Part 2 My Health Story: High-Fat, High Protein, “Carbophobia”

Eventually social pressure and convenience got the better of me, and in my early twenties, I moved from a vegetarian to a pescatarian diet. There were little vegetarian options through my overseas travels, and I didn’t want to be a difficult travel companion. This was also motivated by the high-protein, low-carb “Atkins” approach that was popular then. Soon, I was dabbling with chicken, hearing that eating animal protein was the best, most effective way to eat and stay lean.

When I went off the OCP I lost my period. My doctor put me on a Ketogenics diet, to help me get a natural cycle. I was eating very high-fat and high-protein. I still didn’t naturally gravitate toward eating a lot of protein, but I tried my best, and I was told to strictly avoid all but one carbohydrate a day. One carbohydrate a day! If I wanted a carrot, that was to be considered my carb. Can you imagine? It made me extremely “carbophobic”, and if you ask me, was just as, if not more, restrictive as some of my disordered eating of the past.

This way of eating also made me demonize fruit in such a way that I easily went months without eating a single piece! But as is the problem with restrictive eating and fearing a whole food group, I replaced fruit and other carbohydrates with something else, fat. Whilst I do believe that good fats are extremely beneficial, I was eating it in high quantities, and it wasn’t doing me any favours. I felt sluggish, my skin seemed dull, my hair and nails brittle and I felt there was always something wrong that I just couldn’t put my finger on. I was extremely stressed from having to work out precisely when I would have my one carb for the day and social scenarios became a source of anxiety for me. This way of eating was not only limiting and extremely inconvenient, it actually didn’t help me in any way.

After 6 months of this diet, I had had enough. I was going overseas where there would be lots of tropical fruit, and I decided to just eat intuitively for the first time in a very long while. I travelled, relaxed around food, reintroduced more carbohydrates such as delicious fruit, went back to eating only a little fish (pescatarian) and was able to reduce my stress – being away has that advantage! Within 5 weeks of this, I got my period for the first time in just over 1 year. It would be unfair for me to attribute this 100% to my “letting go”, however, it wouldn’t be entirely wrong to draw some correlation between the two. I definitely felt better – during that entire trip I could feel my body healing. It was a powerful indicator that I needed to listen to my body and reassess my food choices.

The next 6 months became a gradual progression toward going 100% plant-based. I totally eliminated dairy, as I came to understand that it isn’t necessary or healthful, particularly with hormonal imbalances. At this point, eggs and the occasional piece of fish were the last parts of my carnivourous diet that I had to relinquish.

Birthday Linner! Light & fresh @earthtotablebondi ... Because I'll definitely be having a birthday dinner My favourite: the rainbow seaweed slaw (kelp noodles, seaweed, beetroot, cabbage, carrot, broccoli ginger soy dressing) with added avocado And an icey matcha latte almond milk frappe Happy to be spending the arvo with my mumma

Inspired by: Stef Jung, WholesomeStef

Continuing on with our Inspired By series, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the lovely, well-travelled, fitness enthusiast and health coach, Stef. Stef has recently moved from Switzerland to Sydney and has a story very similar to so many women of all ages. She is on a mission to lift others out of the darkness and destruction that comes with disordered eating and an unhealthy relationship with food and body image. Keep reading to find out more about Stef’s past, how she cares for herself today, her health philosophy and much, much more!

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became involved in the health industry?

I haven’t always been this healthy. In fact, I used to be a fad dieting, self-destructive treadmill junkie that obsessively counted calories and stepped on the scale up to five times a day. I had that “inner mean girl” syndrome, meaning that I was constantly telling myself I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, skinny enough, and the list goes on. After years and years of self loathing, I decided one day that enough was enough and that it was time to start taking care of myself. It’s been a long and hard journey, but five years later I have overcome my eating disorder and have created a healthy, fulfilled life for myself that I am absolutely in love with.

As I became more intrigued by the power of nutrition, mind – body connection and a holistic lifestyle in general, I realized that I wanted to help others with their own struggles. I am now a certified health coach and it is my goal to inspire other young girls and women to live their life to the fullest by becoming the healthiest and happiest version of them self, minus the deprivation, restriction and obsession around food and exercise.

What is your personal health philosophy? 

For me, being truly healthy isn’t just about what you eat and how much you train. It’s about so much more than that. You can eat all the kale in the world and live from juice cleanse to juice cleanse, but if you are not nourishing your soul on a deeper level, your body and mind don’t thrive. I think that being truly healthy means nourishing your body with whole foods, exercising because you love your body (not because you hate it!) and living a life that fulfills you and makes you happy. It’s something that I had to learn the hard way, but now I truly understand the importance of having the right mindset. Photo-21-06-2016-1-46-01-PM-e1466481045257

How do you begin your morning?

I love starting my morning by thinking about three things that I am grateful for. If my partner and I wake up at the same time, we ask each other what those three things are and then get up together. Next up is either a mini yoga flow (5 minutes), a journaling sesh or I go straight to preparing breakfast, depending on the schedule for that day. Oh, and I like to oil pull or drink my lemon water with ginger, cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar while getting breakfast ready. Depending on my schedule, I might even get my workout in in the morning, so on those days I’m off to a class straight away and will have my nourishing morning routine post-workout.

