Healthy hero

The healthy tradie

This Bondi Beach sparkie fought back against an unhealthy lifestyle to become a healthy life advocate on social media.

Dane Ellevsen, 28, is an electrician who plies his trade around Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. He’s also a bit of a star on Instagram: 13,400 people follow his @thehealthytradie account, which he uses to post about healthy eating, the importance of seasonal, local food and living an active life.

It wasn’t always this way. Dane used to have what he calls typical ‘tradie’ eating habits, featuring meat pies, chocolate milk and alcohol. Then, four years ago, when a booze-fuelled stunt left him with an injured hamstring, he decided to turn his life around. Next, he began inspiring others to do the same.

How important is eating well and staying active to you?

Incredibly. What I’m all about these days is not to stress about eating perfectly, but to simply maintain balanced eating habits and make conscious decisions around food as much as possible. I find eating healthy gives me so much more energy. One of my favourite quotes is "You wouldn’t put unleaded fuel in a diesel car. You only put the best fuel in your car, so why not do the same for your body?".

Talk us through your exercise routine…

I love surfing and F45 training, too. It’s functional fitness, so you rock up, do your thing at high-intensity, then you’re finished in 45 minutes.

What’s your favourite meal?

Breakfast – any time of the day. For me, it tends to be pan-fried eggs with fresh greens and avocado on bread baked by my best friend, who lives next door. It’s that, or yoghurt bowls.

What’s your food philosophy?

I don’t like factory farming and I’m into the whole nose-to-tail ethos. I’ll always buy a whole chicken, stuff it with rosemary and lemon and then make a stock with the carcass afterwards. I buy produce from butchers and farmers’ markets and catch my own fish. Then, on Instagram, I share the food I’m eating. I want to inspire other people to try new things and take a more holistic approach to living a healthy lifestyle.

What kind of greens do you use – do you grow your own?

I tried to grow vegetables on my balcony but it’s by the beach and a bit of a wind tunnel. The only veg that seems to survive there is kale! I actually forage for weeds in parks and along the coastline – things like Warrigal greens are quite plentiful on the coast. They’re not great to eat raw, but they’re full of vitamin C and phytonutrients and taste great sautéed with a splash of water or oil.

The healthy tradie

Where are your favourite hangouts?

I’ve gotten to know some of the farmers who regularly sell their produce at my local growers’ market and I’ve been out to visit their farms to see how they do things. I love chatting to them. I also like to hang out in cafes and restaurants that use local produce and ethically sourced, organic and sustainable food.

Who are your health influencers?

All the people I base myself around help keep me accountable. If my friends order healthy food when we meet up for lunch, it inspires me to do the same, and it’s good to have friends who like to get out and exercise, too. Those little daily choices you make to become a healthier person… you’d be surprised by how many people find that motivates them to make better choices for themselves too, which always further inspires me to keep on going!

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

The goal is to start a YouTube channel. I’ve done a presenting course, and I’d like to travel, create some recipes and continue to inspire people. I’ll always have the electrical trade behind me and I hope I’ll always do a bit of that, but I’d love to work on a show like Getaway or Better Homes and Gardens.

The healthy tradie

Article first published 1 November, 2015.