Woman Crush Wednesday with Ashley Wood
We are so so excited to finally release the very first Woman Crush Wednesday of 2018! We are kicking off the year with a very special interview with a woman that has been a huge influence on our own path to a plant based lifestyle. Ashley Wood, a natural health enthusiast and contributor to Cameron Diaz' health and wellness website 'Our Body Book' , and very recently the creator and host of 'The Good People Pod Cast'. Through her website and Instagram Ashely shares her personal growth, her struggles and her dreams. She is warm, approachable, honest and makes you feel like you have a real connection with her. She is someone we dream of one day sitting down with a cup of tea and chatting with all day long; her positivity is just so infectious and her approach to health and wellness is so refreshing! We really hope you enjoy the interview!
You describe yourself as a plant based nutrition advocate, would you mind sharing with our readers what inspired you on your journey into this lifestyle?
Like most people, I wasn't brought up on this lifestyle. Raised on all the fixings of the Western Dietary Pattern, I made the conscious choice at age eight to give up meat and live as an ethical vegetarian.
Throughout my teenage years and early adulthood, I survived on a diet of take-out, processed foods, alcohol and sleep deprivation and my health was mediocre at best. I struggled with disordered eating, frequently starving herself by taking caffeine pills to suppress her appetite. I also had chronic yeast infections, chronic urinary tract infections, chronic migraines, sinus infections, colds and flus.
While in Sri Lanka for my 25th birthday, standing on the peak of Sri Pada, I made the conscious decision to rid my life of negative energy and embark on a journey towards a healthier life. Already an avid yogi flirting with a vegan diet, I was READY to change.
And as positive attracts positive, two months later, I attracted love and met my husband, Ben. Also a vegetarian at the time, we decided to make the transition to a vegan lifestyle together. Driven by ethics and our love for animals, our plates were cruelty-free (but they also free of nutrients.)
And then an epic twist took place that would change my trajectory forever.
In March 2013, we were deep-frying quinoa coated onion rings in the kitchen of our Toronto apartment when the oil in the pot went up in flames. In an instant, the flames spread to the cabinets and throughout the kitchen. I called to Ben to collect our cats so we could evacuate, but he was struggling to catch them.
In a moment of desperation, I put on oven mitts, grabbed the burning pot, called Ben to open the door and ran outside with it. As I was running, the fire burnt my face and hair and the oil spilled down my legs and on my feet. Within seconds, my tights disintegrated and half of my body was covered in second degree burns.
The doctor suggested I may need skin grafting surgery, but since oil continues to burn the skin for days after initial contact decided to give it time before making that call. I trusted her body and its ability to naturally heal from the inside out and decided to take the healing into my own hands. Consuming only organic fruits, vegetables and grains and relying on natural healing remedies my body made such a rapid recovery that I didn't need surgery.
I was outside running within three weeks after the accident and my burn scars faded in less than six months.
Not only had I healed from the fire, but overtime my migraines disappeared, my UTI's and yeast infections left without returning, I stopped catching common colds, my hair grew thicker and my skin became brighter. All since eating a healthy and balanced plant-based diet. I felt healthier and stronger than I ever had before. Having experienced the power of plant-based nutrition and natural health first hand, I knew she had something to share with the world.
Has motherhood changed your approach to nutrition? And if so how?
Motherhood has changed my approach to nutrition in a lot of ways, but mostly because I am less rigid now. Which is actually kind of funny because I was so strict about what I ate during my pregnancy (no sugar, gluten, caffeine or fried foods.) And although now I limit these foods (I'm still caffeine-free) I don't think twice about having a treat. I eat intuitively, meaning if my body craves it, I eat it (as long as it's vegan.)
What are some of Ivy's favourite foods to eat?
Ivy loves everything we've given her, with the exception of raw tomatoes. Some of her favourites are coconut yogurt with unsweetened applesauce, sweet potatoes, avocado mashed with cashew cheese, any curries, soups, raspberries, bananas and she LOVES LOVES LOVES cashew Larabars.
We are obsessed with your recipes online! Which is your favourite and why?
Thank you! On a day to day basis, I eat very simple foods. I start each day with oatmeal and My Everyday Green Smoothie and then eat noodle bowls and soups for lunch and dinner. I love my Anything Goes Noodle Bowl because it's so versatile and my mom's recipe for Lentil Soup is also so, so delicious!
We love that you are open and honest about your unique journey on social media and that you are an advocate for self love, what are your favourite self care rituals?
Thanks so much! As simple as it sounds, I drink a lot of water! Being hydrated is so important, especially as a mother of a teething toddler, I don't get a lot of sleep at night sometimes and staying hydrated keeps my energy up. I also do yoga when I can, go outside as often as possible, eat a predominately unprocessed plant-based diet, meditate, practicing gratitude and do little things like paint my nails and put make-up on every morning.
If you could choose one superfood to keep stocked in your kitchen cupboard what would it be?
I had to google 'what are superfoods' to answer this question because to me ALL plants are superfoods. We always have chia seeds, hemp hearts, tahini, nut butters, nuts and seeds and of course tons and tons of fresh fruits and vegetables on hand. Avocados are a staple food in our house for sure. And broccoli. Give me all the plants!
If you could have one super power what would it be?
We all have the ability to have 'super powers' by creating our own realities and aligning with our Higher Self and Source Energy. I'm a huge believer in the Law of Attraction!
Who or what inspires you at the moment?
I'm very inspired by Mimi Ikonn at the moment, she's a mother, entrepreneur and positive role model to me.
Thank you so much to Ashley for answering our questions with such passion and inspiration! We were so excited when Ashley released her new podcast series earlier this month. Ashley has an incredible amount of knowledge to share with the world and is using The Good People Podcast to - celebrate the journey of extraordinary women. Exploring health and wellness, spirituality, manifestation, entrepreneurship, motherhood and more, with the intention of adding insight and inspiration to your day.
We love that she is using this platform to celebrate women!