Cara-Lisa Sham is an entrepreneur, health blogger and founder of the Caralishious Vegan Ice-Cream brand. You may know her for her incredible yoga moves on Instagram, but for Cara-Lisa, it’s about more than impressive poses and wise captions. This is how she finds balance in everything she does.
How did you discover your passion for yoga? How did your journey start?
Being a ballet dancer for so many years, healthy eating and exercise have always been a part of my life. My knowledge and deep passion for yoga, health and movement, however, was cemented along my own personal healing journey through which I was able to overcome eating disorders. Being under constant scrutiny on stage I used to feel tremendous pressure to be thin, and so restrictive eating sadly became part of my life. I am so grateful to have had the support I did to help me change my perception of food, health and my body. Through proper nutrition, perseverance and loving support, I was able to heal my body and my mind.
My newfound energy sparked a keen interest in me about healthy living, and so I began engaging in plenty of research on holistic wellness, nutrition and exercise. Exposing myself to new ways of thinking about healthy living opened my eyes to the astounding properties of wholesome nourishment. Even though this path was a challenging one, I am so happy that it was mine to bear, because I have learned so much from it. I have come to realise that health is a journey – one you have to work on continuously. A regular yoga practice, coupled with writing my health blog has been so therapeutic for me. Through sharing healthy recipes, nutrition tips and personal health stories of my own, I hope to help others heal too.
I want to encourage people to nourish their bodies, to appreciate themselves and to look at food not as something bad, but as something that nourishes and heals. So many people out there have distorted perceptions of themselves coupled with an unhealthy relationship with food – one that is filled with deprivation and anxiety. People are so bombarded with mixed messages about what they should be eating, that they end up feeling confused, overwhelmed and helpless. My aim is to help spread the right message – one of balance, nourishment, self-appreciation, and healing.
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Dont ever let that light in you grow dim!! You were born to make this life you have been given..the best freaking life you could ever live! So go out there and take it…take your life and own it…enrich it, make it great, take risks, allow your passions to flow..let your hair down and go a little wild…you dont have to be perfect! Please dont be perfect…that shit is boring AF so stop trying to attain something thats fake anyway. The only opinion that matters is yours so be you, do what makes you happy..be bold, be daring and let that light burn bright!! Who's with me? #strongwomen @adidasza @adidaswomen #thecaracollective #heretocreate www.caralishious.com
What is your view on exercise and nutrition?
For me, a healthy lifestyle means exactly that – a lifestyle. Our health is a long-term lifelong goal that we must consistently and continuously work towards in order for it to be bettered and maintained! There is no such thing as a quick fix health solution, and it is for this reason that diets just don’t work. We need to learn how to reappraise our health to encompass not just what we eat, but how we feel, how we think and how we move.
Health is holistic, meaning that all facets of our lives need to be operating in harmony – and in order to achieve this, we need to be working towards maintaining this harmony all the time! Diets and fitness programs offer short-term solutions that people view as a means to achieve a short-term goal – most often this would encompass a fit body – but what about after they have achieved that fit body? – then what? It cannot be expected that that fit body is going to stay that way if you revert back to old habits. In order to maintain that body, you have to be willing to implement permanent and sustainable lifestyle changes every day for the rest of your life – and that is what leading a healthy lifestyle offers – long-term, sustainable rewards, rather than short-term, once-off gains.
You’re a busy lady! How do you find motivation and the energy to pursue your passions, your business and still stay active and healthy?
It’s all about your mental state of mind. I work really hard to cultivate a positive mindset – it’s no easy task, but it is imperative to remain inspired, passionate and motivated. The minute those negative thoughts slip in, you start to see the energy and inspiration dwindle fast! Learning to weed out the negative and harness a positive mental environment has been key for me in keeping motivated and passionate throughout all my business pursuits. This coupled with fuelling my body with the right foods and exercising regularly keeps in in a positive space. Inevitably in business, you have days that are just outright lousy, and often you have challenges to overcome – sometimes daily, so to buffer all of this, a positive mind and healthy body form the perfect recipe in maintaining a calm, positive disposition amongst all the chaos.
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Life is happening right now!!! I want you to sit with that and let it sink in… Life is happening RIGHT NOW – regardless of whether you’re actively participating in it. It's happening whether you're "where you want to be." Or not! Life doesn’t start when you reach your goal weight…. It doesn’t start when you find the perfect partner… Life doesn’t start when you finally reach that career or income goal… It doesn’t start when you finally do that thing then feel that certain way… Life has already started. It’s happening right now. How are you missing out on your life by fixating on the future? Intentions for the future are beautiful but don’t allow them to take you away from THIS MOMENT – the only one you truly have. You may not be in an ideal situation right now. This isn’t to take away from that. You can engage actively in your life while looking for ways to move forward. This also isn't to take away from pain or trauma you have experienced previously. It's important to honor and work through those experiences but don't allow them to have you miss out on NOW. Your life is here. Your life is now. Comment below if you're going to take a moment to acknowledge this❤ #caralishious #carpediem Photo Cred: @justinleephotos . . . . . . #healthblogger #lifestyleblogger #selfgrowth #focus #dedication #strength #fitso #fitsporation #motivation #selfmotivation #wisdom #learnlife #selfreflection #bodygoals #yogabody #soulfood #nextlevel #findyourzen #serenity #liveinthemoment #dowhatmakesyouhappy #healthyandhappy #traininsaneorremainthesame #inspiration #qotd #innerpeace #loveyourself #gowiththeflow
Why do you think it is important to have balance?
