Do you follow any specific way of eating?
In a nutshell, we eat to feel good. With so many ideas of what’s healthy and what’s not, it has become easy to lose your way on what eating well really is. Our philosophy was born out of navigating through this confusion and misinformation.
“It’s imperative to focus on the foods that enrich our immunity, reduce inflammation and nourish us from within.”
The Art of Eating Well explains the basis of this philosophy and the significance of taking your attitude towards food and health back to basics, so that you can tune in to your body and find out what works for you. Key to our message is that a healthy gut and good digestion leads to a healthy body and mind. People are beginning to understand the gut as the centre of immunity, which can be highly compromised by our modern lifestyles.
It’s not just what you eat, it’s what you digest that counts, and without a healthy gut-lining, your body isn’t able to efficiently digest and absorb vital minerals and nutrients. Because of this, it’s imperative to focus on the foods that enrich our immunity, reduce inflammation and nourish us from within. At the heart of everything is homemade bone broth – one of the oldest and most affordable homemade foods – pure, easy-to-assimilate nutrition!
Our recipes are full of nutrient-rich, naturally grown foods that are free from grain, gluten, high starch and refined sugars. At its simplest, we practise mindful eating in the way we eat, the provenance of the food that we choose and how we prepare it. We eat “meat and two veg” with all the natural goodness that comes with it (including natural fats, both saturated and unsaturated) and using only those processes that will enhance it, such as soaking, cooking and culturing.
What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid?
We avoid gluten, grains (favouring pseudocereals such as quinoa and buckwheat) and refined sugars, all of which are abundant in the modern diet in all their refined and hybridised forms. They can destabilise blood-sugar levels, and are the cause of digestive issues for a vast majority of people. We also minimise our use of even the most natural sugars, e.g. raw honey, dates and pure maple syrup.
We avoid any chemically processed foods such as hydrogenated fats, and don’t cook with vegetable oils, instead using saturated fats such as coconut oil and animal fats like butter, ghee and duck fat. These are nutritious and natural as well as being heat stable. We save unrefined cold-pressed plant oils like extra-virgin olive oil, flax oil and sesame oil to dress our food.
“As different foods digest at different rates, our recipes are also created around the simplest form of food combining to get the most out of the nutrients.”
As different foods digest at different rates, our recipes are also created around the simplest form of food combining to get the most out of the nutrients, which leads to more energy and overall wellbeing. A basic rule is to avoid eating starch and protein in the same meal (e.g. fish with buckwheat noodles, chicken and quinoa, steak and sweet potato mash). This is simple to achieve and leaves more room for nutrient-dense, alkalising green vegetables, which are often overlooked.
“There is no “one size fits all” with nutrition – eating well for your constitution is key.”
There is no “one size fits all” with nutrition – eating well for your constitution is key. It’s no good eating a plate of raw veggies if you know that your chewing habits are not up to scratch, or if you live in a cold climate – which explains why salads are not something we desire every day here in Britain! Our surrounding environment, seasonal changes and even moods impact our nutritional needs just as much as our current state of health, digestive abilities and chewing habits.
Do you cook every day?
Every day – for clients, ourselves and our loved ones. With a bit of organisation, being able to throw together a simple breakfast or family supper becomes an everyday habit. We tend to skip any cooking/food-prep processes that we can – like sautéing the vegetables for a frittata or frying onions for a stew and instead, we take the time once a week to properly prepare foods, like soaking nuts and seeds, to make them more nutritious and easier to digest.
We keep three things in mind when coming up with new recipes: Is it delicious? Is it nutrient-rich? Is it easy to make? We like one-pot cooking and using as little equipment as possible – partially because we’re not huge fans of washing up, but also because we want to make eating well as feasible and sustainable as possible.
“We keep three things in mind when coming up with new recipes: Is it delicious? Is it nutrient-rich? Is it easy to make?”
