Meet the delicious Alexx Stuart- avid researcher, recipe creator, explorer, truth-finder and mother. In Alexx’s words, she wants “to help people want to (not *have* to), make changes for the better in their lives, to help you feel more awesome”.
When we met for brunch at Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point, it was very clear from the get go that this woman seriously knows her stuff- we could have listened to Alexx’s wealth of knowledge on food, low tox living, health, motherhood, economics, environmental issues and MORE for hours! Read on to find out how Alexx turned her life around, professionally and physically, and how she can help you to be the happiest, healthiest version of yourself.
ALEXX’S GORGEOUS BUSINESS
Tell us about Real Food and Low Tox Living and how it came about?
Essentially it came about because it had to come about.
I had begun writing this ‘little hippy blog’ about four years ago now. It was nothing serious, I was just writing about my own research and discoveries around organic food and natural remedies simply because I’d had a pretty challenging health past. I soon realised that this was actually something I wanted to really explore not just for myself but also for other people because I’ve always really loved teaching so I decided to formalise it.
I thought about what I wanted it to be and I searched for brands names but personally for me creating a brand name felt like I was acting or trying to be catchy; so I just called it me! Its www.alexxstuart.com. I’m not a naturopath, I’m not a doctor, I’m just a concerned citizen wanting to spread the word on things that I think will bring a bit more justice into the world and a bit more health into our lives. We cannot think just about ourselves any more. It may feel scary, but thinking big picture and our place in the world, is what’s really going to help us live in a meaningful, lasting way.
I then added Real Food and Low Tox Living so people who were sharing and discovered my content could know what it was about and the business began to grow rapidly from there.
You’ve always been passionate about making a difference in the world, how do you hope to create change with Real Food and Low Tox Living?
Essentially it’s by raising awareness. A lot of people trust that if it’s on a supermarket shelf or on a beauty counter, it must be ok but they don’t know there is actually no need for testing on ¾ of the chemicals that are put in these products and I find that so unjust and shocking so I hope to make a difference is simply by educating people to pull themselves back into line with nature and to appreciate the amazing beauty in doing so.
I want to welcome people into thinking a different way rather than tell people how it has to be, that’s a really important thing for me because if we tell people how things have to be then we have them assuming we’re perfect, and we’re not, so I’m making a difference in small, easy bite sized ways as opposed to creating this perfect model that people feel they have to emulate.
Have you got any tips on keeping that work/life balance?
I love to work so I feel that the cookie cutter idea of work / life balance doesn’t fit me, I do however now really embrace switching off and nurturing my energy flow throughout the week.
I’m a real night owl so I struggle to go to sleep at a reasonable hour [which is to do with underlying thyroid issues] so I began doing a small 15 minute meditation each night to help me take it down a notch and prepare myself for sleep. I do that religiously for half the week.
Another thing I do, which is a tip from my naturopath, is at some point between 11am and 2 pm I put my feet up above head level on the couch with nothing going on around me, no music, no reading, no internet, no phone just nothing. Doing this actually recovers your adrenal system by up to 90% to do nothing but focus on breathing steadily and deeply.
What is your advice for others wanting to start their own business?
I worked with this amazing life and business coach last year, who works with people to align business with self. The very first session we did was around values. I had an idea of what my values were but I quickly realised I had never lived by them in terms of business decisions.
This exercise ended up being a mega uh-huh moment for me; what I found was when I listed and ranked my top five values, they were inspiration, peace, experience/adventure, changing the world and freedom, changing the world was number one on my list. My coach then challenged me to re think the order of my values, so I took some time to really think about it and I found that actually even with my values I bumped up the ones that make me look better or feel better about myself. Changing the world ended up being number four and the most important thing to me out of everything was inspiration.
So what happened from that day on was that I made every decision based around my values.
When you’re in line with your values you don’t feel like you’re acting, and when you’re not acting you flow and you feel more creative, determined, clearer and you feel like the those outcomes that you want in life and business are far closer than they initially appear. So my advice would be to work out your values before you start your business, so your business is in line with your values and live your truth.
You have said yourself you’ve eaten your way through pop tarts, microwave meals and take away foods what lead to your change in habits and attitude towards food?
Growing up I had a number of chronic health issues [in particular chronic tonsillitis] and the uh-huh moment for me came when I was about 27/28 and I got to the point where I had an incredibly painful ongoing case of strep throat. I remember being in my apartment in Bondi and I was in so much pain that I couldn’t swallow and I remember thinking there’s just got to be a better way. So I decided to go to a naturopath, who put me on a diet of brown rice, chicken stock and carrots all mixed together and that was the only thing I could have for two days. She also put me on an extreme dosage of natural vitamin c and within a few days my strep throat and my tonsillitis were totally gone. From then on I also made a lot of major dietary changes myself and I haven’t had strep throat or tonsillitis since… what I can tell you, I just haven’t.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, as a society we’ve just been covering up symptoms and not asking why it’s happening in the first place. You need to strengthen your immune system from the inside out and then the outside in starts.
What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your diet?
Firstly, I’d like to say that I don’t feel deprived, stressed or concerned about anything that I’m ‘missing out on’ by anyone’s standards.
So the number on non-negoitable for me is gluten as I have a gluten intolerance.
