DIY My Kitchen Rules: Growing Your Own Garden w Blake Proud
DIY My Kitchen Rules: Growing Your Own Garden w Blake Proud
[00:00:00] Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my Wellness Warriors podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians. Find solutions to treating obesity and health-related complications through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.
My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present, and future who have helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia for both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it.
Welcome to the Wellness Warriors podcast today, it’s my absolute pleasure to introduce Blake Proud. Blake appeared, many of you will know and you might have been followers of the My Kitchen Rules series and seen him appear, season 10 of the Channel Seven famous show, My Kitchen Rules, where we see all these incredible people go up against each other in competition and Blake, you actually appeared with your sister cooking on My Kitchen Rules. And my first question, I’m fascinated to know what actually inspired you to actually go after something like My Kitchen Rules in the first place?
[00:01:18] Blake Proud: So ever since I was a young guy, I always had a fascination with reality TV. How real it is, how scripted it is, what’s it like? So I had a massive intrigue with that type of TV from the get-go. And then just prior to doing that, I’d actually built my first home, so I was inundated with debt. I was spending a lot of my time at home cooking, I had a lot of spare time and not a lot of money, so I was just cooking heaps and putting it on social media, and a lot of friends had suggested, you know, try out. So basically the seed was planted and I wanted to combine like two things I was really interested in, food and you know, a reality TV show, and so, yeah, I applied.
[00:01:57] Felicity Cohen: You’ve got such an incredibly diverse background. You’ve got a qualification in photography, you’re studying communications and marketing. You seem to get, you know, get involved in so many different aspects of professional, potential workspaces, you’ve been involved in a clothing label. Tell me a little bit about your food odyssey and what inspired you and what do you love the most?
[00:02:24] Blake Proud: I think, and you’re right, I’ve basically, I think my parents were always just when I was growing up, I was always racing to do so many different things, I wanted to try something else. And mom and dad were always like, “Okay, cool. Well, if you don’t want to do that, let’s go get you some basketball shoes then, and you can try basketball” and they’re really supportive. So there was never a “no, you can’t do that” and I think that’s really continued on throughout my whole life. Now, if there’s something that I want to do, I’ll at least want to dip my toe in and try it to see if I like it. And I think that’s, that’s a pretty important thing to not be afraid to do in life.
Food, for me, that’s actually a part of my weight loss journey, which some people know about and some people don’t. But in my early twenties, I probably was around 105 kilos, which was probably my biggest, which doesn’t sound super big, but I was, I’m only about five foot eleven, so it looked a lot bigger. And yeah, so for me food was a massive part of the journey of losing weight, understanding food, understanding what it does to our body, and how it makes us feel mentally. And that was a massive culmination of so many different things, which again, led me to want to do My Kitchen Rules and sort of bringing my passion and knowledge for food, not just my skillset in the kitchen, but what food does to you as well, and kind of raise awareness to that too.
[00:03:35] Felicity Cohen: Can we unpack that a little bit for a moment, because for me in the space that I’m working in with patients going through weight loss journeys, it’s really important that food is still such a big part of life. You know, we want people to always enjoy and love food and what comes with that, whether that means their socialisation with their families and their friends, and so often people are afraid of what that’s going to look like post weight loss. Are they ever going to be able to enjoy food again? And it’s so important that we highlight that is so important and that we want to give back that enjoyment of food for the rest of your life, never take it away. At what point did you actually say to yourself I need to lose weight and change my focus and really, really think about your health?
[00:04:22] Blake Proud: So it’s a bit of a sad story. So I was with, I was only young and I had a partner at the time and we broke up and then she started dating a new guy and a bit of bullying started to happen, this is back in the MySpace days, so online they kind of bullied me about being overweight and all that kind of stuff. So, and that, it didn’t really get to me that kind of stuff’s water off the duck backs for me, but this time it kind of, it made me think a little bit and there was one night I went to bed and I remember laying down on the mattress, in my boxer shorts, and I kind of had like a bit of a breast going on and I could just kind of see it out the corner of my eye and it would just sort of flop on the mattress a bit, and I was just like, do you know what, as much as they are bullying me at the same time, I’m going to take this as a bit of personal advice that maybe it is time I kind of pull the trigger on something and make some changes. So I wouldn’t say it was them that made the change for me, it was me making a conscious decision at that moment to be like, “No, I’m not happy with myself, although they are kind of teasing me about it, I’m not happy on the inside so now is the time for me to make the change.”
