‘Merry-maker’ Christmas and a happy new year!
Caught in a whirlwind of fad diets and quick fixes, only to find they were doing more damage to their bodies and self esteem, Emma and Carla Papas knew there had to be a better way – a healthier and more joyous journey through food.
Emma and Carla Papas are beautiful souls who truly practice what they preach. With boundless energy and smiles that never fade, the sisters have found a way to bring a more realistic approach to leading a healthy and happy life – holistically.
We both loved cooking as kids,” says Carla, “We can remember heading down to the grocery store to pick up ingredients during school holidays. They were packet mixes, mind you, but we still loved baking and cooking. We always loved to help Mum in the kitchen, grating the cheese, helping coat the schnitzels and of course, licking the bowl!”
Then, during early adulthood, Emma and Carla found themselves in a place so many of us have been before – fed up with counting calories, tired of the guilt they felt after eating and plagued with low self-esteem.
“We were in this obsessive whirlwind of fad diets, quick fixes and negative body image, and when we looked around, this seemed completely normal, everyone was spinning,” says Emma.
We’d both just completed a 12-week diet and exercise plan, which was not designed for health but to lose weight. We were over the moon, we’d reached our goal weights but with our ‘perfect bodies’ we found we were tired, moody and cold all the time, and our periods completely disappeared.
“This unhealthy way of living needed to stop, so we searched for something that would work.”
Real food was the answer, and became the catalyst for creating The Merrymaker Sisters.
“Being the food lovers we always have been, we started to share photos of our healthy foodie creations to our personal social media accounts and our followers started to grow organically,” says Emma.
Having both worked in the communication industry and bursting with a desire to inspire through health and happiness, in 2013, Emma and Carla decided to start a blog, where they could document their recipes and help many others who were craving the answers.
Our overall mission for The Merrymaker Sisters is to create a healthy, happy, more magic-filled world. We do that by creating a safe and fun community where everyone is welcome to come, learn and get inspired to make positive changes to their lives,” says Emma.
Their audience has since flourished to 250,000 internationally, they have published two cookbooks and even launched their own app, which reached number one in just nine hours.
Emma and Carla have also partnered with brands like Reebok, Microsoft and Fitness First to inspire and connect like-minded people together and have been featured across international and national media channels including Foxtel, MindBodyGreen, The Age, Virgin Australia and Channel 10.
But what I find most inspiring about these two, is the bond they have – they are not only sisters, but best friends and business partners, and have found great success in their magic.
“The secret is having open communication with each other,” says Emma.
“Work when you work and rest when you rest, it’s all about balance – not hustle. And the biggest factor is alignment; doing work that actually sets your heart on fire and having the courage to stop projects and work that doesn’t align with your true nature/purpose/passion.”
Now, their food philosophy is centered on finding what works for you and doing what makes you feel good, they call it ‘bio-individuality’; the idea that everyone’s view of being healthy is different and every body thrives on different fuel.
Carla says that then extends to other parts of our lives, including movement, mindfulness and bliss.
When you live a merrymaker lifestyle, you eat real food. We cut out the processed crap and instead fill our plates with ridiculously yummy food like veggies, fruit, good quality meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and good fats, and small amounts of dairy,” she says.
With a new year, comes a fresh start, a clean slate, and I ask Emma and Carla what their advice is for anyone wanting to turn their life around, to live a happier, merrymaker life.
“Remember that all it takes is one small step to begin. Then another and another. The secret to getting anything done is to start. Make a decision, declare you’re going to do it and begin. Whether it’s starting with your food choices, mindset, movement, relationships or career, choose one and see the ripple effect start to take place across other areas of your life.”
Sage advice for 2018!
What is your favourite thing to cook?
Emma: Apple crumble for sweet and chicken cashew for savoury
Carla: Beetroot mudcake for sweet and sweet potato chips for savoury
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Carla: Look sideways. I am you, you are me, we are one.
Emma: It’s all about your story, people may not understand you at first, but they will understand your story.