I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Laurentine ten Bosch, film producer, director and one half of the global phenomenon that is Food Matters.
Despite a flat out schedule in the lead up to the launch of their highly anticipated new film Hungry for Change, Laurentine generously gave me two hours of her time to ask her anything I wanted too.
Some little known facts about Laurentine:
Dutch by birth, she spent much of her life travelling the world due to her father’s work commitments which she now credits to her being a ‘global citizen’. She met and married her Australian husband, James (the other half of Food Matters), in Sydney. She speaks five languages and has lived on several continents. She and James now live on a 10 acre (ex) organic avocado farm in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, which they purchased a few years ago. The Queenslander house is actually a former school and is 100 years old.
Surprisingly, Laurentine and James came from very different career paths to what they’re doing now. Laurentine was studying a business degree, majoring in shipping and maritime studies and James was studying to be a sea farer.
They went on to find a couples job on a luxury yacht working for one of the founders of a well known global brand, which they did for 3 years. It was during this time that they witnessed the types of food these people ate, many of whom were on medication, had major chronic illnesses and were also overweight. Salad was not on the menu, says Laurentine!
Laurentine has always had an interest in nutrition and natural medicine and whilst working on the yachts, became acutely aware of the disconnect between food and health (in spite of these peoples great wealth). Soon after, she and James realised that they wanted to learn and educate themselves further and both ended up completing their studies at the Global College of Natural Health in Santa Cruz, California.
Their colleagues thought they were crazy and couldn’t believe they were about to turn their backs on their well paying boat jobs to go and study nutrition.
Fast forward… it was after attending a Tony Robbins seminar that they realised this was their path and they wanted to make a business out of it. Laurentine explains that the seminar facilitated their going into a state were there were no more limiting beliefs and they knew they could do achieve anything.
Once back in Australia they started exploring ways in which they could share their health information. They had originally planned on setting up an Optimum Nutrition Health Clinic in Sydney but that was not to be. As lovely as it sounded, they realised a clinic would only touch a small community and they would be repeating the same information over and over. And that was when the idea of the film was really born. They saw a gap in the market for an off the shelf DVD that would be the answer to all of the burning questions that people had about what constituted good health and poor health.
“We had never made a movie but we knew that this is what people were looking for and we realised that if you’re sick, you’re probably not going to want to read a book.”
At the same time, James’s dad, Roy, was already ill and Laurentine knew that they needed to be there for him.
Laurentine speaks of the frustration she and James experienced at their inability to convince someone in their own family of something that they knew was so right. Their attempts at sending Roy books and literature (on healing through natural means) were in vain and they soon realised that the only person he would listen to were Doctors. “So the idea was born to go and interview Doctors who were advocates of healing through the Natural Path. If he’s not going to listen to us, then he’ll probably listen to some doctors who are already putting him on pharmaceutical drugs! So, let’s go and interview some doctors!”
(You can read more about Roy’s story here.
Synchronously, it was when they decided that they were going to make a film, everything started happening for them. Says Laurentine:
“The right people appeared at the right time and then we would interview one person and they would say I have a friend or contact you should meet. And we ended up getting through to the right people. I strongly believe that we were being guided by something greater.”
Having never made a movie before, I was keen to know how two unknown film makers were able to successfully secure interviews with the health experts that they did. “Well, were confident about what we wanted to achieve and eventually when we had enough big names on board, it became easier to get other high profile people on board as well. The people in the movie were basically our own heroes and we wanted to make them main stream heroes.”
BP: What were some of your highlights about making Food Matters?
LTB: For me, it was finding out about the raw food movement. When I got to LA and realised it was a huge movement, I felt really connected. For the first time in my life I felt like I had found my tribe. I didn’t feel weird anymore because of my food choices! We were now part of a huge community of like minded people and that gave us the inspiration to keep doing what we were doing.
BP: What diet or food paradigm do you personally follow and why?
LTB: I like to think that if we try to eat our foods as natural and close to nature as possible, then at the least we’re already doing our body a massive service. And even though Food Matters does promote super foods, I still think its best to source some from your local community as well. I like going to farmers markets and asking the growers what’s in season and finding out what their local super food is (like gotu kola for example). A lot of our culture has strayed from eating like this. I love lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of herbs, lots of fresh juices and local, organic and ethically raised products. I also love all probiotic foods as well – kefirs, kim chi and sauerkraut. These are really big in our diet. I’m also a proponent of the Weston A. Price (WAPF) way of life.
BP: Food Matters advocates a certain way of life and eating for healing (i.e.: raw and living foods) which is very different from what the WAPF advocates. What are your thoughts?
