LAKSHMI Appadorai Baker is the epitome of beauty, inside and out. As the saying goes, beauty is only skin deep, but character carries a person forever. The former beauty queen certainly proves it.
Having experienced postnatal depression after delivering her first child, Lakshmi, a mother-of-two, learned how eating the right ingredients, exercising and using therapy and spiritual healing could help her recover.
“I felt better after just two months. I didn’t need to take medication, but some people do, and that’s okay,” shared Lakshmi, who turned her difficult experience into an opportunity to delve deeper into nutritious food, wellbeing and functional medicine.
“Discussing mental health needs to be normalised, because it is normal. Just like any other part of our body, the brain also functions poorly if it doesn’t get the rest it needs,” she said.
An advocate for sustainable food
“Eliminating gluten from my diet helped, would you believe it? If you’ve been through trauma, seek support or therapy, it could be the single most valuable thing that will ever happen to you,” she said.
“During therapy, other suppressed past traumas resurfaced, like the sexual abuse I experienced when I was eight years old, and I got much healing from it. I learned that sometimes unhealed past traumas can manifest in imbalances and illness. We cannot control what happens to us, but if we allow it, pain is the best and biggest teacher.
“The universe does have mysterious ways of turning adversities into amazing opportunities, you just have to get up when you fall, each time,” said Lakshmi, whose inspiring words have served to motivate those who are facing similar experiences, to rise above their challenges.
She feels inspired to help others, and has involved herself in various social causes in the English city of Preston, where she currently lives. A role ‘model’, indeed, for many, and not just girls.
Lakshmi has a qualification in Food and Hygiene from Preston’s College and is also certified as a Food Champion for an NGO in the United Kingdom.
Lakshmi cooks for charity events organised by a social enterprise known as The Larder, and teaches Cooking and Basic Nutrition classes for people with acquired brain injuries at Headway (The Brain Injury Association).
“I have also conducted Cook and Eat Classes in my local community to teach people about basic nutritious eating, and have cooked for many charitable events,” added Lakshmi.
Apart from being passionate about healthy and tasty food, Lakshmi advocates for zero food waste, especially focusing on fresh foods which are not perfectly shaped and don’t look pretty enough for the supermarket shelf, which would otherwise end up in landfills.
“People buy too much, and throw away too much. I’m trying this minimalist approach myself,” she said.
Aside from cooking, Lakshmi shares her experience and knowledge about overcoming depression with diet, exercise, and a positive approach to life, as a speaker at a Mental Health Conference organised by the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Huddersfield.
She is a regular guest on John Gillmore’s Show on BBC Radio Lancashire where she speaks about nutrition, and even had work experience in production at BBC Radio 4.
Cooking with love
Speaking about cooking, Lakshmi said: “My food is much-loved, and I was even told that I need to write a cookbook. I am studying BioScience and coaching friends and family to achieve their best health via food and lifestyle changes, using the same approach I had applied.”
Lakshmi uses a unique and creative method to pick the right ingredients for her delicious and appetising meal plans, customisable based on personal preferences.
“I have learned to make tasty food from anything, because I understand flavour profiles well. I absolutely adore cooking and wellbeing. There’s no compromise on ‘tasty’, which comes from that foodie side of me,” laughed Lakshmi.
“In this fast-paced and distracting world, people are forgetting to do the basics – how to eat, sleep, relax, and move right, due to lack of time.
This is where I come in, customising plans for each person, anywhere, anytime, as it’s all online. Which is handy, during this Covid-19 lockdown,” she said.
Achieving her ambition
Until she gets an opportunity to produce and host wellbeing, travel or lifestyle content on TV, she is focusing on developing her online coaching business, and plans to spend equal time in the UK and in Malaysia, according to work opportunities.
She believes one doesn’t need to be a dietician or health guru to know how to eat and live healthily. “You just need to understand basic nutrition, be creative with meal planning and be consistent,” she revealed.
She has plans to expand beyond blogging on Instagram into a website and other social media platforms on wellbeing, travel and lifestyle topics.
“It’s a work in progress and I’m taking it at my own pace,” said an excited Lakshmi.