Winter prep with Holly Mayo

As we welcome winter our friend and longtime Nancybird lover Holly Mayo joins us to share her cool season tips on creating good routines and staying healthy. Read on to discover how Holly began her career in Naturopathy and how she balances life when times feel hard.  

Tell us about your naturopathy journey and what it means to you? 

My journey into Naturopathy wasn't overtly linear. I wasn't brought up walking the plant path at all; in fact, quite the opposite. I grew up with orthodox medicine being at the forefront, and I don't actually think I was even aware of naturopathy or herbal medicine until I was in my late teenage years. Even then, it was significantly limited knowledge. I spent the best part of 6 years travelling, undecided about a career path. From the travel, I ended up with numerous health ailments, including some fun parasitic friends from Indonesia that orthodox medicine just couldn't explain, so I ended up with my first experience of a naturopath. I saw the benefits of alternative medicine and the holistic care model first hand, and I never looked back. 

I spent the next 4.5 years at university constantly having my mind blown. This journey into naturopathy, regardless of the career has set me in good stead. It has opened my mind in a way that I'll never be able to express, along with so much gratitude for choosing health daily. I should probably start with thanking the parasites, I guess.  

What are some comforting and good ways to treat ourselves in the cooler seasons? 

When I think of comfort, I think of warming, hearty foods and heading into the cooler seasons is the perfect time to perfect your bone broth recipes (or duck down to the local health food store and purchase some good organic bone broth). You can add it to anything – as a soup base, in any sauce, absorbed into rice or lentils, you can drink it as a lovely nourishing drink. The opportunities are endless, and the benefits of the nutrients that are leached from the organic bones are just what our bodies and our guts need during the winter months. It's an easy additive to start putting your gut health first.  

The second most crucial thing for gut health is providing a fuel source for your good gut bacteria. If you want to optimise digestion, a balanced microbiome is imperative. Prebiotic's are key to fuelling your positive bacteria. Some good prebiotic foods are oats, leeks, asparagus, fennel, legumes, apples, shallots, cabbage, cashews, pistachios etc. Coming into the cooler months, enhance your intake of prebiotics with whole rolled oat porridge with stewed cinnamon apples topped with nuts and seeds. 

It's been such a rollercoaster for a couple of years. What can we do to keep balanced and feel good within ourselves?

It's been an incredibly challenging few years for Australians everywhere. Our nervous systems and stress responses have been on high alert for some time now. Often in times of significant stress, we are more likely to fall into patterns of neglect because of the feelings of overwhelm we are experiencing. I find it's important to have your armoury well stocked and ready to use. The most accessible and simple way to support your nervous system is organic herbal teas. Some of my personal favourites are Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Holy Basil (Ocimum Tenuiflorum) and Vervain (Verbena Officinalis). 

These herbs interact with our nervous systems helping to induce feelings of calm and quell feelings of overwhelm and anxiousness. A daily warm teapot can be a wonderful adjunct to correct holistic care. 

What makes you feel good? What do you surround yourself with?  

For me, feeling good comes back to seeking solace in simple pleasures. To get back into myself and my balance, I like to try and see the sunrise/sunset, an ocean swim, a long walk along the beach or surrounded by trees with my pup, or some form of exercise, usually pilates. A visit to my favourite coffee shop to sit in the sun and interact with my community, really good nourishing food and falling into the process of cooking it, a warm teapot, and good company with scintillating conversations. If I can tick off a couple of these by the end of each day, I've done enough to feel incredibly grateful, and if I miss the mark, I always know that I can come back to this list tomorrow. 

Is there a favourite go-to piece that makes you shine?  

I'm a lover of all things feminine in fashion. The more frills, bows, puffs, colour, and flounce, the better! My go-to pieces that I put on to brighten my day are always colourful dresses made for twirling. The Holly dress you did over summer comes to mind – it is one of my most treasured NB pieces.  

What do you enjoy about winter? Can you share your winter warming rituals?  

I'm really fortunate to have moved to sub-tropical Queensland. Winters here are mild, but I still relish in my Victorian winter rituals all the same. I grew up with a strong foundation in cooking and an inherent love for food fostered by my mother and grandmother. So winter for me is all about hearty, nourishing slow cooked meals, preparing food together, and sharing long lunches and dinners with good company. While it's raining outside, I love warm teapots of fresh ginger and turmeric, hot chilli cacaos, and good chai! Baking black bean brownies, making fresh pasta and sourdough focaccia from scratch and sitting around an open fire are also staples for those much colder days. On the rare occasion, I'm not thinking about food, I head to the infrared sauna for that much-needed heat/sweat session!  

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