I am very excited to announce that this year’s overall winner of the Bupa Health Blog Awards is the amazing Lee Holmes from Supercharged Food. I was sitting next to Lee at the awards ceremony last friday at Melbourne’s Luna Park and am delighted she took out the awards. I really wanted the Veggies & Me readers to get to know Lee and she very kindly sat down and answered my questions on life, health and petitioning the NSW Government to get serious on the topic of healthy hospital meals.

What is Supercharged food?
It’s a book and website which helps people make nutritious food choices; full of recipes, a shopping list, meal planner, cooking tips and wellness information. I hope you come and take a look and try out some of the recipes… www.superchargedfood.com

Australian swimming legend and Bupa’s Health and Wellness ambassador Matt Welsh at the ceremony, Luna Park.

When did you first become sick and can you briefly share your story of recovery from Auto Immune disease?
I got sick about five years ago and decided to stop taking the cocktail of drugs that doctors gave to me and instead use food as medicine to heal myself. I started by healing the gut and then introduced foods which allowed me to heal at cellular level. I also made lifestyle changes and simplified my life.

How did you discover the power of supercharged food and did you have any health mentors during your recovery?
I discovered it through trial and error. It was a long process, one step forward and two steps back but after a year I started to really improve. At the time there was a lot of conflicting advice on the internet so I decided to listen to my own body and inner wisdom to find out what was right for me. I think it’s important for everyone to understand bio-individuality and what works for me may not work for someone else.

How did you make the transition to a Health Coach yourself?
I wanted to share my story with others and although I have a certificate in food and nutrition I wanted to study and learn more about integrative medicine and practices so that’s why I became a health coach. I love working with others and helping them to heal their lives naturally. I see so many people improving their lives dramatically and it gives me the biggest buzz :)

What is the idea behind your amazing book and who would you recommend it to?
The book is full of health advice and easy to make recipes and which are all gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast and sugar free and is aimed at people who want a to clean up their diet and ones who have allergies and digestive or auto immune disorders. It’s really for anyone who want to have more energy and less fatigue and generally feel better about themselves.

Please share with us how you recently discovered the abysmal state of food available in NSW public hospitals and the response to your Change.com petition.
I started a petition as my brother in law was in hospital with cancer and the food he was given was appalling. The petition was to challenge the NSW Health Minister the Hon, Jillian Skinner to eat hospital food for four days the average length of a stay of a patient in a NSW hospital. She did not take me up on the challenge but in response to the petition, has since rolled out a new healthier menu to selected hospitals in NSW. More info here

Why is healthy hospital food so important to the recovery of hospital patents?
There is growing evidence that good nutrition not only helps patients recover faster, but can also relieve the symptoms of some diseases, and also improve the effectiveness of some medication. For example, there are links between diet and depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s. There are also links between diet and cancer/tumor growth.

What do you hope for the future of hospital food across Australia?
I hope that it improves and that more initiatives are rolled out across Australia. I will be continuing my work in this area to affect change at policy level. What I am looking for and hope to achieve through my work is new mandatory standards for nutritional content, A 20% reduction in the use of processed and packaged foods, A 20% increase in the use of fresh fruit and vegetables and at least one meal per day to be fresh and unprocessed.

What is next for Supercharged Food?
I am releasing my second book in August, which will be an e-book Supercharged Food for Kids and then my second printed book will be out in time for Christmas it’s called Eat Yourself Beautiful and it contains a lot of recipes which are based on anti-inflammatory principles- great for people with artritis and auto immune disorders. I am also expanding my website and health coaching business. Lots of fun :)

Check out the finalists and winners in the Bupa Health Influencer Blog Awards 2013