One of our most popular tools, which we teach our clients and readers and has really taken off from our book is the Sunday Cook-Off – this may involve cooking a stew made from pulses or a less fashionable cut of beef (we champion cheaper cuts), roasting lots of vegetables at the same time (to make maximum use of the oven), which can then be eaten hot or added to salads, soaking a bowl of quinoa, soaking nuts for smoothies and making a bone broth, which is easy to do and kind on the pocket. We add our bone broth to just about everything – sauces, soups, stews, gravies and even drink it straight from a mug like a hot cuppa!
Soups and stews have always been a frugal, easy and sustainable way of feeding a family. They are simple to make and don’t require you to stand over the stove throughout the cooking process. What’s more, they’re easy to portion into batches, freeze and reheat when needed. The beauty of using a slow cooker for these types of meals is that all members of the family – each with their own timetables and eating habits – can come home at varying times to a warm pot of nourishing soup or stew. The delicious taste and wonderful immune-boosting properties of bone broth means it always provides the perfect base for all of these dishes.
“We like one-pot cooking and using as little equipment as possible – partially because we’re not huge fans of washing up, but also because we want to make eating well as feasible and sustainable as possible.”
What’s your shopping routine?
A bit of everything. We order a seasonal box of Riverford organic vegetables (less roots) online, which arrives weekly, and top up if needs be at Borough Market, Maltby Street and other farmers’ markets. Visits to our local independents, as well as stopping in at the supermarket, might be on the agenda too.
We bulk-buy where possible as it makes economic sense – especially when ordering from specialist producers – and a bit of research helps turn up some bargains and gems, for example, buying direct from farms for the cheaper cuts that never make it into your supermarket and using your freezer to take advantage of deals (as well as for stocking up on bones for bone broth of course!).
How do you fit nutritious foods in to your diet and life?
The first step is always keeping your cupboards, fridge and freezer well stocked – then you need never go hungry. Add a bit of planning and soon enough, eating this way will feel like a normal routine. Homemade bone broth is our secret weapon – it’s a perfect base for soups and stews. We just come home, heat up a pan and throw in the veggies from our veg box. A nourishing all-rounder packed with vitamins, minerals, collagen and keratin, it’s also amazing for skin – including the dreaded cellulite.
“Always keep your cupboards, fridge and freezer well stocked – then you need never go hungry.”
The healthy fats in the broth help you to assimilate important vitamins including vitamin D. As with any animal foods (and food in general), it’s all about provenance – a healthy animal is key for the nutrients it can provide you with. Exotic superfoods like acai and maca are exciting and attractive, but our favourite superfoods and key healthy ingredients are much closer to home – broccoli, chicken livers, watercress, butter and, of course, our bone broth! These are kinder on the pocket and easily incorporated into everyday meals.
What is your optimal breakfast?
Anything goes! We love nothing more than a piping hot soup, a bowl of warming mung dahl or whatever we may have leftover… Waste not, want not! A homemade winter green smoothie (which is vegetable, rather than fruit-based) allows you to concoct a bespoke nutritional hit, which you can drink on the go. Done right and it’ll keep you sustained until lunchtime – and all under the guise of something creamy and delicious!
The buckwheat granola from our book is a real treat with raw Hook & Son’s milk, and chestnut flour pancakes topped with spiralized apple is delicious too. We also love eggs! Scrambled with a ladleful of homemade bone broth to make them silky smooth, or combined with veggies in our muffin frittatas, they’re a fantastic source of protein.
How do you stay on track when you travel?
For short distances we carry a homemade green smoothie. They are the best way to concentrate your greens in an easy to consume and portable way, especially when you’re not sure when you’ll get your next plate of veg. Homemade sweet and savoury snacks like tahini bliss balls, chickpea crunchies, carrot and flax crackers (which can all be found in The Art of Eating Well) and hard-boiled eggs are great, too.
“A homemade green smoothie is the best way to concentrate your greens in an easy to consume and portable way, especially when you’re not sure when you’ll get your next plate of veg.”
