Helen, from exhaustion and sickness to Baking Business Queen : how did you do that?

In my 30’s I gloriously home birthed my two wonderful children, Sam aged 10, and Milly, nearly 8.  My pregnancies were awesome and apart from the shocking heartburn and constipation, I really didn’t have much to complain about.  But as all Mums know, having kids is a constant 24/7 kinda gig for the first seven years!  Our families are in New Zealand and United Kingdom so my husband Mike and I had little support, but we were very happy as we moved our family from suburban Perth to 100 acres of native bush-land on the South Coast of Western Australia.  I ditched my six-figure corporate salary as there was no way that the lifestyle would be compatible with being the Mum I wanted to be.  I did whatever I could to make ends meet and still be with my babies, I did leaflet dropping, looked after kids, taught yoga and did massages.  Looking back, I am surprised I didn’t drop down dead with exhaustion and I have no idea how we paid that massive mortgage, but we got through.

I did whatever I could to make ends meet and still be with my babies, I did leaflet dropping, looked after kids, taught yoga and did massages.  Looking back, I am surprised I didn’t drop down dead with exhaustion..

I didn’t escape unscathed!

In my late 30’s, constipation, insomnia, heartburn, headaches and exhaustion got out of control.  I started to feel terrible all of the time. My overriding symptom was nausea. I felt sick constantly – like a hangover with a side of morning sickness. Inside I was sure I was dying of some awful disease and the outcome of that seemed like it would provide a welcome relief.

On the outside though, I glossed over it and got on with life. The kids still needed to go to school and I had to get groceries.

I couldn’t understand why I was feeling this way – after all I was so ‘healthy’ I ate according to the government guidelines and worked out at the gym three to five times a week.

So why did I feel so sick, so disconnected, so exhausted and tired but wired?

Then, a good friend Kirsty mentioned the word “Paleo” to me for the first time. My initial reaction was “Oh my goodness! I have never heard anything more insane, un-doable and more awful in my entire life!”.  

But I was desperate. So in a desperate attempt to reset my health, I did a Whole30 where I ditched seed oils, grains, gluten, legumes, dairy, sugar and alcohol for 30 days.

I dragged my ‘tradie’ husband (think rugby player, big appetite!) and two school-age kids with me for the ride. We were your typical Aussie family eating four loaves of bread a week and boxes of muesli bars. My husband said to me that we could only do this if we had cookies. So I tweaked our favourite recipe and swapped the ingredients around to make them gluten and grain free and more nutrient dense. Turned out, I loved spending time in the kitchen and came up with some good recipes!

All the while my health was on a rapid incline! I felt joyous, energised and oh! SLEEP and POO! I felt great! I was compelled to spread this news! So, I started my very first blog.

On my blog, I shared recipes and tips that had helped me. The feedback I got was that people wanted to try this way of clean eating but found that it was very time consuming on top of already very busy work and family lives.

The two questions I got asked most were: “What shall I eat?” and “How do you find the time?”

To make other women’s’ lives easier, I started making Primal Alternatives for my community.  The range today includes Fruit Toast (vegan), Summer & Winter Bread, Pizza Bases, gut nourishing Gellies, Choc Chip Cookies and in 2017 I added Fat & Seedy Bread to the range.  Fat & Seedy bread is made of nuts, seeds, free-range eggs and zucchini, making it a nutrient dense super low carb alternative to regular bread and it’s going off in the Keto Low Carb High Fat world!

So the budding entrepreneur in me saw an opportunity and I started selling my products, firstly via Facebook – and then, delivering and then the local markets.

I wanted to sell everything but I wanted to work from home. I wanted this to fit around our family.

After a consultation with the local Health Inspector, I discovered that I could only produce ‘low risk’ products from a domestic kitchen. This was a blessing in disguise, because instead of stretching myself and trying to make EVERYTHING – I focused on (and nailed!) five products.


















The products were a hit!  The two things I found that made the biggest impact were that it made making dietary changes more sustainable, doable and FUN (pizza night anyone?)! And it stopped people falling off the wagon or derailing all of their good work just because they wanted a biscuit.

Soon the Primal Alternative brand gained recognition and I was being approached to supply the local gourmet pizza shop, the local trendy café, a health shop in the nearby city, and a gourmet deli!

I was getting asked repeatedly for stockists in Perth, WA – but I was flat out baking already, but I still wanted Primal Alternative products to be available to more people so that they I could make dietary changes doable for a wider audience.

