Toni Krasicki chats to Andi Lew, the Wellness Woman.
When I was asked to interview Melbournian Andi Lew for this article, I honestly didn’t know where to start or whether my allocated meagre word count would suffice. Her CV reads longer than a T2 tea list, and I wonder how the 42-year-old mother of five-year-old son Beaudy, has managed to do it all. An accomplished TV presenter, published author of five wellness books, a certified infant massage instructor, and qualified chiropractic assistant, Andi ‘Wellness Woman’ Lew is a true inspiration.
A food and lifestyle wellness coach, Andi is an advocate for natural health, and her latest book Real Fit Food, is a testament to her principles of only eating as close to natural foods as possible. Andi says the wellness revolution is making us aware that investing in our health is the only investment that can guarantee a return in this current economic climate. ‘We have the best drugs and surgery, yet we are becoming sicker. But we now know that prevention is the only cure and diseases are lifestyle related,’ she explains.
Some of you may know Andi from Channel Nine’s lifestyle show Shopping for Love, where she played Cupid to singles looking for love. More recently, her charismatic presence and wellness expertise has landed her appearances on The Morning Show, The Today Show, The Daily Edition and even 60 Minutes, discussing topics such as parenting, relationships, diet and exercise. When asked how she ended up on television, Andi replies, ‘I think the job chose me, I didn’t choose the job. My mum used to say I could talk under water with marbles in my mouth, and I remember doing loungeroom performances for my parents and their friends, where I’d be a newsreader. I was about eight.’
Whether serendipitous or deliberate her knowledge is well sought after. Andi’s last three books showcase original healthy recipes and her two bestsellers, Eat Fat Be Thin and Eat Fat Be Lean explain how healthy eating and functional exercise compliment one another. Andi refers to her recipes as ‘fast fit food’ because she says this helps people spend less time in the kitchen and more time in the gym; although her take home message is that eating nutritious and satisfying meals is the key.
What are her most popular recipes? ‘My Paleo bread and creamy tahini is always a hit!’ And she says that participants at her cooking classes are looking for sugar alternatives and want to know about the best fats to eat. ‘Research shows sugar is more addictive than heroin and it’s sugar that makes us fat, not fat – not the good fats, that is.’ Needless to say her biggest requests are for sugar-free recipes including her favourite dairy-free and sugar-free ice cream -cocofrio, made from coconut and rice malt syrup.
Inspiration to publish her first book 7 Things Your Doctor Forgot to Tell You came after meeting healer, teacher and speaker Dr John Demartini at a personal development seminar. ‘I went up to him all inspired and assertive and said ‘I have written a book and I’d like you to write the foreword John.’ He paused for a second and replied, ‘Ok, I’ll do it.’
Andi’s second book The Modern Day Mother is her favourite, as it shares a lot of her own challenges as a mother. ‘I feel very strongly about nurturing and supporting modern day mothers to feel connected to their children, and help them enjoy their babies more. Understanding how a child’s brain develops and helping encourage maximum neurological development by responsive and empathetic parenting is an investment that enhances your child’s emotional intelligence and their sense of security.’
As a passionate ‘attachment parenting’ mum, Andi learned the importance of touch (particularly infant massage) for parent/baby bonding. ‘It helps boost the immune system, bonding and oxytocin levels, which may improve post-natal depression and ease constipation in a baby,’ she explains. ‘I did this certification just before I wrote The Modern Day Mother and what I liked most about it was the importance of asking a baby and child, if they would like to be massaged before doing so.’
Andi runs parenting workshops where she has other experts come along to answer questions that first time mothers may have. Andi’s passion for educating others is one of the reasons she didn’t go on to complete her degree in chiropractic, despite winning an outstanding service award that was acknowledged by the Chiropractor’s Association of Australia.
What does Andi think about Australia being one of the fattest nations in the world?
‘This really makes me sad, hence why I am on this wellness crusade,’ says Andi. ‘We are overfed and undernourished because we are eating more processed foods and less “real” foods.’ She also adds that sitting for eight or more hours a day doesn’t help, nor does the fact that our nervous system is compromised and not functioning optimally as a result of our hectic lifestyles.
Andi is a firm believer in being pro-active rather than reactive when it comes to health.
‘Just because we don’t have symptoms or an illness, does not mean we are well. So don’t wait until your body is broken, to fix it!’