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?
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!
Why is it important for you to feel (and look) healthy?
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.”
What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid?
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.
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 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.
When you go out to dinner, how do you navigate the menu?
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.
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?
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).
Any tips for fitting exercise into a busy schedule?
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.