So I hatched the Primalista Franchise!

This would be a business for Mums with a passion for wellness, who loved to bake and create and who wanted to have a business from home doing something that they love!

I launched on Boxing Day 2016 and to date have sold 19 franchises to incredible women across Australia.

You discovered how to heal and thrive; you wanted other women to feel that too – tell us more:

I was so amazed that I, myself, could transform my health and feel such relief from such awful chronic conditions just by changing my foods and lifestyle rituals

All of those years in the fitness industry telling women to deprive themselves of delicious nutritious food in favour of low-fat chemical shit storms and adrenal frying mega workouts!  Going primal is all about getting back to the foods that mother nature provides for us.  Foods for humans!  These foods are meat, fish, fowl, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, fats and oils.  Going primal eliminates grains, sugar and industrial seed oils (vegetable oils, canola etc). 

I wanted to show women there was a Primal Alternative to the self-loathing and deprivation model of diet and exercise so I started running Thrive – a 21 Day Clean Living Journey and SET FOR LIFE my six week programme which makes the clean living primal principals non-negotiable and creates the space to look at what we really want from our life, and the steps to get it.

How does Primal Alternative Empower Women?

Empowerment to me means becoming stronger and more confident and feeling in control of one’s life.  How does Primal Alternative do that? Well, I will answer that in two parts since part of my business is health coaching and the other is a Baking Franchise.

Let’s start with empowering you! 

Life makes more sense, has more purpose, the colours are brighter, the noises more sweeter.  You get inspiration, you have the energy and clarity to follow through.

When you eat plants and animals, you become a fat burner instead of a sugar burner.  Fat burns more cleanly as a fuel so there is less bloat, tiredness and brain fog and more evened out energy, connection and vitality.  Being a sugar burner is like being on a roller coaster.  

It is incredibly empowering to feel like you have finally got a handle on what foods work for you.  Life becomes more effortless.  When your body is nourished it can heal from pain and disease.  When your physical body is vital, your spiritual connection to all that is heightened.  Life makes more sense, has more purpose, the colours are brighter, the noises more sweeter.  You get inspiration, you have the energy and clarity to follow through.  Living this way, for me, is living the way our genes expect us to live. 

Primal Alternative helped to empower the Primalistas – the Primal Alternative Producers.  These are women who have dreams of working from home, running their own business but have been held back with time and money restraints.  Running a business is one of the most incredible journeys of self-discovery you will ever take.  Want to work through your shit?  Start a business and boom…there are all of your limiting beliefs and blocks! 








The cornerstone of the success of Primal Alternative is the Primalista community.  We are a national network of local producers, think sisterhood.  We work collaboratively and have a closed Facebook Group which is highly engaged.  We share success such as a new stockist or lovely comment from a customer and we come there to share our shit too, like a failed batch of pizza bases or a complaint from a customer.  Together, we can offer support, you feel part of something bigger, you are independent and your own boss, yet have the warm arms of your sisters to fall into when needed!  I believe that us humans thrive on solving problems.  Life has problems, better lives just have better problems.  Working collaboratively with your sisters to improve and refine your business is seriously awesome. 

I have witnessed women transcend their limiting beliefs and find the courage from the power of the female collective to forge on and grow. Both my Thrive and SET FOR LIFE programs are women-only group journeys –  women often feel alone on their health journey.  In my groups I encourage vulnerability and authenticity, so women can relate, connect, inspire and support.

We have a culture of celebrating success too – and I don’t mean by getting pissed or pigging out – we have special things that we do to celebrate success because when we feel gratitude, that tingly grateful energy is a prayer to the universe to manifest more of it!  So it is important to pause and celebrate!  We do this by running laps of the house, having a special plate when we eat our next meal and with laughter yoga where we clap ‘very good very good’ then go ‘yay‘ and raise our arms up straight above our head.  Sounds crazy?  Try it, see how the feeling in your body changes!!

Primalistas learn so much when they start their own business, it is incredibly empowering.





















Reclaiming your health, making a difference in your community and running your own business doing something that you love – what an incredibly fulfilling and empowering feeling!

MamaBakers can find out more about:

  • Becoming your own baking LadyBoss? Go here.  
  • Getting on the path to greater energy and back to you again?  Go here to Thrive  and go here to get Set for Life
  • Primal Alternative products?  Do it! Go here .
  • Helen and other awesome women doing great, healthful things? Check out her podcasts here

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