In your opinion, what does it mean to be healthy?
Feeling physically and mentally in shape with high energy, good skin and no ailments.
Do you follow any specific way of eating? E.g. are you vegetarian, a raw foodist, do you follow a Paleo diet etc. Can you explain a bit about why?
I follow a low-fat vegan diet with an emphasis on what would be the fruitarian diet, in that I eat a lot of fruit, as it’s more enriching than the grains I consume – I take inspiration from the 80/10/10 lifestyle [this equates to 80 per cent fruits and vegetables, 10 per cent protein and 10 per cent fat].
I was Paleo for a year and suffered with skin problems, lack of energy, not a great deal of mental clarity and I wasn’t in the leanest shape that I assumed that lifestyle would give me. For me, it was too high in protein and fat. Yes, it strips your body initially (of water!) so you feel ripped and lean, but it doesn’t last and it is highly acidic. On doing some research, all I had to do was look at the long-term low-fat vegans vs. the long-term Paleo people to see very clearly who looked better and maintained optimal health!
I take inspiration from the 80/10/10 lifestyle [this equates to 80 per cent fruits and vegetables, 10 per cent protein and 10 per cent fat].
Why is it important for you to feel (and look) healthy? Is there a back-story to why you eat the way you do?
I have always been a blusher – when I’m embarrassed or excited or angry, I blush. What is going on inside me is seen clearly on my skin. Where some people suffer from migraines or IBS, my skin has been my tell-tale signal into what’s going on with me physically and mentally. I have found when there is something as visible as a skin complaint, I do something about it quick, it’s the vanity in me – but it’s the wise decision too. I have always been quite a feisty, hot-blooded creature and so I have learnt to go for calming, alkaline choices as much as I can – which is another link towards the low-fat vegan lifestyle.
I have always been quite a feisty, hot-blooded creature and so I have learnt to go for calming, alkaline choices as much as I can – which is another link towards the low-fat vegan lifestyle.
What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid? And why?
Meat, dairy and sodium are my first avoidance foods and from there I become careful about my fat intake. Some people have thrived off raw-food lifestyles where the consumption of high-fat nuts and oils are a staple. For me, when I tried to incorporate these healthy fats, I gained weight and got skin problems. I looked into enough research and pathology blood tests that proved that eating lots of fruit and vegetables on a low-fat vegan lifestyle give the body all the nutrients it needs. There are enough proteins in these carbohydrate-rich foods that your body doesn’t require more.
Do you cook every day? If not, how do you fit cooking into your weekly routine?
I cook most days and I’m more likely to cook if I have ingredients in my fridge. I hate throwing fruit and vegetables away.
What’s your shopping routine? Farmers’ market, grocery store, online?
I go to the local farmers’ market on a Saturday morning and then throughout the week I go to different places for different things when I need them. I food-shop a lot so that I keep buying fresh produce.
What do you think are the most nutritious foods and how do you fit them in to your diet and life?
Fruit and vegetables. I buy them all the time and eat them constantly. A day without greenery is simply not a day. If I know I might be really busy and stretched to get the vitamins and minerals from a bundle of the good stuff, I make sure I get to a good quality juice/smoothie place to drink some in. To get my fix I go to Planet Organic and Juice Tonic.
A day without greenery is simply not a day.
What is your optimal breakfast?
A cold-pressed green juice (kale/celery/spinach/ginger/lemon/apple) followed by a big green smoothie (kale/banana/fresh apple juice/ginger/dates) and some lapsing tea with oat milk.
How do you try and stay on track when you travel?
I order steamed greens at every meal and, while on the move at the airport, I drink a lot of water and take packets of dried fruit and low-sodium rice cakes with me. As our body runs and sustains itself on glucose, as long as I keep my levels satiated with enough clean (very low-fat) carbohydrates, I don’t crave anything or get hungry and grumpy.
While on the move at the airport, I drink a lot of water and take packets of dried fruit and low-sodium rice cakes with me.
