I had the honour of chatting with the fabulous Christine; founder of Good Guerilla – The ultimate Wellness Kits!
Christine is a dynamic business leader with an impact: raising awareness around eating disorders as a mental issue. When purchasing one of these beautiful Wellness Kits, a portion of the profits help build a strong network of programmes and affordable clinics to help affected people at various stages of their recovery journey.
Christine is an advocate for women empowering one another! Read on for my chat with Christine.
What is your approach to health and wellbeing?
My approach to health and wellbeing is pretty simple – it’s about connection. Connection with yourself, connection with others, connection with nature. As humans, we are hard wired for connection, be it meaningful or fleeting. Some of us need more of it than others. At the heart of it all, I believe we all exist in the name of love, so to take care of ourselves with that as the guiding principle simplifies the often noisy and confusing messages being bounced around.
Tell us about your beautiful initiative: Good Guerilla and the inspirations behind it.
Thank you for calling it beautiful! Good Guerrilla is a social enterprise dedicated to building accessible treatment options for those with eating disorders or disordered eating behaviours. It was an initiative inspired by my own mental health journey and the very clear lack of accessible treatment in New Zealand. For such a developed, forward-thinking country, we are sitting at a great point in time to offer something that is not currently being offered, but is needed by many. I personally am inspired by a range of recovery stories that I have learned through Good Guerrilla, of will, courage and this insatiable desire to want to live fully again.
How does it all work? What would be some goodies in your wellness kit?
How it works is quite simple too. Good Guerrilla delivers a monthly Wellness Kit, which is now available for pre-orders (yay!) here, full of self-care products and knowledge packs that helps promote a deeper sense of wellbeing. A portion of our proceeds then go towards building something greater than us – a network of programmes and affordable clinics to give people help at various stages of their recovery journey, regardless of their background or payment abilities. Good Guerrilla believes that care should be available for all, as everyone deserves to be treated well and have an opportunity to thrive in life after illness.
Tell us about the social aspect of Good Guerrilla and how can we as consumers make a difference?
The social aspect can really be summarized as the social impact. For Good Guerrilla, the social impact is more than just the treatment options we hope to build. The ultimate impact we wish to have is to pry wide open the conversation around eating disorders, as it is a mental health issue that is still shrouded in much mystery and misconception, to the harsh detriment of those that are struggling with it. When purchasing one of our Wellness Kits, you as a consumer will know that the profits are not all going into our backpockets, ready to be reinvested into more business or purchasing more ‘stuff’. You will know that your dollar goes further because it will be built into one of our programmes, that will deliver time and time again value to those who go through it. You are not only enjoying selfcare through our Wellness Kits, you’re also giving someone else an opportunity to heal and thrive.
What are you most proud of in your life?
Rediscovering who I am. My recovery was one of the most enlightening periods of my life. I emerged from an psychologically and emotionally abusive relationship quite a wreck, and managed to, over the slow course of three to four years, rediscover and redefine who I am, who I want to be. It is interesting to build yourself as an adult – most people have done this through their childhood – so the whole process was very consciously done, very eye opening, sometimes heart breaking but ultimately the most rewarding of all. I am also proud of my marriage. It’s a testimony to the fact that one can love again, and my difficult journey in learning that I am worthy of love and belonging.
Have your noticed a significant shift in New Zealand in terms of awareness when it comes to eating disorders and treatments available?
Admittedly, no. New Zealand has made great strides in having more openness and treatment options available for those with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. However, it appears to me that eating disorders remain marginalized. It is a complex illness with no known cure-all. There’s a high mortality rate associated with anorexia – highest of all psychological illnesses. It’s hard to understand when you have not gone through it yourself, or know someone close to you who have. I think the lack of understanding, combined with the glamorization of thinness in our culture, keeps eating disorders very much in the dark, where it is not addressed directly. There are, of course, eating disorder clinics in New Zealand – but they are either very expensive or very difficult to gain access to. I have known many a patient who have flown their way half way around the world to seek more affordable treatment, and ultimately have domiciled there to build their life because New Zealand does not offer them the ongoing support they need. There are some foundations popping up around the country. But again, they are focused on depression and anxiety. Eating disorders may encompass depression and anxiety, but in my opinion, requires much more specific treatment to be effective long term.
What can we do as mums to help our children avoid getting sucked in this kind of disorder and obsession with being skinny?
Model for your children what healthy and happy looks like. Involve them in the kitchen, and help them understand that cooking, eating, consumption, is as much of a privilege as it is an absolute right. Help them associate healthy eating with happiness from a young age, and then trust that that associative understanding will help them guide their way through the busy world of mixed messages of what they should and shouldn’t look like.
We would love you to share one your favourite recipes at the moment.
Absolutely! I recently took a page of our Tank Juice’s salad book, and started making a warm salad I like to call ‘The Famous Goji Berry Chicken Quinoa Salad’. Not the most attractive name, nor accurate (it’s not famous – yet), but it is certainly delicious. Start off with quinoa and salad greens, then chuck in a handful of goji berries and a handful of cranberries, sprinkle in some feta and then top it off with fresh grilled chicken. We don’t often have dressing, so we use the juice of a lemon, with some garlic and salt. Mix it all up in a big bowl (get the kids involved, and prepare for some stray chicken pieces on the floor) and serve as is. Perfect for a summer night out on the deck. And it doesn’t require much effort at all!