Hello there,

I know I say this every time, but I love this section and getting to know the members of the MDM tribe.

Rina and I were in touch recently and I asked her to be a part of the series as her story was fascinating to me. She’s a doula (right up my alley and kind of on the brain at the moment too!), but also a qualified secondary teacher and budding Medical Anthropologist… and mumma! See, I told you!

I can absolutely relate to what Rina says below about her biggest challenge. What would we do without hummous!… and I think I need to get my hands on Raw and Simple too.

Rina Garner - doula

Hey, I’m Rina. A passion for health and wellbeing runs through everything I do and I work to create a balanced body and mind in my own life and with the people I support. As a doula I support women in pregnancy, birth and early parenting period to help create a positive experience in home or hospital settings. As a teacher I specialise in literacy support for children of all ages and work one on one as a tutor rather than in schools. As a Medical Anthropologist I research the culture of health and wellbeing; my current research project is the culture of birth in Australia and creating positive birth experiences. I am also a sole parent and am working on creating a network of support for other mothers doing it on their own, particularly those who practice gentle parenting methods. This will be up and running on my website by the end of 2014 (although you can check Rina out on Facebook here).

Rina Garner - Birth, Parenting and Learning

Oh, doesn’t this picture just melt your heart!


  1. Name: Rina Garner
  2. Where are you from? Jan Juc, Victoria, Australia
  3. Describe your eating/life style in one sentence: Vegetarian, wholefoods, organic, home cooked (but dabbling in raw), clean living, positive thinking, soul mama.
  4. Main reason for choosing this lifestyle: Vegetarian since birth so it was chosen for me by my Buddhist parents, but since my daughter was born 3 years ago I’ve ramped up the organic and whole foods because if I’m giving her food I want it to be the best fuel possible for growing that little body.
  5. Main reason for sticking with it? I love the way I feel when I’m eating clean food, getting a bit of exercise and fresh air and throw some yoga and meditation into the mix and I feel wowee zowee!
  6. Number one lesson learnt since embarking on this lifestyle: What you put into your body can have a profound impact on how you feel, both physically and mentally.
  7. What would you say is the biggest challenge? Being organised. I am studying two courses as well as working and being a hands on parent and sometimes I find myself eating hummus and rice crackers for lunch because I don’t have the time to prepare a proper meal.
  8. Typical breakfast: Amazing raw granola with activated buckwheat, nuts and seeds dried fruit and super foods! Click here for the recipe  (Disclaimer: I work for Sarah at the Raw Food Store!)
  9. Typical lunch: Sometimes a raw pasta with tomato and basil pesto, or a green smoothie, often falafel and salad.
  10. Typical dinner: I try and eat ‘Raw before 4’ so dinner time is when I have my cooked meal, usually a grain (rice, quinoa, millet, soba) loads of veggies, a nut or seed, definitely a legume (love a chickpea!) and sometimes a blob of goats cheese, in a soup or stir fry or curry type of arrangement.
  11. What is your go-to recipe? Often a stir fry of whatever veggies are in the fridge a handful of cashews or some tofu and soba noodles. I rarely bake (except for sour dough bread).
  12.  I can’t live without…. Fresh organic fruit and veggies. Once you change to organic you never go back!
  13. The movie I think everyone should watch is: The Weeping Camel is one of my favourites.
  14. The book that changed my life is: I don’t know that there has been a single book to change my life, but many have been influential. I read a lot about birth and parenting, especially from a cultural perspective. Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge is a collection of essays on the culture of birth, edited by one of my favourite anthropologists, Robbie Davis-Floyd and it definitely influenced the direction of my  research and work and therefore my life. As has the work of Sheila Kitzinger, renowned birth anthropologist.
  15. Favourite recipe book: Right now it’s Raw & Simple by Judita Wignall, easy and accessible recipes for anyone who wants to bring a bit more raw food into their diet (no dehydrating or obscure ingredients!)
  16. Do you exercise? I walk a lot and love yoga when I have the chance.
  17. Three blogs you recommend: I’m not a huge blog follower but have a heap of pages I follow on FB, including TED Talks, (so many fascinating and inspiring people), Toddler Approved (abundant imaginative kids’ activities) and Mind in The Making (positive child development and education practices). Plus a bunch of raw/vego foody ones especially Modern Day Missus!
  18. On the weekend, where will we find you? Either doing my doula course or shopping at the farmers market. Sundays are usually at the playground.
  19. If you could have dinner with one person (dead, alive, real or not real), who would it be, and why? I’d have to say Buddha although I may not be able to keep up with the conversation…
  20. Favourite quote: Do or do not, there is no try – Yoda

Thank you so much, Rina for sharing your story with us. I look forward to reading updates from your Facebook page.

Swing me a line if you’re willing to be a part of the series. You don’t have to be vego either (although as this is a veg blog, probably shouldn’t write steak under things you can’t live without… I’m sure you understand!).

Have a wonderful weekend ahead.

Robyn xx