What does it mean to be healthy?
To have a well-balanced diet and lifestyle – and to be positive. Mood and mind play such a big part in a complete state of health.
“Mood and mind play such a big part in a complete state of health.”
Do you follow any specific way of eating?
I have an entirely inclusive diet. I don’t avoid any food groups and instead, focus on eating real foods without labels. As a nutritionist you can go through a journey, experimenting with various diets. However, having a balanced approach is always going to be the healthiest option – both physically and emotionally.
Generally speaking though, I make sure I have a lot of plant-based foods with good quality fish and eggs, as well as small amounts of meat from organic, grass-fed and wild sources. My general approach is to eat organic, local foods and as seasonally as possible. You can always find me on the weekend at various farmers’ markets; and I couldn’t live without my freshly ground morning coffee!
Why is it important for you to feel (and look) healthy?
I struggled with health issues previously and looked into alternative therapies to help deal with them, one of which was nutritional therapy, and this is what inspired me to study to become a therapist myself.
With my clients now, I can see dramatic results with just small changes in their diet, as well as lifestyle modifications too – these can’t be underestimated. It also helps to have a degree in Psychology. The mind/body connection is such a powerful one.
What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid?
I am mindful about over-consuming on too much gluten and too many grains, and I rotate these often. It is important to not over do it on any food. I do avoid refined sugar and any processed foods for a whole host of reasons.
“I like to get creative in the kitchen to make recipes to share with my friends, family and, of course, my clients.”
Do you cook every day?
Yes, I cook every day. I find it very therapeutic and I love food. I like to get creative in the kitchen to make recipes to share with my friends, family and, of course, my clients.
How do you fit nutritious foods in to your diet and life?
I think having a broad diet and not relying on anything too much is the best way to get the most nutrition from your food. That being said, we should be conscious of having plenty of vegetables in our diet as most of us don’t. I would encourage clients to include these throughout the day ideally, particularly greens, as they are powerhouses in terms of their nutritional profile. Homemade kale chips and the Hemsley & Hemsley broccoli fritters are also to die for!
“I think having a broad diet and not relying on anything too much is the best way to get the most nutrition from your food.”
I also make sure to include plenty of omega-3 essential fatty acids. I emphasise the “essential” because they are necessary for health – they help to reduce inflammation, have a significant effect on disease prevention and have an important role in cognitive functioning, too.
We tend to consume a lot of the O-6s, but O-3s are generally lacking in the Western diet. Oily fish will generally provide the highest levels – think salmon, mackerel, sardines and pilchards. Flaxseeds or chia seeds are also both really great and you can add these to salads, puddings or mix with a simple bircher muesli or porridge. Algae, such as spirulina, is another great source.
What is your optimal breakfast?
It really depends but breakfast for me is the most important meal of the day so it should be well considered. Eggs are a hands-down winner from a nutrition and taste perspective. I love to have them on buckwheat toast or poached over greens with some sliced avocado.
I also love coconut yogurt with my own bircher recipe – and a green smoothie is excellent when you want something a little lighter.
How do you stay on track when you travel?
Always be prepared! I make sure to have healthy snacks in my travel bag. Almonds and a piece of fruit are a great way to have a well-balanced snack and keep blood-sugar levels constant without the need for an instant hit.
I also take greens sachets with me that can be mixed into water – Pukka Clean Greens is my favourite. And hydration is key, so drinking plenty of water is really important.
“Almonds and a piece of fruit keep blood-sugar levels constant without the need for an instant hit.”
Your favourite snacks?
At the moment, I’m really enjoying guacamole with crudités.
Are there any cookbooks you couldn’t live without?
The Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl and Living Raw Food by Sarma Melngailis. Plus all of the books by Yotam Ottolenghi.
What is your food routine?
Generally I stick to three meals a day. I very rarely snack but I think it’s about listening to your body. Sometimes I feel like eating lighter if I’m travelling, and at other times I may also feel the need for a snack, for example if I have had a long day or had a heavier workout. Nevertheless I make sure to include protein and carbs in each meal to avoid dips in energy.
When you go out to dinner, how do you navigate the menu?
Pick a nice place first! Most decent restaurants will have enough selection to choose from. Generally I would opt for fresh fish and load up on vegetable sides, particularly greens. I always ask for sauces on the side. My advice would be – don’t be scared to ask what is included in the dishes.
Most restaurants will be happy to help you. Also, try not to go for the full three courses every time you go out. The odd dessert here and there is fine, and is part of a healthy approach to your food too, but not every single time!
“My advice would be – don’t be scared to ask what is included in the dishes. Most restaurants will be happy to help you.”
What is the hardest part of the day for you to avoid temptation?
There isn’t, really. It’s more situation-specific. But if you are eating well most of the time then it is okay to have the odd treat here and there.
How do you treat yourself in terms of food?
I think listening to your body and what it needs is the best way to treat your relationship with food. I make sure I have as many organic foods in my diet as possible. It’s also important to not be too restrictive with anything and to enjoy the process of eating. Sitting down, chewing and appreciating food is the first step in healthy eating, and also having a healthy approach to your food and diet.
Have you ever tried a diet or detox that worked for you?
I believe in life-long healthy eating. A ratio of 80/20, being “good” 80 per cent of the time, is much more realistic. I’m definitely not a fan of anything extreme. I have tried pretty much everything in the process of my job and to ensure I have an informed opinion to pass on to my clients. From this, I’d say to forget the fads and short-term fixes. They simply don’t work and can actually stress the body even more.
“I believe in life-long healthy eating. A ratio of 80/20, being “good” 80 per cent of the time, is much more realistic.”
What’s your exercise routine/schedule?
I train three times a week with weight resistance at BodyWorksWest and I do yoga three to four times per week, mostly at Triyoga. I need both to keep me balanced.
What do you wear to work out?
I really like Lucas Hugh. The leggings from Hey Jo are incredible. I also love Varley and Live The Process.
“Trampettes are great for cardio and moving the lymphatic system.”
Any tips you have for fitting exercise into a busy schedule?
I love Trampettes (miniature trampolines) because you can bring them out for a quick bounce and then fold them away. They are great for cardio and moving the lymphatic system. I think it’s also about trying to plan as much as possible. Treat your exercise like you would any other appointment and plan it into your diary – and walk more. That’s a simple way to add more movement into your day.