"Although my sister tried to be gentle with me and talk about my body and food struggles, in the end I realized it was up to me."
Growing up in the concrete jungle of Belo Horizonte, Brazil as a kid meant I was fortunate enough to experience regular escapes into nature with my parents. These trips cultivated in me an appreciation for fresh air and all that Mother Nature provides us - whether it be swimming along the coast or trekking through magical mountain trails. From these treasured getaways emerged a passionate love of the outdoors that has been instilled within me since before memory serves.
Moving to Australia when I was 17 opened a new door for me. It revealed the vibrant beauty of another culture, and made me realize that living near nature is an irreplaceable gift in life. Ever since my first journey, I have been blessed with countless adventures around the globe - from South Africa and England to now Egypt. With each experience comes a new character shaped by its culture and people that makes me appreciate life just a little bit more. Nowadays 'home' feels like a concept too filled with nuance, as if it were referring not just one place but many experiences ever-changing along multiple journeys across time and space throughout life..
Living away from home brought me closer to understanding the true cycle of life - its ebbs and flows. I found comfort in building relationships with new friends while learning how sometimes we cling too hard to familiar routines, not realizing it can be difficult or even necessary to stretch our boundaries beyond what's comfortable.
My career started with my relationship with food, which has been a true journey. From childhood, I was not very interested in healthy eating and eventually this led to an unhealthy eating disorder that lasted for years. In my teenage and twenties, it became too difficult to cope on my own - the shame prevented me from reaching out for help or even talking about it openly until a few years ago.
Although my sister tried to be gentle with me and talk about my body and food struggles, in the end I realized it was up to me. Reflecting on that moment at 18 years old when I decided enough is enough gave way to an 'aha' epiphany: there are so many women who've been through similar hardships; if we shared our stories maybe others wouldn't feel alone or without hope like how I did before then. Taking control of this health journey has enabled growth beyond what once seemed unimaginable- within myself as well as amongst those around- even though inner strength comes not only from support systems outside ourselves but also from cultivating self-belief deep inside us all.
My journey of healing and self-discovery involved the help of a therapist, but it was me that made the commitment to nourish my body not just through food but in other aspects too. This inspired me to start cooking more during college which opened an even greater passion within - preparing delicious meals that are both beneficial for our bodies as well as calming for the mind.
At some point I realized that the food I was eating didn't feel good in my body. My mom (a pescaterian) suggested avoiding red meat for a while to see how it would affect me. Astonishingly enough, within just weeks of changing up my diet, not only did my physical state become lighter but also mentally and spiritually too - so much so that now I'm passionate about plant-based diets. While veganism works well on my journey, everybody's approach should be catered according to their different needs – something which gave me a newfound understanding around nutrition.
As I began to feel better, my motivation and inspiration grew. I feel truly energized when my mind and body are in harmony, so it was natural for me to strive towards a healthier life. As time went on, self-care became an integral part of my routine. I'm passionate about inspiring others through my cooking and food, to discover their own peak physical condition so they perhaps can experience total wellbeing too.
“I would tell her to just put her ego in a box and ask for help. We as humans, we need other humans. We all get stuck sometimes and at times underestimate the power of human connection. “
I feel that taking care of yourself should be a priority. Self-care isn't just about physical health, it's an act of self-love and respect – the way you present yourself to the world is determined by how much time you dedicate to improving your wellbeing. I love how Soapstar understands this concept deeply and their natural approach brings together calming elements in both skincare as well as lifestyle products that help reset after stressful days. The restorative body and hair oil and the scented candles are my absolute favorites. Taking care of ourselves can bring peaceful balance into our lives - and I feel we should never take it for granted.
I'm incredibly blessed to be following my passion, dedicating myself to a journey of healing and growth. In the future, I would love nothing more than taking in all this beautiful world has to offer - hiking majestic mountains and plunging into crystal-clear waters around different parts of the globe. To learn about other cultures through their cuisine, spiritual practices and customs is something that constantly leaves me in awe with its complexity. Above all else though, inspiring others how they can nourish themselves holistically regardless of their circumstances or background remains at heart for me; always staying true both within myself as well as towards fellow human beings on our shared path filled with gratitude yet humble enough to recognize whatever learning comes along its way.
If I could pass a message to my younger self, it would be two things: I would tell her to not fear assistance in times of need. I would tell her to just put her ego in a box and ask for help. We as humans, we need other humans. We all get stuck sometimes and at times underestimate the power of human connection. And I would tell her to follow her heart and to be open to the endless possibilities of life. By doing so you will tap into a power that guides us all - the only thing that’s necessary is to slow down our minds and trust what we hear from within.
Carol Guimaraes photographed by Liz van Campenhout in South Africa