[00:05:25] Felicity Cohen: And there’s typically a trigger or a light bulb moment for most people and if that was yours, well, you know, that’s something I guess, to be thankful for, because look at who you are now and where you’re at now and your attitude and your approach to your health and wellbeing, as well as to food have probably changed so much.
[00:05:42] Blake Proud: Yeah immensely, like everything, your outlook on life, your body, and it gives you not just the outlook and the understanding of things, but the way that you go forward as well. So you know what you can and can’t do. And the more you learn about your body, how it operates, how it functions, how things make you feel, it mitigates a lot of pain and hurt and suffering, I guess, going forward as well because you kind of know where your limitations are.
[00:06:07] Felicity Cohen: Absolutely. You’ve obviously got a great relationship with your sister to go together on this journey together on My Kitchen Rules. Had you always been involved in being in the kitchen together and cooking together, or was that something new that you created in your relationship with your sister to go onto My Kitchen Rules?
[00:06:26] Blake Proud: As kids growing up, we were definitely close, our whole family’s super close. But I guess in our twenties, we, you kind of do your own thing, I think in your twenties is that era where you just kind of, you don’t forget about your family, but you kind of drift away a little bit and you go into your own world and you chase your dreams. So that was my time when I was, you know, losing weight and, you know, having a six-pack and, you know, being a bit of a boy and going out clubbing and partying and doing all that kind of stuff.
That’s when I set up my clothing label when I was 25. So a lot of my focus, I moved about 45 minutes away from my family, north of Perth, and did my clothing label, my business side of things. And so we kind of drifted apart in a sense that we weren’t attached at the hip like we are now, when we did My Kitchen Rules, I only just moved back south of the river, right near my family, where I built my house, and so we’d started to become closer again. When I applied us for My Kitchen Rules, she didn’t actually know that I had applied for both of us, so she had no idea until the production team called us up and said they wanted to interview us, I had to call her and explain to her that this is what I’d done, I’ve entered us for My Kitchen Rules, and they want to actually talk to us about being on the show. And she didn’t believe me at first, but she believed me when we were sort of on the plane flying over to Sydney but, so that was kind of, it was really good, and it was a bit, I think we were both a bit anxious to spend that much time together again, because it had been so long and we, you know, not really been living under the same roof for a long time, so we weren’t quite sure how we were going to go together. But yeah, it was a blessing in disguise, like we’re absolutely inseparable now. So she’s like my best, best, best friend. We talk probably seven times a day like, yeah, it’s a really good relationship to have.
[00:08:05] Felicity Cohen: I love that. Do you have different strengths in the kitchen and how do you combine them to be a team?
[00:08:12] Blake Proud: So she is much more relaxed, I am an absolute stress head in the kitchen and I really feel the pressure. So when we were filming, I was very focused, I struggle to have conversations because I was so focused on the task at hand. So I’m worried about cooking everything, getting the measurements right, and following the rules, whereas she’s a lot more laid back. It was really good, we could bounce off each other. So I found it really difficult to do things without her for a while after that because if I was lost for words or was stuck on something, she can kind of just read my play a little bit and she knows exactly when to jump in and say something funny to lighten me up, so then it brings out the best in me and I kind of focus again and I don’t get so stressed. So yeah, we really work together like a yin and yang kind of relationship is really good.
[00:08:59] Felicity Cohen: I love that. You’ve obviously been faced with a few different challenges from a wellness perspective, you know, going through your weight loss journey, you were hospitalised with pneumonia and in the same week you had to face some terrible issues with your grandmother, also at the same time your wife was pregnant. So much had gone on in your life, how did that help overall to shape your values around wellness and how do you see wellness now?
