Today, I’m talking to fellow health coach and real food advocate, the delightful Kari from Whole Life Full Soul.
Kari has recently published her ebook – Mind and Body Balancing. It’s so beautiful – lots of health tid-bits, simple and delicious recipes and gorgeous images – that I wanted to find out a little bit more about her and her philosophy…
No mucking around today. We’re launching straight into my interview with Kari…
Kari, in your book you explain your history of autoimmune disease with a rare form of arthritis; and how that has led you to where you are now. Can you share a little of your story with us here?
After 6 months of rapid progression from being perfectly “normal” teenager to barely being able to walk I was diagnosed at 15 with Ankylosing Spondylitis. This form of arthritis primarily affects the spine but is polyarticular, meaning it can affect multiple joints and at the time I was diagnosed as having it actively in 18 joints.
I went from an active sports player to not being able to walk. As you can imagine the change was traumatic both physically and mentally. For years I was on an off immunosuppressive medications to tamper the inflammatory immune response. I was constantly going in and out of flares with little luck. At my worst, I was on the highest dose of immunesuppressants twice a week, and taking NSAIDS 5-8 times a day.
It was when I had to consider going on a low dose chemotherapy drug that I knew something had to change. That change for me was food and lifestyle.
You have created your book to provide insight into chronic inflammation. For those who may not quite understand what this means, can you give us your ’30 thousand foot view’ of what inflammation actually is and how it affects us?
Inflammation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact the beauty is our body’s are designed to help us.
The inflammatory response, when acute is the healing action necessary to fight off bacteria or rush blood cells to the sight of an injury. The difference though, is when inflammation becomes chronic or prolonged. This constantly puts the body in a state of stress and does further damage the more it continues.
Here at JFC, we use the principles of the Autoimmune Protocol to effect positive dietary and lifestyle changes. While your book doesn’t follow the Autoimmune protocol to the letter, the core ideas are very much aligned. How has changing your approach to food helped you?
Changing my approach to food altered everything for me. I realized that it was within my power not only with my food choices, but my mindset to change my physical mobility and my motivation kicked in.
Being able to use food as a tool to help your body heal itself is the most powerful thing there is, and for me it allowed for a deeper connection to myself as well. It helped me grow in ways I never imagined and it allowed me the freedom of movement which is the my largest motivation.
My absolute favourite sentence in your book is, “My own journey with an inflammatory prone body shifted when I realised it was not only about what not to eat, but what to eat more of”. This really resonates for me. I love the idea of ‘adding’ as opposed to ‘removing’. If you had to pick your top 3 things of what to eat more of, what would make the list?
Ah, I love this question!!
Top 3 would be
1) Greens! I am partial to collards and Lacinato kale, they’re my favorite and I consume them daily if not more than once a day.
2) Omega 3 sources, so more salmon and grass-fed meats like lamb. I especially love cuts of meat like lamb necks because they are especially rich in collagen.
3). Probiotic rich foods, so either making cultured yogurt with coconut milk or sauerkraut. I eat sauerkraut multiple times a day and it drastically changed my overall digestion and gut healing. It’s loaded with L-glutamine which helps significantly in restoring the gut interior.
I know I love learning more ‘real stuff’ from people who shared their healing stories. What are 3 things about Kari that may surprise the readers?
I love Frank Sinatra, he’s my all-time-favorite artist and for this reason I’m convinced I was born in the wrong era.
One my favorite activities outside of yoga is hiking, being in nature makes me feel alive.
I lived in Belgium for most of my childhood which largely shaped my world view and continues to feed my constant wanderlust.
Kari talked about her top 3 foods to add…
Greens – I’m a big fan of all sauces green. They’re healthy, taste great and add a complexity to the simplest of grilled meats (see How to Make Green Sauce and The Best ‘Knock Their Socks Off’ Salsa Verde recipes if you’re in need of some inspiration!) Kari’s Purslane Pesto and Meatballs number is a seriously great way to sneak a few more greens into your day. Simple to make and very good for you, too.
Omega-3 sources – to help ensure you have your omega 3 bases covered, Kari has generously shared her recipe for Sardine Pate. it’s delish!
- 1 can sardines (in water or olive oil)
- 1⁄4 cup full fat coconut milk
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper (omit for AIP)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- Cilantro for garnish (coriander if you're down under!)
- Combine all the ingredients into a blender or food processor, pulse until completely smooth and creamy.
- If too thin, set back in the fridge for ten minutes. It should be a light, airy, spreadable consistency.
- Use carrots, radishes and celery, or other vegetables as crudites!
Mind & Body Balancing is full of Kari’s easy-to-prepare anti-inflammatory recipes. How does Avocado & Currant Fruit Salad sound…? Or, perhaps Pineapple Turmeric Ice Cream is more your thing? Next one I’m trying out is the most divine-sounding Cultured Herb ‘Cheese’ – cheese that’s dairy free. How cool is that?
Probiotic foods – for those a little unsure just how easy it can be to make your own probiotic-rich foods… be sure to check out next week’s recipe post where I share just how I make my easy-peasy lacto-fermented ‘Haus Kraut’. Full of probiotic-rich good stuff and so budget-friendly, too.
And, as promised, it’s giveaway time!
I loved Kari’s book so much, I want to give one away. If you’re the lucky winner, I’ll arrange for one of Kari’s beautiful ebooks to land straight in your inbox. It couldn’t be simpler!
There are just 2 easy steps to enter the giveaway –
1. Subscribe to my fortnightly newsletter. Either signup HERE or click the link at the top right corner of this page. If you already receive my newsletter, you’re good to go! No need to sign up again.
2. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling me why you should win.
A Few Things to Note:
This giveaway is international and open to anyone anywhere in the world.
The winner will be chosen at random and announced in my next newsletter – scheduled for Wednesday, 28 October.
Such an inspirational interview Jo/Kari. It must have been tough coming to terms with such an aggressive AI so young. Kari is proof of what a healing diet, lifestyle and mindset can achieve.
*Confession, I had to wipe a little drool off my computer screen after seeing that recipe 😉
PI – you crack me up! What were you doing lying all over your computer screen…? Takes the term ‘food porn’ to a whole new level 🙂
Oh I’d love to read more! Hearing other peoples journeys is one thing that helps to inspire me to continue on my own! I have the food down to an art, I am needing to work on balance.
That balance bit is the hardest part for many, Rinna! Good luck!
I have cancer so this would be an awesome book to help me take better care of my mind and body.
Hello Helen – Good luck for the giveaway, Possum.
I have recently been referred to Brain Sync. I’m currently selecting just which MP3 downloads I’ll be buying… You may find it interesting.
Hi! I should win because our names are both KARI. :)))))
Thank you for sharing Kari’s story, Joanna. It is really moving to learn about the experiences of people whose bodies go into autoimmune response when they are so young and who are able to find their way to healing through nutrition. I’m now following her blog~.
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