For long distances, we make sure we take all of those snacks above (although smoothies are of course a no-no for flying!). We’ll also pack a few lemons, an avocado, herbal tea bags, sachets of miso (it makes a wonderful hot drink or turns a shop-bought salad into a warming soup with some hot water – look for properly fermented miso), and some of our quinoa instant porridge which you can just add hot water to. When we’re going away, we clear out the fridge by roasting up veggies and combine them with quinoa to make the perfect packed lunch to travel. We turn the rest into a soup or stew and freeze it so we have something nourishing to come home to.
Always remember to opt for thick dips and pestos to fold through your foods, as opposed to dressings, which can get messy. We’ve included a section in our book, which is full of tips and tricks for eating when travelling.
Your favourite snacks?
Apple Rings with different toppings – especially our latest ginger, honey and black pepper tahini spread. Anything with coconut oil for sustained energy, nut butters, our chickpea crunchies, mung bean hummus with carrot and flax crackers for dipping, half an avocado with a spoonful of dressing drizzled on top, or simply a small portion of some leftovers like a mini bowl of quinoa and roasted vegetables (recipes in The Art Of Eating Well). A cup of hot bone broth or miso with a raw egg yolk swirled in also makes a quick, nourishing snack that isn’t heavy on the stomach.
What is the hardest part of the day for you to avoid temptation?
Because of our varied diet with plenty of satiating fats and the diversity of our recipes, which include plenty of treats for the sweet tooth, there isn’t really a hard part of the day in terms of temptation. We don’t deprive ourselves of sweets and desserts because we’ve found a way to make them better for us. It’s more challenging to be unprepared and stuck somewhere where real, whole foods don’t exist or can’t be found – for example, in most airports.
“In our book we talk about the “better than” rule, which means rather than trying to stay in control of everything, just look for the next best options.”
In our book we talk about the “better than” rule, which means rather than trying to stay in control of everything, just look for the next best options. Once you’ve eaten rubbish food, it’s amazing how easy it is for it to feel normal and slip back into old habits and settle for imitation foods that don’t sit well in your tummy or do well by you. We don’t give ourselves grief to get it right all the time or by overthinking it. The good news is that it’s getting easier and easier to eat well – from our own learning as well as a big change in the world’s understanding of whole foods.
How do you treat yourselves in terms of food?
By buying and eating the best-quality food and taking the time to truly appreciate it. Gobbling food up is doing it a disservice, especially if you’ve spent time and money looking for the good stuff – if you love food, then take the time to enjoy it!
What’s your exercise routine/schedule?
We both love tennis, yoga, meditation and long walks.
Jasmine: I haven’t been for ages but snowboarding is always a great holiday and if I see the sea, I have to swim in it! For a quick feel-good blast, I’ll usually do a quick sprint round the block in Vivobarefoot trainers to clear the cobwebs and get the blood flowing.
Melissa: I love dance classes of any type, from Latin and rock’n’roll to ballet or hip-hop. Frame does hilariously fun and sweaty dance workshops; classes are great fun because once you’re in the door you have to commit.
What do you wear to work out?
Lucas Hugh leggings, which are cut from tightly knitted compression fabric for a flattering and supportive fit (they also do really comfortable funky patterned bras). Vivobarefoot for trainers, and Sweaty Betty for yoga pants and the softest tops that last really well despite frequent washing. We’ve been known to badger anyone going to the States to bring us back Lululemon leggings – thank goodness they’re here in London now!
For eye-catching pieces we also like Hip and Healthy – our latest find on this site are amazing Kalindi Yoga leggings. We also covet the super soft basics from Réve en Vert, which feel incredible on the skin. They stock fantastic local brands that have an ethical conscience and are made from sustainable materials.
How do you fit exercise around your work schedule?
We fit it in whenever we can! We love going to yoga classes with our friends, depending on where we are in London – Florence Lefebvre at Flo Yoga, Rachel at Pure Balance Yoga or The Secret Yoga Club with Gabrielle. For some girly fun we like a bit of Voga in East London with Juliet Murrell. If we can’t make a class or we’re away, we do self-practice wherever we can lay down a mat. Yoga on the Internet is definitely a lifesaver – try Tara Stiles Strala videos – no excuse not to do a 10-minute stretch with someone online to encourage you!