Grains are an 80/20 for me. I eat gluten free grains and grain-like seed in a social situation or every now and them at home, but I do try to avoid them as auto immune issues run in my family and starch is not so good for people with compromised immune systems.
At home we are 100% refined sugar free and 100% organic but if I’m out at a friend’s birthday or something and someone has made a beautiful gluten-free flour-less chocolate cake then great I’m going to hone in….I might even have a second piece! And I won’t stress about whether veggies are organic or not either when at someone’s house. You can’t control everything and over controlling things can bring about food disorders.
I’ve learnt about these non-negotiables for my diet on my personal health exploration and I encourage everyone to do the same and embrace the changes at whatever pace suits them. It’s incredible what can happen once you empower yourself with a bit of curiosity!
Can you share with us your favourite skin-loving recipe?
What you need:
(feeds four as a side, and 2-3 as a meal)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, light toasted in a frying pan if you have time
2 handfuls chopped, activated almonds. (why activated? read more here)
1/2 bunch chopped fresh mint
1 bunch chopped parsley
1 punnet small cherry tomatoes ripened on the windowsill a couple of days (fridges are the death of tomatoes!). I halve them for the salad
1 pomegranate, cut in half across it and then bash upside down with a rolling pin so the seeds naturally fall into the bowl.
2 medium beets, grated on the large setting.
1 teaspoon dulse flakes (optional for mineral extras. I like to get a cheeky teaspoon into most savoury dishes)
1/2 a red onion, fine sliced (I used a mandolin)
Your dressing of choice (I made a simple vinaigrette of 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 8 tablespoons olive oil, teaspoon mustard, 2 pinch salt and a teaspoon maple syrup with a raw egg yolk for creaminess from a pasture raised organic egg which you could leave out if that irks you)
What to do:
Combine everything in your salad bowl. Toss through to mix and then toss through once again to mix with the dressing. I always use half of the above dressing initially, then toss through and then add if still needing more dressing.
Cracked pepper to finish and maybe a few extra bits of chopped herbs for a green ‘splash’ on top.
Describe your day on a plate:
Breakfast: Usually eggs and avocado with chia seeds
Mid morning snack: a juice made up of cucumber, coconut water and fresh herbs, and sometimes a green blend like Shakti’s super blend.
Lunch: a salad full of healthy fats and protein with at least 2-3 cups of assorted vegies. Left overs from dinner are often incorporated into it so that it’s not hard work.
Afternoon snack: a berry coconut smoothie or handful of nuts, or our treat of the week [this week it’s an apricot seed bar]
Dinner: meat and veggies in various forms, always with a little stock incorporated for easy digestion. Always far more veggies than meat.
What are your top 3 can’t live without ingredients when you cook?
1. Stock: I’m such a geek when it comes to stock. It helps us replace so much of what were missing the modern diet by way of minerals especially, and it’s very healing to the gut.
2. Lacto fermented vegies: we have a tablespoon of this with every meal, it’s amazing for gut health.
3. Vegetables: I cannot go a day without fresh vegies!
What is your best-kept beauty secret?
Exfoliate with sand at the beach. Its natural and its free.
I really encourage people to use natural exfoliators, like sand or my coffee body scrub [see below] because all those micro beads in exfoliants at the supermarket are made of plastic and end up in our waterways which are extremely damaging to marine life who mistake them for food.
What you need:
Take the spent ground coffee from an espresso
1 tablespoon of celtic / himalayan / fleur de sel / dead sea / touched by the fairy godmother of an angel salt
2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil (more oil = gentler scrub)
2 teaspoons of vanilla bean extract
What to do:
Mix in a bowl. Put into a jar. That’s it. Takes less than a minute!
What is your skin/beauty regime?
I use coconut oil all over my body and face [I also shop at nourished life and try all sorts of fab moisturisers; I’m currently using is the cosima day cream which is stunning, they have done magic with this one]
I use Zuii and Ere Perez for make up and RGB nail polish because I love to do my nails!
What is your favourite lip nourish?
Tangerine and vanilla– it’s amazing I could smell it all day.
What is the best advice and how do you live it each day?
Think big and believe those little truths inside you deserve to be nurtured and grow. I’m getting better and better at this as I get older. I surround myself with brave, inspiring friends who take me to task if I waver.
What is happiness to you?
Happiness to me at the moment is discovering a joy in discipline [stay tuned on alexxstuart.com for more on this!]
What is your personal Monday mantra?
I have more of a ritual than a mantra. On Monday mornings I go completely phone free until 10am, including no emails or social media. I just set my intentions for the week and I look at what I want the week to look like when its finished to make sure that I’m on track in a joyful disciplinary way.
What’s next for you and Real Food and Low Tox Living?
I have two new books I’m working on and I’m also setting up a YouTube channel, which will be fun! Also shall be doing some workshops and speaking events this year that I’m really looking forward to!
If you’re inspired to be kinder to the environment whilst living a healthier, less toxic life then be sure to head over to Alexx’s website where she posts her amazing nourishing recipes, lifts the lid on toxic products and digs up the dirt on the food industry. Here, you’ll also find out information on her real food and low tox living workshops, corporate master classes, consults and coaching. Be sure to follow her on facebook and twitter.