[00:09:28] Blake Proud: Wellness for me has, and as you said, there’s been so many experiences. I’ve had two knee reconstructions as well, and a bicep reconstruction, and I’ve had a disc herniation in my neck. So for me, it’s, there have been many hurdles, but you know, you find solace and strength in overcoming those hurdles. And I think challenges in life are exactly that: challenges and you have to rise above and you have to conquer them and the fact of the matter is 99% of people do, and there’s a massive satisfaction in doing that. And I think, I really love, and I’m really conscious that when there’s a challenge or when something comes along that is a hurdle I’m extremely conscious that I will get over it and there is a lesson to be learned here. So I try and go into those situations with a really open mind and not put too much pressure on myself and really feel like the emotions that you feel, I think when you go through those moments, like losing someone is horrible, you know, so feeling those emotions, crying and really getting it out and that helps you move on as well.
[00:10:28] Felicity Cohen: So for you right now, what would you actually describe as your most important wellness routine?
[00:10:35] Blake Proud: I have heaps! At the moment one that’s definitely got me, there was probably a moment right up towards my partner’s pregnancy where everything was stressful, work was stressful, we had a breached baby at 37 weeks, so there were many, many appointments. Mushroom tinctures, Bulletproof coffees, and early mornings for me have been something that just changes my world. I don’t know the exact effect that it has and how it works, but I definitely know that having that little bit of extra saturated fat in the morning and having a, I like to use a keto diet as well when I tend to get a bit of brain fog and have, you know, issues focusing a lot. So cutting out a lot of carbohydrates and just upping the fat in my diet, like MCT oil and ghee really just gets me in a better mental place, just squashes my anxiety and depression, and keeps me really focused, which is really good.
And also I have a thing where there’s a local jetty near us down in the water, if I ever have a really bad day and I just can’t shake it, I just go down to the jetty and jump off the end of it. And that moment when you jump off and you’re falling, there’s just nothing else in your mind except you’re falling, and I think that’s a feeling that humans, I don’t know whether we don’t like it, or, but just that falling feeling just clears your mind. As soon as you hit the water and its icy cold and you just come up for that breath and you’re just like, “ugh” and everything’s completely forgotten in your mind and it’s a really good way to reset your body. So they’re probably two things that are just the two absolute tools that I use to sort of keep a clear mind.
[00:12:03] Felicity Cohen: And having a holistic value around managing your health and wellbeing. Interestingly you highlight the fact that you’re managing your anxiety, depression, and that kind of feelings through better healthy food choices, making sure that you’re on the right diet and the right focused decisions for yourself. So it’s really interesting to hear how that keto style of diet works for you. And we know that there’s a huge big correlation between what we eat, what we put into our bodies and our moods. So you clearly know the difference between the right foods for you personally, what works for you and what doesn’t.
[00:12:41] Blake Proud: Yeah. And it’s, look, it’s trial and error and I’ve done every, whether it’s a fad diet or a scientifically proven diet, I’ve literally done every single one of them personally over the years from juice fasting for 40 days to just water fasting for 10 days to keto diets, vegan diets, carnivorous diets, I’ve done them all! And I think as you said, it’s learning what works for you. And even just like temporarily, so I don’t permanently diet anymore, I kind of go through waves of dieting. So since the start of the year, I’ve eaten and I’ve drunk, whatever I want and I’ve felt absolutely amazing. Starting to get a bit of a dad bod, now I look in the mirror and I’m like, “you know, I think I need to just cut it out for a little bit, fine tune my schedule and just refocus in on my body and my mental health just for a little bit”, because I want to be a better partner, I want to be a better father and I think that’s all a part of the game.
So now I’m kind of two weeks into doing another keto diet and a bit of a reset back in the gym training really hard every day. You know, and I’m already four and a half kilos down, I’m feeling much better, much more clarity in my mind, and far more energised than I was a couple of weeks ago. So it’s just learning and knowing your body and when to change and when to start doing these kinds of things and a balancing act.
[00:13:57] Felicity Cohen: Mental clarity and energy mean everything to how productive we are and flow effect to every other aspect of life. How has your view on wellness changed since becoming a father?
