Foodie, health enthusiast, mother and Bloemfontein local, Leona Buys,shares her journey on becoming aware of what we put into our body.
Leona started sharing her passion on social media because she thinks people are made to share things that they love, and she loves food. “More specifically, I love what food can
do for our bodies. Also, healthy living accountability and community,” she says.
Leona hasn’t always had a love and appreciation for good food. As a school and varsity student, she ate what was easily available and used to run on takeaways, bread and fizzy
drinks, with minimal exercise. “Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy my carbs, but I really started taking care of what I was putting in my body when I started working in a dialysis unit with chronic renal failure patients.” She did her thesis around albumin found in eggs, which just set the tone for her. Eunice Old Girl born and bred in Bloemfontein, Leona
studied Clinical Technology at CUT and specialised in nephrology, which had her moving to Cape Town to do her practical year at Chris Barnard Hospital. Leona came back to Bloemfontein, got married and had a beautiful baby girl. “Unfortunately I got divorced three and a half years into the marriage,” she says. She started working part time and after
a while full time for pharmaceutical companies.
Around that time Leona started her food blog and it has been a great journey for her so far. “When I was going through the toughest season of my life, everything felt out of control and I found comfort in being able to control what goes into my body. I found that if I fed myself junk, I felt like junk. If I fed myself good and wholesome food, I felt better.”
The blogger lady loves learning about nutrition and that got her into recipe experimentation. “I love to share what I learn with others and I love connecting with people. I believe sharing my personal life makes it easier for people to get to know me so we can connect in a real way, hence my Instagram account @leona_saltandlight.” She uses existing recipes and creates as she goes. “I am 100% self-taught in this area and still have LOTS to learn, but I believe it’s all about a basic understanding of a recipe and ingredient substitutions.
Then experiment with tweaking the recipe to suit what’s in your pantry or your dietary need. It’s fun. And if the recipe doesn’t work out as anticipated, try again next time,” is her
The name “salt and light” comes from the Bible. “My faith in Jesus is extremely important to me. And He said all believers are called to be the salt and the light to the world. (Matt 5:13- 16).” To Leona this describes her passions in life: food and faith. Also, those words together remind her of the ocean on a simple, sunny day, with the warm sand under her feet, salty hair and clean skin. That’s the feeling she wants to evoke with her blog. Balance; Strength; Vitality. This is what describes the term health and wellness to her. “I find it so fascinating that we can control our health and wellness to an extent by what we put into our bodies. We are truly wonderfully made,” she shares.
Leona would like her food and income to stretch far beyond her own kitchen and into the homes and hearts of others. As for saltandlight, she hopes to develop it into a brand
locally and internationally. “I love sharing good content on Instagram as far as healthy (and sometimes not so healthy) meal ideas go. In the near future I hope to do cook-alongs,
and some food vlogging in local restaurants once we are able to go out again. Maybe even a Youtube channel, because that allows for longer video content.”
Leona would also like to publish a practical recipe e-book that she is slowly but surely working on. Healthy, quick and easy recipes that are nourishing for our bodies, and our souls. She also envisions loads of local collaborations in the lines of community upliftment, artisan candles, one-of-a-kind ceramics, special treasures for you and your home, but her
first priority at the moment besides her day job, is working on a house that she recently bought. “Maybe more than anything, I want lots of women around my table again, with
cups of tea or strong coffee, while we talk about living out God’s best for our lives.”
Text: Suanne Engelbrecht Photo: Leona Buys