Transcript of Interview with Samantha Bye


Hari Fell: Hi, welcome to Stories From My Drinking Days. My name is Hari Fell and I am the founder of NoLo Cocktails and Bars. We are joined today by Samantha Bai, who’s an international mountain leader and outdoor wellness coach. Welcome Samantha. Thanks for joining us. Thank you for having me,

Samantha Bye: Harry. It’s lovely seeing

Hari Fell: you.

Excellent. Do you want to start off by telling us sort of like, um, when you started drinking and, um, how, how your relationship with alcohol started?

Samantha Bye: Yep. So I started, um, my alcohol journey, I suppose. I was exposed when I was 12. Um, I was a French speaker and fluent, um, in France. Um, and I was always. given the task of booking the summer holidays and the logistics and I was invited by a French waiter at the time to have a glass of red wine with the meal.

So, [00:01:00] um, I’ve always had a fairly good relationship with alcohol. Um, and also like in France, there’s a big culture around wine. Um, yeah, so that’s where I started my, I had my first drink.

Hari Fell: Excellent. And so were you living in France at the time or was that on holiday?

Samantha Bye: No holidays holidays. Yeah,

Hari Fell: and then how did your relationship with alcohol develop from there?

Samantha Bye: So from there, I’ve always respected alcohol I’ve with my traveling and my adventures that I’ve done I’ve done a lot of sailing and in the sailing culture there’s obviously a lot of drinking and sea shanties and things. Um, uh, and I’ve always found it quite interesting other people’s relationships really with alcohol, especially around sailing and the dark and stormy cocktail.

Um, and people having rum, especially like from Caribbean. Um, but I always found myself, like I grew [00:02:00] up, um, in an area where we didn’t really have many buses or like logistics to get into town. So in my early teens and twenties, when everyone’s going out. dancing. Um, I would just choose to be the designated driver really.

Um, and I love dancing. So I would let other people drink and people were always surprised that I was just life and soul and energized without the alcohol. So it was really insightful to see what people’s stereotypes are when it comes, when it comes to alcohol and when you’re out dancing or when you’re doing things like that, uh, around social settings and that relationship and that interconnectedness really.

Hari Fell: Yeah, yeah, brilliant. So at any point in your life have you drunk sort of more heavily than that or have you always managed to

Samantha Bye: moderate your drinking? I’ve always fairly been moderate. Um, I can only count two times when I’ve been really poorly with alcohol. One of those was a tall ship, uh, experience at Christmas time.

[00:03:00] Um, and the other time was, um, when I was living in


to like what people, what people. people are doing when they’re like drinking in a social context and not necessarily peer pressure, but that judgment alongside, um, alcohol. And then as I’ve got older and grown up and, um, I, I changed my relationship with alcohol. I had quite a severe illness with encephalitis, which was water on the brain and spine.

And I’ve made a full, pretty much a full recovery, although I’ve officially. um, still got a neurological function disorder in my medical history, um, I had two years with no alcohol and that’s where it completely shifted my, like, awareness of, like, the toxins, the endocrine disruptors. [00:04:00] I also became a yoga therapist and, like, learned how to…

Like understand what’s really happening in the body and like really immersed myself in like the health and wellness side of things. Um, and especially where I do mountaineering and rock climbing and, and I do a lot of endurance performance training. Like you have to really be disciplined with like looking after your muscles, looking after your body and making sure that you’re.

You’re fueling yourself correctly and alcohol naturally is not going to help you with competitions or getting you through your personal best or getting you through certain scenarios when you’re out outdoors and competing in fitness competitions and things such as like that. Yeah.

Hari Fell: So, um, you mentioned that when you got ill you gave up for two years.

Was that sort of a conscious decision or were you advised to give up alcohol when you

Samantha Bye: became ill? So I was advised to do that [00:05:00] because of the neuropathways rewiring as the consultant explained it and that it was instrumental part of like the health and well being journey that actually it’s good to do.

to do that. Um, and, and I did see the health benefits of that alongside other things that I did, such as the meditation and breath work and things I could really see a difference. And then when I slowly introduced alcohol again, I have been very like, I, I don’t drink a lot of, um, fizzy like Prosecco’s anymore, like ones with high sulfate content or those with additives in, because I can really tell different, like my.

biochemistry in my body. I can, my body straight away says no, it’s not happening before, um, even continue to have a drink. Yeah.

Hari Fell: So now obviously you’ve gone back to drinking slightly. Um, what are you, what drinks are you finding your best or that you’re reacting to least?[00:06:00]

Samantha Bye: Um, so I tend to stay away from high, um, sulfite level, um, drinks and I tend to stay away from like cheaper alcohol, like wines. Um, so I will, I will really go and do my research and ask like sommeliers and like I’ve immersed myself in those kind of. advisory places to see where that high polyphenols are, because again, with my understanding of high polyphenols, that’s really good health benefits, because you can get high polyphenols in whole foods and plants and vegetables, but also from the making of wine.

