We are Erica and Peta, the Australian sister-duo behind Berry, Berry Happy. We are passionate about holistic health, yoga, fitness, positivity and spirituality and we love writing about our latest discoveries, and sharing our favourite recipes, on this blog. We are also both university students studying in the medical field who dream of becoming the progressive, open-minded and knowledgable health professionals of the future! As well as writing for Berry, Berry Happy, we've also had the chance to write for the following amazing sites:
Food Matters - Turmeric Spiced Banana Cake
LiveWell Collective - A Healthy Guide to Alcohol
Bad Yogi Blog - Life as a "Young" Yoga Instructor
To learn more about us and how we got here, please read on. If you would like to get in contact with us, then please send us a message through the Contact Us page.
Erica (21, Melbourne)
I guess my health "journey" started when I was about 15 years old. I was always a really happy and bubbly person when I was young, but due to some comments from a few unpleasant kids at school I went through a few years of serious negativity. I was positive about other people and the world, but when it came to myself, I couldn't see any of the amazing qualities my friends claimed I possessed in abundance. One day, I had a total meltdown and caved under the weight of my stress and negativity. My mum, being the loving person she is, said she didn't want to see my like this and told me that if I didn't start thinking positively that my life would never get better. The first thing she did was gave me a book by an amazing woman, Louise Hay, called 'You Can Heal Your Life' (add it to your to-read list!).
At first I read it skeptically, because I couldn't see how just thinking things are all fine and dandy could possibly make things fine and dandy. However, by the end of the book I was a completely convinced. I vowed immediately to repeat positive affirmations to myself. I then left home to go away to a leadership camp called Alpine School (read about our experience on my friend Tyler's blog), and the first goal I set was to not say or think anything negative about myself again - it changed my life! I can't say it was a sudden evaporation of negativity, as for a while the thoughts would pop into my head and I would have to choose to replace them with their positive counterpart. However, I did notice that just by saying a simple affirmation a few times I could completely alter my mood.
That was September 2011, and ever since then I have been expanding my affirmation repertoire. I can honestly say that positive thinking is the easiest, cheapest (well, it's free!) and most reliable way to completely change your life, and although I might not be perfect, I still practice positive affirmations almost every day.
As for my health, since I was about 11 I've struggled with my skin, particularly acne. It got progressively worse throughout my teen years and I became incredibly self-conscious about it. I tried everything to fix it, from skin care and hormonal treatments, to herbal potions and antibiotics. Some of these things helped, but nothing has been as beneficial as learning about the value of a good, clean diet.
The first step was eliminating gluten from my diet. I actually started this at Alpine School, and after four weeks of a solid effort I could already see the difference and after nine weeks the improvement was better than any cleanser had ever achieved. I was so pleased, that when I returned home I thought I should treat myself...but that 'treat' was the penny that de-railed the train! I had a few more stints of on again, off again, with gluten, but I've now been gluten-free since January 2012.
Following gluten I started to read up on the health impacts of sugar and I started to reduce my sugar intake. This wasn't easy, as I have a massive sweet tooth to this day, but after cutting sugar out I really noticed the considerable effects it has on me. Although I am not perfect with sugar, I generally do try to minimise my sugar intake as much as possible. I also avoid having a lot of dairy and grains in my diet, as with experimentation I've found that my body feels best when I limit these, although I am not super strict. I focus on a diet rich in whole foods (especially vegetables), healthy fats, and organic, grass-fed protein. To this day I am still experimenting and tweaking my diet to find the perfect, holistic diet that suits my body and makes my skin glow!
