What does it mean to be healthy?
I see health as a mind, body and spirit thing. What’s the point in having a perfectly tuned body if your thoughts are toxic? Healthy is having the ability to wake up in the morning feeling bright, feeling energetic from morning to night and dealing well with stress and conflict, as well as having the ability to sidestep like a matador when the viruses are doing the office rounds.
“Healthy is having the ability to wake up in the morning feeling bright, feeling energetic from morning to night and dealing well with stress and conflict…”
Do you follow any specific way of eating?
The only constant in my diet is variation. My creative passion for food means that I rarely cook two things the same – there’s a constant evolution of tastes and influence.
There are always a lot of vegetables in my diet and the meat has to be farmed with respect and care. Whenever I go back to visit my parents in Somerset, I always come back in to Paddington with a bag full of meat and a flagon of cider, looking like a proper yokel.
What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid, and why?
Processed food and too much sugar. Much as I considered my mother’s allergy to McDonald’s, her obsession with growing her own vegetables and her insistence on cooking everything from scratch to be a horrible adult plot to delete all fun from my childhood, I’m very grateful to have the good habits now.
“My mother was obsessed with growing her own vegetables and insisted on cooking everything from scratch…”
Do you cook every day?
Cooking is my meditation. I have three flatmates and live in W1; people pop in a lot so it’s a very social living space. We sit down to meals like most people flop in front of the TV, so it’s easy to fit in. I hadn’t really realised how much time the television saps until ours broke and we decided not to replace it.
What do you think are the most nutritious foods?
Lots and lots of fresh vegetables; it’s an easy diet to follow – if you make two-thirds of your plate fresh veg, it matters much less what the other third is.
“If you make two-thirds of your plate fresh veg, it matters much less what the other third is.”
Your optimal breakfast?
Swedish actor, Alexander Skarsgård… but if I have stuff to do, porridge – for slow-release energy – with manuka honey to try to keep illness at bay.
I quite like crunching on Navitas Naturals raw cacao nibs, but if I’m really honest Squares crisps…
What is the hardest part of the day for you to avoid temptation?
Exactly 4.30pm – especially in the winter when thoughts of biscuits and a piping-hot cup of tea invades my senses. Anything high sugar/fat becomes a temptation then.
Do you believe in diets or detox programmes?
In an exceptionally original and groundbreaking way, I tend to give up booze for January. I lose weight, sleep and feel better, annoy people with my righteous sobriety… I then enjoy every minute of the first Friday in February when I can have a Dirty Martini(s) again.
I think we have become so detached from the source of our food that we accept standards and processing of food that our grandparents would have scoffed at.
We are on a worrying path where the food we are eating in this “first-world” country is giving us the calories we need, but less nutrition than it used to. Our bodies don’t feel sated, so we want to eat more… I don’t think it’s greed driving the obesity epidemic; it’s the quality of food available without paying £5 for a carrot.
“We are on a worrying path where the food we are eating in this “first-world” country is giving us the calories we need, but less nutrition than it used to.”
Is exercise an important part of your life?
I’m not a natural jogger – strangers point and laugh when they see me run due to a genetic propensity to flay, with knees that appear to disagree with one another… But I have found myself unutterably drawn to yoga, and have been tutored for a while now by the brilliant Kim Williamson (07872 343721). Yoga grounds me, removes stress and tones very efficiently. This, in conjunction with having both an office and a flat situated up five flights of stairs, seems to keep me reasonably fit.
Do you like trying new exercise classes/trainers/trends?
As with many fashion and beauty trends, I find most “latest” crazes have the efficacy and stay-ability of Kim Kardashian cleaning her own kitchen. Too many of these are created by marketers to turn our heads just long enough to set up a direct debit.
I do think the best exercise is that practised outside because it engenders the double whammy of getting your heart pumping and mentally boosting you with sunlight and fresh air. A healthy dose of sunlight every day (even through a grey sky) is essential in order to maintain a healthy sleep pattern (and a good plan to try if you are not sleeping well). It’s also anti-ageing for our eyes to exercise themselves beyond the depth and width of a computer screen.
“Sunlight is also anti-ageing for our eyes to exercise themselves beyond the depth and width of a computer screen.”
How do you fit exercise around your work schedule?
I work crazy hours so it is difficult. I do my yoga in the evening because I am not a morning person. I fit exercise into my day by walking rather than taking a cab, running up escalators and not taking the lift. London is a great city to wander around looking up sometimes; I highly recommend it over a germ-filled underground.
Any tips for fitting exercise into a busy schedule?
Having two gym bags; one at work and one at the office.
Is there anyone you look up to as a healthy role model – someone who does it right in your opinion?
I want to know what Helen Mirren has been doing all these years…