We sat down this morning and chatted with Dominique McGuire from @thepillars.naturopathy to talk about how to be the best version of yourself, starting from the inside and also asked for some tips on keeping our immunity in tact this Winter. An amazing lady, who is glowing with enthusiasm to better yourself. We loved this chat! If you’re in Sydney, definitely pay her a visit.
So, Dominique, it’s easy to tell you are hardout, heart-set committed to helping your clients achieve their health goals. Outside of falling sick and wanting to do something about it, what does it take to set a meaningful health goal? Do you feel that this gets talked about enough?
That’s a great question. As a collective, we generally don’t focus enough on preventative health. We usually wait until something is wrong before we take action, which is when it’s usually too late (like that 6 monthly preventative dental check up that kept getting put on the back burner and now you need a filling... sound familiar?).
Think about the last time you were sick - all you wanted was to be able to feel healthy again, right? But then once you’re feeling better, all of those amazing ideas go out the window. The perfect motivation for setting health goals right now is to think about how you want to spend the years in your later life. Prevention is cheaper than cure (both financially and physically), so it’s important to put the work in now to prevent illness before it occurs.
I know we said “outside of falling sick”... but tell us with this change in the weather, our immunity really gets tested. What’re your tips for staying healthy this Winter?
I like to keep things simple so that everyone regardless of location or budget can easily implement these tips for better health this Winter.
- Focus on Whole Foods - this means limiting/avoiding processed foods and incorporating food that is as close to its original form. Swap out the salads and replace them with slow cooked stews, soups or curries loaded with warming spices like turmeric and ginger to help nourish your body with easy to digest meals. If you need recipes or meal inspo, check out my Instagram page.
- Hydration - this one is so simple, yet can be so difficult! A good way to increase your intake is to keep a water bottle with you throughout the day so that you’re more likely to drink between 2-3L of water a day. Coffee doesn’t count towards this goal as it can be dehydrating (sorry!), but caffeine free herbal teas do! Elderflower, peppermint, yarrow and echinacea are some of my favourites (they also have immune enhancing properties too!).
- Sunshine - as it gets colder, we tend to spend less time outdoors. Making time to get some sunshine is great for our moods, as well as increasing our vitamin D levels, which is so important for healthy immune function. To reap the benefits of the sun, make sure you expose your skin outdoors for about 15 minutes per day. Apps like
D-minder can be a great way to incorporate safe sun exposure into your routine to boost your vitamin D levels.
- Sleep - again, simple but can be difficult! As it gets darker earlier, it’s slightly easier to get to bed at a more reasonable hour to make sure you’re hitting your 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Creating a bedtime ritual where you start to wind down about an hour before sleep can be beneficial to help get you nearer to that target. This could include turning off screens (e.g. phone, computer and television), doing your skincare routine, putting on an essential oil blend in a diffuser and reading a book in bed with a caffeine-free herbal tea like chamomile, or a hot cacao.
- Movement - Winter is the easiest time of the year to hit the snooze button and skip the gym, but continuing to move your body throughout the colder months is a great way to keep your immune system on point.
- Minimise Stress - schedule some time for yourself in your calendar to do the things that bring you joy. Stress negatively impacts our immune system and our ability to recover from illness. If you don’t make time to rest, your body will choose the time for you (read that again!).
- Hygiene - Make sure you wash your hands regularly and maintain good personal hygiene to prevent becoming sick. This also means staying at home to rest if you’re sick to avoid spreading viruses!
Changing weather is such a great excuse to change up the routine and try a new fitness activity. Do you have advice for women about the self-care that needs to expand when we decide to focus more, or differently, on our fitness?
I’m really passionate about females fuelling appropriately when exercising so that they can work WITH their hormones, instead of against them. It’s really important that we include enough protein in our diet when we live active lives, but sufficient complex carbohydrates and healthy fats are crucial for healthy hormones too. It’s rare that my clients actually consume enough protein each day, so making sure that you have a protein source in every meal and snack is a great way to edge towards our protein targets to help maintain stable blood sugar levels, regulate hormones, build lean muscle, reduce body fat and also improve our immune function too.
Big broad question here. What’s a naturopath’s best advice on feeling beautiful, inside and out?
As a naturopath who looks at the body as a whole, I believe feeling beautiful inside and out is about having a well functioning body. That means having balanced hormones (e.g. a regular menstrual cycle which is virtually symptom-free), a healthy relationship with body image, food and exercise, regular bowel movements, good resilience to illness, managed stress, and healthy sleeping habits. Addressing these factors results in glowing skin, healthy hair and nails, healthy mood, reduced inflammation and the ability to maintain a healthy body weight; this is why it’s so important to nail the basics and consequently have optimal health reflected externally.
Can you tell us about the future of The Pillars Naturopathy? Is there anything happening that you’re excited about?
The Pillars Naturopathy has been my baby that I’ve been nurturing throughout my Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy) degree to help me kickstart my career as a naturopath. It has been the home of my recipes, as I love creating easy whole food meals, and a platform to share the knowledge I’ve collected along the way in an easy to digest approach (pun intended). I’m opening my books shortly for naturopathic consultations where I can help you identify the root cause of your symptoms through pathology testing and evidence based techniques to provide you with an individualised treatment plan based on your specific needs using dietary and lifestyle advice, nutritional supplements and/or herbal medicine if required. There are big things on the horizon for The Pillars Naturopathy including courses, programs and ebooks. Make sure you follow along so you can keep up to date with my next moves!