Life is an incredible beast, and sometimes the journey we ride, despite all our best intentions and planning, can take an almighty turn; one so huge that everything from before that moment suddenly shines in a different hue to everything after.
Take James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch, two people whose lives were turned upside down as they fought to save James’ father from a mysterious incurable illness and in doing so, experienced an awakening so powerful they found their lives zooming off in a direction they never even knew existed.
University sweethearts, James and Laurentine met at Maritime College, an immediate match. A Sunshine Coast boy (and now a couple, with a nest in Montville), James, together with Laurentine, dreamt about a life on the ocean, with them both completing university to work for various shipping companies, moving into the elite sector, crewing private yachts for the millionaire jet set pack in the Caribbean, soon after.
Life was smoking. They had money in their pocket, youth on their side and highflying careers. Dancing under the stars of the Caribbean night with the rich and famous, rum in hand was a standard evening for them. Until one day, something happened.
“My dad had not been feeling well for a while,” explains James. “We all thought he would come through it. However, he didn’t, and eventually, he was diagnosed with severe chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and anxiety.
“It was a frustrating conclusion because he was getting sicker and sicker and no one seemed to be able to tell us why or how to stop it. He was placed on a cocktail of medications (which left him feeling worse) and his health continued to deteriorate rapidly, with him inching ever closer to despair.
“Laurentine and I became so worried; we started looking into alternative options, believing that there must be something else that could help him. And as we researched, we became bowled over by the information that was tucked away out there. It was like a secret unfolding, a light bulb moment.”
Finding themselves on a whole new trajectory, James and Laurentine discovered the immense role that nutrition played on the body, unearthing facts and statistics and expert commentary on the impact that food has on a physiological level.
Their minds were blown, drowned in layer after layer of discovery, awakening them as if from sleep. The more they read, the more they came to a new understanding, as they edged further away from the path their lives had been navigating up until this point, enrolling at the Global College of Natural Medicine, qualifying as nutritional consultants, in a bid to formalise their research. As a result, they became convinced that James’ father could be helped by giving his body the right sustenance to aid his recovery. The bigger task, however, was to convince him of this for he was a chartered accountant with a traditional corporate outlook who trusted the medical system, even though it was failing him.
“We tried our best to convince him to read the various books and articles we came across, with little success,” explains James. “When you don’t feel well, the last thing you want to do is to wade through masses of information by studying a book, so we suddenly realised the best way to try to get him to listen was by making him a film – bringing the world’s leading health and nutrition experts into his own living room to convince him that good food was better medicine than drugs."
“So we gathered together seven years of our life’s savings, quit our jobs and set about making a feature documentary”
continues Laurentine. “It was the only way. But it was worth it, as it worked. Within three months of us showing James’ dad the footage and him following a vitamin and nutrition-based approach to his healing, he was out of bed where he had been for five years, off his meds (with no side effects), 20 kilograms lighter and he was feeling good. It was nothing short of a miracle.”
“The results were spectacular,” agrees James. “After years on heavy doses of anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anxiety medication and sleeping tablets, dad started taking therapeutic doses of vitamins and minerals and within a week, had withdrawn from all prescription medication. He also went on a 10-day detox, eating only raw foods and no alcohol and continued on a special diet thereafter. His recovery provided incredibly inspiring evidence to us all of the power of nutritional therapy.”
It was the catalyst they needed. James and Laurentine saw with their own eyes the importance of what they were doing and as a result, felt compelled to share their knowledge with others in a bid to offer an alternative health narrative in a landscape that was (and arguably still is) dominated by traditional medicine.
And thus, Food Matters was born with James and Laurentine releasing the documentary of the same name onto the market in 2008, where it exploded into the collective consciousness globally, taking the world by storm. It was a pivotal moment for the couple.
“By making the movie we set out to help my dad, but it was an incredible feeling to know that we were going to be able to help many others as well,” says James.
Offering scientifically verifiable solutions for overcoming illness naturally, James and Laurentine were able to show in the movie the importance of food, providing the view that alternative therapies could be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive than conventional medical treatments.
With the huge success of the film (it has even been cited by several keynote speakers at various worldwide international film festivals as a movie of worth), James and Laurentine suddenly found themselves dominating a space they didn’t even know existed five years earlier; their whole perception was altered forever.
“The beauty of what we discovered was that it was not only relevant to those who were unwell, but also to those who were looking to prevent illness from their lives. The often contradictory health information available out there can be bewildering, and we wanted to make it simpler for people – you are what you eat,” smiles Laurentine.
Spurred on by the success of their first movie, Laurentine and James went on to make another film in 2012, Hungry for Change, investigating the diet, weight-loss and food industry. Placing it online at no cost for 10 days to share the message (the first time the premiere of a movie has ever been made this way), it was viewed by 453,000 people in 109 countries.
“What happened to James’ dad became a whole-of-life change for us,” explains Laurentine. “We now live and breathe what we do. It has affected every part of our journey. It is who we are.”
It is therefore little wonder that when it came to having a baby in 2013, James and Laurentine took a road less travelled also. Having questioned the mainstream approach before, it was only natural that they would do so again. Instead of accepting what they had been taught from a young age about conception, pregnancy and birth, they once again, opened their minds, completed a great deal of research and decided on their own way of doing things.
