What does it mean to be healthy?
To me, being healthy is a whole-body experience. How you feed your body also nourishes your mind and soul from the root up.
“How you feed your body also nourishes your mind and soul from the root up.”
Do you follow any specific way of eating?
I think balance is the key, therefore I don’t follow any diet that is too restrictive. Instead I believe that if you start from a foundation of wellness, a little of what you fancy is part of that balance. I guess it can be summarised by the 80/20 approach.
Why is it important for you to feel (and look) healthy?
I have experienced issues with my energy, digestion and developed endometriosis in my teenage years. I was determined to change the prognosis that endometriosis would make me infertile.
Changing to a more nourishing way of eating made a profound difference to how I felt physically, mentally and emotionally, as well as helping me overcoming the endometriosis (and being a mum of two children through natural conception). I wouldn’t swap this way of life for anything.
“Changing to a more nourishing way of eating made a profound difference to how I felt… as well as helping me overcoming the endometriosis (and being a mum of two children through natural conception).”
What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid?
When I can, I limit my intake of gluten. This has had a significant influence on my energy but also on my experience of endometriosis. By eating a wholesome diet, I naturally also eat a diet that is low in sugar.
Do you cook every day?
As a busy mother and working woman, I know what a task daily cooking can be. On average, I eat a minimum of two home-cooked meals a day and one of the ways I manage this is by cooking certain foods in advance (such as soups, bircher muesli or roasting a chicken, which I can then use to add into a quick salad or stir fry, for example). My Magimix and blender have become my best friends in the process.
What’s your shopping routine?
As a country girl, I have access to some beautiful local produce. Our organic fruit and vegetables are delivered weekly, and once a week we will head to the local farm butcher for some meat. There is the odd trip to Whole Foods Market when I am in London for work and for the rest, I thank the stars for online grocery shopping.
How do you fit nutritious foods in to your diet and life?
Anyone who knows me will know I have an obsession for green leafy vegetables such as kale and chard, so depending on which variety is in season, I usually eat these daily. Not only are they full of wonderful fibre for supporting the digestive and immune systems, but they are also rich in minerals, such as magnesium – which is also known as “nature’s tranquiliser”. Green smoothies in the warmer weather or soups in the colder weather are a great way of incorporating them regularly.
“Anyone who knows me will know I have an obsession for green leafy vegetables such as kale and chard…”
Do you cook and eat the same types of foods as your children?
We eat with the children at the weekend but during the week, they tend to have their own meals. Cooking from scratch is a way of supporting their intake of nutritiously rich food such as making your own granola, making pitta crisps with wholemeal bread instead of crisps or goujons with oatmeal, for example. I am really enjoying cooking from Amber Rose’s Love, Bake, Nourish book at the moment. It has some beautiful cakes made with vegetables and without sugar.
How much emphasis do you put on your children’s nutrition?
I feel that giving your child a nutritious, wholesome start to their life is an incredible gift. Research shows us that this can impact on their susceptibility to disease in later life, even as far back as what was eaten pre-conception. It is criminal that so many foods marketed for children contain sugar – yoghurts and cereals are the worst culprits. By cooking from scratch, you can avoid much of this.
“It is criminal that so many foods marketed for children contain sugar – yoghurts and cereals are the worst culprits.”
What is your optimal breakfast?
Steamed greens with a poached egg is a wonderful way to start the day, but if I am stretched for time, I will whip up a quick green smoothie and a small bowl of bircher muesli with yoghurt.
How do you stay on track when you travel?
Keeping well hydrated is key and having a stash of healthy snacks, such as oatcakes or a pot of berries with pumpkin seeds, close to hand. This means you don’t need to rely on convenience foods. I always take my Wild Nutrition probiotic supplement, too, to cater for any upset tums.
Your favourite snacks?
I adore avocado and so homemade chunky guacamole or slices of perfectly ripe avocado on an oatcake with pumpkin seeds are my go-to snacks. I am also a dab hand at making hummus spin-offs by blending beetroot or kale with chickpeas, cannellini or haricot beans. For a shop-bought snack, I like the Nakd bars.
What is your food routine?
I eat three smaller meals with two snacks. Unless we are eating out, supper is usually something light. I have experimented with other ways in the past but this works best for my body.
When you go out to dinner how do you navigate the menu?
To me, there is beauty in simplicity and so I naturally gravitate towards dishes that aren’t too rich, creamy or fried. Instead I will choose a beautiful piece of fresh fish with steamed vegetables, a simple grilled lamb and add on a side salad, or vegetable dish.
“To me, there is beauty in simplicity and so I naturally gravitate towards dishes that aren’t too rich, creamy or fried.”
I don’t have a sweet tooth so I am more tempted by cheese than puddings. Occasionally I will have a bit of goat’s or sheep’s cheese with an apple or celery. It is actually relatively simple to eat well in a good restaurant.
What is the hardest part of the day for you to avoid temptation?
It has to be right after I have put the children to bed, when I fancy a large glass of wine and some nibbles. I love this time of the day and I make it a ritual to have a handful of cashews and some slow-roasted seeds to enjoy with a glass of wine a couple of nights a week. The trick is to make sure you are well hydrated before you hit this time of the day otherwise the craving for salty or sweet foods can be too much to resist.
Any specific food brands you love?
Biona and Doves Farm are excellent brands. They use wholesome ingredients but are also built on admirable ethics. I love herbal teas by Organic India or Yogi Tea.
How do you treat yourself in terms of food?
I adore smoked salmon, so a truly delicious treat for me is oak-smoked salmon, crème fraiche and chopped chives on a buckwheat pancake. Saturday-morning breakfast is a bit of a ritual in our house and pancakes feature regularly in this.
Have you ever tried a diet or detox that worked for you?
At the start of every season, I do my 28-day total cleanse by Wild Nutrition. Cleansing with the seasons is a well-established tradition in many other cultures and I love this time because it gives my body and my mind a chance to find balance again. The beauty of this programme is that it is gentle but so effective and comes with a food plan and delicious recipes. I feel incredibly rejuvenated by the end.