Jennifer Hamley meets Fran McElwaine from Prϋv Wellness - Q&A Monday
Good morning, I hope you've had a fantastic weekend and are raring to go for another amazing week. I'm super excited to be introducing you to another inspiring lady from our tribe today; Fran McElwaine - the bubbliest, cheeriest and most inspiring woman; therefore always a pleasure to chat to! Fran is a Certified Health Coach and Wellness Expert specialising in holistic health. Using clean eating and lifestyle techniques, Fran works with her clients to balance hormones, boost the immune system, manage weight and rediscover lost energy. A confirmed foodie, her business, Prϋv Wellness, is all about achieving optimum health and happiness through the preparing and sharing of great food. I urge you to have a read through Fran's story here, all about her own journey from 'meh' to amazing - it's very inspiring and shows that we really can do it all too. I'm thrilled to have Fran with me here today; Hi Fran, how are you today? Hi Jen, it’s great to be with you! All is very good at the moment and life is exciting, and I don’t think we can ask for more than that! I am lucky enough to have a real passion for what I do; I think to be able to help people overcome health issues that have been bogging them down for years, is truly a great privilege and source of joy. I love that you are so passionate about what you do, your joy for helping people really shines through. What’s next for you, any exciting challenges ahead? Huge challenges are ahead and I am very, very excited about it. We are about to launch a new online shopping experience, tailored for the healthy foodie. Many of my clients ask me where they can get the sort of food that I recommend to them on a daily basis, and out of this need has evolved Prϋv – a highly curated multi-vendor platform that offers up anything and everything to do with preparing and sharing great food. Although I personally like to Eat Clean, I am not at all prescriptive about food when it comes to my clients. Everyone and everybody is unique and, for anyone working in holistic health, I believe it is essential to recognise and respect this. So the Prϋv Emporium is focused on traditional, non-processed foods; you will be able to find wonderful gluten free products, and you will also find stunning traditional, home-made cakes. The idea is to offer up traditional goodness, and choice, not to force people to do everything that I do. We are also building out a wonderful section on traditional kitchen and homeware. I have a sneaky suspish that it is not very good for us to use plastic too much in our food preparation and so I am hoping that Prϋv will become a wonderful go-to resource for traditional kitchenalia such as wooden implements, enamelware, pottery and copper. There is much to be done and we are signing up new vendors every-day so I hope people will be inspired to visit us and learn more about what we have on offer! I personally agree with the cooking-with-plastic thing! I love how you have taken what you are doing with your clients and are evolving your business as you go and recognise opportunities. How different is your business now from what you envisioned when you first started out? I am a great believer in ‘Progress not Perfection’. I think this applies to our lives as much as to our businesses. Too often we give up on a diet because we have not been ‘perfect’ and, just because we have had couple of bits of chocolate think that the day is ruined and we might as well have the pizza and the bottle of wine and, what the heck, the cheesecake as well. If we were able, instead, to just say, ‘OK, not perfect yet, but I’m getting there step by step’, we wouldn’t throw in the towel so easily. So it is with business, if I waited for everything to be perfect and exactly ‘how I wanted it’ I would never get there and never get anything done. You have to start with what you have and build out from there. So yes, my business now is vastly different from what it was at the beginning and I have enjoyed the process of growth and development hugely. Before I started my business, I spent over thirty years working in the corporate world, earning good money and having lots of status but I cannot say that I found the whole experience particularly satisfying. Doing something that I know makes a positive difference to peoples’ lives may not pay as well, but it is immensely more satisfying. When I started I didn’t really know what to expect, and, even now, the future is just full of possibility. If I limit myself only to what I know now or have experienced already, there is all that other opportunity that will be lost. So I am totally up for change, constant improvement and allowing things to evolve naturally. What a fabulous answer Fran, I can relate to this. It has definitely been a lesson for me to accept that progress is constant learning, NOT 'getting it perfect first time'. What is perfect anyway? Have you ever been tempted to give up? What advice do you give to others who might feel that way? I think everyone feels overwhelmed somewhere along the way. If you are even remotely human, you will experience some sort of self-doubt and that hateful little voice that says ‘who do you think you are, no-one will be interested in what you have to say anyway’. The trick is to power through come what may, something will happen that will re-connect you to your real self and off you will go again. In my old days, when I was sick and fat and a miserable old bag, I had terrible struggles with depression and that sense of worthlessness that comes from doing something you don’t really, in your heart of hearts, value. I very nearly did give up right then. I had a choice just to get older and unhappier, or to try and do something about it. Luckily I opted for change and made a huge effort to really work out what makes us happy and healthy. All of that ‘disconnect’ has