Australasia’s leading nutritional biochemist, author and speaker Dr. Libby Weaver is empowering women all over the world to take control of their health. Whether it be through a TED Talk to thousands of people, a one-on-one consultation or through one of her five number one selling books, Dr. Libby is turning everything you thought you knew about health, weight loss and happiness on its head!
What we love move about Dr. Libby is her way of breaking down even the most complex concepts about health and the body in a way that anyone can understand and learn from. This, coupled with her natural ability to relate and empathise with all demographics (especially with all the mum’s out there!) makes Dr. Libby one of our favourite holistic health gurus.
You were at university for 14 years studying nutrition and dietetics, as well as completing a PHD in biochemistry- did you always know this is what you wanted to do?
No, I had no idea what I wanted to do as a child. I loved school and I loved learning but I had no idea what I was going to do when I grew up. I’ve always loved writing so for a while I thought maybe I’d be a journalist but when it came down to it, I knew all I really enjoyed writing about was food and nutrition.
The other part of it was more emotional – I’ve always wanted to help people answer the question: why do you do what you do when you know what you know?
Once I started studying nutrition at university I loved it right from day one and fell more in love with it as I went as I was just blown away at what an absolute miracle we are.
Why do you think you have established such a huge following? What is it about you that people love and relate to?
I feel like my message really resonates with people. I understand what it’s like to be busy, even though my job is my passion, I do run my own business so my life can be very busy. I can really empathise with people especially with women who juggle 1000 things in a day including being the main provider of food so I speak to them from a place of understanding and not from judgement.
I also feel that the message has been so well accepted because it’s holistic. I don’t say that if you eat x y z then everything will be ok because it won’t necessarily, but I get people to explore how they eat, drink, think, move, believe and perceive and it’s that whole big picture that gives me a complete approach to a person’s wellbeing.
At Luk Beautifood we’re about enhancing a woman’s natural beauty from the inside out, tell us about your book ‘Beauty from the Inside Out’?
‘Beauty from the Inside Out’ is something I feel so passionately about.
I originally wrote the book so people could see that all the ‘beauty bits’ so hair skin eyes nails etc. all of those things rely 100% on the nutrients that are available to them. When you eat real food, you provide those ‘beauty bits’ with the nutrients they need to drive all of the biochemical reactions that create amazing skin hair and nails etc.
An even bigger point that I hope came out of my book is that too many people today live with the fight or flight response turned on all the time. This response produces adrenalin, which is the main hormone that tells your body that it’s in danger and therefore all the nutrient rich blood is diverted to your peripheries so the last thing your body is going to do when it think it’s in danger is send calcium to your fingernails to strengthen them!
When you’re constantly living in that flight or fight zone all the nutrients are diverted to ensuring survival and are therefore unavailable to the beauty bits. So for some people, bringing restorative practises into their lives can be game changing as it gets them out of that stress response so a really great new beauty ritual would be to do some restorative practises like restorative yoga or ti chi.
Have you got any tips for keeping a work/life balance?
I could not do what I do without my own personal restorative practices. I’ve done them now for 12 years. I have a morning ritual with some restorative practises that I do every day and I also eat amazingly well.
Those are my physical rituals but the other big thing is my attitude. I am really in touch with how privileged I am. I want others to realise that they themselves are very precious and to treat themselves accordingly because when you’re in touch with that, the way you nourish yourself with food and with thoughts will serve you to be the best you can be.
For others out there wanting to start their own business, what is your advice?
Be passionate about what you do and be prepared to put in massive hours. The beauty of owning your own business is getting to do what you love with some flexibility. But in saying that, when you work for yourself it’s even harder to maintain that work/life balance as you’re usually 20 times busier than you ever were before and you really do have to make sure you take care of yourself through the journey- that’s critical when you run your own business.
My husband taught me a way to break everything up into three horizons, which helps me to view the whole thing as a process. So my advice is to be patient so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Rome wasn’t built in a day!
What is your daily skin/beauty routine?
When I have a shower in the morning I wash my face just with water and then use a toner and moisturiser. I also cleanse and tone at the end of the day.
Sometimes when I’m working from home for the day, I have a combination of oils that I press into my face which really nourishes my skin.
I only use organic or bio-dynamically grown skin care and mineral make up because your skin is a direct route to your blood supply, I mean we’ve only got to think about the way nicotine patches work to understand that.
What is your best-kept beauty secret?