What does a typical day look like on your plate?

I don’t believe in dietary labels and love mixing things up and trying new things. That means that no day ever looks the same! I tried going fully vegan once, but realized that, because of my restrictive past, it was triggering at times. These days I eat a very balanced, mainly plant-based diet with lots of fresh unprocessed foods. If I do eat animal products, I make sure I buy organic produce of the highest quality. I listen to my body and nurture it with whatever it asks for; that may be a vegan salad with quinoa, spinach and sweet potato or a bar of (dark and organic) chocolate. Some staple meals of mine are: tofu stir fry with buckwheat noodles and leafy greens, a green smoothie with vegan protein powder, hummus with veggie sticks as a snack and a warming oatmeal for brekky. 


Right now I’m actually on Sarah Wilson’s 8-week I Quit Sugar program, and like I said, I love experimenting with new foods and seeing how my body and mind react. I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so it’s been more of mental challenge than anything.

Fitness is a huge part of your life. What is your workout routine and do you have any tips you can offer on how to commit to an exercise regimen? 

Since moving to Sydney, I haven’t had a real workout routine per se. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t worked out everyday! I’m actually using Classpass at the moment and I really enjoy trying out new studios and types of workouts throughout the city. I’ve alIMG_9090finaleso been very active in nature and have been going on regular runs and even took up surfing. I find it really important to mix things up and love to push myself out of my comfort zone every day, otherwise I get bored easily! These days I’ve been doing one crossfit/functional training/ weight lifting type of workout per day + one more relaxing stretching session like yoga or pilates.

If you struggle sticking to your workout routine, I recommend finding a workout buddy that holds you accountable and also to schedule your workouts into your calendar. It’s all too easy to forget or neglect the commitment to yourself, but if it’s scheduled in, it makes it just that bit harder to ignore.

What are the three foods you have to have on your desert island? 

I go through phases with food, but I could never live without

  • Hummus

  • Coconut yoghurt

  • Spinach

What is the greatest health advice you have ever been given? 

That health is a journey, not a goal. It took me many years of dissatisfaction and body dysmorphia to realize this, but now I understand the importance of “enjoying the ride”. If you are always working towards that one far distant goal, then you will never be happy with yourself in the moment. 

It seems you have travelled/lived all around the globe! Where did you find was the easiest city to embrace a healthy lifestyle? Do you have a favourite fitness studio or cafe in that city? 

Sydney by far! There is such a huge health scene here with many amazing studios, healthy cafés, sporty events and a bunch of beautifully inspiring like-minded people that help you stay motivated and on track. In fact, that’s pretty much the reason why I moved here…Europe, and especially Switzerland (where I moved from) is so far behind on the trend, so it’s been a refreshing scenery change for me. Plus, the warm weather and beautiful nature just makes you want to be active outdoors all day long. One of my favorite cafés is Sadhana Kitchen in Bondi (if you’re skeptical about raw vegan cuisine, this place will change your mind!) and I love Urban Yoga and Humming Puppy for a good yoga session.

Like so many of us, you have overcome a difficult relationship with food, body image and self love. Do you ever still struggle with this? And if so, what do you do to pull yourself out of it? 

Yes, definitely! I still struggle from time to time, just like everyone else. But over the years I’ve assembled a whole list of tricks that help me deal with a bad day. From taking a walk by myself to dry body scrubbing, writing in my gratitude book or talking it out with my bestie or partner before the feeling manifests itself, it’s all about self love and acceptance on those days. It’s when everIMG_9323ything seems to go wrong that kindness is more important than ever. No matter how busy I am I will try to find some “me time”, as my health and happiness will always be number one priority.

I also like to remind myself of this quote (one of my faves!):

You are under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.”

 The quote is a reminder that even if you had a crappy start to the day, it doesn’t have to ruin the rest of their day. Become aware of your feelings, work through them and pick yourself back up.

One more thing that I want to add: It’s always been my goal to be as authentic and raw as possible with my audience. I allow myself to be vulnerable and try to always share when I feel down, frustrated, annoyed, insecure etc. There are way too many accounts out there that showcase this picture-perfect world, and it can be very triggering for girls who compare their own life to the highly edited life of social influencers. What’s important to realize is that we all struggle from time to time, and it’s my goal to show both the ups and the downs.

Please share with us one of your favourite clean recipes! 

Stef’s Vegan Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Serves: 2



  • 4 tbsp ground flax seeds

  • ½ cup of water

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 2 very ripe bananas

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (we used almond)

  • 1 cup of blueberries

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

  • ½ tbsp nutmeg

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 cup of ground buckwheat (buckwheat flour)

  • Coconut oil for cooking


  1. Start by making your flax eggs: mix the ground flax seeds and water in a small bowl, mix with a fork and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes.

