As spoken to Emma Lodge | September 2016
I love visiting the Atherton Tablelands. I enjoy any excuse to take a drive up the hill, and the best thing is having access to all the fresh farm produce and the views. The green rolling hills, the Jersey cows, the mud and quite often the drizzle in Malanda makes me feel right at home. And quite conveniently I always seem to perfectly time a visit to Jo Whitton’s home when there is food ready to be served. But as she reminds me, there’s always food ready to be served in her home…
Emma: Where did your journey to gut health begin?
Jo: How it started for us we were eating wholefoods, we were eating healthy and then suddenly everything went downhill. We have always had food intolerances but were eating to try and cope with them, rather than eating to heal them.
Once we learnt about the GAPS diet and learning to heal the gut, and how you can heal a lot of food intolerances and issues that are so related to the brain – the gut brain connection – we started to work on that as a family and have seen major changes in just 1 to 2 years things completely turned around.
You’re an ambassador for the Mindd Foundation which I love the fact they focus on integrative health treatments, in particular nutritional education.
Jo: Yes and so is my son Issac a youth ambassador. The Mindd Foundation stands for Metabolic, Immunologic, Neurologic, Digestive, Developmental conditions. They train parents and practitioners to help especially for children, but also for people of any age helping them to recover from these type of issues and disorders. Because of the work I do with gut health and helping people to learn how to cook to heal the gut as we have for Issac, we used the GAPS diet, and we’ve just found so many big changes, so we speak at the Mindd Forum each year in Sydney and try to help them get the word out because there’s so much you can do with food, and also with biomedical doctors, naturopaths and practitioners that are able to help with these disorders the natural way.
And Issac has gone from strength to strength sharing his message.
Jo: I think a lot of people when they’re stuck in the deep dark hole of depression think and feel like they are the only one and no one understands. But to have other people who’ve been there and gotten through it, for Issac this is one of the biggest things that helped him, to hear their stories, that’s why he really braves getting out on stage to share his experience.
There is so much help out there from holistic health services, and that’s what I love about Bloom, gathering all these amazing people together and sharing all this health inspiration in a day. Everyone’s health journey is so individual and unique, so its about picking the right path that’s right for you.
Jo: Yes so health is never one thing, never just food, but food is a very important part.
Tell us about your new book Life Changing Food
Jo: A good friend of mine Fouad Kassab said ‘lets do a cookbook’ so I said ok! Fouad and I both have really exciting stories of healing with food in our families. He was very obese and had terrible skin issues and food completely changed that when the doctors said there was nothing they can do. He found the Paleo diet. Five years and 28 kilos later, he is a new man.
In my family our son Issac had terrible OCD, anxiety and depression at the age of 13 years, and we had all the usual food intolerance’s and skin issues, hayfever and colds etc which has now all been healed with food. So no medication now and we are very happy.
So we decided to put our stories and recipes into a beautiful cookbook to be able to share with others. We decided to self publish which is exciting, so we could have freedom to pick the photographer that we love and pick the designers we love, and make our own team.
And your book has now just launched! Where can people find out more and purchase a copy?
Jo: Head on over to my blog www.quirkycooking.com.au or the Quirky Cooking Facebook page. Here you will find a vibrant community where I share my tips and recipes for delicious, healing food, and happy, healthy living.