“I realised that we needed to get our minds in the right space, as well as our bodies,” explains Laurentine. “Having a baby is huge, and the mental side of it is often overlooked. We focused on detoxification and rejuvenating our bodies, plus balancing our hormones. We also meditated and welcomed our baby’s soul into our life. We put a lot of love into the conception phase. We felt we needed to be in tune with our baby and to be strongly connected to him from the very beginning.”
Opting for a natural birth at home, Laurentine and James did a lot of preparation and education leading up to the birth so they could understand as much about the birth process and postpartum period as they could. When it came to the day, Laurentine found herself in a hypnotic trance for most of the labour.
“In-between contractions we would count Laurentine down into hypnosis (which we had been training for over a few months) which brought the pain down dramatically in the early stages of labour before the transition and pushing began,” reveals James.
However, as the labour progressed, the baby’s position turned, so a local chiropractor specialising in prenatal care was called, to turn the baby back.
“If we had been in the hospital system, I would have had an episiotomy or caesarean because of this,” says Laurentine. “However, my chiropractor began deep tissue massage around my hips, back and spine for two hours, helping me to surrender to my contractions, which allowed our baby to fully relax and flip back into the right position.”
At 7:54pm, James and Laurentine’s shining little boy, Hugo, was born with a calm and peaceful entry into the world. After the birth, James and Laurentine, in line with their beliefs about nourishment, encapsulated the placenta as a nutrient-rich supplement for Laurentine. “Ninety-nine per cent of mammals eat their own placenta because it is so good for you,” explains Laurentine. “It was only natural that we would therefore do this. One of the midwives took the placenta after the birth, dehydrated it and then blended it into a powder and encapsulated it.
“We also delayed cord clamping and kept the placenta connected for about three hours after the birth to help Hugo’s immunity. Most people don’t realise that approximately 600ml of blood is still in the placenta at birth, which continues to be pumped into the baby to support the baby’s transition into his or her new environment.”
James and Laurentine are living proof that change can be made, and a new way of thinking – a new way of life even – can be embraced. It is all about growth. With an internet television site being launched this year (www.fmtv.com), streaming curated content on all there is to know about health and wellness in one neat portal, this couple are making it their life’s work to run with their newfound understanding and help others in the process.
“Confidence is about feeling good in your own skin. Waking up and loving life. Having energy,” beams Laurentine. “It’s the mental and the physical, together. It’s about being at peace with yourself.”
“And the right food can help you get there,” continues James. “When you are malnourished, you can’t think straight. The voices of the medical fraternity and drug companies are so loud and so strong that many people think this is the only way. With nutritionally depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely on pharmaceutical drugs to treat what is wrong with our malnourished bodies, it’s no wonder that modern society is getting sicker."
“Food can transform. It can clean you out, and once you are clean, you can move forward. You can’t heal that critical inner voice, when your body is clogged up with bread or fries, for example. Eat with love. Love and connect with yourself and the rest will follow.”
FIVE WAYS TO A BETTER YOU!
James and Laurentine list their top five tips to a better you:
1. Eat As Nature Intended
Nature didn’t create you to eat ready-made meals with artificial preservatives and chemicals. Our ancestors and forefathers have always lived in symbiosis with nature and man has been geared toward natural food. It’s simple. Eat more ‘living food’ and eat less ‘dead food’! We generally recommend plenty of vegetables and fruits (all in a wide range of colors and preferably in-season), herbs, seaweeds, mushrooms, sprouted nuts and seeds, living yogurts and cultured vegetables, free-range eggs and wild fish and game.
2. Choose Organic
Organic fruit and vegetables contain more vitamins and minerals than their non-organic counterparts, particularly if they are picked ripe and locally grown. Moreover, they are safer to eat as they are grown without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and genetically modified organisms; all of which have been proven to have harmful effects on our reproductive health and hormones, as well as overloading the liver.
3. Stay Away From Gluten-Containing Grains
Gluten is a protein found in most grains, namely wheat, rye, barley, spelt and kamut. Even those not diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity can do better when they avoid it altogether. Gluten irritates and damages the intestinal lining and causes inflammation, immune reactions and is a major cause of ‘leaky gut’.
4. Eat Good Fats
People who are trying to lose weight often try to keep their fat and cholesterol intake to a minimum. The reason behind this is that fat contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates and proteins. However, good fats and cholesterol are essential for the absorption of most nutrients and the production of hormones. Thus, it’s important not to avoid them. Enjoy the healthy saturated fats (they are not evil as they’ve been made out to be, but are in fact anti-aging) found in coconut oil, wild caught fish, organic dairy and grass-fed meats, and monounsaturated fats like those found in extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil, macadamia nuts and avocados. Make sure you steer clear of the oxidised, free-radical-creating trans-fats found in margarine spreads, cookies, crisps and in vegetable oils like safflower, sunflower and canola oil.
5. Get Yourself A Juicer And A Blender
A juicer and a blender are your best friends in the kitchen. Let’s say you come home from work and you are feeling hungry and lethargic. You normally reach for a packet of chips, but why not instead opt for a quick juice or smoothie loaded with vitamins, minerals and enzymes? We call it an instant meal! This is what your cells are crying out for.
You Are What You Eat!
Photography by Nancy Neil. Styling by Leah Foster. Make up by Thea Istenes.