Introducing Jo Woodhurst, Our Head of Nutrition
We are delighted to introduce you to the newest member of the Ancient + Brave team - Jo Woodhurst.
Jo is our Head of Nutrition writing for our journal, as well as working on a number of exciting projects we have coming up.
We could listen to Jo talk all day, learning from her extensive knowledge of nutrition but we sat down for a quick chat.
What does wellness mean to you?
Wow! Big question - but honestly, I think the key to wellness is the ability to live life with joy. We ultimately do this best when we are healthy in body and mind - which sounds simple in a sound bite but there’s so much to unpack for each individual.
It’s about those small daily habits that we do consistently which lay the foundations for our bodies to do what they are made to do! We have such wisdom within our bodies, so I really believe when we provide it with what it needs - it thrives.
What is your morning routine?
If you’d had asked me this a year a go it would have looked a little different (and much more instagram worthy!) but since having my little one, it’s had to adapt! I’m actually all about ‘real life’ wellness - it’s not always polished and glamorous - but it’s about actually walking the walk (whatever that looks like).
For me, it’s trying to wake up early before my daughter stirs to get in a bit of connection time with my other human. We head to the kitchen for our morning coffee ritual (honestly something I look forward to the night before!) - it always includes a scoop of True Collagen - and depending on what’s happening in my day - sometimes blended True MCT too. I like to cycle in my MCT intuitively as I don’t always need to continue my overnight fast. I might have had a super early dinner and it also depends on where I am in my menstrual cycle too. If I don’t use MCT, I always have a small healthy snack with my coffee to support my nervous system.
We will try and get some morning sunlight - even when it’s overcast - whether it’s sitting in front of an open window, on the doorstep - or when we can, we head to the beach at the bottom of my road. Then my partner and I take it in turns watching the baby whilst we get a super quick 10 minute meditation in. Some days we’ll choose to do a bit of movement too - yoga or a short workout - our daughter is used to joining in with these now!
Finally it’s a spot of breakfast together before we all head off to take on the day. I do pack a lot into my morning routine - partly because I’m a morning person, but I also know too well if I don’t, the day gets away from me and before I know it, we’re collapsing on the sofa ready to relax in the evening.
What led you to your career in nutrition?
My interest in nutrition has deep roots, but I became serious about it in my early 30’s when I decided enough is enough.
Track back to my 20s, I was running myself into the ground at my 9 to 5 (more like 7 to 7 + weekends). I worked hard and played harder. I had a terrible relationship with my diet and body image. To make up for my weekend indiscretions, I counted calories and punished myself in the gym. Honestly, I was miserable.
The catalyst that changed my life and career path came while following my mother’s battle with brain cancer. She was diagnosed when I was pretty young, but I watched her remarkable experience with holistic health throughout my most formative years. She changed her diet, tried every alternative treatment going, focused on her mindset and spirituality and astounded all the doctors by extending her life expectancy.
Seeing how powerful this was, I naturally began to change my own diet and way I viewed fitness. The pieces framing a healthier lifestyle began to fall into place as I recalled countless nutritious home-cooked meals and a childhood spent outdoors in Yorkshire.
When she sadly passed away, it gave me the final push to make the leap from a secure career into following my passion and retrain as a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist. Life really is short, and we owe it to those who can’t, to live it to the fullest.
Why do you choose Ancient + Brave?
I’ve been following Ancient + Brave from the early days, so when the opportunity came to work together, I jumped at it. To be working with a brand that so closely ties to my own values and approach to health is super exciting.
Meeting the team and the Founder, Kate was the final piece of the puzzle. I instantly felt welcomed and part of something special. I’m a big believer in going with your gut (no nutritionist pun intended) and the energy I have felt since the beginning of this partnership has been so right.
How did your previous career influence your current work?
Not many people know this, but before I retrained as a nutritionist, I was an Infant School Teacher for 10 years. A career I pretty much fell into naturally, being drawn to working with children, but also from my drive to support people with learning more about the world we live in. I actually loved the teaching part and went onto become a senior leader within my school and county - but not only was it at the detriment to my own health, I knew deep down there was something else I should be doing.
Since becoming a nutritionist, my audience and subject has changed, but my passion to help people understand hasn’t waned. Education is a huge part of my practice - it isn’t enough to just tell people ‘this is healthy, do this’ - they need to know why to really embed any changes. I love that Ancient + Brave also take this so seriously in their messaging.