Today’s health power players are no longer just doctors or dieticians. They are smart businesswoman, tradies, bloggers, and health and fitness coaches – the new ‘it’ people on the health scene so to say.

Each week we will talk to a variety of inspiring individuals – from raw foodies, organic city dwellers, paleo peeps, nutritionists, bloggers & overall amazing human beings who actually practice what they preach.

For a bit of Monday motivation we are talking to the gorgeous sisters from Julia Matthews, Full time Nutritional Medicine student (based in Sydney) and Libby Matthews, Holistic Nutritionist and a Naturopathy student (based in NZ). I adore everything about these gals and I am sure you will too!

For the people who aren’t familiar with you (or just want to know more), tell us a bit about yourself.

Julia: I moved to Sydney from New Zealand six months ago and absolutely love it.  At the moment I am studying Nutritional Medicine at Nature Care and also run a health and wellness blog with my sister Libby.  We share nutritional information and try to help, motivate and inspire people to live a healthier and happier life.   It has grown from a channel to share recipes with close friends to a following of people from all corners of the world.  Trying to juggle study, part time work, blogging and a social life is challenging but something we love.  At the end of my study I hope to open up a practise and am crossing fingers Libby will move across the ditch and practise alongside me when she has finished Naturopathy studies.

Libby: I am currently living in Auckland and I am completing a Bachelor of Naturopathy while working part time as a Holistic Nutritionist at a Clinic called My Remedy. I run a health and wellness blog with my sister Julia.

What made you choose the path of leading a healthy life and was there a particular turning point?

Julia: It kind of just happened; I started becoming interested in health and food after turning vegetarian, before that I was a terrible eater especially with sugar.  It is really only in the past 5 years that I have started eating well and I have to say I feel so much better for it!

Libby: I have always been interested in healthy eating but I would hear conflicting information about what’s right to eat and what’s not right to eat. I decided to study nutrition at Wellpark College and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Since becoming a Nutritionist I have completely changed my diet and lifestyle for the better.

What does your usual daily routine look like – what is on your ‘must do’ and ‘must take’ list?

Julia: On a ‘typical’ day I wake at 6am and the very first thing I do is look out the window to check the weather.  If there is blue sky I know it’s going to be a good day no matter what challenges are thrown my way.  Blue sky is my ‘happy place.’  For breakfast I drink my Good Green Stuff, eat home made granola with almond milk, fresh fruit and make a green smoothie.  Monday to Wednesday I have Uni so head off to Nature Care for morning lectures.  There is an amazing vegetarian café at Uni so I often eat lunch there – energy salads, chickpeas, stuff avocados, banana bread (my weakness), date slice.  Depending on the day I usually get home around 3:00pm and will have a snack – nuts, bliss balls, fruit salad or a green juice.  If I am not swamped with assignments I’ll go for a big walk around the bay, come home and do some revision, then prep dinner.  My partner is an athlete so very health conscious which is great when it comes to dinner time, he eats all of my vegetarian meals and doesn’t like processed food.  We eat lots of salads, quinoa, lentils, beans.  After dinner I often skype Libby, write blog posts, do more Uni work (it’s never ending) and drink peppermint tea.  I try to be in bed before 10pm as getting 8 hours sleep is important to me.  Weekends are spent at the beach, catching up on chores, creating new recipes, watching my partner’s footy games and eating lots of food.

Libby: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so no matter how tired I am or how rushed I am in the morning I will always make sure I eat something for breakfast. I always have a 2-litre bottle of water with me to ensure I stay well hydrated throughout the day and I make sure I am carrying around some fruit and nuts and seeds to when I get hungry I have something healthy to snack on.

Let’s take a peek in your bathroom cupboard – what are your must have products?

Julia: For my hair I use Original & Mineral shampoos and conditioners, incredible brand.  For my face I don’t have any strict routine which is a little bit naughty.  Am yet to find a decent cleanser or moisturiser.  At night I use Trilogy Rose Hip oil, it’s so hydrating, my skin loves it.  There is a clay mask that I have fallen in love with, it is organic and hand made in New Zealand, the brain is Tailor.  I use that 1 – 2 times a week.  Body moisturiser is coconut oil and I often use that as a hair treatment.  In the day I wear tinted moisturiser and a little bit of mascara.

Libby: I have recently had a big clear out of all my bathroom cosmetics as I’m trying to use only natural products. I use Coconut Oil on my skin as a moisturiser once a week and I will condition my hair with it once a week. I have recently discovered the Scarlett and Green skincare range, which I am loving.

What do you always have in your kitchen?

