Founder of Plenish Cleanse
In your opinion, what does it mean to be healthy?
I believe it is in your mindset. A healthy, sustainable relationship with food and respect for your body (what you do with it and what you put in it) yields the best feeling, looking and performing body.
A healthy, sustainable relationship with food and respect for your body (what you do with it and what you put in it) yields the best feeling, looking and performing body.
Do you follow any specific way of eating? For example, are you vegetarian? Or a raw foodist? Do you follow a Paleo diet, etc.? Can you explain a bit about why?
I try not to ‘label’ anything as it makes me want to break rules. In theory, I try to eat 70–80 per cent raw, simply because it makes me feel great. It’s an easy way to manage your eating plan if you imagine filling up more than half of your plate with fresh, raw produce and ‘decorating’ with protein or (whole food) starches. I am not completely vegan as life is too short not to eat ice cream on a summer holiday, but in my day-to-day life I do not eat meat and I stay away from dairy. That being said – and back to the life is short mantra – I’ve never refused a dish at a dinner party that has milk in it and food is one of my greatest pleasures.
Why is it important for you to feel (and look) healthy? Is there a back-story to the way you eat?
For me, feeling healthy and being comfortable in my own skin is a big driver in building my confidence and being able to think clearly. In my late twenties I had a pretty intense travel schedule when I was working at Condé Nast. Between all of the flying and the late-night events, my focus on eating healthily suffered. I found myself battling severe recurring strep throat and a host of other nasties, which after a few years left me on perpetual antibiotics.
I also felt that my concentration was really challenged – I would read a page of a book twice just to absorb it. Sick and tired (literally) of doctors prescribing more medications to treat my symptoms, I saw a naturopath in Los Angeles who, in addition to taking me off all of the antibiotics and other meds, put me on a five-day green juice cleanse. It was amazing. The first two days were a challenge, but something happened on day three that changed my life forever.
I realised that adding heaps more fresh veg and fruit to my diet was the key and juicing became my crutch to do that conveniently.
Free from coffee, meds and solid foods, I felt this mental cloud lift –like I’d imagine getting a cataract removed affects your vision – I felt mentally clear. My energy levels followed suit and post-cleanse I felt like I had a new lease on life. I realised that adding heaps more fresh veg and fruit to my diet was the key and juicing became my crutch to do that conveniently.
What do you think are the most nutritious foods and how do you fit them into your diet and life?
Dark green vegetables and fresh fruits for sure. Kale, chard and spinach get the royal treatment in my house – they are the base for most of our salads, soups, juices and smoothies.
Do you cook and eat the same types of foods as your children? How do you satisfy their ‘kiddie’ palate and still keep them on a balanced diet?
I only have my young daughter Belle, so I don’t have a huge focus group to speak about and I’m very lucky in that she eats everything. I’ve been giving Belle green juice since she was tiny and, perhaps it’s because I never really gave her ‘kiddie’ food, she eats exactly what I do. My staple child-friendly lunches are lentil and veggie hot pots, poached or pan-grilled fish and steamed green veggies or her favourite Buddha bowl (quinoa cooked in vegetable broth with diced veggies and chickpeas or other beans).
How much emphasis do you put on your children’s nutrition? What is most important to you about what goes in their little bodies?
I can’t think of anything that I’m more passionate about. It’s not easy as kids will always opt for a chip over a carrot. It takes a bit of organisation too, particularly if you’re a working mum and not there to feed your child every meal, but it’s so important to apply the ‘start as you wish to continue’ approach to children’s nutrition. As parents, we have such an important responsibility to give their beautiful little cells real, whole foods that act as ‘clean fuel’ to help them build healthy new cells and grow.
What is your optimal breakfast?
Chia seeds soaked in almond milk with fresh fruit and crushed nuts on top.
How do you try and stay on track when you travel?
Juicing helps me tremendously. If you’re rushing around, knowing you can grab a vegetable-based cold-pressed juice is the most convenient way to stay on track. I love pressedjuicedirectory.com for scouting out locations before travelling.
What are your favourite snacks?
Kale chips and nuts. For sweets, I love the peanut butter cups from Upcakes.
What is your food routine? Do you eat three conventional meals per day or do you have smaller portions throughout the day?
I eat about five times per day. One or two of those ‘meals’ is a green juice.
What is the hardest part of the day for you to avoid temptation?
After dinner – my sweet tooth starts speaking to me.
How do you treat yourself in terms of food?
It usually involves chocolate. I try to eat it during the day if I go for it, otherwise the caffeine really affects my sleep. At the moment I’m loving The Raw Chocolate Company’s chocolate raisins.
Have you ever tried a diet or detox that worked for you?
PLENISH, of course!
As I’m getting older, I recognise the importance of building and maintaining bone health, so have incorporated some heavier weight training into my routine two times per week.
What’s your exercise routine/schedule?
Running and yoga are my Prozac. I try to get an outdoor run in two times a week, and yoga when I can. As I’m getting older, I recognise the importance of building and maintaining bone health, so have incorporated some heavier weight training into my routine two times per week.
Do you power up for exercise with specific foods – if so, what are they?
Beetroot juice and nuts.
Do you like trying new exercise classes/trainers/trends?
Yes, because I can easily get bored doing the same thing. Also, I think new trends keep your body moving in different ways, which challenges coordination and muscles and that can only be a good thing, right?
Do you have any tips for fitting exercise into a busy schedule? The perfectly packed gym bag? Classes that don’t necessitate showering etc., etc.?
Book it (including shower and travel time) in your calendar. Even if it’s just once a week, you have that appointment with yourself.
Is there anyone you look up to as a healthy role model – someone who does it right in your opinion?
I like Gwyneth Paltrow’s attitude. She looks phenomenal but is super honest about how hard she works to look that good. In addition to some great genes (have you seen her mom, Blythe Danner?), regular exercise and an evolving approach to nutrition keep her glowing and feeling great.
Most importantly, it does not come as a compromise to eating delicious food, which is one of life’s greatest pleasures. To loop this back with the beginning, a healthy body starts in the mind.