Conscious Beauty Renée Leonard-Stainton of Renée Naturally is a qualified naturopath, nutritionist and talented writer/presenter. Her passion for natural health and extensive media experience marry together perfectly, making her a realistic, passionate wellness blogger as well as a sought after natural health expert.
As a mother of two, life for Renée is busy and vibrant. We were lucky enough to grab a few minutes of her time this week to hear her thoughts on life, health and conscious beauty.
So tell us – in a nutshell, what’s your business about? How did it all start for you?
I’m a qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist and Western Medical Herbalist. I love helping clients achieve their health goals both locally and abroad via my Skype consultations. I trained in Auckland, Melbourne and Brisbane and set up my business while I was living in the health hub of Sydney! My background and training are in both the health and media industries, and I regularly contribute to a variety of print magazines, online publications and celebrity websites. I also endorse natural health and wellbeing products and services on TV and online and have featured as an expert for health and lifestyle segments on radio and TV shows.
My interest in natural therapies all started for me when I was unwell for most of my teenage years. I was chronically ill with ME/CFS and bedridden for many of my teenage years while being subject to endless medical tests and specialist visits. My eventual discovery of natural medicine saw me, in time, regain my full health and vitality. This life-changing experience fuelled my desire to become a Naturopath and has seen me now help others on their journey to wellness, naturally.
My most important role by a long shot is being a Mumma to two energetic young boys, Arlo & Luca!
Tell us a bit about your blog, ‘Renée Naturally’.
My blog Renée Naturally is where natural health and eco-consciousness find harmony with the latest in style and contemporary living. It’s about being part of a community of kindred spirits that value health, energy, and growth without losing balance.
Within this focus, my loyal followers explore healthy recipes, health tips, fitness, travel, eco fashion and natural beauty posts. ‘Renée Naturally’ and [its] associated social media deliver health info without the medical jargon, green living minus the hippy fluff and style with substance. I try to bring a balanced, first-hand approach to my posts that makes my readers feel inspired and connected (avoiding the ‘health purist’ tag!) while still retaining the opinion of a qualified practitioner.
How does ‘Renée Naturally’ reflect your own personal beliefs about natural and conscious beauty?
I believe that what we put on our skin should be just as close to its natural state as the food that we put in our body. Our skin is our largest organ and should be treated with great respect! Within the scope of my business, I’ll only promote natural beauty products that I would happily recommend to my clients or use on my own skin or family’s skin.
How do you see beauty and wellness intersecting?
It’s been incredible to witness the beauty industry transition to healthier, more natural products over the last decade or so. I think that this is a direct result of people being more open to holistic health options, more educated on the dangers of synthetic chemicals and there being a real shift of focus to understanding that beauty comes from within. People are more clued up on the fact that what we put on our bodies is going to end up in our bodies. I love that beauty and wellness are becoming so much more closely aligned!
What does ‘conscious beauty’/’natural beauty’ mean to you?
It means being as conscious about what we put on our skin as what we put on our body. It means making decisions that feel right for us rather than just following beauty trends or purchasing based primarily on price or fashion. Natural beauty is 100% a reflection of the health of our mind and body. I’m always so enamoured with people who have a real beauty from within… when people are happy in their own skin, they have a very special glow that can’t be bought or applied!
What does your typical day look like? Work, family, everything!
Work, family, everything means there really is no typical day in my world! But it usually starts with about 10 minutes of cuddles with my boys, followed by a healthy breakfast for all. This is usually a smoothie and/or porridge. We mix superfood powders (the boys ask for ‘super powers’ in their porridge). I always have a green tea in the morning too. If it’s a day with the kids, then we do swimming, park plays, baking wholesome treats together etc.
My work days usually start with a yoga or group exercise session (I thrive off other people’s energy… unless it’s outside immersed in nature, I don’t generally do solo exercise!). It’s then followed by; emails, social media work, discussions and negotiations with wellness brands, consultations with my clients, writing up client treatment plans, ordering supplements, writing my own blog posts, writing articles for magazines or guest blog posts, trialling recipes, auditions, and on occasion, shooting TV adverts or morning show segments. It then ends with cuddles with my kids and we always spend time talking about our day without the distraction of TV or phones.
What are your top tips for staying well and healthy yourself?
- Truly enjoy food! Don’t obsess. Eat what feels right for YOU. Tune into your body and fuel it in a way that nourishes your mind, body and soul. We’re not all made the same so what is right for your friend, may not be right for you. Avoid diets. When we have a healthy relationship with food and tune out the noise, we can find balance, energy and results we desire.
- Limit caffeine. A little is OK, but I see so many people whose consumption greatly increases their anxiety levels (myself included!)
- Manage any time you spend online well. It can drain our time and energy when we’re ‘connected’ too much so I stick to strict rules for myself to ensure it is a positive and limited experience.
- Move in a way that excites you. If it doesn’t give you a natural high, move on…there are so many awesome exercise options out there!
- Let shit go! Holding on to ill feelings or resentment is toxic. Find ways to work through difficult periods, be it meditation, a counsellor, journalling or a boxing class! The sooner you realise negative thought patterns affect your health, the better. That’s not to say we have to be a Positive Polly all the time (sometimes a good bitch and moan is just what the doctor ordered!), but it’s important to switch our thought patterns over to predominantly try and see the good in ourselves, others and our situations.
Outside of the natural/conscious beauty world, what are some other interests that make you tick?
Baking and hanging out with my kids, dancing at weddings (always the best times!), yoga, cooking, travel, outdoor adventures (hikes, diving, skiing, paddleboarding, sky-diving…I’ll give anything a shot!) Now it’s winter, I love binge watching TV series with my husband and cooking warming meals like curries and wholefood takes on family classics like lasagne and risotto.
What beauty items currently can’t you live without?
What advice do you have for people who want to embrace natural/conscious beauty but might not know how to start?
Read up online and don’t be afraid to ask questions! There are so many great natural beauty blogs out there and they’re a great place to start. In terms of beauty products, don’t feel you have to switch to natural in one foul swoop. Do your research and have products lined up in your mind (or Pinterest!) ready for when you run out of something.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given over the course of your career?
To follow your gut instinct. It’s what got me into natural medicine (despite being near completion of a communications degree. People thought I was mad for switching!) I base all my decisions on that feeling, be it with people I work for or if I’m deciding between two very similar herbal approaches for a client. I go with my gut instinct and it very rarely fails me.
Where do you see yourself and your business headed in the next few years?
I see myself continuing to grow my business without compromising my values. I’m not a purist and I always make decisions based on whether I’d do/read/use/eat it myself. My life and business goals are all about balance. To be honest, my biggest goal is to continue to practice what I preach. Whatever I do career-wise has to come from an authentic place.
I love what I do but I don’t have any wild earth-moving ambitions because a perfect, healthy life to me is one where I’m not stressed out trying to be bigger or better but living within my means and helping people achieve health and happiness through different channels along the way.