Health bloggers, and sisters, Julia and Libby Matthews spill their secrets on how to refresh a stale routine.
When Julia and Libby first started their blog in 2012, the New Zealand health and wellness scene was just taking off. Green smoothies were a weird idea, kombucha was a word nobody had heard of, and clean eating was only for hardcore fitness junkies. Fast-forward five years, and the sisters can’t believe how much has changed.
“A green smoothie was the first recipe we put up on our blog,” says Julia, “and people laughed at us about it! Now it’s completely normal. Having these healthy foods go mainstream is a really positive thing.”
5+ A Day is something @juls_matthews and I grew up with and I am guessing a lot of other Kiwi's are familiar with the charity. You hear the slogan and instantly recognise the cause – eat 5 or more servings of fresh fruit and veg a day. 5+ A Day is such an important charity, they now feed 115,000 school kids a day and have done incredible work with education over the years, and that is why we are so extremely honoured to be the new ambassadors of 5+ A Day in New Zealand! @fredge_5aday
When the siblings started tinkering with healthy recipes and posting them on juliaandlibby.com, they had no idea that their hobby would transform into a personal health overhaul, a change of direction for Julia, and the top-selling cookbook, Julia and Libby’s Wholefood Kitchen.
As their social media profiles grew, negative comments inevitably came with the territory – although the pair say they’ve learned to brush it off.
“We get some criticism but we just ignore it now,” says Julia, 30. “Sometimes we post something and we know somebody is going to make a nasty comment – we say, ‘wait for it, wait for it…there it is!’ Some of the things that get written, we know people would never say to our faces. But when it comes to anything health related, of course there are going to be a lot of different views. It used to upset us, but now we just have a laugh.”
Watch: Behind the scenes with Julia and Libby
How to break out of a health rut
Whether it’s caused by pressure at work, a few late nights, or a change in routine, most of us have stages when we feel less than our best. Here are Julia and Libby’s top tips for getting out of a health rut:
• Look at reducing your stress levels. “A lot of people don’t put enough focus on mental health,” says Libby. “This is hugely important – if you’re not feeling good, then you’re less likely to be putting good food into your body. Find ways to ease stress, like going for a walk or trying some yoga.”
• Ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
• Exercise regularly; a light walk still gives health benefits.
• Go back to food basics. “Cut out as much refined food as possible and focus on wholefoods,” says Julia. “It doesn’t have to be hard, but a lot of people over-complicate things.”
• Take time out for yourself.
• Limit alcohol. “It might be tempting to have a drink when you’re feeling off, but it will only make you feel tired and bloated,” says Libby.