Q & A with Wild Health's Gemma Bartlett our resident nutrition guru
What’s so special about wild foods and why do you love them so much?!
Wild plants grow exactly in accordance with nature; they are abundant in areas where they have everything they need to thrive. With no human interaction and without the help of pesticides or soil fertilisers, they will only grow in their own perfect environment, and that creates super strong, resilient and super nutritious plants, full of a life force and vitality you wont get from even organically grown vegetables and plants. Wild plants are the ultimate in local and seasonal foods and they are free!
I am learning loads about Jersey seaweeds at the moment, so expect to be seeing lots on this years DRIFT menus!
How do you decide the menus for DRIFT Retreats?
We stick to a dairy-free and meat free menu, and we don’t include any gluten containing foods or refined sugar. Everything is made fresh, all the greens and vegetables that we can buy locally are organic, and we include lots of high fibre, nutrient dense meals, smoothies, juices and desserts.
We want to motivate and inspire our guests to adopt some of these healthy eating habits when they leave and 4 days of eating only clean wholefoods is enough to really kick start your taste buds into wanting more! I love it when our guests try out the recipes at home and keep the DRIFT momentum going!
A break from caffeine, alcohol, meat, gluten, sugar and dairy products is really healing for the digestive system but it isn’t always easy to do, we aim to do this for people without them feeling deprived or without even really noticing, and the result is so noticeable! The combination of the awesome surroundings, spending so much time on the beach and in the sea, lots of restorative yoga and all the clean, healing food makes for some really glowing guests by the end of the retreat!
There seems to be a big vegan craze going on at the moment, what do you think of a long-term vegan diet?
I think the vegan movement at the moment shows that people are becoming more conscious about what they are eating, and applying more ethics to their food choices, which is amazing. There is still way too much low grade, mass-produced, hormone filled meat eaten in the world, and until the demand for that changes the farming methods won’t change. If you are eating meat it is really important, from both a health and ethics point of view, to go for organic and grass fed, you don’t have to be vegan to be boycotting bad conditions for animals.
From a health stand point, I don’t think it matters what diet you follow as long as you are including a wide range of nutrients, with a vegan diet that can be
harder as some vitamins just aren’t as available in plant foods as they are in animal foods. All my super healthy vegan friends are the ones that have a great knowledge and interest in nutrition and eat lots of raw and fermented foods and seaweeds.
I ate a mainly raw, vegan diet for about 2 years and I felt really great on it, but I realize now that it wasn’t necessarily the fact that I was sticking to a vegan diet but more that I had totally cut out processed foods, wheat and gluten containing products and refined sugars – I think anyone sticking to that, no matter what they are calling it – is going to feel great!
So what would you say is the ultimate diet for anyone wanting to be healthy?
I don’t think there is one ultimate diet for everyone, as with everything there is no ‘one size fits all’, a diet that one person is thriving on could be really nutritionally deficient to the next person; we all have such different needs depending on where we are with our lives and also different genetic backgrounds determining our constitutions. The only thing that I would recommend for absolutely everyone is cut out all the fake foods that are so heavily processed and filled with artificial sweeteners and colours and unnatural preservatives. Our bodies just don’t know what to do with these things and they interfere with normal digestion and metabolism. Diet foods and drinks are insanely bad for you, aspartame disrupts the bodys’ normal responses so much that it causes you to crave sweet foods and carbohydrates and stops your body responding properly to the hormone insulin, causing a glucose intolerance, which will result in you gaining weight! The exact reason you buy a ‘diet’ version of something in the first place, and not only that but there are so many studies showing aspartames’ relation to brain tumours, cell damage, and conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. If everyone could stick to whole, fresh, unprocessed, natural foods so many of these diseases and illnesses wouldn’t exist.
Gemma and her little girl Violet in the Wild Health trailer
Find Gemma on
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/wildhealthjsy/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/WildHealthJsy/