Bookwell's new health, wellness and beauty expert, Brooke Benson Campbell (BHSc) is a Clinical Nutritionist and Naturopath, speaker, writer and presenter with a passion for all things health, beauty and wellbeing. A self-proclaimed human test subject, she is constantly trialling the newest products, seeking the latest discoveries and reading the current clinical studies, in order to share her findings with the public through private practice, social media and industry education. Her mission: to inspire others to use the tools of nutrition and self-care to cleanse, energise and glow from within.
Question: Why did you decide to join Bookwell.com.au?
Brooke Benson Campbell: As a lover of all things beauty and wellness, I joined Bookwell.com.au because it unites these areas in one easy-to-navigate destination. As a time-poor worker bee myself, a booking system that uses postcode search makes it quick and easy to seek out treatments and holistic health, when and where I like.
I'm a strong believer in a little TLC and self-care, to both grow and maintain happiness and relaxation. Science supports my theory - happiness is healthy! When our bodies are happy, our immune system is stronger, we have fewer aches and our ability to cope with stress increases. So, why not book yourself a 2-hour facial though Bookwell and de-stress!
Question: What originally inspired your passion for nutrition and naturopathy?
Brooke Benson Campbell: I wasn't always focussed on healthcare and wellness. After ten years as a fashion designer with my own label and inner-city boutique however, I found myself suffering from serious fatigue and in the sad state of 'burnout' at only 28! I realised that my body wasn't always going to support my fast food choices, late nights, champagne addiction and workaholic mentality.
I'm naturally curious (and a bit of a research nerd) so I was inspired to learn everything I could about the body, how it worked and why. Studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional Medicine was the natural next step!
Question: What are the current trends you're seeing with clients?
Brooke Benson Campbell: My clients are generally well educated and understand the vital role that nutrition plays in our bodies, but they are increasingly time poor and therefore want quick solutions to their health concerns.
For these clients, I recommend superfoods to boost diet and improve overall health. Superfoods have become a real trend in the health and wellness industry and marine collagen is a great example of this. I use it in my smoothies every morning instead of a protein powder - it contains 97% protein and all essential amino acids. The health benefits are amazing; it strengthens and hydrates skin, tendons, ligaments, provides structural gastrointestinal support and best of all... it's natures Botox!
Another trend I'm noticing in the health sector is an increased awareness of ayurvedic herbs such as ashwagandha. These are great for lowering cortisol levels (stress relief), treating a stubborn muffin top, and promoting a restful sleep.
Question: How do hormones play a role in all aspects of our life?
Brooke Benson Campbell: Our hormones affect every single part of our lives which is why maintaining a balance is extremely important for optimum health. For example, cortisol is our major stress hormone and has the ability to cause bad headaches, memory loss and excess abdominal weight gain, but it's also necessary to ensure a healthy blood sugar balance, heart and digestion function, and a strong immune system.
Similarly, the hormone oestrogen keeps joints lubricated, periods regular and mood stable, however, too much of it can result in water retention, irritability and depression. This means that looking after your hormone balance is key!
Question: How are stress and sex hormones responsible for PMS symptoms?
Brooke Benson Campbell: High stress hormones can decrease the levels of ovarian hormones produced. This means that our sex hormones can be shifted out of balance and into the tornado of emotion, bloating and breast tenderness that is, PMS.
Most importantly though, PMS symptoms occur as our sex hormones fluctuate during the monthly cycle. Progesterone levels rise after ovulation (at around day 14) and oestrogen levels plummet. Oestrogen boosts brain levels of serotonin, your 'feel-good' neurotransmitter and when these levels fall, so does your mood.
Progesterone can also trigger the amygdala (a small almond-shaped part of your brain) to go into overdrive. As the chief alert system of the brain, the amygdala makes you respond in a more anxious and irritable way to events around you. Hello PMS!
The good news is that you can protect your body from drastic changes by taking care of your hormones and boosting relaxation in the two weeks before your period. Perhaps a massage or some yoga is in order?
Question: What does a typical day's food and exercise look like for you?
Brooke Benson Campbell: I'm a creature of habit, so my day begins religiously with a cup of chai tea with almond milk. The combination of warming herbs like ginger and cinnamon work to support circulation and balance blood-sugar levels throughout the day.
Breakfast: A smoothie with 1 banana, ½ an avocado, marine collagen, flax seeds, raw cacao, almond butter and coconut water. This is a nutrient-dense meal that gives my body fuel for a busy day ahead. The high concentration of healthy fats supports my hormones and hydrates my skin.
Lunch: An apple with almond butter and a handful of nuts. Usually, lunch is something relatively small as my breakfast smoothie keeps me going till around 2 pm.
Dinner: Vegetables and or salad and a type of protein. My husband and I both eat a grain and dairy free diet but we both love cooking, so we constantly browse the internet for recipes that we can tweak to suit our lifestyle - currently, we're alternating between the light and fresh Vietnamese cuisine (using kelp noodles) and the spicy comfort of Moroccan cooking (using cauliflower rice as the base for vegetable tagines).
Exercise: My mornings are spent at Xtend Barre, doing a mixture of TRX, Barre, Pilates mat and Reformer classes. I'm addicted to all things Xtend Barre and find it the best exercise for moulding long lean muscles and toning those areas that need a little extra help. Exercise help me release the workday stress, so I don't bite my husband's head off!
Question: How can we use the tools of nutrition and self-care to cleanse, energise and glow from within?
Brooke Benson Campbell: Nutrition and self-care and key to keeping both body and mind in balance. Without them you can find yourself on a one way ticket to stress-town. It's all about taking time to respect and support your body with the right blend of essential nutrients which come from foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Combine this with a little TLC to help support and rejuvenate your cells, muscles and mind.
Question: How do you hope to achieve your mission to inspire Australians to use the tools of nutrition?
Brooke Benson Campbell: My focus is education with the goal being to share the knowledge I've learned (and continue to learn) and help take the guesswork out of healthcare. We all want to be our best and remain as healthy and happy as possible. One of my jobs is to help bust the myths in order to help Australians make better and more informed decisions about their healthcare and lifestyle preferences. And, if I can do it with a little realism and a sense of humour, all the better!
Question: Why is this such an important mission, for you?
Brooke Benson Campbell: Our inboxes and Instagrams are collectively overflowing with the latest super fads, or the latest health or beauty products. I believe it's important to maintain an educational voice-of-reason that can translate medical studies and research discoveries into educational information. This helps people make the best decisions for themselves and their family.
Question: What's next, for you?
Brooke Benson Campbell: Partnering with Bookwell has been an exciting opportunity as it enables me to delve deeper into the realm of holistic healthcare - in a place where beauty, medicine and alternative therapies come together to support total wellbeing!
Interview by Brooke Hunter