LTB: I still believe that if we are going through chronic illness that the best thing we can do for our body is go easy on our metabolism and allow our body systems to heal; the best thing to do that is to put in gentle foods. So certain foods like meat are taxing for the body. I definitely think that for healing, a raw vegetarian diet is very helpful and beneficial. But I don’t think a 100% raw food diet is something to live on. It’s like what Daniel Vitalis says about how you can clean out the house and keep cleaning and cleaning, and then there’s nothing left. When we go onto a raw food diet which is for cleansing, we then need to go back onto a sustaining diet that builds us back up.
BP: How big a role do you think our beliefs and thoughts play in creating disease or wellness for that matter?
LTB: Our thoughts and psychology are very important. I totally subscribe to the notion of psychosomatic illness, which I first came across in Louise Hay’s book “You can heal your life” where different illnesses can be related back to the thoughts or emotions that caused them. It goes back to everything we believe in which will manifest in our lives. Even if you look at people who are having a financial crisis for example, when you examine their deepest primary thoughts you will find that they don’t believe they have abundance and they don’t believe they deserve abundance. It’s all energy which manifests in some form.
BP: Statistics predict that in Australia, we’ll have more unwell people than well people by 2050. Have you ever seen any health care system that is proactively seeking to integrate alternative health approaches into mainstream medicine? Is there a solution?
LTB: What we really try to portray at the end of Food Matters is to get people to take their health into their own hands; because at the end of the day the medical system is not going be reliable. Even now, if you go to a doctor today you might spend 5 minutes discussing why you’re there and then the rest of the appointment discussing something like the weather! So if our own doctors and medical community don’t have the time for us then we really do have to empower ourselves and then engage the support from our community. You can see it already happening now through things like raw food pot lucks and community gardens. I think that a lot of cultures now are starting to realise how important it is to start looking after ourselves. It’s like they’re thinking that if the government, main stream media and TV are not going to teach them how to live well, then they need to do it themselves.
BP: Do you think some people believe that the notion of creating good health through food is almost too simple a wisdom and they would rather choose to trust their Doctor or a drug?
LTB: I do, and I think that for some it takes a wakeup call like a major illness to get them really questioning things. That’s certainly what happened with James’s dad.
BP: What do you find most rewarding about the work that you do?
LTB: I find that a lot of enjoyment from seeing the feedback and seeing people really ‘get it’ and making the switch. And even just recently I was following some of the comments on our Food Matters face book page and there was a man from Iran where main stream medicine is still very much the norm. He was saying that he had managed to watch the Food Matters film through a friend because his father had testicular cancer. He went on to Dr Andrew Saul’s website where he read that his dad had to take high doses of vitamin C and raw cabbage juice. He had him on a raw cabbage juice diet and he got rid of the cancer. And it’s likely that without the internet and the movie, these people would have never otherwise got access to this information. Stories like that make this all worthwhile.
BP: Can we talk about your new film, Hungry for Change?
LTB: This film will definitely be targeted more at the mainstream. Food Matters was for so many, still considered ‘out there’ and controversial. So we wondered how else we would be able to share our message with a wider audience. So this new film is really going to help people understand what they’re doing to their bodies if they eat processed food, what they’re doing if they’re really starving themselves on a nutritional level. Because if they’re eating all these foods they may be satisfied for a little bit but they won’t be nutritionally satisfied. There’s a big difference. So if they are eating this way, their systems will be depleted and that is where illness starts. It’s a very practical film.
BP: Who are the top 3 books or people who have profoundly inspired you?
LTB: Right now, I’m really interested in reading about traditional cultures and the foods that they eat. I have always had an interest in anthropology and nutrition in fact. Right now I’m reading ‘Deep Nutrition’ by Dr Catherine Shanahan. I really think Dr Andrew Saul is just so brilliant! He puts his message into mainstream terms and he makes it so easy to ‘get’. He opened up a world for me that I never thought possible. The work of Tony Robbins has really impacted our lives.
BP: Your secrets to success are…
LTB: I’ve always said that knowing what you want, visualising and goal setting are important but only just recently have I realised that you can set all the goals in the world but it’s also about living in the present, being able to be present and being able to calm your mind. It’s easy for us to overwhelm ourselves very quickly. Its quite possible to build an empire though goal setting and visualisation and to create change and help others, but if you don’t know how to live in the present and be present for yourself and connect with G.O.D and mediate, then success doesn’t really mean anything and happiness doesn’t really come about.
I’ve actually just got back from a 2 week silent yoga and meditation retreat and it focused on calming the (ego) mind and accessing that stillness.