What does it mean to be healthy?
Being healthy is having self-acceptance and self-love; a clean, lean and energised body; and making mindful eating, exercise and lifestyle decisions for the long term.
Why is it important for you to feel (and look) healthy?
Before I met my husband, James, I would follow every fad diet that was out there. They were usually very restrictive and full of low-fat diet products. I went to the gym most days and did lots of cardio. I was always stressing about my weight, which I now know is one of the worst diet downfalls.
As I learned from James, stressing about fat can actually make you fatter. I was stuck in a cycle of diets: I’d lose a bit of weight, then put it back on the minute I relaxed my diet or exercise routine. I needed to find a diet that didn’t feel like a diet – I wanted to eat healthily and exercise a bit, but still live normally and not feel as if I was constantly depriving myself.
“Stressing about fat can actually make you fatter.”
I’d been terrified of weights – I thought they would bulk me up – and just did cardio gym classes and ran and ran on the treadmill. But James showed me how weights actually burn serious amounts of fat in a very short space of time, and really tone and tighten a woman’s body. And the rest is history. Despite exercising less and eating more, the extra weight just fell off in a few months and I felt more energised than ever.
What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid?
The Clean & Lean diet cuts out ‘toxic’ food, which is summarised as CRAP: caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, processed foods. Toxic food stresses your body and encourages it to cling to fat, feel tired and crave sugary pick-me-ups.
Do you cook every day?
I cook a lot, especially now that I have children, as I make all of their food. My favourite recipes are easy – for example, broad bean, spinach and grilled turkey breast salad, and grilled rib-eye steak with sweet potato mash and chilli broccoli.
“Cinnamon’s most amazing property is that it can regulate blood-sugar levels…It’s also an anti-inflammatory so it can help with aches and pains.”
What do you think are the most nutritious foods?
A few of my top foods are:
Cinnamon: Cinnamon’s most amazing property is that it can regulate blood-sugar levels (therefore hunger and cravings) and bad cholesterol. It’s also an anti-inflammatory so it can help with aches and pains. I sprinkle it in my coffee.
Garlic: It’s antiviral, an antioxidant, and helps lower bad cholesterol. Garlic is also a great tool for weight loss. The most effective way to eat it is by crushing it up – the more finely crushed the better, as it releases two fat-burning enzymes.
Blueberries: They are good for snacking on – they are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants, as well as anti-cancer properties.
“Eggs help you stay fuller for longer and several studies show that people who have eggs for breakfast tend to be slimmer and have fewer sugar cravings.”
Eggs: Eggs help you build muscle because they’re such a great source of protein. They also help you stay fuller for longer and several studies show that people who have eggs for breakfast tend to be slimmer and have fewer sugar cravings. Most of the nutrients are found in the yolk, including vitamin B12, which helps the body metabolise fat, so don’t be tempted to have an egg-white omelette.
Avocado: A great monounsaturated fat that has been shown to lower cholesterol and helps your body work off belly fat. I have one most days with breakfast or as a snack with oatcakes.
Broccoli: It truly deserves the name ‘superfood’ – it’s loaded with nutrients and health benefits.
Spinach: Full of iron, which boosts your energy levels and increases muscle endurance.
How much emphasis do you put on your children’s nutrition?
Everyday I get my children to try something new so that they have variety. I feed my baby son fresh and organic foods that I purée myself, and nothing processed or that has additives. When I first started to wean my daughter on to solids, I really began to see food differently.
Initially it was my milk that was giving her all the elements of nutrition she needed to live, and when I started giving her food, I realised it is now the food that I give her that has to keep her alive and healthy.
How do you try and stay on track when you travel?
The food you find on planes and in airports is usually highly processed rubbish, and something I constantly struggle with as I travel a lot. I take a good range of snacks on the plane, like veggie sticks and a small tub of hummus, raw nuts, oat cakes with nut butter, a sugar-free seed slice (check out your local health food store) and a quality supplement to make into a shake while on the plane.
“Good fats slow the rate at which sugar hits your blood, which keeps your blood-sugar levels steady, therefore keeping you energised.”
When you go out to dinner, how do you navigate the menu?
I always include a portion of clean protein (such as fish, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey or eggs), lots of vegetables and good fats (avocado, nuts or a drizzle of olive oil). Good fats slow the rate at which sugar hits your blood, which keeps your blood-sugar levels steady, therefore keeping you energised.
Good fats also burn the fat around your waist and stomach and help you absorb nutrients, so I have them at every meal. I will also always look at the dessert menu!
How do you treat yourself in terms of food?
I love good-quality desserts and anything chocolate, so I have a ‘cheat meal’ once a week. This helps to keep me on track, and it also helps me to lose weight because, when you’re following a good, healthy diet all the time, your metabolism stays steady. When you eat more than usual, your metabolism goes into shock and starts working overtime to burn off the extra food.
What do you wear to work out?
I was struggling to find activewear that was stylish, flattering and comfortable, which is why I first created the Brazilian Body Collection. There was great potential to produce a range using hi-tech fabrics and innovative construction methods to lift, tighten and sculpt the body in all the right places. I work out in the ‘I am shiny’ Nathalie leggings and Florence sports top in red. I can then go straight to lunch and still look good.