Kamila McDonald, a well-known fitness, nutrition and lifestyle influencer based in Jamaica, is a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and the author of a wellness guide entitled Wake Up and Live. She has amassed a global audience of over 200 followers on social media, and often travels throughout the US and the Caribbean to share important health and wellness messages.
Her story, which includes losing 60 pounds, overcoming depression, and becoming the first dreadlocked Miss Jamaica World contestant, is one which celebrates the victories of regaining happiness, finding her life’s purpose, and becoming a celebrated wellness expert, successful entrepreneur, author, and mother. Born from her own health struggles, her programs and book utilize the philosophy that a healthy lifestyle can only begin with a sound emotional and spiritual foundation.
In the coming weeks, McDonald will be releasing her newest book, Wake Up and Live: Second Edition. The book will include over 100 predominantly plant-based recipes with a Caribbean twist. “My aim is to show that eating clean and plant-based is a lot simpler than some people think. We really, as a culture, have to shift our thinking about meat. Eating plant-based is the best alkaline treat you can do to your precious body. The more meat you eat, the more acidic you are, which leads to chronic inflammation – the root cause of many illnesses,” McDonald explains.
The book also has a section called Reggae Recipes, which includes recipes by current Jamaican musical hitmakers such as Kabaka Pyramid, Jesse Royal, Protege, Keznamdi, Kelissa, Jah 9, and other reggae artists.
“I get in the kitchen with some of our favorite reggae artists, who are very healthy. Even on a busy schedule that requires them to travel often, they still stick to and honor their bodies, because they recognize that our bodies are our vehicles, and they need all the energy to jump up and down on stage,” she shares.
McDonald will also launch her 2019 online program in April. Called Kamp Kamila Challenge: The Wake Up and Live Edition, the program will be available on McDonald’s website.“The challenge brings the book to life. It has 30 days worth of recipe videos and nutrition videos. I also go into depth on many different areas that I feel like people need more support in. So, there’s a whole series in the program on meal prepping and how to plan your meals for your goals. I also give 30 days worth of workouts that kick your butt, as well as the video versions of the Reggae Recipes in the book. It’s a 30 day mind, body, spirit experience that will allow you to let go of fear and approach your journey positively.”
McDonald frequently tours both Jamaica and the Diaspora. In 2019, she plans to host events in Miami, New York City and Atlanta, and will be releasing those dates soon.
According to McDonald, the Caribbean community, both at home and overseas, is facing rising cases of chronic, noncommunicable diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, some cancers and heart disease. “These are all preventable lifestyle diseases that are related to our habits and the way we live our lives,” she says. “But, culturally, we cook with lots of salt and sugar, and eat lots of processed food.” McDonald suggests a holistic approach to tackling the issue, including monitoring what we’re eating, how much we are exercising, how well are we managing our stress, getting enough sleep, and staying adequately hydrated.
“As human beings we all have very similar struggles, and even though yours might not be identical to mine, what I’ve found is that we all share the same struggles. I’ve found that when I share my story, people realize that it’s not easy, but it really is worth it. What I’ve gone through, I believe that I was destined to… I needed to hit rock bottom in order to discover how strong I am. Life’s obstacles are inevitable, and it really is just how we approach it, how we grow from it, how we get back up from it, that determines who we are,” McDonald reasons.