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September 03, 2021 5 min read

Brooke Donoghue is a truly inspirational kiwi. At 26, she's a full-time rower for New Zealand in the Women’s Double, and has just come back from the Tokyo Olympics with a stunning silver medal. And as if that wasn't enough, in her spare time she's been working towards a Master of Business Management majoring in sustainability.

She's weaving her two passions into one and living a more conscious life as she works towards achieving her goal of Gold at the next Olympics. Brooke's also writing a book with friends to inspire others to eat well and tread lightly on the earth. Promoting health for people and the planet.

You know we're obsessed with hearing how people walk their health and wellness journey, and we know you love it too - so grab your keep cup and get ready to be inspired by our chat with Brooke.

What does eco-wellness mean to you?

Health and wellbeing is a privilege. I feel grateful that through my sporting lifestyle I can work on things that will improve my health, my mood and the environment around me.

I think this is different for everyone, but for me it is the opportunity to explore the best ways of living for myself. Specifically, around the foods I eat, the products I use and the routines I create for myself. 

How did you get started?

I have been an athlete for most of my life and have always lived an active healthy life. In 2018 I got to a point where I knew I wanted to change the way I do things.

I learnt more about the impact we humans are having on the environment and around the harmful products we expose ourselves to. I started with stocking my pantry with jars that I could refill, and I changed our cleaning products to more natural ones. I also started to look at the products I was using on my body and slowly transitioned to more natural ones.

Brooke Donoghue at sunset on New Zealand beach. Living eco-wellness is her journey.

And what keeps you motivated?

I am in no way perfect! I remind myself that it does not have to be all or nothing, even small changes add up. What keeps me motivated is the routine I create for myself and making sure I always question how I do things so I don’t always just take the convenient option.

Is there one thing you wish you’d known when you first started your eco-wellness journey?

No, I think the journey is all about learning. It is important to keep an open mind and be open to trying new things.

What’s your biggest struggle on this journey so far?

Not feeling like I am doing enough. It is easy to fall into a trap of convenience and into a routine that is monotonous. I think I also sometimes over commit myself and can feel stressed because of this. Finding a balance to fit things in that are important is key. 

Brooke Donoghue living eco-wellness and winning silver at Tokyo Olympics 2020.

How do you overcome setbacks?

Just recently, at the Tokyo Olympics, I was disappointed at myself for the amount of single use items I consumed and how much waste I created. A lot of this was for health and safety, to keep things sanitized and to avoided COVID-19, but with other things I just fell into a cycle of convenience. For example, getting drinks out of the vending machine rather than filling up my bottle.

When I got home, I made an effort to be more conscious of my consumption and made an effort to do better.

What is the one thing you do that makes the biggest difference for you and your health?

Routine. I like to plan what I eat, I like to have a cleaning routine, I like to be organised and have structure to my day.

Where do you go for eco-wellness inspo?

I think surrounding yourself with wellness inspo is so important. I started following a few more eco-warriors on Instagram - Ethically Kate is my favourite. I also started having more conversations with my friends to learn from them and to encourage each other.

For someone looking to start their journey to a healthier lifestyle, what simple changes would you suggest?

I think at the end of the day it is important to do what suits you best, and if you really want something you will make it happen. Start with small changes and see how they go before making the next step.

Funnily enough, my journey to finding deodorant was a pivotal point for me. Giving up aluminium based deodorants was hard and I was worried about how much I would sweat and how bad I would smell. I tried a few natural brands off the shelf and even tried making my own before finding Everkind.

Before finding Everkind, I was a bit frustrated with not having a good solution – my advice would be to stick with it and try new things until you have a solution that works best for you.

Brooke Donoghue, kiwi athlete, uses Everkind natural deodorant to keep her fresh all day. Picture taken by Brooke.

What three things are must for a healthy week?

Exercise, routine, and time with friends and family.

Where do you want to take your health and wellness journey in the next 5 years?

Ultimately, I just want to be happy. I think if I can build things that are important to me into my routine and set goals to work towards, I’ll be happy. 

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would just tell myself to enjoy the journey, and to remind myself that I do not have to learn and implement everything in one go. This journey is a lifestyle and should continue to evolve over my life.

What's your current favourite recipe?

I am currently creating a recipe book with my friend and fellow athlete Luuka Jones and our nutritionist Christel Dunshea Mooij so I have lots of recipes and photos.

Our book has a mix of plant-based and vegetarian recipes that have good amounts of protein, carbs and nutrients for plant-based athletes.

We also break down the different types of athletes and their food needs, as well as looking at sustainability, animal welfare, and our mental health.

Healthy Chocolate Mousse Recipe from Kiwi Athlete Brooke Donoghue.


This is a recipe for Chickpea Mousse – to get the recipe for the Mother Mousse in the photo you’ll have to buy the book. 😉 Keep a look out on Instagram - @sustain_nz !

Ingredients for Chickpea Mousse:

½ c of chickpea brine (aquafaba)
120 g 50% cocoa dark chocolate
1 tbsp maple syrup

Instructions:

Drain a can of chickpeas in brine and place liquid in a bowl (set aside chickpeas for one of our other recipes).
Whisk chickpea brine with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler on a stove or melt in a microwave making sure to do it in short waves mixing regularly.
Fold whisked chickpea brine, chocolate and maple syrup together.
Pour into 6 small ramekins and leave to chill in the fridge for 3 hours or even overnight. 👌

 

Who doesn't need this chickpea chocolate mousse in their life!!

If you'd like to learn more about Brooke, eco-wellness, and her journey to gold - you can catch her on Instagram. Brooke's an awesome photographer too. That cheeky snap of Ultra was taken in MIQ on her way back home from Tokyo. 🙏🙌 

 

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