Did you know that a fear of bees is one of the most common phobias on the planet? While it's understandable, there's so much more to bees then their stingers. Bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food you eat. These mighty pollinator might be small, but the impact they have on the environment is incalculable. Their habitats are at risk – honey bee hives have declined from about 6 million in 1947 to 2.4 million hives in 2008. That's a 60 percent loss of habitat. As long as these busy bees are unable to do their jobs, the food we eat is at risk.
It's time to get over our fear of bees. To start our recovery, we turn to Bonnee Fahlstrom – model, naturopath, and nutritionist. Her enthusiasm for nutrition is not defined by what she consumes – it's a thoughtful understanding of how that food got to her in the first place. In this case, Bonnee is thankful for the role of bees, and plans on paying it back. Here, we chat with Fahlstrom about her food philosophy, and her mission to save the bees.
BIKINI: What is your food philosophy?
BONNEE FAHLSTROM: To help you live your healthiest and most beautiful life — to trust life. I've always been guided by my own intuition. The direct links between the brain and the digestive tract are an important model for a holistic thinking about health. Studies suggest that a healthy gut in infancy can, in addition to helping maintain immunity, have a profound effect on our mind and emotional health later in life. Ultimately, I want others to have compassion for all living beings and feel healthy and beautiful inside and out. I am dedicated to enouraging other with whole foods recipes, nutrition, and education on the science within your body. My other beauty secret is to drink lots of pure water — up to four liters a day. Beauty starts from the inside. Jump in the ocean, too — nothing beats the salt on your skin and just feeling cleansed.
BIKINI: What are the best ingredients for promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails?
BF: Enjoy avocados and sweet potatoes for beautiful, glowing skin. Snack on brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds for healthy, shiny hair. For nails, eat bananas. Celery to dimish under eye circles.
BIKINI: What does a day of eating look like for you?
BF: Before I leave home, I drink warm water and lemon with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to alkalize my body and cleanse my blood, kidneys and liver. At home, I don't eat meat, seafood or dairy. In general, I try to avoid processed, packaged foods containing sugar and wheat. I have an abundance of fruit first thing in the morning. I love avocado on gluten-free toast with lemon. Then, greens and plant protein for lunch — usually a veggie juice with beetroot, carrot, celery, ginger, spinach and lemon, or a massive green salad. For dinner, again plant protein or roasted veggies with brown rice or soup. Snacks include nori sheets, raspberries, brazil nuts, almonds and medjool dates. I also love an apple with some tahini. I am trying Freshara, a plant-based food delivery service that is clean. It's like having a personal chef and nutritionist rolled into one.
BIKINI: How did you get involved with Save The Bees Australia?
BF: I volunteered and became a positive role model for Save The Bees Australia. My passion and life purpose is to create, teach, and spread awareness to embody conscious, healthy living. I am most passionate about influencing and educating people on saving the bees and literally have saved colonies from extermination. I want to raise awareness about conservation and why bees are the most invaluable species. Who would want a world without honey, flowers and a third of everything we eat — including chocolate and coffee? Not me.
BIKINI: You mentioned you've saved bees from extermination, how did you do that?
BF: Simon Mulvany and I have saved swarms and hives and relocated them to people who are keeping them respectfully and not for maximum honey production. Save The Bees Australia has a vision to save as many bees from being exterminated through physically re-homing swarms of bees, that would otherwise be killed, to safe and protected hives. All the bee hives are registered and monitored for potential viruses and other problems. I recently spent the day with John Edmonds in his cactus garden in Torquay. He is a descendant of one of the first beekeeping families in Australia. He has the most beautiful garden full of pear trees, quince trees, cactus and rose gardens to attract and seduce the pollination of the bees. By educating others about bees, we will allow the world to evolve to a better future that will ultimately save the planet. We need to live in a sustainable balance with the Earth and have utmost respect for all living creatures. Leading by example is the best way to shape our kids and change the world.
BIKINI: Were you passionate about bees growing up?
BF: I have always been fascinated by bees for as long as I can remember. My grandmother Nanna Shirly had a fashion label called "Honey Bee." I grew up with bedrooms full of material and fabrics and always heard the sound of the sewing machine busy in the background when I visited her.
BIKINI: What are the main contributors to the decline of bees? Why have we allowed their population to deteriorate?
BF: One of the main contributors to bee decline is loss of habitat. In order to grow a friendlier environment for bees, we must all be planting wildflowres. Stop using insecticides and herbicides. A common pesticide sprayed on crops around the world doesn't kill bees, but non-lethal amounts seriously damages their ability to fly. Pesticides kill bee colonies, meaning that bees are less likely to return to their home nests after ingesting tiny amounts of neonic pesticides.
BIKINI: Why are bees so important for our ecosystem? What would our world look like without them?
BF: They pollinate almost all the food we eat. Bees are so essential to the continuing health of our beautiful planet and are irreplaceable contributors to the life cycle of flowering plants. Bees make it possible for flowering plants to provide us with the nutritious fruits we eat and the oxygen we breathe. You have a bee to thank for every one in three bites of food you eat. A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day. No bees, no food! Millions of bees are dying off, with alarming consequences for our environment and our food supply. It's urgent we protect our bees.
BIKINI: How can we help save the bees?
BF: One of the most important issues in human history is to save bees and educate people on how incredible they are. I'm hopeful that we'll evolve as a species, but there is something about human nature that is very destructive. Simple things you can do to save bees are to stop using insecticides and herbicides, create a native garden, and buy local honey and bee products.