Q&A With Laura Dundovic: CFS, Internal Beauty & Natural Healing
She’s the gorgeous former Miss Universe Australia, TV host and Myer ambassador, but what many people don’t know about Laura Dundovic is that not only is she one of the nicest girls in the business – but she also manages chronic fatigue syndrome.
In my opinion, this condition needs to be renamed. I used to think that it meant that someone was just extra tired. This is far from the case. Chronic fatigue can be so demanding that those who have it spend days, weeks and even months bed bound with no energy to do anything. Lovely Laura was kind enough to let me quiz her about her clean living lifestyle and how she manages her busy career on top of what is often a debilitating condition.
I am a big believer in carving out a morning routine that will set the tone for your day. What does your morning routine involve?
While it is ideal to wake the same time every day, I have found the best way to manage my chronic fatigue is by getting 8 hours sleep every night. Because my schedule is all over the place this means that my wake up time can vary. Once up though I stretch before anything else. I have started swimming, so I love to do this a few mornings a week to wake up my body, and I then sit down to breakfast. I have been having a gluten-free muesli with fresh berries and non-dairy milk with some UDO’s oil through it for the last few weeks.
How do you stay healthy while travelling?
I love running and even more so when I am travelling because I love exploring new places. I usually run each day while I am overseas and soft sand and bush runs are so much better for your joints, so I really make the most of it. I rarely take cabs unless my destination is miles away, I walk from place to place. As well as that I pack snacks like almonds or goji berries to keep me going through the day especially when I am working otherwise when the 3pm crash happens and the chocolate bowls comes around I don’t stop! I also take sunscreen with me for my body and I already wear SkinActive Day everyday which has spf 30+ in it. As well as that I think as long as you pick the cleanest, freshest option you can find something healthy and nourishing pretty much anywhere. I take a water bottle with me to make sure I am still drinking 2L a day because when you travel you tend to forget it.
What do you do to tame the wild monkeys in your mind?
Mindfulness is very important. Taking time each day to ensure you are living in the moment. I recently downloaded an iPhone meditation app which is great to listen to in bed if I have had a tough day and haven’t made it to yoga or pilates. It is very important to focus on what you can change not what you can’t.
Juices or smoothies: Which do you prefer? And what is your favourite combo?
I am more of a smoothies girl because you can pack them full of nutrients when you are on the run. I have been adding spirulina to mine and find Hawaiian is the best. My favourite at the moment is cacao (great antioxidant and tastes great), frozen raspberries, half an avocado, coconut oil (I scrape some chunks of it from the shell too), lsa (linseed, soy, almond mix) for fibre, a raw egg and non-dairy milk.
How has a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome changed the way you treat your body?
I am a lot more in tune with my body now and sensitive to the slightest changes. I can feel a cold or illness coming along early and instead of ‘hoping’ I will beat it I slow down to make sure I do. I have also learnt the importance of moderating what you put into your body and how hard you work it, not just so it looks good on the outside but so that it works well on the inside.
What are some ways that you manage your condition?
Ensuring I get eight hours sleep a night to give my body a chance to repair itself. I also make sure I eat six small meals throughout the day so my body is constantly full of nutrients. I eat a well balanced diet and I drink a lot of water to wash out toxins and not a lot of alcohol because my body doesn’t take to well to it. Over the last few months I have started to ‘Eat Right for My Blood Type‘. I was at a Myer function when designer Matthew Eager told me how good it is for CFS. I am blood type a which basically means no wheat, no dairy and no red meat, which I thought would be impossible, but after a few simple changes, like skim milk to a non-dairy milk, I am feeling amazing. I also exercise regularly. Exercise is a tough one for CFS. It is so hard to get the motivation to go and exercise, but once you do you feel fantastic for two or three days so keeping active is really important for me.
I really think that illness can be a huge blessing because it forces us to slow down and take care of ourselves. How has your illness been a blessing for you?
I think as I get older I will learn to appreciate it more. From a young age I have had to watch how I treat my body and monitor what I put into it, which I hope will leave me better off in the long run. It was quite a blessing in disguise because rather than being out partying (I hated it at the time but am happy with it now) I was able to really focus on work. I am also incredibly in tune with my body, which means I have managed to pick up quite a few other things before they have become a problem. I am a bit of a Google doctor in a way, but it means when I go see my doctor I can be specific about my symptoms and what I think it is and she can run the appropriate tests. Nobody knows your body better than you do, you just have to start listening to it.
What does being a Wellness Warrior mean to you?
Being a wellness warrior is all about looking after your body mentally and physically. It means having the positive outlook on life, healthy self esteem and ensuring you keep active and fill your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs. I try to eat a balanced diet of fresh, clean products but sometimes there are some things I can see my body is lacking by looking at my skin or nails etc and then I look into things I can take to get things running smoothly. Being a wellness warrior is about knowing your body and always looking for new ways to nurture and look after it. It won’t always run smoothly, so it’s great to look at alternative medicines and therapies. Be well researched and search wide for solutions. I picked up shingles a few years ago, on day four of the virus I was told by the doctor that I could get an injection to get rid of it if I came in up to day three of the illness. I researched and managed to get over the virus in two weeks rather than eight with acupuncture and a moxa stick.
If you were to stick a post-it note on your mirror with a message that you choose to live your life by, what would it say?
It’s hard to name just one but I do have a board in my room with this on it.
Follow Laura on Twitter: @lauramdundovic
Positive affirmation for the day: My internal environment remains calm even amid chaos in my external environment.
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