Meet Giaan Rooney
As a proud advocate of probiotics, Giaan Rooney and her children take Life-Space probiotics every day. Living her life with boundless energy and a trademark stellar smile, Giaan Rooney is one of Australia’s favourite media personalities.
Bursting onto the world swimming stage by winning gold in the 100m backstroke at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, Giaan was always bound for glory. She soon added an Olympic gold medal to her tally and took out the 2001 Fukuoka World Swimming Championships in world record speed.
Giaan retired from professional sport, married and began to prepare for motherhood. After plenty of reading, taking probiotics before, during and after pregnancy became increasingly compelling for Giaan. She just needed to find the right product.
After some inspired discussions about research, the microbiome and bacterial diversity, it became obvious that Giaan was a natural fit for Life-Space. And here she is today, our proud ambassador.
As an Olympian and mother of two, what do you wish more people knew about their health?
Health has been the biggest priority in my life for a long period of time due to being an elite athlete. There was no way I could perform at my best at each training session if I wasn’t healthy. So, I had a greater appreciation for health compared to my peers at a very young age.
That continued on when I stopped being an elite athlete. So, the first revelation, if you like, was that I realised it’s much easier to look after your health preventatively, to be proactive rather than reactive.
When my husband, Sam and I started thinking about trying to conceive, for example, I started doing some research on what we could do that may help give our children a healthy start to life. Microbiome wasn’t a word that was typically used back then, but I was reading up a lot on the importance of supporting gut health and good bacteria, and the relationship between the two and overall health in the body.
So that would be my second piece of advice, is to investigate the gut and overall health connection for yourself.
You and your family recently made the move from city-life to farmland, what inspired the big change?
There were lots of different reasons for us to move to a macadamia farm; my husband comes from a farming background, he’s a fifth-generation cattle farmer, and so we’ve always had that connection to land and primary production.
When we found our farm, we actually initially intended it to be a weekender, a holiday home. However, we spent a couple of months here and the kids absolutely loved it. They were a big part of the reason why we moved, they never wanted to leave. We also really quickly met our little community and just fell in love with the ‘free-roam’ aspect of life out here.
When our kids come home from school for example, screens aren’t as entertaining for them anymore, they’re out and about! We’re also growing a small menagerie, if you like, of animals here on the farm and I think being out in the environment and being around animals gives them a greater appreciation for nature and how everything is connected. Much like our inner eco-system!
What does bacterial diversity mean to you?
It’s in the food we eat, the animals and the environment around us and is as connected to our overall health as all of those things.
When I think about the trillions of microbes the live in my gut and on my body, I like to think of them like a forest ecosystem. There are many different types, all playing different roles and providing different functions. Just as diversity is important in a forest ecosystem where all the flora and fauna support one another, I see bacterial diversity the same way.
Without ever knowing about bacterial diversity as a child, I feel like I grew up surrounded by it from a young age. We were always playing outside; we had a big backyard and would be out until the streetlights came on for curfew. I feel quite fortunate that I grew up in quite a bacterially diverse environment and through my learnings later in life, that I can make a more proactive decision to give my kids a similar experience. While playing out in the mud and getting licked on the face by our dog Roy might make for a messy time, it’s all these small moments that help to build bacterial diversity.
How have probiotics been a part of you and your family’s health journey?
In a myriad of ways! Zander, my eldest, has been on probiotics since he was young, and my daughter Lexi has been since conception. Thankfully, the Life-Space range is segmented by life-stage which has meant that my whole family has been able to come on this journey with me, from my parents, to my husband Sam and I, and right down to my children.
I often find I have these conversations with other parents around the common fear of, and rite of passage that is, your kids getting sick as they’re introduced to childcare. While every person, every child, is different it’s times like this that trigger your desire to learn more about ‘what can I try to do to proactively manage my family’s health?’, and for me it always comes back to ‘have you looked into probiotic support?’. For example, Life-Space’s Children Immune Support Probiotic, which helps to reduce the occurrence of mild upper respiratory tract infection symptoms.
Looking back to what I said about bacterial diversity being like a forest ecosystem, the digestive system microbiome contains a diverse range of bacterial species. This is why I love that Life-Space probiotics contain up to 15 strains of beneficial bacteria and also support intestinal flora. And, while I've talked about getting outside and interacting with our environment, diet also plays a big role. It's important to make sure we're consuming a healthy and balanced diet that can feed our microbes as well as ourselves and I like to complement that with a probiotic to top up our intake of beneficial bacteria and support my family's general health. It gives us peace of mind to know we’re taking a proactive approach to a healthy lifestyle.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.