[00:14:10] Blake Proud: It’s been difficult. I like to think there should be a sense of selfishness about your own health and your own mental health when it comes to being a parent. So I’ve always thought “if I’m not thinking straight and I’m not feeling good, then I can’t be the best dad that I can be for my little one.” So it’s kind of figuring that out now being a first-time dad, like obviously putting my partner and my little baby girl first to the point where I’m kind of finding that point now. I think I was exhausting myself and I was doing too much, I wasn’t eating right, and I wasn’t exercising because I was prioritising them. And I was getting to the point where I wasn’t starting to feel a hundred per cent, so I think, you know, pulling back and leaning on your partner for a bit of support and saying, “Hey babe, look, I really want to start going back to the gym for an hour a day. Do you mind getting up an hour early and giving me that time before work to go to the gym”, and just being honest and having an open, honest relationship with your partner or friends or family. To get a sitter and prioritise your own health, I think that has been the hardest thing. But you know, for me, wellness is always going to be a happy thing, you know, and being with my baby girl just makes me so happy that, you know, it’s yeah, it’s always going to be good.
[00:15:22] Felicity Cohen: Balance in life and giving you and your partner both time to be able to really be the best versions of yourself is fantastic. And a really great message to people, especially first time parents to look for that balance and how to make it all work so that you can have the best possible relationship for all of you.
You do have a wart and all approach to your Instagram and want to make it clear to your followers that social media is a highlights reel, and that real life goes on behind the scenes. Why is breaking that glossy barrier something that you are so passionate about?
[00:15:59] Blake Proud: I think after My Kitchen Rules, I was kind of a part of that and it just made me sick, like mentally sick, physically sick. I was stressed because there were just these pressures and demands, you know, on social media and externally as well about, you know, “oh, you’ve been on reality TV now, how come you haven’t started a restaurant?” or, you know, “why aren’t you doing this? Or why don’t you try out for the bachelor?”, and I kind of like getting involved in that, you know, and I went out and I bought a new wardrobe and I started to dress differently and I started to act differently and it was absolutely exhausting. It was so exhausting and I didn’t know why I was doing it, well, I was doing it for the gratification of followers that are like, as much as I love the people that do follow me, you know, it’s my life, not theirs.
And so to an extent, I understand why people do it. And, you know, Instagram is a massive business and people make, you know, tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars off these platforms and understand that the people that use a platform, they themselves are a brand. So, you know, working in marketing and branding, I understand how people want to be perceived in a certain light, be it for their target market or demographic to better their business. So I think for me, it’s a combination of both, I want to be real and I don’t want to have the stress of trying to be someone and then forgetting who that person is or who I am, and then secondly, I think from a branding perspective, if I’m myself and I’m real and I’m raw, that’s the kind of business and brands that I want to work with and that I would buy from anyway. So I think it’s, yeah, a combination of both of those reasons. I just want to sort of strip it back and just be real and, yeah, show people that, you know, this is life, there’s probably more downs than there are ups. So I don’t know why we are sort of using social media to promote just a wall of all of the positive things, because I think dealing with the negative things is how you can be a happier person.
[00:17:56] Felicity Cohen: Definitely. Tell me a little bit about your food journey since the end of the My Kitchen Rules experience, where has it taken you? And what are your goals and visions from a food perspective now?
[00:18:09] Blake Proud: So it’s been pretty crazy and really eye-opening for me. One thing that I learned from My Kitchen Rules was really championing the food, you know, and not overdoing it. So talking to, you know, some of the chefs that we got to meet were just incredible, incredible people and they’re the best chefs on the planet. And I went in there with this mentality of creating these amazing dishes and complicated recipes and being really hard to do kind of things is what’s going to get me kudos and brownie points. But talking to these chefs, it’s the complete opposite. It’s, you know, a carrot to carrot, and we want to taste the carrot and we want to eat what the carrot delivers to us. So it’s kind of, really wound it back, you know, from being, we don’t need to dredge the carrot in marinades and sauce and flavours because that’s not why we’re eating the carrot. So for me, it’s been really wound back to keeping it really simple, keeping it really clean, and just focusing on a real balanced diet.
