Alana Hay is the creator of The Nutritional Stylist, a blogger, a soon to be nutritionist, a green smoothie addict, a juice junkie and a whole foods lover. To top it off, she has recently released the details for her 2014 Raw Dessert Workshop which she is hosting with our friend Karly from Healthy Ambitions. Meet Alana…
Tell us about your journey, what sparked your passion for the health and wellness industry?
My journey to wellness started at the young age of 8 when I decided to become a vegetarian. I didn’t know anyone who was a vegetarian to approach for guidance so I ate what I thought was nourishing for my body, which was a lot of pasta, white bread and faux meat products. Once I hit my teenage years, my immune system started to reflect what I ate and I started to notice minor sensitivities, getting sick more frequently and always feeling ill after eating.
Starting from a young age I had a variety of health problems from an ovarian cyst, endometriosis, glandular fever, anxiety, adrenal fatigue, constant malaise, to melanoma. Being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue twice in the last 5 years from total burnout started to teach me to listen to my body and to make self care my number one priority. If I don’t look after myself who will? I started to take control of my life and that is when I began my personal journey to health and wellness. I started juicing, drinking green smoothies and consuming a high alkaline diet.
I started to learn all I could about nutrition, the mind and alternative therapies, and after this my awareness of healthy food started to greatly expand. After years of being constantly fatigued, once I eliminated wheat and refined sugar I noticed a huge difference in my energy levels and my mind started to feel clearer. During this time I became more interested in what I ate and how it would make me feel, and I soon after discovered that the food I put in my body can be medicine for me. I taught myself to get creative in the kitchen to make quick, easy and nourishing food to feed my body. My health journey is now my lifestyle and has become my way of life and a journey I will always live. I wouldn’t trade the love and appreciation I have for food for anything.
What’s your number one wellness tip?
Greens, greens and more greens. I add greens with every meal – kale, silverbeet and spinach are my faves! Green leafy vegetables provide a vast amount of vitamins, minerals, disease fighting phytochemicals, fiber, and are very alkalizing. Leafy greens are full of water, which helps keep you hydrated and contributes to beautiful skin and hair.
What’s your one non-negotiable when it comes to your health?
I aim to keep what I eat as close to nature as possible and eat mostly organic. I rarely, if ever, eat anything processed or refined anymore. In saying that, I try to not to be too obsessed with what I eat, as I find the moment that you put restrictions on yourself it can cause neurotic behaviour. You know your body best and what you can deal with. I don’t count calories and I make sure what I eat is delicious.
What motto do you live by?
“I’ve decided to be happy, because it is good for my health”.
This motto rings so true to me. For many years I was consuming everything possibly good for me to nourish my body, yet my body/mind aspect wasn’t so healthy. Being happy and content, I would say, is just as important, if not more than drinking 10 green juices a day.
What is your proudest achievement?
Taking a leap of faith and going back to study last year to follow what I’m passionate about, nutrition, and also recently starting my health blog. These are things I’ve been craving to do for years but always put it on the back burner.
What are your goals for the future?
To continue to inspire people through my blog to incorporate more wholefoods into their diet, one delicious recipe at a time. My passion is helping people to live healthy and happy lives with nourishing food that actually tastes good and is easy to make. I would like to teach people that by making a few food swaps, you can still enjoy delicious and tasty, yet nutritious food, to achieve any lifestyle goal.
Tell us something not many people know about you?
Most people are aware that I am a vegetarian however they don’t know the catalyst in what made me one. When I was around 8 years old my mum took me to see the movie Babe, and I walked out a vegetarian. After watching the movie, even as a young child, I knew that animals are no different to humans. My vegetarianism comes down to my health, the health of the planet and the wellbeing of our animal friends. We are all equal and have no right to treat our fellow creatures the way we do.
Can you share with us one of your favourite recipes?
Raw Berri-licious Cheesecake
1 cup almonds, soaked for 2 hours
¾ cup medjool dates
Pinch of himalayan sea salt
Coconut oil to grease pan
2 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours
¼ cup Rice Malt Syrup (you can also use maple syrup)
2 cups organic frozen mixed berries
¼ cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup organic mixed frozen berries
1 tablespoon water (or more if required)
Lightly grease a 22cm round springform tin (you can also use a pie dish or a basic glass dish) with coconut oil. The point of doing this is to make it so it’s easier to remove the cheesecake and the coconut stops the crust from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Place the dates, almonds and himalayan sea salt in a food processor and mix until you get the texture of crumbs. Press mixture into the base of the tin and pop into the freezer while you prepare the filling of the cheesecake.
In a blender, blend all the ingredients for the filling at high speed until smooth. Pour on top of the base layer and smooth out. Return to the freezer until it is set enough to pour on berry topping. This should only take around an hour.
To make the topping blend the frozen berries and water on high speed until smooth. Pour on top of the cheesecake layer and return to the freezer for 2 hours.
To serve, defrost cheesecake in the fridge for 20 minutes, until the centre is cold but not frozen. Carefully remove the sides of the springform tin and transfer the cheesecake onto a serving platter (you may need to use a sharp hot knife to ease the cheesecake from the tin). Slice and serve.
Where can we find you?
Is anyone going to Alana and Karly’s Raw Dessert Workshop?