Naturally, we love hearing about the nutritional benefits of tea. Meeting Talissa was a meeting of minds, her expertise in the field of nutrition and in particular women's health is incredibly interesting.
Talissa, tell us about your background and what you do?
Thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure to be able to chat with you about a few of my favourite topics!
So a little bit of background about myself, growing up I always had a bit of a creative mind and channelled that into completing a Masters in Industrial Design. I worked full time in the industry for a few years whilst building a side business laser cutting and engraving wooden objects for weddings, exhibitions and other events all from a little garage in Sydney.
I love design, but I’ve always had a fascination with nutrition and how it can help the body. I also love food! So I ended up managing a bulk health foods company, whilst continuing my laser cutting business on the side. I even had the honour of meeting our Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, MP Trent Zimmerman and Mayor Gail Giles Gidney to talk about sustainability and the benefits of buying local. This was a fantastic experience but I still wanted to know more so threw myself into full time studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine at Endeavour College. My aim is to direct my studies towards women’s health which I believe to be such an essential, but often neglected topic.
Why is being an advocate for women’s health so important to you?
Growing up I learnt to believe that it was ‘normal’ to have extremely painful periods and always felt as though I just wasn’t as ‘strong’ at handling it as a lot of my friends. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I found out that it wasn’t normal, and in fact, I had been incredibly strong hiding what I hadn’t known at the time was endometriosis pain. In a way this was a relief, but also quite overwhelming when I was told by my doctor that there was no cure for endometriosis.
As a designer, being told that there is nothing that can be done is not something that I comprehended very easily. I believe there are always things that can be done to improve a situation, just as in the design world, iterations can always be made to improve a product.
With this vision in mind I made it my mission to do whatever I could to spread awareness of this disease, and find new ways of managing in order to help others suffering. There are 10,000 new cases of endometriosis in Australia every year, that is an awfully large number! I believe it is a human right for young women to have access to the knowledge of what is happening in their bodies.
How have you used nutrition to help you in your daily life and its challenges.
Endometriosis is primarily an inflammatory condition, although the true cause is unknown, we do know that there are high levels of inflammatory markers involved. Based on this knowledge it is so important to do everything possible in order to reduce inflammation levels. This can be achieved through an anti-inflammatory diet, a particularly good example being the Mediterranean diet which is naturally high in Omega 3s, low in Omega 6s and high in antioxidants. Some examples of anti-inflammatory foods include berries, wild salmon, broccoli and avocados. I tend to stay away from dairy foods, which are inflammatory in nature, replacing it with alternatives such as almond or oat milk.
I also work closely with a naturopath to take a number of nutritional supplements which support my immune function and assist with the healing process required for endometriosis.
You seem to be an avid tea lover/drinker, how have you used tea is your daily life to connect with others and to help yourself through challenging times?
Tea has such amazing healing and soothing qualities. It has helped me in so many ways. It is such a great way to connect with others over a cup of tea, as we’re doing now! I have had a number of catch ups with people going through similar struggles over a cup of tea, I find it really allows people to relax and open up about things that they may be going through. Personally, I have found it to be extremely versatile based on the properties of the tea. Something like a peppermint or spearmint is such a wonderful pick me up in the morning, whereas something like chamomile or Rooibos I enjoy at the end of a long day.
You have talked about carob in your diet, what benefits have you found using this spice.
I can’t say enough about how much I love Carob. I was so excited to see that you offered a carob and roasted Wattleseed Chai as it’s a rare and underutilised find these days!
I have always struggled with IBS, particularly worsened by my endometriosis. However, since having Carob I have honestly been able to eradicate the majority of these problems. Upon doing some investigations I discovered that the pectins and tannins in Carob actually have a drying effect on the digestive tract that help tackle toxins and prevent harmful bacterial growth in the intestines. Carob is even used as a safe and effective way of treating diarrhea in infants and adults. Lab tests also show promising results in regards to Carobs ability to prevent serotonin (the feel-good hormone) from breaking away demonstrating anti-depressant properties.
What is your favourite way to relax and unwind?
My favourite way is definitely to relax with a cup of tea whilst doing some mindful journaling, reflecting on the day.