Yeah, and growing a lot of my own food has been huge for me. So learning about where food comes from, I think there’s a massive disconnect, especially with kids, you know, they eat a muesli bar or something like that, they don’t actually understand that was a seed sown by a farmer that was growing into a plant that was harvested. So I think that kind of stuff’s important knowing where food comes from, like a, you eat a chip at a restaurant or something like that, like a fried chip, but the kids don’t understand that potentially that that’s a, it’s not potentially, that’s a potato that’s been growing in the ground and harvested, and that taste the way it is because of the soil that it was growing in. So I think there’s a massive disconnect between humans in general and where food comes from, why it’s nutritious and why it tastes the way it is.
[00:19:51] Felicity Cohen: And it’s so important to teach kids. And we are so lucky to have had advocates like Stephanie Alexander, for example, with her garden program implemented in many schools. But I really do agree with you that there’s so much more work to do in that space and also understanding, you know, the value of soil and where the nutrients come from. You know, one of the things that I’ve always been taught is never buying a tomato from a supermarket because it will be absolutely completely void of zinc and the nutrition that you actually really need. If you’re going to grow one thing at home, start with tomatoes! You grow a lot of your own food, and I love the whole concept of that paddock-to-plate type mentality, where we are engaged with understanding where food comes from. And so many people over the last few years, I think have started to understand that, you know, yes, we can grow our own food and that whole big movement, I think, too, you know, the backyard and balconies turning into flourishing gardens have been a real thing. Have, have you seen a lot of change there and what are some of the things that you feel are important to share from your own knowledge?
[00:20:56] Blake Proud: Definitely a lot of change. I think, and I remember at the start of the pandemic going to one of the hardware stores and the seedling section was completely sold out. All the seeds were sold out, it was like the end of the world was coming. Which is a good thing I think, getting your hands dirty, it’s really healthy and it’s fun and it’s connecting you to the earth. And I think, you know, soil biologies, it’s a massive thing, which I’m kind of just getting into now a lot deeper and you know, some people that I talk to, you know, it’s about, I guess it’s about growing soil as well it is about growing vegetables and fruits, and that takes time. So, you know, things that I’m starting to implement this winter are growing cover crops, so basically there are parts of my garden bed that I’ll just grow specific plants that are high in nitrogen, high-end phosphates, so that come springtime I actually chop them down and just re mulch them back into the soil. I’ve got a couple of worm farms going, which are absolutely amazing because food scraps shouldn’t be going in the bin, they should be going even just straight into your garden. If you don’t have a worm farm, just literally just mix them straight into your garden.
But yeah, it’s amazing to grow your own food, like to, I remember when I met my partner, Ella, she was super impressed and I swear, this is what sealed the deal, she came over and I was cooking and I was just kind of going back and forth because I’ve got a really small property, by the way, it’s only 224 square metres, so it’s like a tiny little courtyard and I have so much growing in my garden, so don’t be put off by small properties, and I was going back and forth from sort of the kitchen to outside and she’s like, “what are you, what are you doing?”, I was like, “I’m getting dinner. I’m getting all the spinach from the garden and all the herbs, and all the spices and the tomatoes and the beetroots”. And it tastes amazing, and there’s a massive sense of pride in eating food that you grow in from seed because you like, potentially you’re nourishing these plants and they depend on you to provide them with the right soil to grow in. So some of the soil in Australia is, especially if you’re in a newer state, it’s just sand and it’s really bad. And even buying commercial bags of soil, they’re just a medium to grow plants in. And when you think about it from a big soil manufacturing perspective, they don’t want it to be good soil because they want you to go back and buy their slow-release fertiliser, and they want you to go back and buy their additives and all that kind of stuff. So growing your own soil, I think is the absolute key and good soil is the foundation of pretty much all life on earth and the number of organisms, animals, and fungi that grow in soil, yeah, it truly is the foundation of everything.
[00:23:32] Felicity Cohen: Thank you so much for that insight. What are you actually growing at the moment?