In 2012 an integrative GP diagnosed me with a genetic condition called pyroluria, where the body produces excessive amounts of a protein called pyrrole during haemoglobin synthesis. This protein then binds to or inhibit specific nutrients, most often B-vitamins and zinc. As such, people with pyroluria are often very deficient in these vitamins and minerals. Pyroluria was only discovered in the 1950s and is yet to be widely acknowledged in mainstream medicine, but it is believed to affect a large proportion of the population and in extreme cases can cause a lot of mental health problems including schizophrenia and depression. The management for pyroluria is thankfully very similar to my normal diet: very few refined grains, gluten, sugar or processed food, lots of fresh vegetables, moderate fruit, lean grass-fed animal protein and good monounsaturated fats from olive oil, seeds and nuts etc. I also take zinc and B-vitamins every day, because no matter how well I eat my diet will never make up for the deficiencies. For more info on the symptoms and treatment of pyroluria, see this link.
Everyday I am learning more and more about nutrition and trying new recipes. I guess you could call me a "health nerd". Aside from food, I am also a qualified yoga instructor and practicing yogi and meditator. I love teaching both yoga and meditation whenever I get the chance.
Peta (19, Adelaide)
My health journey began a little bit later than Erica but gained momentum very quickly once I realised its benefits. I was often as a child referred to as the "chemical kid" due to my obsession with sugar laden and chemical rich food... which luckily our parents were very good at keeping out of our house. For me it was not until I got to a point that I felt fed up of feeling sick after filling my body with harmful ingredients, despite how good they tasted that I really thought about making real and lasting changes. I can even narrow it down to one night in particular after devouring far too much chocolate that I thought something has to change. At the time I was in boarding school and Erica was already following a strict gluten free diet, so I began by signing myself up for that. I had a few times where the temptation became all too much, but the more I educated myself the more I knew I needed this more than ever. I also began little goals with friends, I remember one in particular where a friend and I had to write down anything we ate that had sugar in it for the day in an attempt to quit the sweet stuff. We also made it a friendly challenge between us, which helped motivate me to say no to all my previously favourite sweets. Plus the punishment of burpees for every sweet treat simply did not appeal to either of us.
I also did a similar challenge with a friend at boarding school where we committed to drinking one mug of green tea a day for a month. It is fair to say no less than about 14 days in my life long addiction began! I really cannot think of many days that I would not go without at least 3 cups per day, and on heavy study days this can grow to litres... I am a happy, self-confessed tea addict.
The more I began to read about healthy lifestyles on blogs, in books and online and the more health accounts I began to follow on social media platforms such as Instagram my interest and passion grew. I began to get into a regular workout routine and the love for exercise blossomed from then (I promise you really can love exercise!). I am now a very passionate yogi, practising every morning. I also began riding my bike to university and have competed in a couple of City to Bay fun runs during my real running phase! I was also a swimmer as a child and love to jump in the pool anytime I can, including being a springboard diver for quite a few years now. Currently, I am more into doing workouts such as Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide, gym classes and pretty much getting moving in any way possible. If there is anything that I would suggest for a bad mood it is a good workout!
I also absolutely LOVE cooking and creating new and nourishing dishes. I am a massive fan of all things smoothies, eggs, roast veggies and peanut butter. I have now been gluten free since late 2012, largely sugar free (besides the odd special occasion), generally dairy free and I do not eat a whole lot of meat. I have more of a plant based approach to my diet as this is what I have found works best for me. Anyone that knows me is aware that my Vitamix is quite literally my baby and I do confess to having a green smoothie every single morning...
Another contributor who we would like to acknowledge is our beautiful friend Caitlin Hicks, who has an eye for design and photography skills unrivalled by anyone else I have ever known. Caitlin sometimes shoots photos for Berry, Berry Happy and we also did an interview with Caitlin here.
We hope you are a bit more familiar with both of us now. Please contact us if you have any questions or queries, as we have quite possibly dealt with similar issues! Enjoy our posts, but do please remember we are both learning more and more about health, wellness and positivity each and every day as reflected by our posts.
We wanted to create a blog to share our experiences with others and hopefully inspire them to make healthier and positive choices in their life. Berry, Berry Happy is dedicated to healthy ideas and lifestyles and positive thoughts. Also, it's a place to share ideas, recipes, thoughts and random wonderings, which I have many! If you have any questions, comments or feedback please either comment or send us a message on the Contact page.
Stay happy, stay healthy!
Love, Erica & Peta x