Core Conversations X Sami Bloom
Being in the health world, living most of our avenues through the internet and social platforms, we build connections to people we feel connected with that nourish our own journeys and businesses in some way! Sami (having a great name first of all) and myself have had very similar stories in developing our own healthy practices through our connection with positive body image and plant based eating in boosting our over all health, mindset and well being, and in turn creating platforms and connections with people in the hope that they can do the same! It was a no brainer to include her in Core Conversations, her insights and natural wisdoms to living life, the most holistic way is something to be followed! Check out what we got talking about!
1. What was your reasoning for transitioning to a vegan/ plant based diet? What is your advice to anyone going vegan, for fuelling themselves properly?
Interestingly, I was vegetarian for around 16 years of my life - from age 4 to age 20. No, I wasn’t some baby genius that was aware of the latest nutrition research! No one in my family was vegetarian, but something within me rejected meat. Perhaps I didn’t have the enzymes to break down meat properly, and as an intuitive toddler I avoided it. I think on some level I knew something was wrong about eating animals – I didn’t like the idea of it nor the taste. However, along the way, after years of dieting and restrictive eating, I began to reintroduce fish and chicken for a few years in my early 20s due to travel and what I thought (at that time), would help with my weight-loss attempts. As I went on to study nutrition, several people had recently mentioned to me a movie called Cowspiracy, and I had this feeling in my gut that it would change my life. I was right. My fiancé, Mike, and I said we would trial it for one month, which easily became two, and has now become a lifelong commitment.
There are many moral reasons I could list – environmental concerns, animal welfare issues – let’s be honest, we all know them, we just try not to think about them. And for sure, that is what breaks my heart and what grabbed my attention at first. You see, I am of the belief that what is good for the macro is good for the micro – so it makes sense to me that the best diet for us as beings on this planet, should be compatible with the environment and other creatures around us, so that it is sustainable. Therefore the choices we make for our health, can and should support the vitality of the world around us.
We have become entirely disconnected from our food; what it is, where it comes from, what it does for us. I came to realise that there are far bigger holes in the western diet than “protein-deficiency” (which is extraordinarily uncommon, by the way), and that a diet centered around real, whole-foods makes the most sense on a biological and biochemical level.
My best advice for those looking to make the transition themselves is to consult with a nutritionist who is well-versed and open-minded when it comes to plant-based nutrition. This can certainly be hard to find, but do your best, even if it is via Skype, because a vegan diet is not simply a standard diet minus the meat, fish, dairy and eggs… No, it is also about replacing these things with nutrient-dense plant-based food sources to meet optimal nutrient requirements. It isn’t too difficult once you get the hang of it, but education around the topic is essential. So too are regular blood checks (and I recommend this for everyone, not just vegans).
2. From a Nutritionist point of view, what would you comment around the controversial topic of calorie counting in, influencing restrictive dieting?
I think it can definitely encourage unhealthy habits and an incomplete understanding of how to “build your plate” and properly fuel yourself. Whilst not entirely redundant from an overall health perspective, it places emphasis on the wrong thing and can become a point of fixation and control. In fact, I see so many clients who have been so chronically counting calories, that they are indeed under-eating and the biggest challenge now is how to gear up their metabolism again to be able to enjoy a normal amount of food intake (and then adjust it if weight-loss is the goal). Aiming for as little calories as possible is an unsustainable, nutritionally incomplete way of eating that not only is difficult and unenjoyable to maintain, but leaves your diet open to nutritional gaps - deficiencies can inhibit not only weight-loss but healthy hair, skin, nails, sleep patterns, energy levels and of course, other important health biomarkers. Eat for longevity! Choose foods that are fibre-rich, come from mother nature, are varied in colour and that you can recognise. Release yourself from the pressure and agony of keeping a mental calculation day in and day out of numbers, and focus on whole-foods.
3. On your site you state; “It became very clear to me that my dissatisfaction with my body was a manifestation of my dissatisfaction with that lifestyle”. How has corrective change and building awareness around poor lifestyle choices changed your life for the better?
I believe, through no fault of anyone but my own, that my fast-paced lifestyle encouraged me to fixate on the superficial things and the validation of others. Don’t get me wrong, I can still struggle with this, and to some extent, the health industry/instagram can further perpetuate it and old feelings creep in. But I am focused on a more wholesome goal, driven by more authentic and health-promoting motivations. It’s a constant journey - and I think self-awareness and constantly checking in with yourself is key. Know the lifestyle you want, know what makes you happy and work out what you need to do day in and day out to get there, taking care of yourself along the way. Do it for yourself, no one else.
4. How important was it for you, and still now to focus on positive mental health practices in order to find balance in every other aspect of your life?
Very! My first real taste of prioritising my mental health came in the form of yoga. Yoga was instrumental in my healing journey - it tested my patience and was a real challenge for my over-analytical, self-critical mind. Most importantly, it taught me to honour and respect my body. The days I did yoga I didn’t feel like being unkind to myself through negative thoughts, restrictive eating or over-exercising. Instead, I found myself wanting to nurture it. I began making choices with health in mind. I ate out of nourishment and with pleasure, not in fear. Now, I cater to my mental health through a variety of practices - I still practice yoga, I also practice pranayama, I seek the professional help of a kinesiologist or therapist if needed, I journal occasionally, I am open and honest with my loved ones, I say no, I take time out... Looking after my mental health not only looks after my wellbeing but it also gives me the space I need to be creative and the best version of myself.
5. If you could tell anyone battling with body confidence or poor lifestyle choices, the benefits of focusing on themselves, what would you tell them?
I would tell them that they are not alone. I would tell them to stop comparing themselves to others, stop striving to be this person or that. That even those people with seemingly perfect lives have their moments and their demons, so never compare your "behind the scenes" to other peoples “highlight real”. There is no perfect, and even if you got close, you wouldn’t want it. Instead, focus on yourself, the unique, the quirky, the intricacies. Harness that special something that is deep within all of us and truly get to know yourself. Fall in love with yourself! Be proud. From here, you can begin to pick up the pieces and create a life you love, but it starts with self-acceptance and self-love. No one else can do that work for you, and it is so, so rewarding once you take the first step. I always say to my clients who find this unimaginable that you must choose a motivation that is more wholesome than how you look - because that usually comes from a place of self-loathing and negativity. Come from a place of love. Self-improvement isn’t inherently evil, but doing it in a way that deprives you, makes you feel unworthy or sucks the fun out of life is not the answer. Act out of love and compassion, not just for others but for yourself. I believe health is about striking a balance between making choices with your bodies best interests in mind, and living life to the fullest.
If you're wanting to find out more about this beautiful woman and what she has to offer, check the link below!