[00:23:36] Blake Proud: So at the moment, a lot of cover crops, so it’s pretty empty, so I’m just getting my soil and growing it and getting it ready for summer. So lots of cruciferous greens at the moment, so lots of spinach, lots of kale, lots of rocket. I’ve still got a few chillies that are kicking on, lots of beetroots because I love beetroot, it’s one of my favourite things to grow because you can eat the bulb part of the beetroot as well when it’s ready, but also the leaves are just so nutritious, and I mix it up with the gold, the red and the green beetroot, they’re great in salads and just heaps of herbs, there’s always plenty of herbs growing in my garden.
[00:24:10] Felicity Cohen: Do you have any tips or guidelines for people who are starting to grow their own vegetables or fruit at home or herbs even? What are some of your top tips to get started?
[00:24:22] Blake Proud: I would say you have to have some kind of a worm farm. Not only do they create a really good compost to put into the garden as well, but you can also transfer the worms into the garden, so it actually turns it into a living garden, you get the worm tea, which is sort of the juice that comes out the bottom, which is highly nutritious for plants. So it’s really, you get like a four in one or a three in one, and obviously, they’re kind of a, I guess, rubbish bin for food scraps as well. So that would be my first and foremost thing would be to get a little worm farm. You don’t need a big one, you can just have a little one, but they make all the difference and they don’t take up any space whatsoever.
And get your hands dirty in the soil! I think you really have to, gardens aren’t set and forget, even if it’s a garden bed in the ground, you need to love them, nurture them, work them just like they are the plant. So I think constantly adding to them doing, you know, top growth, mulching it, watering it, turning it, and really looking after it, is probably the most important part. The plants are happy to just do their own things, and once you put the plants in really good soil, you don’t have to do anything to them, they do themselves so.
[00:25:32] Felicity Cohen: Awesome. We are so lucky in Australia in terms of fresh produce and the availability of some incredible ingredients. What are some of the new things that you are seeing in Western Australia happening in that space, and what can we look forward to?
[00:25:48] Blake Proud: So WA is lucky. We have a gluttony of produce. It’s really, there’s so much going on it’s hard to actually keep tabs on what’s happening. There’s a new oyster that’s doing the rounds called an Akoya oyster which is, which seems to be everywhere at the moment. Seafood in WA has just gone through the roof, our prawns are just absolutely amazing. The wine regions are going crazy, so all of the grapes, and the grape varietals that we’re growing, are right down through the Great Southern. There’s some, I tell you, there are some great bakers in Western Australia now! We’ve never really had good bread and good bakers, but there are some fantastic bakers over here. So I think that with the produce we have, as long as there’s always going to be a push towards growing more organically, cleaner, especially with grains, looking at ancient grains that aren’t genetically modified. Everything can grow over here so it’s really like, there’s a lot going on. It’s hard to pinpoint what’s better than anything else, but it’s definitely lifted up the notch a bit on the quality and what’s available.
[00:26:52] Felicity Cohen: Exciting times ahead, and I can’t wait to taste one of those Akoya oysters, they sound amazing. You know, we know oysters are so good for us, they’re filled with zinc, which is a great element and, you know, really, really good, I can’t wait to taste one of those! What do you wish you knew Blake about wellness 10 years ago?
[00:27:11] Blake Proud: I think for me the term quality over quantity comes to mind. I think, you know, things like free-range, pasture-raised chicken eggs. You know, when you look at how much more nutritionally dense they are, especially if you’re trying to lose weight and you’re looking at dropping calories and being a bit more, you know, to get into a calorie deficit, but still maintain nutrients. And I think what people don’t realise is nutrients aren’t calories and your body’s hungry for nutrients and vitamins and minerals, not necessarily calories, and I always use eggs as an example, if you can have one free-range pasture-raised chicken egg, it’s probably the equivalent of four caged eggs as far as nutrient density goes. But you’re eliminating 75% of the calories, but you’re still getting all the nutrients. So I think that’s probably what I’ll teach myself is that sometimes less is more in a sense of eating nutrient-dense food, organically growing lots of green vegetables, things that are high in minerals and vitamins, they’re actually very satiating and filling, like you don’t have to eat as much. And I’m finding now, I’m actually surprised at how much I’m eating for dinner and lunch and breakfast at the moment, and feeling really full, still performing in the gym because I’m getting what my body needs and the nutrients and the minerals. That’s probably what I’d teach myself. I used to eat a lot of food just because I was always hungry like I’d train and I’d have to eat like 8, 9, 10 eggs a day, but you know, now I’m investing in better quality eggs and it’s making a huge difference.
