Eco Warrior Q&A: Rebel Tucker

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Qualified yoga teacher and naturopath, Rebel Tucker’s passion for yoga was sparked at an early age.

When Rebel was 12, she accompanied her mother to a yoga class taught by Swami Sarasvati – the well-known yogi and philosopher who is largely credited as bringing the practice of yoga to the Australian public in the late 60s and 70s via a daily TV show.

Rebel lives on Australia’s Mid North Coast with her husband and her 17-year-old son (the youngest of her three children), where she heads up Rebel Yoga, her eponymously named yoga business.

Now training to be a yoga therapist, Rebel has also studied and qualified in homeopathy, shiatsu, reflexology, remedial therapies, aromatherapy, counselling and NLP, having run successful practices in both Sydney and Melbourne at different times over the past three decades.

Today, we chat to Rebel about living a holistic and sustainable lifestyle, how she limits her exposure to environmental toxins and her advice for those looking to improve their own health.

What drew you to practicing yoga?

My mum took me to her yoga class when I was 12-years-old. Walking up those old wooden stairs, incense wafting down, and seeing Swami with her long dark hair and orange leotard… I was intrigued.

There was something inviting and comforting about it. The focus and the breathing brought me to a quiet place inside myself, which then became something I wanted to experience again.

Tell us about your interest in naturopathy and how do you apply it in your own life?

Ever since I was a teenager I’ve endeavored to live my life as naturally as possible. I’ve always been into health and fitness, so my habits are pretty much ingrained.

I lean towards healthy food and lifestyle – fresh food, fresh air, clean water, low tox products, yoga, nature, simple pleasures – I always have.

Natural remedies are my go-to if any of my family ever feels unwell. Food, herbs, nutrients, simple home remedies are our first ports of call. I reserve the use of modern medicine for when really required.

I eat well and live as minimally as possible. I try to buy products that are as natural as possible, produced in sustainable ways, local, and that my family and I actually need. Living simply is the key to good health in my opinion.

The effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals in everyday items on our health are something you are concerned about. How did you become aware of this problem and how do you limit your own exposure to EDCs?

Yes, I am concerned. I’ve been aware of the impact of manmade chemicals on our health for years. I learnt about the impact of toxins on health back when I was studying naturopath at Nature Care College in 1990.

Since then my research has been relentless. I regularly see patients who are affected by endocrine disrupting chemicals. Unfortunately, even if you avoid them yourself these days they are inescapable in the environment.

I don’t buy personal care products with these awful chemicals in them. I don’t use anything that contains synthetic fragrances. I filter my water. I avoid packaged foods, processed foods, foods with additives, and buy fresh wholefoods instead.

I avoid the use of pesticides. I avoid unnecessary plastics. I limit the use of pharmaceutical medicines.

What I can’t avoid is the pollution in the air, which includes the perfumes other people wear – fragrance is a chemical storm.

Tell us about your interest in the non-profit organisation Plastic Oceans. What drew you to the cause and what do you do to help combat plastic consumption in your everyday life?

I have been aware of the impact of modern life on the planet for years. Over the years my kids have done many school projects on rubbish and recycling. Where is “away”? When we throw things away, where is that? Rubbish has been a problem for ages. Most people turn a blind eye, as the convenience that plastic provides is phenomenal.

I came across ‘Plastic Oceans’ on Netflix recently and it reduced me to tears, as it confirmed everything that I have known for a long time.

Material goods are status symbols… we live in a materialistic modern world, driven by marketing and consumerism. I avoid the hype! I don’t buy into the marketing. I buy ethical products. I do the research. I spend my dollars with companies that make products that last, that make products I need, not fast products, not fads.

I take my own bags. I have a reusable coffee cup and water bottle. I avoid products in plastic.

What do you think is the number one thing people can do to turn their (perhaps poor) health around?

Simplify. Stop being so high maintenance. Stop stressing out. Live simply. Eat fresh food and drink clean water. Get some fresh air and sun. Meditate. Move your body. Love well. Be a decent human being. Live life according to virtues. Start being kind to yourself, others and the planet.

Other than yoga, how else do you like to wind down from a busy day?

Yoga is in everything I do. It is not just the physical exercise I do on a mat. It is my practice of mediation, and how I show up in every moment. The ethical code of conduct of yoga guides me to live life with equanimity.

Connection with family is big for me. Talking with my family and friends is an important part of living a life of purpose and meaning. That fulfils me and in turn relaxes me.

At home in the evening I turn the lights down, I use aromatherapy, eat a healthy family meal, talk and chill. I wind down as the sun goes down and go to bed before 10pm most nights.

Which book is on your nightstand at the moment?

There are about 10 on my bedside table right now, always!

‘The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali’ by Edwin Bryant is a mainstay, and there is usually a copy of Australian Yoga Life magazine. At the moment I am enjoying Mark Nepo’s ‘The One Life We’re Given’.

Thanks for your time, Rebel!

Rebel is available for naturopathic consults that include a yogic approach to wellbeing via Skype, phone and in person. Find out more at her website here and follow her on Instagram here.