Wellspring recently caught up with Olympic champion and Endeavour College alumnus Lauren Burns to talk about her new recipe book and find out how naturopathy has shaped her life and love of food…
Tell us about your book Food from a Loving Home and how it has resonated with Australians since you launched it last year.
It's has been a very personal project as it essentially involved putting together my favourite vegetarian recipes. I collaborated on it with my friend who is a talented designer, and self published it last year. We have had such a wonderful response and I am always happy to hear which recipes people have cooked from it.
Do your children have a favourite recipe from the book?
My three year old son Mac requested the spanakopita for his birthday dinner which was a compliment. Other favourites include the broccoli and brown rice soup, banana bread, moist pumpkin loaf, homemade pasta and tofu chocolate mousse.
Actually, Mac made me a recipe book the other day and told me each recipe contained lots of love - and then when you eat the food, you get the love back! I thought that was priceless, and it says a lot about how we approach food in our home.
How did you draw on your naturopathy studies when putting the book together?
The timing for me to write the book was perfect. I was pregnant with my second child and had decided not to practice for a while. It was a wonderful way to keep my brain active while doing something I loved. I also included a Home Apothecary section at the back of the book which directly linked to my naturopathy studies.
How has your passion for naturopathy integrated into your life and work?
One of the things I love about the naturopathy course is that right from the beginning, the information you are learning can be applied to everyday life. When I first began studying I was in the depths of training as an athlete and I purposely chose subjects I could relate to my own life in elite sport.
Nowadays my studies integrate into my work when I am speaking on the corporate and school circuit, in my own home with friends and family and when conducting media appearances and cooking classes or talking about food and preparation.
You have helped raise awareness for some wonderful Australian charities since your Olympic win. What are some of the charitable projects you currently support?
I am involved in Red Dust Role Models, conducting healthy lifestyle clinics in remote aboriginal, Fijian and Indian communities.
My parents run Appin Hall Children’s Foundation, a healing centre for young people in need. I am often involved in conducting workshops during the camps they have there. Seeing the difference they make in providing respite for terminally ill children is humbling.
You did so much to raise awareness of taekwondo in Australia – are you still involved with the sport today?
I have commentated the last two Olympic Games and I have a lot of interaction with young people contacting me through my website. I feel I represent Taekwondo in everything I do as I am so linked to it.
I have been speaking and running workshops solidly now for 12 years and every time I get the audience up doing ninja turtle yells and at least one person to break a board with their hands!
What else is in store for Lauren Burns in 2012?
My main focus is still with my growing family. I find getting out adventuring with two little people incredibly rewarding. I also have speaking and workshop bookings and, being an Olympic year, lots of Olympic related media and events.
The second print run of the book is due to arrive later this month and I am busy experimenting with new recipes and fermenting techniques.
My involvement with the Organic School Garden’s Program and business associations with Spiral Foods and Neoflam cookware also keeps me busy.
Naturopaths will often look to the gut when determining the origin of many types of disease. Prebiotics by definition is foods or ingredients that selectively promote the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms (gut bacteria), and are different to the bacteria themselves called probiotics. Prebiotic foods in this recipe include; onion, garlic, asparagus, chickpeas and the vegetables in general. Promoting the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria has flow-on effects to improve digestive function, the immune system, mental health, skin health and almost every aspect of health.
Anyone initiated into the world of health and cooking will know that the array of culinary delights available in the form of edible mushrooms is vast, yet what is known of the medicinal qualities of these seemingly innocuous damp-dwelling organisms?
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