In 2009, Amanda Campbell suffered a major MS attack that left her paralysed. She was given a 50% chance of ever walking again. Determined to prove the doctors wrong, she took herself on a road to recovery through healthy eating and kinesiology. Within six weeks, she stunned everyone by not only walking, but running! This inspirational interview shows how Amanda beat the mainstream medical system and managed to achieve a state of wellbeing through diet and exercise.
Amanda is now a qualified Sports Kinesiologist – who founded Bend Like Bamboo her private practice in Prahran in 2014 and Nourissh.com in 2015 an exciting new business that delivers fresh gluten and preservative free ready-made meals into the homes of Melbourne. Amanda is excited to launch Nourissh@work delivering locked fridges into the workplace fixed with their own payment system.
Can you tell us a little about you and your life pre-diagnosis?
When I was 17 I finished school wanting to study law. However, my twin sister Nicole had finally recovered from a chronic case of Crohn’s Disease. We both decided life was too short so we went to study musical theatre and dance to pursue our love of singing and dancing. This led to an obsession of recording studios and writing our own music for a number of years. I fell into the fashion industry a career I loved very much. I worked with some amazing Australian And NZ designers and my passion for entrepreneurship began. I was always a happy driven girl, wanting to be happy and successful in my life.
What were your initial thoughts when you were told you may not walk again?
My initial reaction was, ah no. This is not possible and cannot be my reality.
It didn’t resonate and it just felt wrong.
I don’t know if I ever really allowed myself to entertain the idea of it being permanent for too long. I was very grateful to recover in just under 2 months.
Have you always been conscious of your own health and wellbeing? If no, when did the change happen?
Before I was diagnosed with MS I was always relatively healthy.
We exercised a lot, especially at school programs. I always loved sports.
Mum and my grandma always fed us roast with veggies, but at school sugar, white bread and fast food was a staple. This combined with stress at school, at home and Nicole being sick, I believe was at play. There are multiple ways that we do not provide the body with the right environment to be healthy. Now looking back I now know that how you think and feel everyday is also largely at play and is connected to the health of your body.
When I got home from living in hospital for 2 months, I was mobile again. But there was still much more work to be done. I still had to lay down half of the day, I had multiple MS symptoms such as bladder issues, fatigue, balance and weakness. Plus emotionally I didn’t feel like the old Amanda, I had lost my spark and zest for life. I had lost a lot of confidence as only weeks prior I had lost the ability wash and feed myself. It was a big transition getting back into life again and processed what had happened whilst my body became paralysed.
This prompted me to go back to school and study for a Dip in Sports Kinesiology. I learned all about the body, anatomy, physiology, Kinesiology the Chinese Medicine technique. I understood how to look at the body as a whole rather than in isolation.
I learned about the mitochondria in our cells and their deficiency in autoimmune disease.
As it turns out one of the best ways to nourish the mitochondria in the cells whilst maximising brain and gut health was getting back to eating real whole foods, sourced ethically from local and organic farms. I immersed myself in research about rapid recovery. I wanted to understand what was at play when we do look after ourselves, eat the right food and perhaps even exercise. But we become ill, why is that?
Also what occurs when we are not well, and even deemed terminally ill. But do recover. Why is that? In all my studies and after what I went through, I learned that we need to give our body the right environment to repair and reorganise. I t came down to 3 core things:
Nutrition : Eat better to feel better this is your foundation
The mind is connected to your body: when you feel better you are more inclined to make better choices in your life to value yourself. How you think and feel everyday is linked to your body’s health.
It is also a mirror image of what you see in your reality around you and what occurs biochemically in your body. Your psychology becomes your biology.
Physical symptoms can be the end result of you not dealing with something emotionally.
Change your mind and change your life : to value yourself is to live your life awake and connected. It is from this place that you will feel more guided and this is the right environment your body need’s to repair and reorganise. You will then be able to see obstacles as opportunities.
This is another way you can give your body the right environment to repair.
When you started on this journey to find alternate ways to health, did you ever think you would cure yourself?
Initially, it was a whole new world, the study of nutrition and everything I had to learn to get to where I am now. It was a new language: nutrition, Sports Science, Kinesiology and anatomy.
Year after year as I started to get stronger I could feel the results. My symptoms started to disappear. It had to become my life as my environmental conditions and lifestyle had to change immediately. I guess this is what led to inevitably building a career out of it.
What has been the most eye-opening lesson on your journey?