Julia: In my fridge you will always find almond milk, sparkling water, a huge amount of fresh fruit and veg.  In the pantry I keep oats, an abundance of Loving Earth products – their cacao powder, coconut chocolate spread, cacao butter and caramel buckinis.  Jars and jars of nuts and seeds, spices, coconut oil, peanut butter, Himalayan salt.  On the kitchen bench I have four big jars – one is full of quinoa, dried lentils, dried chickpeas and the 4th is brown rice.  As for supplements I take Good Green Stuff, Malcolm Harker Livernurse tonic, Metagenics B Complex, Chaste Tree, Probiotics and zinc.

Libby: Oats, almond milk, bananas, peanut butter, free-range chicken, spinach, chia seeds, quinoa, C coconut water, nuts, seeds and dried fruit. I take Magnesium, Vitamin C and pro-biotics daily.

How important is clean, nutrient rich food in your diet?

Julia: When I eat healthy I feel good physically and mentally.  Since studying Nutritional Medicine and learning about how complex and amazing our body is I have started to take better care of myself, our bodies are incredible, it is amazing what goes on inside us, mind blowing actually!  I don’t follow a certain style of eating (ie paleo or gluten free) or have any strict rules.  95% of the time I eat well, not because I feel I have to but because it makes me feel good.  So if I am having a bad day and eat too much banana cake I won’t let it get me down.  I am at the age where I have learnt what food works for me and what to stay away from if I don’t want to feel lethargic.  Organic is important and there are certain foods I will only eat if they are organic, being in season is also a priority and purchasing local produce, which is why farmers markets are my favourite.

Libby: I stick to a wholefoods diet, which consists of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, and if I eat meat I will have organic chicken and wild salmon. I have tried diets before and I believe that you have to change your whole lifestyle to lose weight and to maintain that weight.

How do you like to move and keep fit? Is exercise an important part of your life?

Julia: There is a 9km walk around the bay by my house, its stunning on a sunny day and my favourite thing to do.  Yoga and Bikram I find work for me.  Exercise is important but as I am so busy I find that this is something that usually get pushed to the side.  I need to make more of an effort to exercise, I love looking at your Twitter for exercise inspiration!

Libby: Exercise is very important! I usually walk for 45minutes a day, I do yoga once a week and I do kick boxing once a week.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your health journey? These days we’re influenced by so many different sources – from friends, family, blogs, magazines and now even Instagram!!

Julia: Wow isn’t Instagram amazing for health/food/fitness inspiration?! I feel like there is a big movement happening with people who are eating better and exercising more, it’s great.
I have to say that my family are also a big influence.  Libby was the reason I changed from a Business degree to studying Nutrition.  I am inspired by my Dad who all his life was a meat eater and then one day went cold turkey and gave up meat, processed food, sugar and coffee; my Mum did the same.  They lost weight (not that there was much to lose), their overall health improved and they always comment on how fantastic they feel.  They are living proof that what you put in your mouth plays a huge part on your health and wellness. I am so proud of them.

Libby: My Mum and sister Julia are both really inspiring. They both eat super healthy and they are always making some amazing meal or healthy treat. I think that it is easy to maintain a healthy lifestyle if the people you surround yourself with are also healthy, so they both have been a huge influence in my health journey.

Currently loving:

Julia: Peppermint tea, Loving Earth coconut chocolate spread and Tully Lou Yoga gear.

Libby: My new Nike fly knit trainers are super comfy.

I have started a short Yoga course, which teaches me the fundamentals of yoga and the basic yoga poses. I have learnt so much and I’m only half way through the course

My electric blanket because it keeps me warm and toasty!

Fave local cafe or restaurant?

Julia: Skinny Dip at Bondi Beach, they make my favourite juice called the Green Giant.  Mexico in Surry Hills, fresh, fast and delicious food.  Sadhana Kitchen in Newtown for the best raw cheesecake.

Libby: Mexico restaurant in Britomart, Auckland. Tasty, cheap, delicious food!

As your parting gift to us – what is your favourite health tip or destination?

Julia: There is a place in Jervis Bay, NSW called Paperbark Camp that I am dying to visit.  It is camping at its finest, in the bush.
Gwinganna is also at the top of my list, am still yet to go there, so maybe when my days of being a poor student come to an end I can visit.

My tip would be, to quote the famous Michael Pollan – “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants”.

Libby: Water! I think one of the easiest and best ways to improve health and well-being is to drink enough water. I try to drink at least 1.5 litres a day and aim for 2.5 litres. It makes such a huge difference with my energy levels throughout the day, my mood, how much food I eat throughout, it lowers my food cravings and has improved my skin so much. So many people are dehydrated and often this is mistaken for hunger.

Be sure to follow the gals on social media for extra motivation, health tips and delish recipes!!

Julia & Libby