It’s to realise that life is precious and that each person is a miracle and we need to treat ourselves accordingly because when you eat, drink, move, think, believe and perceive in a way that serves you, you’re in touch with how precious life is, so that’s the beauty secret.
How do you nourish your body from the inside to keep yourself looking gorgeous on the outside? Can you see the difference that eating organic, nourishing, whole-foods has on your hair, skin, nails etc.?
The whites in your eyes become whiter very quickly when you first make changes to the way you eat.
Next, the skin clears and the texture really improves. Because the skin rejuvenates itself every 28 days, so you take better care of yourself with how you eat, you tend to notice the difference within about a month.
It’s really important that people understand that your skin is an organ made of three layers, but the outside layer is dead. The cells that form the outside layer are born at the bottom of the second layer and the best way to influence the way the outside looks like is to influence the environment in to which the skin cells are born. The health of your new skin cells is directly influenced by what nutrients are available to them so I want people to understand that if they are only looking after the outside, they’re just trying to repair dead skin cells, you’ve got to nourish from the inside out to see a difference.
What is one of the biggest misconceptions about food and diet you want to clear up for people?
That there is one way of eating that fits everybody. That’s not true. People need to be in touch with what energises them personally as opposed to following a trend or labelling themselves like ‘paleo’ or ‘vegan’.
I’m all for people sticking to something that they feel really passionate about and that serves their physical health and the planet but I can’t bare it when someone says ‘oh I’m paleo’ just because its popular right now. Do what serves you and your body.
Can you share with us one of your favourite skin-loving recipes?
Pumpkin Seed Milk Shake- this is the perfect shake for anyone with skin problems. The nutrients in the banana, pumpkin seeds and avocado are highly beneficial for troubled complexions. Have a shake as a snack and give yourself a healthy dose of zinc in the process.
1 cup pumpkin seeds, raw and unsalted
1 medium banana, peeled, chopped and frozen
4 fresh dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
¼ large avocado, or ½ small avocado
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 to 4 cups filtered water
- Combine the pumpkin seeds with the frozen banana and chopped dates in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until fairly smooth.
- Add the avocado, vanilla extract and the pinch of salt.
- With the motor running, start adding the filtered water. When the mixture achieves the consistency you desire, stop adding water and serve in a tall glass
Describe your day on a plate for us:
Then, if I’m on the road I will have my green powder mixed with water. At home, if I feel like a green smoothie I’ll make one up using lots of green vegies with udos oil [a plant based essential fatty acid] and almond butter because fat really nourishes and satisfies me. (I especially love organic butter!)
Other times I feel like eggs with avocado, spinach and mushrooms.
Lunch- I’m usually out and about or travelling more often than not so I usually grab something from a local organic café.
Dinner- I make something from one of my cookbooks ‘Real Food Chef’ or ‘Real Food Kitchen’ or if I’m out or on the road I always order a big bowl of steamed vegies and sometimes I’ll add other things to that.
What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your diet?
I don’t eat anything artificial; no preservatives, flavours or colours and nothing artificial but I do try to remain really flexible. If I’m at a friend’s house who has prepared a meal for us, I take the gratitude in that offering as opposed to freaking out about what’s gone into it. I call myself a flexitarian.
What are your top three ‘can’t’ live without’ ingredients when you cook and why?
- Avocado because it’s got 19 nutrients in it and it’s so satisfying.
- Parsley because it’s high in chlorophyll and it’s just so good for your blood.
- Lemon because I love how it stimulates digestion and I love the sourness of it.
What is happiness to you?
Seeing the light go on in someone’s eyes when they get back in touch with how precious they are.
What is the best advice you have ever been given and how do you live it?
My Mother gave me the serenity prayer when I was 8 years old:
‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, have the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.’
This prayer brings me a lot of peace because there are things that I see in the world that I don’t like and if I can do something about it then I will but there are times when I can’t and fighting with that can be really destructive and exhausting so I feel like that prayer has really served me.
What’s next for you and your business?
We’ve just done the photo-shoot for our next lot of recipes! I don’t know when we’re going to release this one but all the photographs have just been finished so that was a really fun project. I also recently did a TEDx talk, which was dream come true for me.
Later in the year I’m going to take all my books to the Frankfurt Book Fair and start to distribute them internationally, which is really exciting! And I will also likely bring out a new book this year because that’s one of my passions I just don’t know what that’s going to be yet it.