Renewal and transformation can be possible.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
- Find happiness amongst the chaos and just believe in yourself.
- To not sweat the small stuff and have more fun.
Can you tell us what a typical day in the life of Amanda looks like?
I wake naturally without an alarm as I often get to sleep by 9:30pm / 10pm. I was taught that it is best to use an alarm to get to bed instead of upon rising.
I will eat a healthy breakfast with my partner and together we walk our 3 fur babies, Oscar, Stella and Henry the pug.
A few days a week this is followed by yoga at Rise Yoga in Richmond or straight to work at Nourissh HQ in Cremorne. On alternating Saturdays I will be in clinic at Bend Like Bamboo to see a full day of clients, my schedule there is booked up until end of February 2017.
Running a business is time-consuming, let alone having two! Can you let us in on how you manage a balanced life amongst the chaos!? What do you include in your week to ensure you have some peace?
How I start and end the day is important. A meditation to start the day including 3 intervals during the day to stop for 10 minutes absolutely helps. I am pretty organised and have an assistant at both businesses that run the diaries. Eating well is effortless as Nourissh provides ready-made fresh meals for me at home and also at work in our latest Nourissh@work program.
Having seen how providing meals for staff has drastically improved productivity, engagement and wellbeing at leading companies, we’ve decided to make it easier for workplaces to care of employees through healthy eating.
Nourissh@work is a simple meal solution offering fresh lunches, dinners and cold press juices in a convenient, serviced fridge equipped with payment systems.
Laugh every day. Taking yourself and life too seriously is to be avoided!
Who/what has been an important influence in your life?
Scott my partner and Co-Founder of Nourissh. It was difficult dating again after much loss in my life.
He made me feel special instead of disabled from our very first date. He loved and supported me despite the setbacks I went through when we met. It is love and support that has helped me believe in myself again.
I am one very lucky girl. Dr Terry Wahls a neurologist who also has MS. Her studies of nutrition and the mitochondria inspired me to create Nourissh. The Neuro-physiotherapist at Epworth Richmond Gavin Williams and his team that were passionate about getting me not just walking but running again. The Applied Kinesiologist Dr. Michael Bay that introduced Kinesiology to me as it contributed to my recovery so much that I decided to study the modality.
Other than a Sports Kinesiologist, you have recently been funded by the awesome VinoMofo for your business Nourissh! (CONGRATS!) Can you tell us a little about Nourissh?
Nourissh is a new concept in premium, fresh and healthy, ready-made wholefood meals. I launched Nourissh in 2015 with a simple goal – to help people feel better by eating better. We are a team on a mission to improve the eating habits of thousands of Australians by making it easier to buy and eat ethically sourced, local & organic wholefoods. In our first 12 months we have rapidly expanded our business delivering lunches and dinners to families across 100 postcodes in Melbourne. Now we’re super excited to announce that In 2016 we’re launching Nourissh @ Work. Having seen how providing meals for staff has drastically improved productivity, engagement and wellbeing at leading companies, we’ve decided to make it easier for workplaces to care of employees through healthy eating.
Nourissh @Work is a simple meal solution offering fresh lunches, dinners and cold press juices in a convenient, serviced fridge equipped with payment systems.
Our Nourissh @Work fridges are self-contained units that are regularly restocked as part of the service, enabling businesses to offer staff healthy food in a safe, cost-effective manner. In conjunction with the meals Amanda our CEO and Founder provides health and wellbeing seminars and speeches, educating, motivating and inspiring others that they too can make a transformation in their life. Amanda speaks about her recovery from paralysis and her diagnosis of MS at age 24 years old. She will explain how taking a balanced approach, adopting optimal nutrition whilst understanding the mind-body connection, helped her transform her body and life. Amanda has now dedicated her life helping Australians transform their lives, no matter what it is that they are going through, with her 2 businesses she has founded along the way.
Where do you get your recipe inspiration from?
When I started Bend Like Bamboo, every day I was seeing time poor clients. New mums and dad’s, singles and couples and also people living with a disability. For different reasons, they could not always prepare their own healthy meals. It became clear that we needed a simpler way. That is how Nourissh was born.
Your favourite “Nourissh” pick??
Almond crusted lamb chops with green beans sweet potato mash and cranberry relish.
Customer Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Level 2, 6 Palmer Pde Cremorne 3121
Bend Like Bamboo
Location: 9 Izett Street Prahran 3181