When Bianca Slade was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos at the age of 30, the 36-year-old was relieved to finally put a name on her pain.
The mother-of-three, from Victoria, had been battling intense body pain, lethargy and gastrointestinal discomfort for some time after the birth of her second child – when doctors told her that she had the connective tissue disorder that is characterised by loose joints.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Bianca revealed how swapping her daily sandwiches, processed food and pasta for a wholefoods diet has helped her to manage her condition – and led her to author countless recipe books on the subject.
She also revealed the importance of implementing healthy food habits from a young age, after new Blackmores research has found 88 per cent of Australian kids eat mostly unhealthy food.
When Bianca Slade (pictured with her kids) was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos at the age of 30, the 36-year-old was relieved to finally put a name on her pain
Bianca (pictured) revealed how adopting a wholefoods diet has helped her to manage her condition – after she swapped pasta and chips for buddha bowls and frittatas
Bianca’s wholefoods diet is centred around ‘whole foods’ and ‘eliminating additives’ – she likes to eat as our great grandparents would have (pictured with two of her kids)
Speaking about how she came to the wholefoods diet, Bianca told Daily Mail Australia: ‘There came a point when my symptoms were at their worst that there was very little doctors could do for me.
Bianca Slade’s day on a plate before and after
BEFORE BREAKFAST: Milk and cereal for breakfast.
BEFORE LUNCH: Salad wraps or sandwiches.
BEFORE DINNER: Pasta or stir fries.
BEFORE SNACKS: Fruits, yoghurt, chocolate bars, lollies, ice cream and chips.
BEFORE WEEKEND TREATS: Fast food and takeaways.
BREAKFAST NOW: Bowl of vegetables with tahini or peanut butter-based dressing.
LUNCH NOW: Buddha bowl containing wholegrains, roasted and raw vegetables and dressing.
DINNER NOW: Frittata or leftovers.
SNACKS NOW: Fruits, yoghurt, smoothies, kombucha and wholefood treats.
‘I decided to explore options myself and that is when I stumbled upon the wholefoods diet and decided to try it out.’
Bianca’s variation of the wholefoods diet is centred around focusing on ‘whole foods’ and ‘eliminating additives, preservatives, unnatural colours, refined foods and anything I don’t recognise as an ingredient’.
After reading up on the approach, she decided to swap the quick convenience foods she was used to as a busy mother for healthier and more natural alternatives:
‘I used to eat milk and cereal for breakfast, salad wraps or a sandwich for lunch and pasta or stir fries for dinner,’ she said.
‘I would snack on fruits and yoghurt, but also processed food like chocolate bars, lollies, ice cream and chips. At the weekends, I’d have fast food and takeaways.’
‘Normally nowadays I’ll breakfast on a bowl of vegetables with tahini or peanut butter-based dressing, eat a buddha bowl containing wholegrains, roasted and raw vegetables and dressing for lunch, and then eat a frittata or leftovers for dinner,’ Bianca said.
‘I’ll also always snack on fruits, yoghurt, smoothies, kombucha and wholefood treats like protein balls.’
While Bianca (right) used to eat lots of chocolate bars and processed foods, now she prefers wholefood treats (left) and healthier alternatives
She quickly saw a difference in her pain levels, and now her kids eat healthily too – enjoying wholefood treats instead of junk food
What is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?
* The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are a group of connective tissue disorders that can be inherited and are varied both in how affect the body and in their genetic causes.
* They are generally characterised by joint hypermobility (joints that stretch further than normal), skin hyperextensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal), and tissue fragility.
Source: The Ehlers-Danlos Society
Within ‘weeks’ of adopting this approach, Bianca explained she saw a difference:
‘The frequency and severity of my symptoms, primarily body pain, lethargy and gastrointestinal discomfort, reduced, and while I still had periods of pain, the frequency and duration was a lot less.’
‘I’m now convinced that eating in this way allows my body to receive the nutrients it needs without being stressed by ingredients that interfere with its natural processes,’ she said.
‘I feel more energetic and well within myself when I eat this way.’
She has since started a blog on the benefits of eating a wholefoods diet, alongside being the author of ten cookbooks.
‘The best thing we can do, as parents, is lead by example,’ she said – adding that we need to talk to our kids about healthy eating (pictured: two of her children)
Kids and fussy eating
* The amount of child fussy eaters has doubled in recent years.
* As many as 85 per cent of Australian children, aged 2-12 years, are fussy eaters, leaving them at risk of potential nutritional gaps in their diet.
* 88 per cent of Aussie kids eat mostly unhealthy food.
* Two out of three kids would rather eat junk food, which can be laden with sugar and salt, over fruit and vegetables.
Speaking about the best way to adopt a wholefoods diet, the mother-of-three explained that you just need to think about what you’re putting in your mouth and aim to ‘consume foods your great grandparents would recognise’.
‘Due to time constraints, so many of us don’t know what we’re eating and we don’t think about it,’ Bianca said.
She added that a healthy approach to food and diet all starts in childhood.
‘The best thing we can do, as parents, is lead by example,’ she said.
‘Talk to your kids about the foods in the fruit and veg section and try new things together.
‘Teach them how to make treats that nourish their body and most importantly keep the atmosphere around foods and meals relaxed.
‘Food is fuel and nourishment, but it’s also there to be enjoyed. My kids take a wholefood treat each day, and so do I. It’s important to enjoy the things we consume.’
To read more from Bianca Slade, you can visit her website here.