It's 'All About Health' for Laura McDermid on Radio Today! @laurasmuesli @radio2day

JoziStyle: How did you get involved with JoziStyle?
I was at the Fourways Farmer’s Market one Sunday when an unsuspecting Edward Chamberlain-Bell happened to walk past my stall. I started questioning him about what he eats for breakfast which led to quite an animated discussion about health in general. Poor Edward never stood a chance!! He invited me as a guest on his show and that evolved into me becoming a permanent feature on his show.

I spend every week-end engaging with potential customers and I see my role as an educator. Thus when an opportunity presented itself to reach more than one person at a time, I grabbed it with both hands!!

JoziStyle: What do you enjoy most about being on the show?
I enjoy interviewing people from different walks of life. I’m always intrigued by what motivates people to do what they’re doing. I also enjoy being asked challenging questions as it forces me to access information which is in some recess in my brain and to somehow formulate a coherent answer out of all the bits and pieces!

JoziStyle: How has it changed your life?
To my knowledge it hasn’t changed my life. I’m a hermit by nature and am often so wrapped up in my own world that I barely register what is going on with the stuff around me.

JoziStyle: Do you get recognised in public?
I am recognised – only because I’ve been on television. People often ask “Where do I know you from?”. I always respond by saying that I have a common face. I feel uncomfortable when I am recognised – I’d rather be remembered
for the difference that I make in people’s lives than by what stories people may create about my persona.

JoziStyle: Is your on-air personality the same in real life?
I don’t have an on air personality. What you see (hear) is what you get. I do however have to remind myself when I am on air not to be too direct. I often speak what’s on my mind before having a chance to edit my words!

This trait either endears people to me or they find it too brash!

JoziStyle: Best moment / worst moment / most embarrassing moment?
My best moment was my first interview almost 18 months ago. I remember feeling a deep sense of satisfaction, like I’ve ticked off one of the items on my bucket list.

I haven’t really had a bad moment – not that I can recall anyway. I don’t like listening to my shows though – I often wish that I had said something else or not hesitated so much between synapses! Plus I don’t like the sound of my own voice.

JoziStyle: What do you enjoy most about being on JoziStyle?
I’d like to get more technical about health – it’s such a passion that I have an overwhelming desire to share all this amazing information with everyone! I would like to try a live recording with people phoning in – I think it would make the show more authentic. I prefer to engage with people who have genuine concerns instead of pre-empting what people may want to hear.

I don’t enjoy having to talk for the sake of it – like when we have 10 minutes which we need to fill. I am very bad at small talk.

JoziStyle: What are your other co hosts like?
I’ve only ever met Barbara and Chris. I envy them for their ability to speak so naturally about any topic. That’s a great trait for a radio presenter as well as for dinner parties. Edward of course is a constant source of
amusement – he also has an instinctual knack when interviewing people. He knows how to steer the discussions and is able to curtail long-winded sermons very elegantly! He’s a real natural at his job as a presenter and social butterfly.

JoziStyle: Biggest learning curve & tips to new presenters?
Just be yourself. I believe that listeners like to connect with the presenter. If you have a different personality on air, it takes a lot of energy and effort to maintain the illusion. However, having said that some people are natural actors and can slip in and out of roles quite comfortably, so it’s very much up to the individual.

JoziStyle: What would you advise people (guests) to do before they appear on radio?
Relax! Don’t arrive at the studio all stressed out. Try get there at least 10 minutes before the show so that you can catch your breath. Allow the presenter to guide the conversation and just pretend that you’re chatting to an old friend!

JoziStyle: What do you do when you’re not on radio?
The question should be what don’t I do when I’m not on radio! This morning I have been painting the kitchen. We built our own house out of strawbales a year ago and we’re still touching up the finishes. I attend pottery classes and do mosaics – all of which have been incorporated into our decorations.