So if I have a little bit of wine, I tend to Go for ones that have got high polyphenol, um, um, levels, um, and then I stick to a gin and tonic, um, because, and I’ll just have one or two and that’s me, um, really, because I find anything else really [00:07:00] affects my skin, it affects my brain, I have brain fog, I feel tired for like three or four days, um, and I know when I speak to other people they really notice a difference as well, um, from, from that.

Hari Fell: Yeah, I have to say that when I was drinking, I could definitely tell the difference if I’d drunk cheap wine versus a better quality. And I don’t, I know some people say it’s because you probably savour the better quality and you don’t drink quite as much. But I have to say that actually for me, I think it was down to the additives that they put in the cheap wine.

Samantha Bye: Yeah. It’s definitely down to processing. Yeah. And that’s one thing I’ve found like in terms of like. The correlation between that is the processing, the processing techniques and you can apply that whether it’s in alcohol or food and you just have to see the, the more processed and the additives that are put into things are actually the ones that are the endocrine disruptors, those that are affecting the body [00:08:00] and change the biochemistry and then leading on to health conditions, um, or feeling like really were in lethargic and feeling the aftermath of, of those drinks.

Hari Fell: Yeah. So, um, I, I have to say, I, I don’t know a huge amount about, about these, these things. Other alcohol then, is there, is there stuff to avoid? Is there stuff that you definitely don’t go anywhere near, beer, cider, or is it just actually how the alcohol’s

Samantha Bye: processed? So from my understanding awareness, so with from the coaching and nutrition that I do within my, my wellness business, um, I’ve always found that I used to drink beer and cider, um, when I was younger, um, but the gluten and the wheat and again, the intolerance, it just doesn’t sit right and get floating and things.

And for, for people that are trying to improve, um, their health, like, you’re better off [00:09:00]having something like, uh, like a gin or a vodka or a lovely no load cocktail by yourself. I love your, love your cocktails, when we, um, when you kindly gave me a box, um, to share with people. Um, and… Like, or as I said, like try and go for, if you’re going for a wine, um, go, go for a high polyphenol wine, um, and go and speak to like a, a wine sommelier or go down to Majestics or somewhere, um, like locally to you that has got that knowledge and expertise because they will be able to share that with you.

Um, and like I do find it makes a big difference, um, when it comes. It comes to your health and well being, um, where if you are someone that sticks to like your spirits and a fizzy drink, for example, like you’re going to have lots of added sugars. So not only are you having the effects of the alcohol. [00:10:00] The sugars are gonna affect your blood sugar levels, your cholesterol levels, your blood pressure, and everything else that comes as aftermath of that.

Um, yeah. And that, that’s my knowledge as , far as it goes with regards to alcohol.

Hari Fell: Yeah. No, no, that’s brilliant. So obviously you’ve been on a, a massive, um, health and and wellness journey since your illness. Um, and then, um, did that prompt you then to set up your business?

Samantha Bye: Yes. Yeah. Um, so lots of people, um, definitely feel that I’m embodied by my, my brand and it’s all about like nature connectedness.

Um, and really seeing that whole person, um, like healing process. So looking at your emotional and mental health, but mostly like everyone has good and bad mental health at different points. And it’s how you nurture that mindset to overcome when you’re. going through a period of bad mental health that you’re like, okay, how can I make [00:11:00] interventions and how can I improve that?

Um, and then you bring in the physiological side. So they exercise the movements. Um, and I absolutely love sharing everything that I do, um, because it’s great to see people’s transformations. And also like people come to me, like I don’t really have to do much marketing people come to me. They know that they.

What I’m about, I live and breathe by, um, and what’s really lovely to see, um, recently is that there’s more emphasis around like the blue zone solution and the nine pillars of, of living. And I’m not sure whether you’re aware of that, Harry, but, um, I’ve lived by that. No, no. Tell us more. Okay, so I’m really, really passionate about this.

Um, from a traveler’s point of view, because I’ve been fortunate to go to 100 countries. Um, so there’s a fab guy called Dan Butner, who’s like a sociologist researcher, who has spent a long time doing a lot of research around [00:12:00] people that are, um, that live the longest and are the healthiest and stressed out.

free basically and there’s five blue zone solutions across the globe and I’ve been to two of the five. Um, so there’s Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan, Lomalina in, uh, Lida in California, um, Ikaria in Greece. and Nicoya, Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. And so all of that research has been over, overlapped with everything.

And there has been, there’s been so much, um, so much evidence, uh, aligned with community purpose, food lifestyle, and it teaches us. all about healthy aging. And the fundamental thing is like that community and being together. But what Butner’s team have identified is the healthy principles called the power of nine.

