It’s a Sunday morning in winter. My husband and I meet friends for breakfast at Urban Projuice, the place where Tegan Steele aka Vegie Girl, one of the authors of 365 Days of Wholeness, gets to showcase her commitment to plant-based wholefood chemical free living all year round. The food feels clean and wholesome. But this is not a review of Urban Projuice. It’s about the book.
Written by Tegan and former AFL (Australian Football League for those of you elsewhere in the world) player, Matt Bate, this book drew me in even before I could say “365 Days of Wholeness.” I recommend it to you for the inspirational stories alone. Of course, there is so much more that this book has to offer, but just the stories would be value enough.
Tegan and I first crossed paths in early 2013 when I was embarking on my own plant-based healing journey. Tegan had quite a social media presence, regularly posting photos of vibrantly coloured fruits and vegetables. Vegie Girl was the first “wellness blogger” I followed. Her recipes for juices, smoothies and her signature chia seed pudding became staples produced by my kitchen. The chia seed pudding remains a favourite (although I like to add ½ cup raw cacao. And don’t forget to pit the dates!).
I knew that there was a story behind her transition to a mostly raw, plant-based diet, but I had no idea just how much she AND her mother had suffered from gut-related chronic illnesses until I read the first chapter of this book.
The health difficulties that both Tegan and her mother have overcome through adopting a mostly raw plant-based wholefoods diet would be insurmountable for most people. Obviously I won’t go into a lot of detail here as you can read it for yourself. All I can say is “Wow!”
And the insights revealed by Matt into the pressures of being a high performance football player and the recovery process following matches were just fascinating. Making similar changes to his diet, Matt was able not only to improve his performance on the field but found his recovery time was significantly reduced. And what he did was not what the sports scientists and nutritionists recommended.
Since making the changes in his own life, he has worked side by side with Peter Siddle, the Australian cricketer whose adoption of a plant-based diet has been the subject of international commentary.
Matt and Tegan met through their newfound vitality and interest in healthy food. And for two years they’ve been putting this book together, while Matt has been studying holistic sports nutrition and completing a Master of Science. They have both studied at the College of Natural Health.
Aside from their personal stories, Tegan and Matt share their conviction that given the right conditions, our bodies cannot only heal themselves but thrive. And this book sets out what they have done, and recommend, to create those conditions. It covers an analysis of the human body and its functions and the need for critical thinking in this modern day and age. Are the messages and information we receive from external sources creating beliefs about our health that are contrary to our nature? That is something for you to decide yourself, when you question what you are being told.
There is a discussion of modern ailments and our tendency to focus on symptoms rather than causes. Just one example is how we react to the simple headache – do you reach for the painkillers or do you increase your intake of water and healing foods? No need to answer now but this book will have you thinking about your habits and how you can change them.
Matt and Tegan explore how to reduce your exposure to chemicals and toxins, and share some some great recipes for chemical free personal products like toothpaste, deodorant and mouthwash.
Basically, 365 Days of Wholeness provides you with the keys to a lifestyle that creates ideal conditions for our bodies to thrive. It’s handy to have them all in the one place and described in a new and thought-provoking way. They cover rest, including resting our digestive systems through fasting – something they have truly inspired me to explore. Since reading the book I have done a 1-day water fast and felt incredible after it. I have previously spoken about the benefits of water fasting here.
Should you wish to do a juice fast, the book includes commentary about the benefits of that over an extended time. In particular, they recommend the CABALA juice recipe, which I’m drinking as I write this. And with inspiring quotes from across the ages, you will wonder why you have never fasted before and will be impatient to start!
Exercise rates highly and they have some interesting thoughts about the type of exercise we should do. I’m not giving away too much as I think this book is definitely a worthwhile investment.
And of course – a subject close to my own heart – meditation also rates a mention.
But of course, with any book that deals with lifestyle and vibrant health, there are suggestions about the type of food to eat and some helpful recipes to get you started. Tegan and Matt don’t advocate a calorie restricted diet. They recommend a way of eating that allows you to eat as much as you like and whenever you like, provided you give some thought to food combining and when you consume liquids. They call it the Abundance Diet. And as you might have guessed, it’s mostly plants and vegetables. Lots of them! And predominantly raw.
Tegan and Matt talk about all the benefits of eating these foods and explain why we should give consideration at least to reducing, if not eliminating, our consumption of foods derived from animals. They thoughtfully examine the environmental, spiritual and ethical issues associated with large-scale meat and dairy production.
All in all, this is a very inspiring book. It can be a challenging read as it tackles many beliefs head on, but perhaps that’s what we need in this age of chronic illness and soon to be irreversible environmental damage. It’s estimated that in coming years 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with a chronic illness and you may have read my post about the predictions for cancer.
This book provides you with the tools you need to take control of your own health and the environment around you. Why wouldn’t you want “365 Days of Wholeness?”
Even the dog wanted a piece of it. I’ll be back to get another copy and hopefully Tegan will sign it again …
Be happy. Be well. Just be.
And so be it.
To get your copy, head to 365 Days of Wholeness here.