You may not have heard of London based, Czech actress Petra Bryant yet but you soon will. She is set to take the film world by storm, starring in no less than six upcoming features. These include: the big budget movie Fallen Eagle: Broken Wings, The Disappearance of Lenka Wood, where she plays the protagonist, The Last Scout, White Collar Hooligans 3, Mightier than the Sword and Looking for George Clooney, all set to be released in 2014. Today, Petra shares with us how she manages her diagnosis of Coeliac disease…
What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?
Positive, generous and creative
What does wellness or wellbeing mean to you?
Wellbeing is a happy state of mind followed by happy body. To me it also means eating well and seeing the benefits as well as exercising and feeling good about myself. It means being able to get up in the morning and having the energy to do so. This might sound like a tiny thing but when you wake up happy and full of energy after years of feeling exhausted, that is the delicious icing on a gluten free cake!
What was the catalyst that turned you on to a healthier way of living?
I was very poorly for a long time until I started a strict gluten free diet after being diagnosed a coeliac*. At first I was very upset about having to make so many changes in my lifestyle but it also steered me towards healthier approach to life. Being diagnosed a coeliac made me want to be kinder to my body and think about what I eat and which beauty products to use. I became more in tune with my body and started exercising which I never used to have energy for. Feeling and being healthy is such a precious gift!
As a coeliac, what precautions must you take in order to stay as well as possible?
I have to stick to 100% gluten free diet for life and look after my immune system. Avoiding cross contamination is crucial so for example having my own toaster is a must. Eating out could spell trouble so I have to be prepared and research places to eat in advance.
What are your travel rules when it comes to eating well on the road?
I start with arranging a GF meal for my flight and always bring tons of my own snacks. Never ever rely on other people knowing what to get for you because 99% of them don’t even know what gluten is. I take my own GF homemade sandwich with me for a flight or to a film set. But sometimes this is not possible especially when I am abroad for a while. When that happens, I prepare the producer and catering company in advance. I hate going hungry and it makes me forget my lines. I am very petite and find it hard to gain weight and keeping my energy levels up so that is another reason to bring my own food.
What top tips have you found most useful for managing your condition that you can share with us for any readers that suffer?
Just eating gluten free isn’t good enough. Lots of GF food manufacturers make cakes and biscuits and this makes coeliacs think it is ok to eat those. Just because something is gluten free it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. I would advise to cut down on sugar intake as coeliacs are in high risk for diabetes.
Focus on your bone health as our bones are starved of calcium due to malabsorption. I take Vitamin D and Calcium. Exercising is crucial to pound calcium into your bones. I do bootcamp pilates where I do weight bearing exercises as well as moves which are great for strong core and general wellbeing. It also lifts my mood nicely!
I take iron and have occasional B12 shots to combat fatique. If you are not a fan of supplements, raw vegetable juices really help. I can’t get enough of beetroot juice at the moment! And they also make a difference to my skin. I take probiotics daily and this has made an immense difference to my health and feeling good. Turn being a coeliac into a positive life change instead of looking at it as some kind of curse. Happy mind equals happy body and healthy doesn’t mean boring!
Who are your dream dinner guests and what would you cook them?
It depends how many I am allowed? There are so many interesting people I would love to have over for dinner! I would make a delicious traditional Sunday roast with almond stuffing and honey glazed parsnips. This is my personal fave! It would certainly be a great dinner party if I invited Lucian Freud, Mr. Tarantino, Rashida Jones, Lena Dunham, Michael Fassbender, Alfred Hitchcock and Amy Winehouse. Damn that would be one hell of a dinner party.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
I have several feature films coming out in 2014 and I am writing my own material too. I also have a girlie blog ‘Girl On A Rocking Horse’ because I am a huge fan of fashion and beauty products.
What is your favourite quote or saying to live by?
Rules have been created so we can break them.
What are your core values that you like to live by?
Treat others the way you want to be treated. Believe in good in everyone even though you have been proven wrongly so many times before. Appreciate the little things in life and love yourself. Don’t be hard on yourself.
What would you choose as your last meal on earth?
It would have be an endless tray of cheesecake or rose macaroons. I have a sweet tooth! If I wasn’t allowed a dessert it would have to be a huge Indian meal with all the gluten trimmings.
Where’s your favourite place on earth and why?
My bed! It beats any exotic locations of the World. I love my silk pillows and the warmth of my cat.
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About Coeliac Disease
- Coeliac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten
- 1 in 100 people have the condition
- Symptoms include bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, wind, constipation, tiredness, headaches, sudden weight loss, hair loss, anaemia and osteoporosis
- Once diagnosed, it is treated by following a gluten-free diet for life
- Dermatitis herpetiformis is the skin manisfestation of coeliac disease
For more information, visit www.coeliac.org.uk/home/
Winter Cabbage Wraps
Winter Cabbage Wraps
- 2 large collard wraps
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
- ½ yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
- Any other crudités or sprouts as desired
Ginger Miso Dressing
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 1 inch chunk ginger, peeled
Lay the collard wraps flat on a chopping board and carefully, moving the knife away from you trim the thicker end of the stalk. Place the leaves in a bowl with the salt and rub all over. This will help to soften the leaves slightly.
Shred the cabbage into strips using a slicing attachment on a food processor or a mandoline. Place the dressing ingredients in a mini food processor and process until smooth. Place the cabbage into a bowl and pour over the dressing ensuring all strips are covered. Lay the collard wraps out flat and place 2 large spoonfuls of the cabbage mixture at the bottom of the wrap. On top of the cabbage, lay the strips of pepper horizontally and any other vegetable you wish to include. Take the bottom of the leaf and roll it away from you, creating a wrap. Cut in half and serve.