[00:28:43] Felicity Cohen: So what does a day on a plate look like for you, can you walk us through that? because that sounds fascinating that you can achieve that sense of satisfaction, feeling full and satiated on a smaller volume, but higher quality. What does that actually look like for you?
[00:28:58] Blake Proud: So for me at the moment it’s a Bulletproof coffee at about 6:00 AM, and then just to add into that fat, I also add a spoon full of Benefiber, just to add that fibre, which helps sort of making you have that full of feeling for a little bit longer. I’ll have breakfast, which is probably two free-range scrambled eggs with a cup of spinach and a fermented vegetable, kimchi or sauerkraut. And then I’ll go right through till about 2, 2 30 PM, and then I’ll snack on some mixed nuts, I’ll have some tin tuna and a bit more spinach in a salad. And then dinner at the moment is predominantly protein, so a steak with a really nice chimichurri and a couple of bits of broccoli or something like that.
So I try and keep it simple, I think having overcomplicated food goals can sometimes put you off course and make it difficult, and if you are coming home and you can’t be bothered making dinner or you can’t be bothered meal prepping for tomorrow, I’d probably say you’re making meals too complicated and to maybe simplify it a little bit, and make it as easy as possible because dieting is hard, food prep is hard, especially if you’re busy. So yeah, just simplify it, as much as people might look at it and it doesn’t look glamorous and feel glamorous, I think if you’ve got specific goals you need to make them as easy as possible to achieve.
[00:30:17] Felicity Cohen: Great advice. Have you heard of the 30 plant challenge and what is your take on that?
[00:30:24] Blake Proud: I haven’t, but I am interested though, to hear about this 30 plant challenge.
[00:30:28] Felicity Cohen: Yeah. So it’s a challenge, so over seven days that we incorporate or aim to have 30 new plant-based foods in our diet over a week. So whether it’s from all of those food groups being, you know, plants and vegetables, fruits, legumes, might be nuts and seeds, but to try and incorporate and get those 30 different plants into your root, into your diet over a week.
[00:30:56] Blake Proud: I think that’s a good idea, and I think there’s also a lot of plants that you can eat, that people don’t realise you can eat. One thing that I grow in my garden, I love using flowers in cooking and recipes and salads. So you’ve got, you know, marigolds, you’ve got native violets and these are plants that people regularly grow in their garden that they don’t know that they’re consumable. So there are 30 plants, there’s a lot of plants you could eat, you could easily do that. That’s a good challenge!
[00:31:22] Felicity Cohen: And I love that you are using all of the beetroots, so the leaves don’t become wastage that we’re actually using them, we can eat them, and there’s still lots of nutrition in them because so many people don’t and they’re not aware that they can actually use the whole vegetable. I’m a massive beetroot fan too, I love it!
So finally, our listeners, they’re all wellness warriors, and we know that wellness is worth fighting for once you lose your health and you spend the rest of your life fighting to get it back, whether that’s physical or mental or spiritual health, sometimes it’s always inspiring to learn about how others are going with their wellness journey.
So my last question for you today is, can you share with us a time in your life when you were struggling with your wellness and what did you do to fight for it or to reclaim it?
[00:32:14] Blake Proud: I think the hardest time for me was probably after, this would be back around 2014, I just had a knee reconstruction, and I’m a very sporty person! So I was playing two or three games of basketball a week, I’d played in America for a little bit in 2011, so I had my knee reconstruction, so I was out of sports for a year, and I was driven, I was really focused to come back and get back on the court. So that was, that was fine throughout that year, but then 12 months almost to the day, I tore my bicep out from the distal head, which was in my forearm. So that’s really bad, so I had to get that reattached. So that was more surgery and I kind of spiralled into this, I don’t know, just a bit of a downward spiral to start off, and when the doctors and surgeons were saying that, you know, “I’m probably not going to play basketball again from my knee surgery”, and then now they’re saying, you know, “your arms really badly damaged, we don’t know if it’s going to be able to get back to a hundred per cent”, I started to really get depressed. I broke up, well, my partner broke up with me on my 30th birthday, so it’s all about the same time, we just sold my clothing label with my business partner and sort of the people whom I thought were my friends that were sort of hanging out with us all the time, kind of vanished because we weren’t giving them free clothes anymore.