disappeared primarily because I am now doing something I really enjoy, and which I know makes a positive difference. But more than that, part of my journey has been the amazing discovery that what we eat has a huge impact on how we feel. Brain fog, depression, anxiety can all be helped by good food and sometimes the simple ritual alone of cooking and eating can re-connect us with some of the fundamental truths of life. So when I am feeling dis-jointed or struggling, I remind myself that we are here to share and partake, we are part of the world around us and not separate from it and there is nothing like a good meal with good people to prove just how true that is. I'm sat nodding at every word you say Fran! We so often go searching for happiness when in truth, connecting to the simplest things can light us up. I also agree that finding real value in what you do is so important. For example, when I first started designing handbags I loved it, but something was missing. I didn't feel it had a purpose. But, as soon as I started focusing on designing handbags for working women, to help make their lives easier, to help them feel their most confident and alive; I found my why. Now, just to know that I may be helping the women that truly inspire me gives me a great sense of pride and forward motion - they keep me going when I self doubt, overwhelm or that nasty little voice pops into my head! You are a living example of the teachings you share, I'm interested to know what would happen on your perfect day? I love this question! I think visualising how you really want things to be is an essential part of creating the life you want. If you can’t imagine it, you can’t make it happen. I work with all my clients to help them clearly visualise themselves in the bodies they want, free from physical or emotional pain or discomfort, and able to do whatever they feel like. So many of us get trapped inside limiting beliefs and it is very liberating to try and break through these limitations, even if it is only in our imaginations to start off with. My perfect day would be very simple; I would wake up naturally (absolutely no place for alarm clocks in a perfect day!) and probably have a cup of tea in bed and flop around for a bit – it’s such a luxury not to have to dash to some commitment or another. Once I had flopped around enough, I would do the little yoga routine that I have devised for myself. I am a very ancient person and have to work hard to keep all my joints and sinews strong and supple. In a perfect world, I would do this routine without fail, every single day, but I’m afraid I am as fallible as the next person and will settle for a perfect day, not a whole perfect world! But on this day, I have plenty of time for my yoga and I even have time to take it a step further and meditate for 20 minutes as well. I had a lot of difficulty coming to terms with meditation in the old days when I was sick and fat. My poor body was so soaked in cortisole that it took me ages to learn how to switch off and just observe. Now that I have worked out how to do it, meditation is an absolute lifesaver and I wish, wish, wish I had learned how to do it earlier in my life. But this is my perfect day, so I am going to regret nothing and just slide into the moment. Next thing on the agenda (and I am assuming that part of the day’s perfection is that time is not an issue!) is a long walk, preferably by the sea, or in a forest or on the top of a mountain (if the Perfect Day fairies could arrange for me to be tele-ported to the top of the mountain and not have to slog up it myself, that would be ideal). The weather is sunny with a cool breeze and the air is crystal clear and I will sit for a time and appreciate the beauty of it all and listen to all the sounds around me and be grateful that I am able to enjoy this, lovely perfect day. Next on the agenda would be getting together with some of my amazing friends. I love hooking up with other people in the same line as me, I love their optimism and their energy, and it’s always so rewarding to compare notes and share support. So, relaxed and energised, after touching base with people I value, I would like to hit the kitchen. Working up recipes is my favourite thing in all the world. I love to create food that people can enjoy and that lets them feel good about themselves while they are eating it, so I spend a lot of time creating healthy treats like my Flourless Tripple Chocolate Brownies and sharing them on Instagram. After some fun in the kitchen (and as we are talking perfect day here) I would need to have some sort of major achievement in here. I would love to get a call from one of my clients to tell me she has had a breakthrough or to share one of her successes as this, for me, is really what everything is about. I like to emphasise the positives and give people reasons to celebrate every time they make a positive choice in their lives and when they share these celebrations with me, nothing makes me happier. The perfect ending to this perfect day would be supper with my husband, preferably eaten outdoors, enjoying the fading day and the lovely perfumes in our walled garden. This is actually how I end most days but because he is who he is, my perfect day would definitely be incomplete if he was not part of it. I love it! I'm feeling all relaxed and there with you just hearing about your perfect day. Meditation used to be a real struggle for me too, but I'm so pleased that I persevered. It's a true life saver! Thank you so much for taking a little time out and chatting with me today, as always, I love your energy and passion. I hope I can tempt you back on Thursday so that we can have a peel inside your handbag! Take a peek at Fran's website Pruv.co.uk to learn even more about what she does if you are interested - Here are some links so that you can find her on social media too, do get to know her better, shes fab!