Brooke Lee is one local gal passionate about health and wellness and a packing wealth of knowledge on the two.
She’s a Naturopath who has lived on the Coast for the past eight years practicing a holistic way of healing encompassing mental, emotional, spiritual and environmental health and we are here for it.
We sat down for a chat with Brooke about her top tips for staying healthy this season and the foods we should be eating more of (our favourite).
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve lived in the southern Gold Coast area for the last 8 years. After travelling and living abroad in my early twenties, I came to realise the Gold Coast is one of the most beautiful places in the world and decided I would like to settle here and begin my career.
What do you love most about living here?
The laidback, healthy lifestyle. The beautiful landscape of the Gold Coast encourages people to spend a lot time outdoors being active and taking in the stunning scenery. There is not a lot of hustle and bustle, the locals are friendly and there’s a great sense of community. We have beaches to the east and forests to the west. The natural world surrounds us and I love that!
What drew you to a career in holistic healing?
To many peoples’ surprise I wasn’t raised by hippies. I had a very humble upbringing in the suburbs, with a very conventional family. Dinners were regularly meat and three veg, with the occasional Happy Meal and illnesses were always treated by the mainstream medical paradigm with cough syrup and antibiotics. I also have indigenous heritage, which I feel has a strong influence on how connected I feel to nature and the healing properties of plants. I have always had an interest in health and wellbeing, but I think it was seeing first hand the harsh side effects pharmaceutical medication had on some of my close family members that pushed me into alternative holistic health.
Can you explain some of the things you take into consideration when doing an initial consultation?
I like to gather as much information as I can about what has led to my client’s current state of health, starting all the way back from when and how they were born. I ask in-depth questions about their signs and symptoms, as well as dietary and lifestyle habits. I will also investigate the health and functioning of each body system (e.g. digestion, nervous system, hormones) to determine how poor health in one area may be affecting other areas of the body. This practice is described as holistic – looking at the body as a whole connected system, rather than individual parts. Holistic health also encompasses mental, emotional, spiritual and environmental health, so these aspects will also be discussed in an initial consultation.
We’ve just come into “winter” here on the Coast, what are your top tips for staying healthy during the chilly season?
The most important thing we can do to maintain health over the cooler months is to ensure we are getting enough sunshine. Exposing our skin to sunlight a few times a week increases Vitamin D levels, an important nutrient for strong immune function. Studies have shown low Vitamin D levels make us more susceptible to common colds and flus. Herbal teas are another great home remedy we can use to keep our immune systems strong and avoid catching a cold/flu from those around us. Echinacea, elderberry, thyme and liquorice are some great immune boosting teas. You can also try adding powered medicinal mushrooms to your tea or coffee. Shiitake, reishi, turkey tail and cordyceps, either individually or in combination can help enhance immune function.
Any foods we should be including more of in our diets?
You really can’t go wrong with a seasonal organic whole foods diet. Essentially this is just cutting out processed foods. Processed foods contain minimal vitamins and minerals and high amounts of chemical additives such as artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, most of which have been shown to be harmful to the human body. I also recommend eating a 50/50 balance of fresh raw and cooked foods. This will ensure you are getting heat sensitive vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K from raw foods and minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium from cooked foods, as heat breaks down plant fibres and unlocks minerals for absorption. Don’t forget to eat the rainbow! Green, red, yellow, orange and purple fruits and vegetables will contain a variety of different nutrients, so make sure you’re getting them all.
What’s your advice for someone looking to begin a career in Naturopathy?
Go for it! It is an amazingly rewarding career. Be prepared to work hard as a Health Science degree is no easy feat and don’t be discouraged by those who don’t have the same values as you, because believe me, there will be a lot of them! Never stop learning, as science is always uncovering new things and be open to new information and ways of thinking because our world is constantly evolving from what we thought we knew.
What are your plans for the rest of 2019?
I am currently seven months pregnant, so I’m planning on enjoying my transition into motherhood. I’m very much looking forward to this next chapter in my life and can’t wait to share all the natural health tips for fertility, pregnancy and postpartum that I am learning along the way.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe for breakfast: Marie Anita’s and Bread Social, though that’s kind of in our sister shire Tweed.
Tea spot: I love picking up a takeaway chai/turmeric/matcha latte from Flannery’s in Miami and going to sit at the beach. They have a fully organic cafe, which I love as it’s so hard to find in most places.
Restaurant for dinner: Sticky Rice in Tugun, because who doesn’t love Thai food! I find Sticky Rice uses good quality ingredients that don’t leave me feeling queasy or send my heart racing from MSG.
How does your weekend usually look: I am usually up early checking the surf with my husband Dane and our border collie Storm, followed by a cuppa and raw treat from a local cafe after I’ve hassled them about what milks they have available and the ingredients in their food… Yes I am one of those customers. I’ll then head home to have a big breaky and relax before heading out again for the afternoon to catch up with friends and family or go bush walking/hiking through the Gold Coast Hinterland.