So there was this really bad part of my life and I was looking for so many reasons to blame other people, and I think that was, the end sort of realisation was you know, this is all on me and this is all, I guess, a chain reaction of decisions that I’ve made in my life. So, I was looking at getting a Canadian visa and moving to Canada, but it was all just to run away from these kinds of feelings. So I got actually in a pretty deep dark state of depression, I was kind of a bit hooked on, you know, oxycodone from the surgeries, I was kind of like counting it out and staggering it out, and so I had some for certain days and I was drinking, you know, two bottles of wine a night. So it was in a pretty bad place. And I think just coming to the realisation of, you know, a lot of the issues I was facing were self-inflicted and I was spending so much time blaming other people and looking for excuses of why things weren’t going my way or, so it was just realising that, you know, this is on me now, I have to make the changes and I have to make the differences. And that’s when I found, you know, a nice little online company, I think James Colquhoun, was his name and he has a little program called Food Matters, and I watched a few documentaries just on the way the mind works and how much of the subconscious mind works on past traumas and experiences.
And I started meditating, and there was one particular moment that really sorts of triggered me to really want to be better and do better, I was walking down at the beach at about 5:00 AM in the morning, and this, there was lots of shells on the beach and this big wave crashed up on the beach and as it sort of went back out to the ocean, the shells kind of rolled and almost jingled like bells. And I was just like, wow, like, this is just, this is so beautiful, this is real life. Like, and I didn’t have to do anything for this. I just woke up and went to the beach and it was right there. So that’s kind of when I really started to draw back from, I guess, everything, and really just start focusing on my mind, meditating a lot, like at least twice a day, channelling what makes me happy food-wise, physically, mentally. Switching off the TV, I used to play a lot of PlayStation. So basically every time I had the urge to play a game I would go to the gym and then I ended up selling the PlayStation completely and using the money to get some dumbbells and stuff like that.
And it was just really focusing on that kind of stuff and it didn’t happen overnight. It took a really long time for me to get to a really good place. And then before, you know, it, you’re kind of there, like you, you look around and you’re like, wow, like I’m buzzing. Like everything is great, I’m feeling fantastic. My body looked amazing and I was really happy and confident with where I was. And then I noticed in life that things just started to in a really positive way, domino effect, there were promotions coming in at work, there were other business opportunities, I ended up building a house and like all, these really positive things happened and it’s kind of stemmed from there and it’s, I don’t work hard every day anymore, I don’t have to. I feel like I’ve worked so hard then that I’ve embedded these subconscious rules and systems in my mind now that have kind of cancelled out the bad negative ones from past experiences. And now I have these new ones that I’ve sort of programmed into my mind and ever since that moment, I think was when I really, that was a real turning point in my life where I really kind of, you know, switch gears, and became the person I am today.
[00:36:52] Felicity Cohen: Congratulations on your entire life journey right up until today. And it’s been an absolute pleasure chatting with you today. What can we look forward to this year? Have you got any big plans? Is there a cookbook or something special for us to watch out for from you Blake?
[00:37:07] Blake Proud: So I’m definitely working on a cookbook slowly but surely, they are very difficult to write, so I am working on that. That’s probably my number one priority. I’d love to get back into some TV stuff now that COVID’s done and dusted and, you know, we can fly around the country again. That would be awesome, because pretty much that all got put on the back burner a couple of years ago. So there’s always something going on, I’m always working on something. But yeah, hopefully, a cookbook in the next 12 months is definitely on the cards!
[00:37:34] Felicity Cohen: I can’t wait to watch out for it. And thank you so much for joining me on the Wellness Warriors podcast.
[00:37:39] Blake Proud: That’s all right, you’re welcome, anytime.