I earn money (sometimes) by running a company that manufactures healthy breakfast options. I am passionate about nutrition and have devised a range of healthy breakfasts to bridge most dietary requirements and to suit the most discerning tastes. I also consult with people on a one on one basis, offering advice on healthy living. However, I have had to scale back on this due to the demands of an ever-growing business.

JoziStyle: You talk about food a lot! Are you a good cook?
My folks are Hungarian – I grew up with good food. I learnt to cook when I was still at my mother’s bosom! Food is an essential component of many European cultures – it’s an expression of love. An art.

I love cooking and I think I’m a good cook, although my style is very rustic. I enjoy wholesome food as opposed to pretentious food.

My tip is that your meal is only as good as your ingredients. Try growing your own vegetables. Buy only organic, grass fed meat. And buy the freshest ingredients that you can. It all boils down (excuse the pun) to quality.

JoziStyle: What are your other personal / professional interests?
I am a student of philosophy. I strive to be the best human being that I can be – we all have masses of potential, yet many of us choose to hide from our greatness for fear of failure/rejection.

I almost lost my life to paragliding many years ago – yet I would do it all again. Life is there to be lived. I do not want any regrets on the day that my body expires.

JoziStyle: What style / lifestyle / career tips would you tell people?
Invest in your health. One of my friends has just been diagnosed with colon cancer – he’s only recently turned forty. He’s very wealthy – but has never really taken care of himself from the perspective that he treated his body
like a car – believing that it would never fail him.

None of us are infallible, and we never know when we might be struck down by illness or an accident. Be the healthiest that you can be, so that if one day you do get sick – the effort that you put in will pay off. Even better still – you should hopefully prevent anything drastic from happening.

Most disease is lifestyle related. That includes your emotions and state of mind.

As far as career tips are concerned; if you hate your job – leave it. We always tend to complain about the things that we have no control over yet fail to address the things that we can affect. Don’t waste your time trying
to change your parents/children/spouse/boss. Change yourself – you have been given that power. Don’t feel like because you’ve studied something when you were 19 that you still have to do the same thing 30 years later. Life is so full of opportunities – grab them.

JoziStyle: How do you find balance / focus in life?
I love the outdoors and I retreat to the bush at the first opportunity. I don’t do five star lodges – I go to places that are unfenced, have no electricity, cellphone reception and in many cases no water. A year ago, my
husband and I were tormented by 11 lions in a remote part of Botswana. We were alone – without any weapons, separated from the beasts by the fabric of our tent. It was one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had.
However, it humbled me, and made me remember my place in the pecking order. Humans are weak – our most valuable weapon is our intellect – develop it and let it serve you and not you it! Most of us are such slaves to our fears and desires that we lose touch with our true natures.

The bush is a great medium to allow us to get back in touch with the fabric that unites everything.

JoziStyle: What’s your favourite thing to do in Jozi?
As I’ve said – I am not a social animal. I was born in Jozi and love the city for its energy and vibrancy. How many places has so much diversity and craziness? If you want to be an entrepreneur, Jozi is the place to be. You can sell chicken’s feet and sheep’s heads along William Nicol or set up a gourmet bistro in New Town. Jozi is my home and it’s the best city in SA!

JoziStyle: Whats your favourite dish (recipe or restaurant in Jozi?
I like sushi – so any restaurant that serves fresh salmon or tuna is a win. For special occasions I still love to visit Bellgables in Muldersdrift. The decor is completely over the top, their food is always scrumptious and the
service excellent.

For a different experience, Orbit in Braamfontein is a fabulous jazz club where you can eat really tasty food whilst listening to seriously good local jazz muso’s.

JoziStyle: Describe your personality as a drink?
Savannah – it’s dry and not to everyone’s taste. Yet very refreshing and unpretentious.

JoziStyle: Favourite movie / TV show / book?
One of my all time favourite movies is Papillon with Steve McQueen. An old movie about prisoners trying to escape from Alcatraz. It’s seriously moving as it speaks about the spirit of human beings and how above all things we
should never lose hope.