And these are making movement a natural part of your day, which I do as part of like what I [00:13:00] share, um, knowing your sense of purpose and like, really, like, really waking up every day. I’m like, right, what is it? Is my purpose to be a mum? Is my purpose to help one person today? Is my purpose to bring a smile to someone’s day?

It can be anything, but you know what your sense of purpose is. Number three is prioritizing stress relief. So figuring out like triggers, what are the warning signs? And like, where are you with, what does that look like? How does it show up in your body? And again, it comes back to that intuition and understanding of what does it feel like in the body?

What is my environment showing that, um, the fourth pillar is eating until you’re about 80 percent full. Um, and that living by that 80, 20, um, 20 plan, which is eating a largely plant based nutrition plan diet. Um, and then the sixth one actually is [00:14:00] drinking alcohol moderation. So they have a concept called why not five?

Um, and that’s where there’s a lot of evidence around that high polyphenols and out of those five blue especially in Japan and in Sardinia. those two communities have higher levels of like, they, they consume quite a lot of alcohol. So that’s quite interesting to like, for someone that’s wanting something to read and look further into this.

Um, and seventh one is around connecting with your community. And I’m all about community because you have to have that human connection virtually or in person. Um, because We are tribal people, like we’re beings. We’re cyclical beings. We need to be part of that community. Um, and then family is, um, number eight and like, whether it’s biological or chosen family, whatever you, you look for, like I’m, I’m, I’m blessed to have nine God children, but I don’t have children of myself, uh, myself.

Um, and [00:15:00] then obviously. The ripe old saying of like, you choose your, you choose your family and friends and things like that. Um, and then the ninth one is choosing social circles that support healthy behaviors, behaviors. So like being aware of like, who are you surrounding yourself with again, just thinking about.

Are those people serving me? Are they adding value to my life? Actually, have their value slightly changed? And I think for the people that listen into your podcast and watch your channel, like I think that’s a very clear thing that people find really difficult to adjust to when you might have previously been a big drinker and been out in those social circles.

And then straight away, you’ve made that. decision and that choice not to drink as much or completely go alcohol free and then your social group changes and then you’re like, I’ve got, I’ve lost that infrastructure of friendship and connection. So it’s, I think it’s a really great, um, uh, [00:16:00] a great, um, research bluesane solution.

and Netflix. I don’t have a television but Netflix apparently have got a um, a documentary about it at the moment and you can also go and get, go and get Dan Butner’s book and read about it and he also has a fab cookbook as well. I don’t have any affiliations with him but um, but it’s definitely worth the read.

Yeah, I just, it’s one of those things I’m like, I haven’t thought of this. Like everyone says this is what you live by Sam and I just didn’t know about

Hari Fell: him. So yeah, it’s really good. What I know of you. It definitely, it sounds like you, you know, in the conversations you and I have had. That sounds, yeah, I can see the complete alignment really, between the two.

So, um, tell me what with, um, nature, nurture, nourish, which is your business, what, what do you Mm-Hmm. actually do with people? Then? How do people work with you through your business? [00:17:00]

Samantha Bye: So people can, um, join my community. I have a free online community through Facebook. Um, which I’m just updating at the moment, uh, I’ve also got a paid membership, which gives people access to different activities and also, uh, in person complimentary events, um, uh, and meetups regionally in the UK and work for further afield.

Then I have, uh, retreats and expeditions. So I’ve got ones that. And people, for people that have never camped under the stars or had a cup of tea or hot chocolate around a campfire because that’s, that’s quite a big thing for people that go out their comfort zone and may never have put a pair of walking boots on or some wellies that they’ve been in their heels if they’re business women.

Um, and then I’ve got all the other end of this. The spectrum. I’ve got luxury retreats that I do, um, and I’m doing one in, um, ibi A in, in the spring that people can come along to. Um, [00:18:00] I also do talks up and down the country as well in the uk. Um, and I’m actually going to, um, South Africa next November and I’m doing a wine and wellness, um, uh, adventure retreat.

So anyone that does drink alcohol. Um, and drink wine or, or we’ll just be interested in learning about that connection in South Africa. Um, we’re going to be doing some really cool education around that, um, mindfully, but also going out and climbing Table Mountain and going horse riding on the beach. Um, yeah, and doing some cold

Hari Fell: water swimming.

It’s a brilliant location to do it in South Africa, isn’t it? You know, um, excellent. So how can people connect with

Samantha Bye: you? Um, the best way for people to connect with me is on Instagram, at Samantha by UK or through Facebook, which is Samantha Kendall by,

Hari Fell: brilliant.

And I will put all of the connections as well in the [00:19:00] notes. Thank you so much for joining us. That was so interesting. Um, and I’m certainly going to go and check out the Netflix documentary. So, thank you very much Samantha. And that was stories from my drinking days with Samantha Barr. Thank you very much.

Thank you.