Balance is essential for us to be in a state of flow – to thrive daily, and to optimise our strengths. I believe that wellness is dynamic and should never be segmented – this means that all avenues of our wellbeing must be equally considered when embarking on any health-related journey. Eating healthy and exercising, while highly beneficial, are not going to provide life-changing vitality and zest if other areas of our lives are out of sync. We must be attentive to the needs that exist within each facet of our lives in order for our health to be optimised. Wellbeing is a continuous practice that can only be sustained through the application of a holistic approach to health. The fundamental principles of my wellness philosophy stem from the synergistic practice of mindfulness, nourishment, movement, enrichment and relaxation. I believe these to be the key interconnected areas in each of our lives that must be nurtured daily in order for us to sustain our wellbeing. When we are present, aware, well-nourished, sufficiently exercised, enriched and relaxed we are able to function at our peak.
Take us through a day in your life.
My days are so varied – sometimes I have days where I am desk-bound; catching up on admin and emails. Other days will be meeting after meeting with product checks and retail visits and other days (my favourite ones) are spent creating content for my social media, or at photo shoots for various magazines/brands. In between all of this, however, I always like to start my day with warm water and lemon, and a 55-minute meditation session and morning yoga to clear my mind and ensure I start the day off on a positive note. Nothing feels better after a long work day then a power workout to defuse any frustrations or stress that may have built up from the day. Bedtime for me is about easing into a state of relaxation, with a warm cup of rooibos, some deep breathing and dim light to allow my melatonin to set in, so as to ensure good sleep.
What does your diet/nutrition look like?
I am about 80% vegan now. I do find that my body needs animal protein every so often so I eat fish once every two weeks and sometimes once per week if I find that my recovery rate after training has decreased. This helps keep me in a good balance and this is what works for my body personally at this stage in my life – that is not to say that this won’t change though, because our nutritional needs DO change over time. Similar to the world around us, our bodies are in constant flux too, which means our nutrition has to align with these changes, so I am about being flexible and intuitive with my body. I do occasionally treat myself to processed foods too because I believe in being balanced, and not restrictive. So if I feel like a piece of cheesecake when I’m out for lunch, I will have it. For the most part, I stick to whole grains, loads of veggies, healthy fats, fruits, legumes, nuts, and plenty of water and herbal teas.
What does your training look like? What kind of training do you believe in and why?
I absolutely love working out. I believe it is essential to keep the body fit and active – not only for aesthetic reasons but for general wellbeing, energy and longevity. Exercising makes me feel great – getting those endorphins going is for me the greatest way to start the day. I typically train 5-6 days a week. This keeps me energized, centred, relaxed and facilitates the connection between my mind and body. I am all for experimental training, so love to explore different styles and forms of training from yoga and pilates, to budokon, animal flow, callisthenics and high-intensity interval training. The more variety you expose your body to, the stronger it becomes.
I also like to change up my workout routines every six weeks or so to keep things interesting and to prevent my body from reaching a plateau. Yoga and Pilates are always my base training techniques, which I practice most days. I also then enjoy High-Intensity Interval Training (using only my body weight) 2-3 times per week. I am not a big fan of weight training, as these work muscles in isolation, so I stick to plyometric and body weight exercises instead. I also enjoy doing drills outside in the park or the field. Those can be super fun with a friend.
How do you stay mentally healthy and strong?
From a young age, my father would always instil in me the importance of the mind, and how toxic thoughts result in unfavourable circumstances. Controlling your thoughts is however far easier said than done. This has been one of my hardest personal challenges because the mind can truly be both your worst enemy and your best friend, so it is essential to learn how to control your thinking. Thoughts and perception are almost synonymous with one another
Who/what inspires you?
I believe creation elicits inspiration – When I am in a space of constant creation and innovation, I feel continuously inspired. Seeing your visions come to life in whatever shape or form this may be, is for me what builds further inspiration to develop and create further. This can apply to keeping fit and healthy too – keep innovating in the kitchen and at the gym and you will be inspired to persist. I am a big believer of changing up your training so that your workout routine is always interesting, fun and motivating – keep trying new things and let yourself celebrate all the amazing things your body can do – the more you try the more you will see just how much your body can actually do!
What is your favourite #strongwomen quote?
“And one day she discovered that she was fierce and strong, and full fo fire, and that not even she could hold herself back, because here passion burned brighter than her fears”
Who inspires you to be a strong woman?
My inspiration in business has to be Jessica Alba – she has always had a very holistic approach to her health which for me is far more admirable than those who have unsustainable means of keeping a fit body. What I particularly admire about Jessica is that she used her celebrity status strategically and co-launched an amazing concept called Honest Co which is now a natural baby care and make-up empire in the US.
Do you have a strong woman moment to share with us?
I think for me, my strong women moment would have to be when I made the call to leave corporate. I had a great job, and I was earning well, so to up and leave was a tough decision, especially going into something entrepreneurial which I had never done before and had no way of knowing whether it would be successful or not. It was a big risk, but one that has proved to have been the right move for me.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.