I spent most of my teenage years taking my body for granted. Seriously for granted.
Late nights, fast food, not enough sleep and enough sugar in my diet to sink a ship and then some. I would sleep in my make up and my skin would be crystal clear, i could eat 4 burgers a day (not that i did!) and not put on weight so just I rolled with it. In saying that, my diet was't hideous, there were a lot of veggies and lean meats in there but I became dependant for cans of Coke for energy and eating a lolly always resulted into the whole bag. My body functioned so I never thought too much about it.
As crazy as it sounds, I feel like I woke up one morning and everything had changed the moment i turned 22.
My skin was covered in these tiny little lumps, I developed cellulite and I felt like I had been hit by a truck. My energy had been zapped out of me, my cycles would leave me curled over in pain on the floor and walking up and down the stairs was a mission to say the least.
It took a year of visiting doctor after doctor who put me on all kinds of medication to mask the symptoms but we never got to the root cause. Not once did it cross anyones mind that diet was the culprit as while I knew I had packed on weight, I was still in a healthy weight range so this never really entered in to discussion as to them it was fine but I knew this was not normal for me.
At this time I was still designing and had a store in Armadale. I remember a customer walked in who had flawless and quite literally glowing skin who was radiating this amazing energy like I had never seen before. I asked her what products she used on her skin and she had a giggle and told me she used nothing at all and that If she could bottle up everything her Naturopath did for her that she would make a fortune.
I sat there googling like a mad woman after this. Alternative medicine? What is this? What is a Naturopath? (There is a great run down on this here) I called and made an appointment with her for the following week. I kid you not, I walked in the door and the first thing she said was 'You have food allergies, i can see it in your skin''.
We did a bunch of tests and sent them to a lab in the US and hey presto. Gluten, Dairy, Soy plus a whole heap of other inconspicuous foods that you would never even think you could be intolerant to. I started taking herbs and cut out all Gluten, Dairy and Soy from my diet along with Red meat and within a month I was a whole new person. My skin cleared up, I had energy again and i was so much happier as a person. I spent the next 6 months constantly searching and experimenting with new foods that had specific benefits for my health. Gone were the days of soft drink and burgers, it was all about clean eating. I was also diagnosed with PCOS which explained a lot of other problems with my health. (Great blog from Your Tea about PCOS here) I don't think there is any scientific evidence to support my theory but i am positive my excessive sugar filled diet earlier in life was the cause for me so I have stripped as much sugar as humanly possible from my diet as well and i notice the biggest difference in my skin on the occasional days that i do sneak in a few too many grams of it.
This was the hard part. Baked goods. I am a sucker for a good muffin or a slice of chocolate cake. Rewind 4 years and there were literally no allergy friendly options either pre baked or in packet form available. I started making a lot of Gluten free slices, cakes and muffins on a weekly basis. Baking is one of my favourite past times and while I could eat these, they are not healthy by any means and were just a whole lot of empty calories that tasted good. As I had cut red meat from my diet and wasn't getting enough protein into my body I was having protein shakes and smoothies throughout the day which in all honesty tasted like chalk to me. I was going for a walk one morning and had the thought that maybe I could put the protein in the muffins. Somewhat of a Zoolander light bulb switching on moment. The files are in the computer!
I rushed home, pulled out the flour and the protein from the pantry and started experimenting. Swapped the 'empty' ingredients for antioxidant rich substitutes, cut the sugar and opted for natural sweeteners and diced as many carbs as i could to squeeze in more protein. It took a LONG time to perfect but they ended up pretty damn good for a healthy muffin. I baked these for a while, gave them to friends and family members who were entering into the gluten free realm who always asked for more. Thats when i started putting the mix in a bag and telling them how to bake it. 12 Health was born!
Thinking of a name was actually the hardest part for me. I played with silly ideas like Proteini Muffini which for obvious reasons would not cut it. I figured there are 12 Months in the Year, 12 hours of rest and 12 hours of play in the day and baking these muffins is as easy as 1, 2, 3 (or 1, 2, Health) in this case. 12 Health stuck.
It's funny how something as simple as a change in diet can effect everything in your life, not just your weight, your moods but the quality of life as well. Going gluten free isn't the easiest of feats, especially when you have other allergies involved too. That's why 12 Health mixes were created with all of you in mind.
Founder, 12 Health