A Long Walk to Freedom had me crying from start to finish – I was so humbled to have shared a country with a man such as Mandela. One of the few liberated people who made a real difference to humanity.

And of course I loved all the Harry Potter movies and books, ditto Lord of The Rings.

I enjoy crime series – so Criminal Minds is something I watch on TV. I’m also enjoying Rick Stein’s Indian Adventures. I used to like Come Dine With Me until they repeated it so many times that I now want to gag when I see

I still prefer the Australian Masterchef to the South African one – I find our hosts are so amateur compared to the Ozzies.

I also enjoy watching the Dragon’s Den – it’s so interesting to see what business ideas people come up with.

I love reading, so it’s very difficult for me to have to choose. But if I had to recommend just one book it would be Shantaram as it was one of the most genuine books I’ve ever read – it’s the kind of book that can ruin
reading other books as nothing has ever compared since. The sheer guts it must have taken Gregory Roberts to share his story with the world. His honesty is so poignant that it hurts. He managed to convey the suffering and
shame of humankind on such a profound level, that whatever walk of life you’re from, you’ll be able to relate.

At the moment I’m reading Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’s “I Am That”. I have a feeling that it’ll take me a lifetime to read, and another lifetime to understand. And as light relief I’m reading Patricia Cornwall’s Red Mist.

I also enjoy Deon Meyer – I just love the indomitable Bennie Griessel.

The best audiobook I’ve listened to is Chocolat by Joanne Harris. A foodie’s delight – especially if you love chocolate!!

JoziStyle: Favourite products you love??
I hate shopping, especially for clothes. I like eclectic things so will buy something if it catches my eye.

I love shopping for food at Jackson’s Real Food Market in Rivonia and at the Bryanston Natural and Organic Market. I manage to stock up on all the good, fresh and healthy produce for the week. I like getting fresh mussels from
Woolies in Broadacres.

Skincare? Pure Coconut oil seems to do the trick!! My beauty products are all natural as we have a grey water system at our house into which all the overflow water gets channelled. I’ve found that nature is not too fond of
parabens, chemicals and phyto-oestrogens. I stock up on my natural shampoos and creams at Weleda in Bryanston.
I love to relax at home, however working on week-ends means that it’s a scarce commodity. We are in the process of building our clay dam. I look forward to enjoying all the water birds once it’s completed.

I enjoy having good friends over for dinner – it’s one of life’s simple pleasures.

JoziStyle: How would you spend R1000,000 (if not on debt or the poor)?
I’m a simple creature – I don’t have any lavish desires. I’m of the belief that the more things we own – the more agitation it creates.

I would probably use the money to travel with my husband Stuart. There are many exotic places and animals that we would like to see – most of them are in very far out places that are off the beaten track. Like the snow leopard,
sititunga, okapi, arctic wolf, tiger etc.

I’d love to visit the Himalayas, Tibet, Machu Pichu, Amazon, Morocco, Turkey, Uganda, Sudan……you get the picture?

And last but not least I’d like to buy a small loft in my ancient Budapest overlooking the Danube – my ancestral ‘home’.

JoziStyle: If you had nothing to do but time for yourself, how would you spend it?
I believe that all we have is time for ‘ourselves’ for whom else would the time be for? It’s the way that we currently spend our time that counts. I live for this moment – each second offers unlimited potential. So why
entertain any fantasy about what to do with ‘our’ time. It’s precisely the dissatisfaction with this moment that creates all our suffering. I’m already spending time with my Self, and loving what is.

JoziStyle: What inspires you / personal motto?
I’m inspired by people who make the most of their lives regardless of their circumstances. I’m constantly amazed and inspired by the wonder of nature.

I’m inspired by life.

JoziStyle: Famous last words
“Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence”

You can also connect with Laura @laurasmuesli
or allabouthealth.co.za.

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