One of the time’s I went to Gemma’s house it was conveniently after she had been shooting for her book, and I won’t lie to you, I gorged myself on her insanely delicious food and had to roll out the door. I would be writing this Journal post based on her cooking skills alone truth be told, but Gemma has more more grit and juiciness to offer than just a little recipe book, and has partnered this with a book filled with years of her gained knowledge as a naturopath and life of cruelty free. Gem has always impressed me with her absolute dedication to truth and high grade living on every level. No stone is unturned in her quest for knowledge and thirst to change the game. I’m semi fascinated with her being vegan, and her attitude towards compassion is a delight to unravel. I’m constantly inspired by her ability to speak the raw truth about everything, never self censoring. And so it is with so much pleasure that I introduce you to her, and her beautiful new e-book The Compassionate Road.
Where do you currently live?
What currently keeps you engaged?
My young children still take up the majority of my time and energy, which I am extremely grateful for.
Aside from family, I am a consulting Naturopath, and in my spare time work on my passion project, the blog, The Compassionate Road, combining my knowledge of natural medicine and living, with raising awareness about animal cruelty and how to avoid it. I have just launched an ebook, The Compassionate Kitchen, A 21 Day Guidebook for Healthy Living, Cruelty-Free and the recipe companion, Recipes for 21 Days of Compassion.
I am also involved with a Film Studio working on a documentary which will be released in 2016.
Tell us more about your latest project!!
The Compassionate Kitchen e-books were born from a personal love of healthy living, cruelty-free and the desire to help others implement it in their lives with ease. I wanted to make a guide that was easy to use, beautiful to look at but also extremely informative, without being overwhelming.
I believe that most people want to;
1. Feel good.
A large part of The Compassionate Kitchen is dedicated to health in the way I approach it as a Naturopath, with a clean food plan, on what to avoid and include and why.
My longterm daily yoga practise has played a great part in the way I approach life and health and therefor I dedicated half of The Compassionate Kitchen Guide to the “deeper roots of compassion”. For me health is not only defined by what you eat and your physical, but also your relationship with yourself and the “Universe”. So it only made sense to include guidance and information on yoga, meditation and self-love and how to include them in your life, to make the guide a well-rounded, holistic approach to feeling good.
2. Avoid cruelty.
Often people don’t know about the atrocities of factory farming, as it occurs behind closed doors and/ or they don’t have the time to research how to avoid purchasing products produced by factory farms, that unfortunately support the immense suffering caused in the system. A section of The Compassionate Kitchen Guide shines a factual light on the issues and shows how to make personal choices that avoid the suffering and are in turn, better for them, better for the environment and better for the animals.
Some interesting facts, that highlight we may want to be taking an active role in making sustainable, mindful choices based on how the food we eat is produced before it gets to our plate, include;
FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS MORE THAN HALF OF ALL THE ANTIBIOTICS IN THE WORLD WERE ADMINISTERED TO LIVESTOCK
IT TAKES 5 POUNDS OF FISH TO PRODUCE 1 POUND OF FARMED FISH
GRAIN-BASED ANIMAL FEEDS USE 43 TIMES MORE FRESH WATER THAN PASTURE BASED FEEDS
1/3 OF THE WORLDS GRAIN IS FED TO ANIMALS. TO GROW THIS GRAIN, FINITE PRECIOUS LAND, WATER AND ENERGY IS REQUIRED
The Compassionate Kitchen Guide can be purchased HERE.
Have you any plans to develop this and continue with it in the future? Anything we should keep an eye out for?
For me, The Compassionate Road will be a long-term, heart-felt project. I have been involved with animal welfare/ yoga/ naturopathy for over 12 years of my life- it is a way of living for me and one that I am extremely passionate about. I love being able to use the medium of writing, photography and film to create projects that can spread awareness, be interesting and perhaps encourage others to be empowered with their choices to make positive change.
How do you define the term ‘compassionate?’
For me being compassionate is to feel the love for ourselves and for others- all beings- and in doing so recognise when there is suffering, to do what is possible to alleviate that pain (and certainly not encourage it.)
I believe we are all connected and this strengthens the feelings of empathy that brings about a sense of compassion.
What do you personally do to stay healthy?
My yoga practise is a MUST for me. It sets me up in every way, to feel good, have greater capacity and to eat well. It like cleaning my dirty window every day, so I can look out a little clearer. I eat a diet that is made up of REAL food, mostly organic and fresh, plant-based and I avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol and wheat 95% of the time. I avoid the use of chemicals where ever I can in household cleaning products, cosmetics and foods.
You have two kids and a husband, any tips on keeping the family compassionate and healthy?
Keeping our home a junk-free zone is incredibly powerful. If its in the cupboard then its likely to be eaten, so we avoid having sugar, dairy, packaged snacks, alcohol etc in our home. (Being on the same page as my husband helps a lot.) My husband and I swap “exercise/mediation” times slots in the morning, starting at 530am. It means we both get to start the day by moving and stillness! I am also a big believer in quality time. Husband/wife time alone on “date nights” or lazy sunday mornings where we hang in our PJs as a family together and don’t rush anywhere. That special time is very valuable to me for creating peace and a strong connection in our family unit.
How do you approach meditation?
With gratitude and appreciation. I know that if I meditate, I have a whole lot more “space” in myself for the rest of the day, therefor I prioritise making the 20 minutes in my schedule somewhere so it happens.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Days with a young family and a passion for my work keeps my days full in a wonderful way.
Up at 530am.
Yoga and pranayama
Breakfast/ School lunches/ school drop-offs
Work 9-3, which can be anything from naturopath consultations, to writing, to producing recipes/photos, to filming for the documentary.
School pickups and after school activities
After the kids are asleep, work on my blog/ read some of the mammoth amount of inspiring books sitting on my bedside table or conscious connecting time with the hubby/friends.
Is there anything you do daily that is non negotiable?
Apart from the obvious shower, dress etc ( which didn’t always happen when my children were babies!)
3. Consuming green, fresh foods.
How do you define creativity?
Making anything you’re passionate about come into fruition. This can be through your work, hobby, art etc but for me, it is when it comes from deep within and you are able to allow it to manifest in a way that speaks YOU.
What brings you the most joy in your life?
My relationships with my husband, children, family and friends
Doing what I love- yoga, meditation, dancing, music, writing, preparing and eating fresh yummy foods, travel, working on projects that speak to my heart to be created…
What do you define as happiness?
Ultimately having a loving relationship with myself.
What do you consider your greatest achievement to be?
I know it sounds a little cliche but raising my beautiful children by far is my greatest achievement.
What qualities do you seek in people?
What is a saying or motto you live by or that is relevant to you right now?
Surrender. Not in “giving up” but In the sense of trusting the timing of life, that if I do what I love, from my heart and work at it, everything will unfold the way it is meant to, when it is meant to.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little”