  2. Mix all your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, spices).

  3. Mash your bananas and add to the dry mix along with the mix, vanilla and flax eggs.

  4. Once all well mixed, add the blueberries and mix gently.

  5. Heat up a pan with a small tsp of coconut oil.

  6. Add 2 big tbsp of the mixture at a time and cook.

  7. Add homemade vegan chocolate sauce.

  8. Sprinkle with fresh blueberries and coconut flakes before serving.

Connect with Stef:

Instagram: @wholesomestef




How to get through when you’re having “just one of those days”

It was just one of those days where everything that could go wrong, did…

I was feeling generally shitty – hormones.

I had spent the past few nights immersed in House Of Cards (addicted), which meant after 6pm I was pretty much shutting down from work/study for the night to cook a healthy meal and binge watch my fave show. With some rainy weather, long days, and my cute BF offering snuggles, it hasn’t been a hard sell.

A week of this, and come this morning I was scolding myself…

I shouldn’t have watched so much TV. I shouldn’t have had that much dark chocolate. I should have gone to yoga. I should have made it to my early morning Uni class. I should walk to the train station. I shouldn’t be spending so much time on this task. I should have made it to the post office this morning. I shouldn’t have forgotten my Opal card.

By the time I was at the train station (for my later class), I was tearing up (especially as I watched the train leave without me, making me 10 minutes late to Uni… I should have left earlier).

It didn’t end there. I got caught in the rain coming home, just as I decided to walk. Literally, singlet weather turned to poncho and gum-boot weather in a matter of seconds. When I got home I received a final notice from the post office about a delivery that I never received the first or second notice for. When I got to the post office my delivery was gone, sent back to the US. And then, when I finally sat down at my desk to study, my Kombucha spilled over all my papers and laptop, onto my new rug (oh yeh, we had just had the house cleaned).

What. The. Actual…

Did I feel sorry for myself? You betcha. Did I cry/sigh/scream, u-huh. Did I snap at people who didn’t deserve it, definitely (alllllll day). The truth is, I felt rotten.

And so at 5pm I began to reflect… what the hell was going on?!!

My negative mood had clearly attracted more negativity.

So I decided to explore what had put me in that mood in the first place…

Not being/doing/feeling like enough. Because I had watched TV, because I hadn’t eaten perfectly, because I had spent too much time doing X and not enough time doing Y, because I forgot something etc. etc. the list goes on.

And so I thought to myself, what would I tell my best friend? I mean, we always give such great advice, and yet our first instinct is to berate ourselves, without hesitation.

I would tell her that yes, her day sucked, and that it was ok. That she didn’t deserve that. That if she looked hard enough there was probably something (even just one tiny thing) that was positive about her day. That she does work hard, damn hard. That she isn’t a failure, or lazy, or unworthy. That we all deserve a break. That she is doing nothing wrong for eating chocolate one night, or watching a whole season of house of cards in one week! Who cares! We are human. It will all get done.

So I did… I looked for the light in my day… I guess my lecturer didn’t seem to mind me slipping into class a little late. I suppose I got some exercise in on the walk home – I actually found the rain therapeutic. My laptop didn’t seem to be damaged, and I managed to clean it all up. And even though one of my deliveries wasn’t delivered, another one arrived and I got a free pair of leggings from a yoga planking competition I had won a week ago.

Focusing on the positive and feeling gratitude for the good is a sure fire way to lighten the mood and ease yourself out of a funk. But more importantly, I believe self-awareness is key. We need to actually feel the negative emotions and try to uncover the root of them. So I continued to think about why I was in this mood and why I find it so difficult to believe that I might be doing the best I can.

Why can we not give ourselves that same advice we would to a friend, and have it actually mean something or make a difference?

I suppose that it is because on some level, we don’t believe it to be true. Maybe it is because we know all of our own dirty little secrets… we know how much time we spend on the “idle” things – reading articles, chatting to a friend, social media scrolling, online shopping, snoozing, day-dreaming – and so we don’t feel like we work hard enough. We allow guilt to take a hold of us and have us believe we could do better, we should be better.

But the truth is, we are all doing the best we can. And the harsh self-critics that we are, we probably could always find reasons why we should be doing better! But when you let the negative overshadow the positive, when you let the guilt suffocate the pride, and when you let the 5 things you didn’t get done, speak louder than the 7 things you did manage, you do yourself a major disservice and you “build up” the story in your head that you are indeed not good enough, when that is just not true.

There will always be more productive days than others. There will always be some things you just can’t control. You do deserve a break once in a while (in fact, every day you SHOULD take a break). Everyone deals with the everyday. No one is perfect. Stop comparing your “behind-the-scenes” to someone else’s “highlight reel”. Because even just the word “better” is a comparison, and comparison is the thief of joy (- Theodore Roosevelt). If nothing else, in these moments, give yourself the reassurance you would give a friend AND actually listen to it.

By 7pm I had feverishly written this post and had a good laugh about it all with my partner who shared his own day. There were parts of his day that if it were me, I would have scolded myself for, but because it was him I was kind. This is the kindness we need to offer ourselves. It is all a matter of perspective.


And then… I walked into the bathroom (in my socks) only to find water EVERYWHERE… I’m talking soggy TP, broken hair-dryer, ruined toiletries. A pipe had burst under the sink. Remember, I’m in my socks (eww)…

And I just had to laugh!

Your bad day is just one laugh away from being a little bit better… 🙂