt my body into a wonderful healthy shape.
Breanne you are an inspiration to so many young women out there who might be battling something similar to you or struggling with self image issues, but who is your health, wellness or fitness guru that inspires you?
I love to read and recently picked up ”the universe has your back” by Gabrielle Bernstien. It was a wonderful book on how to love yourself and transform your fear into faith. I’m always looking for new perspectives and to challenge myself, and this book was fabulous. For nutrition I always read the upcoming and trending diets and foods, and being that I am a holistic nutritional therapy practitioner myself, I’m always growing and learning. One of my new favorites is Diane Sanfilippo, and I love listening to her podcasts.
What is your ONE Super Hero Food that you cannot live without?
I’m obsessed with raw organic cacao. I cannot live without it, and I will proudly say I incorporate it into my diet on a daily basis. Cacao has so many health benefits, but one of it’s key nutrients is magnesium. A lot of us are super deficient in magnesium, so we have a constant chocolate craving that won’t subside. One of my favorite brands of chocolate is sacred dark chocolate. It’s made from raw ingredients and it’s absolutely delicious (future boyfriend take notes)!
If you could share with the Raw Blend Family one piece of your wisdom what would it be?
When you love yourself and how you are uniquely and individually made, this will transform your life on all levels. You will want to put healthy nutrients into your body, you’ll sleep better and your quality of life and happiness will improve. I spent my 20’s covering up my skin condition (vitiligo) because I was afraid that people wouldn’t love and accept me, and I did not love myself. I was measuring myself to an ideal standard of perfection that I had in my mind and I would never measure up. This made me constantly stressed out which effected my health and well being. I gave up on pursuing the career I wanted because I didn’t feel good enough. When I finally learned to love and accept myself it opened up amazing doors of possibilities, and now I use my situation to help others love and accept themselves, despite their insecurities. Learn to love yourself the way you are uniquely and individually made, and you’ll be amazed at how your life can change.
We are lucky enough to have you share one of your favourite recipes with us, why do you love this recipe?
This is my pumpkin pie gluten and dairy free ”cheesecake.” I love this recipe because it’s free of all of the common allergens, it’s healthy and anyone can enjoy it! We are getting into fall and the holiday season over here in the States, so it’s time to bring on the pumpkin goodness!
Pumpkin Pie Gluten & Dairy FREE Cheesecake
Makes: 1 x 8inch (20cm) cake
- 2 cups pecans
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup Cashews (soaked overnight)
- 1 cup macadamia nuts (soaked overnight)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup canned fresh pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup raw artisana coconut butter (melted)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 1/3 cup water
Ingredients Coconut whipped cream
- 1 can full fat coconut milk chilled overnight
- 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Line an 8″ (20cm) springform cake pan with parchment paper.
- Blend together Pecans and dates into a food processor until smooth.
- Add Vanilla and cinnamon blended together. Spread on cake pan completely even across bottom.
- Place in refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
- Rinse soaked cashews and macadamia nuts and blend in food processor or high quality blender until smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend evenly.
- Add pumpkin filling onto the crust and freeze for 2 hours.
- Add chilled coconut milk blended with maple syrup and cinnamon to top, and freeze for an additional 5 hours.
- Take out cheesecake 40 minutes prior to serving and enjoy!