What are your favourite snacks?
Dried fruit during the cold months is my go-to snack, but if I’m anywhere warm, fresh fruit is what I go for. I always love fresh juices and smoothies and get them whenever I can.
What is the hardest part of the day for you to avoid temptation?
Since getting into this lifestyle, I have no temptation time!
What is your food routine? Do you eat three conventional meals per day or do you have smaller portions throughout the day?
Some days I have three conventional meals, but more often I have smaller portions throughout. I don’t notice a difference one way or another with my body.
When you go out to dinner how do you navigate the menu? What are your tips to eating healthily in restaurants?
First of all, the trap I have fallen into many times is being too hungry and going to a restaurant I’m not familiar with. As a vegan, eating bread is allowed, but the gluten, oil and salt that is in it makes me feel ill within a few hours. So I aim to have a snack before I go, or make a smoothie. Then when I’m choosing, I can always see vegetables and soups, potatoes or rice-based dishes. Often, if it’s possible, I ask for no cheese (so often on the vegetarian option), butter or oil.
Are there any specific food brands you love? Because of what they stand for or just the food they offer?
These great quality juice brands are my favourite: Pur Earth and Radiance Cleanse.
How do you treat yourself in terms of food?
What’s great about the low-fat vegan 80/10/10 way of life is that I feel satisfied all the time. I am never in need of treats and I never feel deprived.
Have you ever tried a diet or detox that worked for you?
When I have needed to cleanse because of being unwell or immobile in a trailer while filming on set, I have used the juice companies I mentioned before. But low-fat veganism or the 80/10/10 lifestyle means that you never have to cleanse.
What’s your exercise routine/schedule?
I train at Psycle and Barry’s Bootcamp and practice yoga at Triyoga. I’m at a class 3-4 times a week, alternating between these. And, as my schedule varies, so does my workout – but I am adamant about fitting workouts into my week no matter what. Diet is far more important to keep in check, but the toning and cardiovascular or meditative quality that comes from working out is so important.
Diet is far more important to keep in check, but the toning and cardiovascular or meditative quality that comes from working out is so important.
Do you power up for exercise with specific foods – if so what are they?
I don’t feel the need to really. Drinking water and eating some dates or bananas are great if I feel under-carbed and less energetic (which would only happen if I hadn’t had a chance to eat for a few hours).
Do you like trying new exercise classes/trainers/trends? If so, what and why?
Sort of… but only if I know that the class has elements that I’ll enjoy. I would try any new classes that were along the lines of Tabata/Metcon3/high-intensity body sculpting, but I wouldn’t join a running club. Although when I’m in the country I take myself off round the fields and I love it.
What do you wear to work out? Do you have particular styles for particular workouts?
Nike head to toe – black and tight, like a ninja, except I wear bright trainers.
How do you fit exercise around your work schedule? Do you have to do it in the early morning? Lunch hour?
My weekly schedule varies, as does when I get to the gym, but I like the variety. A lunch-hour class is my favourite time to work out.
Any tips you have for fitting exercise into a busy schedule? The perfectly packed gym bag? Classes that don’t necessitate showering, etc?
If you live close to your gym, getting up and just getting to it is brilliant. Otherwise being super strict about your own personal time and sticking to your plan is the way to go – sometimes things have to be compromised, but looking after yourself is the number-one thing. I have scheduled meetings in the juice bar at my gym or even just close by so that I can stick to my exercise routine. I have also rocked the ninja look from morning until evening when I have only then found time to hit a class. Just being in the kit and ready to go motivates me.
Is there anyone you look up to as a healthy role model – someone who does it right in your opinion?
Two online gurus, whom some people find too intense, but I find full of conviction with scientifically backed-up and educated answers set me on the path of this lifestyle: Freelee the Banana Girl and her boyfriend Durianrider. More recently Loni Jane, whose Instagram and blog got a lot of hype, as well as her 80/10/10 low-fat vegan lifestyle blog.