My passion for cooking and in particular baking began almost as soon as I could stand at the kitchen bench. My mum was a great cook and our school lunch boxes were always full of yummy cakes, biscuits and slices. I was forever fascinated that from a slimy, gooey mixture, a beautiful-smelling cake, all fluffy and golden, would appear from the oven.

Over the years I perfected my skills in the kitchen baking cake after cake after cake (sadly without the help of a Thermomix, which I bought in 2008). My favourite things to make were gooey rich chocolate brownies and buttery shortbread biscuits. Baking has always been such a therapeutic activity for me. I love how being in the kitchen allows me to zone out and let the creative part of my brain take control.

Among other things, my love of baking cakes and eating them ended up taking over my life … Literally!

I became a sugar addict and ate it in all its forms every day. I had no control of how much I was eating and it wasn’t unusual for me to pop a few pieces of chocolate in my mouth while
I was waiting for my toast in the morning.

I was tired, grouchy and had absolutely no motivation. By 3pm each day I felt terrible. I put up with a variety of physical and mental ailments—headaches, irregular menstrual cycles, fatigue, mood swings—which I figured was just a result of a busy job and lack of sleep. I didn’t even consider that my diet was a factor. And then I realised it had everything to do with what I ate.

This was the beginning of my healthy journey. Like many of us in the health and wellness space, I found my passion for health and wellbeing as a result of my own being compromised.

My journey to a healthier lifestyle really began when I joined Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar Program—an eight-week program in which you consume no sugar, at all. The first week was so hard enduring headaches, shivers and grouchiness, which I later realised was my body detoxing from the years of sugar abuse. It was really hard at times but I knew I was done with feeling sick and tired, and I was going to stick with it. I followed the program religiously, turning down home-made biscuits and brownies from my colleagues and avoiding eye contact with the chocolates in the grocery store.

About five weeks into the program, it was 3pm in the afternoon—my usual time when tiredness kicked in—and I felt terrific. I didn’t feel the need for a nap, my head felt clear and I was full of energy. 

Come the end of the eight weeks, I was reading any information about diet that I could get my hands on. I went to workshops and conferences and talked to industry experts. I learned to listen to my body and how it was feeling after I ate certain foods. The more I learned about the effects that processed foods and additives have on your body and well-being, the more committed I became to taking care of myself both in body and mind.

I decided to start The Healthy Journey. I had so much information that I had learnt and a passion for sharing this with others. I’m by no means an expert and I never pretend to be one. I’m not about labelling foods or diets as “good” or “bad.” My philosophy is about eating healthy and naturally the majority of the time but allowing yourself to indulge. I’m not perfect, I love food, and I’ve learnt that a healthy life overall is about balance. 

The Healthy Journey was created as a place to share delicious recipes made in my Thermomix that are free from refined sugar and gluten, and mostly dairy-free too. I have been a Thermomix owner for more than eight years now and have used the TM31 and more recently the TM5. I am a devoted Thermomix user and really believe that it is a great tool to enable you to create food from scratch, whether it be grinding almond meal from raw almonds, or making dips from beautiful fresh ingredients. 

I hope that by sharing these recipes with the community, I am able to inspire others to reassess their diets, make a few small or big changes and experience the benefits I have felt from cleaning up my diet. 

To find out more about Jemma and to access her free recipes:

Visit thehealthyjourney.com.au

@the_healthy_journey