This interview is part of the Real Talk Real Women interview series, where we bring you the life-changing, heart-warming and inspirational stories behind the most successful women in health and fitness. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for the latest interviews! For this installment, we are joined by Jennifer Thompson.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did it all started?
Do you have space for a book? Hahaha! Seriously, I’ve done a lot. I’m a Systems engineer and I left the corporate world in my twenties to hike across continents, climb Kilimanjaro, hike to Everest Base Camp and cycle across Southeast Asia. I did my “bucket list” 20 years ago before the word even existed! During that time, I was invincible! But, I didn’t think about my health, and I wound up getting sick for 2 years after cycling more than 3,000 km in Australia. After that, I realized that my health was the most important thing I had. Once I healed myself, I became 100% committed to helping others and that basically led to me where I am today.
Lately we have been hearing a lot about “clean food, detox” or seeing people going around with detox juices. What do you think is going on?
We raised a Generation XXL and now we’re in Generation Rx. The average diet today is a diet of excess – excess fat, excess sugar, excess chemicals, excess alcohol drugs and cigarettes, excess stress – and we’ve become the sickest people on the planet as a result. People are tired of being tired, and they want to reclaim their health. I would say that people are finally waking up......and thankfully going back to organic, natural whole and pure foods for their health, as Mother nature intended. Ultimately, every choice we make moves us either one step closer to or one step further away from our ultimate goals.
So no reaching for magic pills or extreme diets?
Extreme diets and magic pills are great selling tactics, but let’s face it…they don’t work. Remember that you didn’t get to where you are overnight, and you won’t get out of it overnight either. Be gentle and patient with yourself and know that every step in the right direction will get you there. Balance is the key to success. Give yourself space to be human. But you have to do the work too. Know that one meal will not ruin all the work you have done, but also be realistic to accept that one salad or piece of fruit may not make you feel immediately fantastic again. It’s ok to have a nice meal with family or friends, and it is very important to enjoy your food without guilt. Good habits are created from commitment and determination. Get out of the magic pill mentality. It will never serve you for long-term health and wellbeing.
I read about you having a rash for over 2.5 years that doctors were unable to heal, how did you overcome that and what is your biggest takeaway from this whole process?
I developed a full-body itchy rash that derailed my life for 2.5 years. I went to countless doctors and specialists and was diagnosed with everything from shingles, psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis to even depression. I was embarrassed to go out in public. People looked at me in pity and my friends and family kept telling me it was just from stress.
Out of sheer desperation, I went on a strict elimination diet. 9 months later, I pinpointed the cause of my rash to one food additive, a flavor enhancer added to even healthy organic foods such as tofu burgers, flavored rice crackers, wasabi covered peas, bottled salad dressings and soups, to name a few. Once I realized what that one additive had done to me, I decided that I didn’t want to eat any of them. From there, it was very easy to transition to a whole food, high raw and plant-based diet. From there, I saw my body thrive in a way that I never experienced before. My skin cleared, my eyes brightened, my energy levels improved and people commented on how good I looked constantly. I knew I was onto something good!
What are some detox tips for beginners?
If nothing else, drink more water! A good start for a short yet powerful cleanse is to do a 3-day Green Smoothie detox at home. You can find recipes and a full shopping list plus all the info you need to do a smoothie cleanse in my book - Green Smoothies for Dummies (Wiley), available on amazon and iTunes. Plan to do a 3-day cleanse once every 6 months. That’s a great place to start!
What are your top supermarket shopping tips?
As Michael Pollan says, stick to the outer walls of the supermarket. That’s where you’ll find “real food,” in the refrigerated cases. Choose local, fresh and organic whenever possible. Add more variety to your diet by eating different nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
What are the top beauty foods you can recommend?
When you’re eating for beauty, it’s more about what NOT to eat. Avoid refined sugar, wheat, dairy, fried foods and alcohol. Then, add more fresh fruits, vegetables and drink plenty of water. The high fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals found in natural, whole and pure foods and what give you natural beauty, from the inside-out!
You’re also a fully trained and qualified IIPA certified comprehensive iridologist. Now I had to look this up! Extremely fascinating, can you explain our readers what it’s about and how you got interested in iridology?
Iridology is the Science of the Iris of the Eye. Think of your brain as your hard-drive. Your eyes are like your file folders., but they contain folders of information about your health! The eye is connected to the central nervous system via the optic nerve and is therefore getting real-time information on what’s happening in the body at the same time as the brain.
