Hi, I’m Helen,
I am a Primal Health Coach and Founder of the Grain Free Food Range Primal Alternative. We make breads, pizzas, cookies and pastry to make your lives easier and deprivation free. We have a bread with Pete Evans and are exclusive producers for Quirky Cooking.
I am also a Mum who has healed her life with real food and I want to share that story with you.
The truth is, that we have all been fed flawed advice about food. The low-fat high carbohydrate food pyramid and chronic cardio model that we all followed for decades in an attempt to be healthy, is giving us undesirable consequences.
My undesirable consequences looked nothing less than a total health crisis. I was constipated, bloated, couldn’t sleep, felt anxious all the time, had bouts of depression. Developed a weird phobia of flying (I am writing this blog from a plane!) and had strange obsessive thoughts about my kids getting sick.
It was nothing you could slap an affirmation on let me tell you and I was seriously puzzled as to why my seemingly healthy diet of All Bran and skim milk for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and meat and veg for dinner wasn’t making me feel amazing. I used coffee as a pick me up and wine to help me wind down. I snacked on low fat yoghurts and fruit and Tim Tams for a treat – every night!
During the dark night of my soul where I was in absolute agony from head to toe (did I mention I had chronic pain which I had to pop Nurofen for in the night so I could get back to sleep) and obsessing about the druggies in town – my inner guide told me to try gluten free!
Pumped for change and desperate to make this nausea go away, I headed to the shops the next morning and bought everything Gluten Free! Woohoo – I got this! I bought a Gluten Free Caramel Slice and Skinny Flat white (with one sugar) to celebrate and headed home.
What a disappointment. The bread tasted like cardboard. Despair!
So, I posted on Facebook asking if anyone had any ideas – my friend suggested trying Paleo. I had never heard of this before, but it made sense and look – I was desperate. I would try this for six weeks along with a live detox from my naturopath and some herbs – and then go back to my Helga's Bread!
Paleo led me to Mark Sisson and the Primal Blueprint. I ditched grains, seed oils, sugar, dairy, alcohol and legumes. I ditched the gym and had gentle walks on the beach and did some short ten min total body workouts instead. I sunbathed, made a point of spending time in nature and connecting with myself and those I loved.
After what can only be described as a mean detox – headaches, exhaustion, sweats, weird bowel movements, mood swings – I popped out of the other side. It took about five days to get the first glimmer of the ‘new me’ but after about six weeks all of my chronic conditions had gone! It was a miracle! I became evangelical and decided to qualify as Primal Health Coach as I knew many other women were suffering too. I knew because they private messaged or text messaged me, even reached out in the street ‘help’ they said. Some had way worse symptoms than me and even had Auto Immune Diseases.
I started coaching one on one, hosting workshops and my clients got great results too. But they gave me kickback – eating everything from scratch was HARD. They were tired, sick and felt way too overwhelmed with all of the menu planning, chopping, soaking, fermenting, cooking and baking.
So, I offered to bake for them.
Look I’ll be honest, it wasn’t an overnight success – nothing ever is!
About three people put their hand up but I followed up on my offer. I kept showing up and offering to bake and before I knew it, I had a market stall, supplied two local health shops, a café, a gourmet pizza shop. I was able to work from home and create a business that served me. I baked on a Monday for my stockists and on a Thursday for my markets. I was there when the kids got home from school and was able to get to all the sports carnivals and assemblies.
I would weave in meditation, 20 mins of yoga, a load of washing or dinner prep around my bakes. I worked for about 10 hours a week baking and was making about $500 a week profit – this was a really helpful contribution to the household finances – it paid the mortgage.
The best bit about it was the customer feedback. The hugs of thanks, the rave reviews and hearing how my products made their lives easier was and still is extremely fulfilling. I felt I had found my calling. Being of service, supporting people in my community and making their lives easier so they could reach their health goals.
As my health improved (I had SIBO and leaky gut) my intuition good stronger. I received inspiration to share my successful business model! What if I could share my Recipes & Resources with other women who had a passion for clean living, loved baking and wanted to help others? I feel it is a natural progression of healing. You heal yourself and then you are compelled to help others and give back – have you felt that?
On Boxing Day 2016, with zero knowledge of licencing a business, with a gut full of fear, a head full of self-doubting chatter but an inner knowing that this was my calling – I offered the Primalista Baking Licence to Australia.
At the time of writing, some two and half years later, over 107 women have seen my vision and joined me on the journey to bring locally produced primal alternatives to the foods we love, to our communities.
I now have Brand Ambassadors in the UK and USA and want to grow to 1000 Primal Alternative producers across Australia so that everyone can find our products and enjoy convenience without compromise.
I call Primal Alternative producers Primalistas as it is much less of a mouth full!
The Primalista Baking Licence is a doable investment, which I think is great for a 'done for you' business model. We even have an Online Shop that generates orders for Primalistas even while they are asleep! We are a sisterhood; women work better when they collaborate and together, we rise! We all charge the same so there is no competition and it’s really nice to be able to call on some help if the kids are sick, or if you want to have a holiday from baking.
We get together to share the workload, cost and of course experience and profit of larger events such as Bring Back the Fat, The Wellness Summit, The Nutrition Summit and Pete Evans H.E.A.L event.
Five years since the dark night of my soul, my health continues to improve. I am committed to showing others how easy grain free low carb eating can be. It can be doable, delicious and deprivation free! Now my breakfasts look more like: nothing at all or Fruit Toast and Peanut Butter. Lunches are usually poached eggs on No Nut Hemp Bread with sauerkraut and a glass of kefir, or maybe some stir fry veg and crispy skin salmon, or dinner leftovers. Dinners are still meat and three veg!! I now enjoy a wine again but a better quality organic one, and don’t use it, or coffee as a crutch. I have an amazing bowel movement every day – something I never take for granted – those of you who have had, or still get constipation know what I mean. Poophoria – it’s a thing! I sleep well every night. I feel fulfilled, connected, grateful, joyful and at peace.
I am not bragging at all – I am sharing this because quite honestly – back when I felt like I had had a zillion espressos couldn’t sit still and couldn’t stop my thoughts from going down a dark hole I never thought this would be possible. I feel resilient on all levels, from immune system resilient to emotionally resilient and tryst me – when you start your own business you get lots of chances to practice developing that!
I am living proof that gut health is directly linked to mental health. The desire to fly again and go on adventures was a really pleasant surprise. About 9 months into my healing journey, I felt totally excited to book a flight to the UK and visit my homeland and family.
I now fly around the country for cool wellness events and speaking gigs.
And it all started with food.
Feature article by Helen Marshall - August 2019