In Iridology, we assess one’s overall health based on the color, variations of color, any spots or pigmentation, the iris fibers, the pupil size and shape and any markings in the sclera (white of the eye).
Iridology is a valuable tool because with it, we look at the body as a whole. A problem in one area of the body will always create stress on other organs in the body too. There can also be deficiency involved, or absorption problems, or heavy metal toxicity. In Iridology, we are taking all of those factors into account and not just diagnosing and then giving a pill to take away a symptom. When you strengthen an organ or area with proper diet and nutrition, the whole body gets stronger and healthier as a result.
I personally became interested in Iridology through my own journey of healing when I was sick. As a Systems Engineer, I am trained to look at a system as a whole and to optimize the best solution for a system based on any set of parameters. Iridology is very much the same, because we look at the whole body system, with organs, circulation, minerals and stress and then factor in inherent weakness, lifestyle habits, injuries, location and availability of herbs and foods, and find the best solution to get health. The recommendations I make based on an Iridology reading are to strengthen and balance the body back into health through detox and/or change of diet. As nature intended!
What are some misconceptions about Detox or Iridology, and the truth about them?
Misconception - It doesn’t work. Your body detoxes naturally on its own.
TRUTH - Your body does detox naturally on a daily basis through you colon, skin, lungs, liver and kidneys. But, how many people keep their system clean in order for those organs to work their best? Constipation, skin eruptions, chronic cough, age spots and kidneys stones are just a few signs that your body is not keeping up with its internal housework. How many people do you know who have some type of chronic illness? The reality is that the average diet today is loaded with chemical additives, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones, highly refined foods, too much fat, too much sugar and too much alcohol. You're tired and overworked body simply never gets a break. That is exactly what detox is for.
Misconception - It’s quackery.
TRUTH - The eyes are literally the windows to your health. Your eyes are connected to your brain and central nervous system via the optic nerve and that means your eyes are getting real-time information that your brain is receiving about where there is toxicity, inflammation or stress in the body. Iridology is completely harmless and non-invasive; it supports whatever therapy you choose for healing, although I will always try to recommend foods and supplements whenever possible. As an Ivy-League educated scientist myself, I respect and appreciate Iridology as a science and I’ve seen that it works in my own experience with more than 4,000 clients. What I also know is that certain powers that be may not want you to know about alternative approaches to healing because they don’t want to lose a life-long customer. Andrew Weil said it well when he said, “How did we ever get into the mindset that drugs are the only way to manage disease?
Aside from iridology. You’re also extremely knowledgeable when it comes to food additives and nutrition, can you tell us how the chemicals in our day to day nutrition can affect us and how we can become more aware of what we eat?
Just because a food is sold on the shelf in a store, that doesn’t mean it is a food and it doesn’t mean that the item is safe for human consumption. We have over 3,000 chemicals additives in our food today, and more additives are being created daily! It’s a chemical cocktail that the human body was not designed to deal with.
No wonder people are getting sicker. The fastest growing disease in the world today - diabetes - is a disease of metabolic syndrome, meaning it’s a disease caused by diet! The way to health has to be through better food. I teach classes about food additives and my website outlines the most important additives to get out first. You have to start somewhere, and the sooner you start, the better!
You’ve been educating people across the globe, what has been the most insightful lesson you’ve learned this far in doing so?
In the same way that you can’t put vinegar in your car and expect it to run, you can’t put bad food in your body and expect to be healthy. Ultimately it’s your choice. I work with clients from all over the world who have cancer and every other disease you can imagine, and they all say the same thing: ‘I never thought it would be me.’ Don’t let the next person saying that be you. Don’t take your health for granted. Eating more natural, whole and pure, have a daily Green Smoothie or a fresh green juice. You’ve just increased your chances of living a longer, healthier and happier life.
You also have a great website over at healthybliss.net, how did that start out and what are you hoping to accomplish through it?
I’m an advocate for your body to help promote health and prevent dis-ease. I’ve done the work and I made mistakes with my health, and I don’t want you to take the long road like I did. So, I offer fast-track solutions that are practical and work, even in a busy fast-paced world.
What are some common questions you get about what you do?
I get asked a lot of questions about everything! But I take that as a good sign, that people are finally ready for this, that they want good health and are ready to do some work. When I first started teaching nutrition and detox protocols 18 years ago, people told me I was crazy and no one wanted to talk to me about it. Today, I work via Skype and I have clients from all over the world, men and women from all walks of life, seeing me for an online Iridology Sessions and Health Coaching. It’s so much different now, and I’m so excited to be a part of it!
Where can people go to learn more about you online?