What motivates you to workout? Exercise makes me feel calm and happy and at the same time makes me feel energised and positive – you can’t get much better than that. It’s fun, it’s good for you and it is a powerful tool for the mind, helping to alleviate stresses and anxiety. After a great spin, yoga or interval class, all my day’s worries have left my body in the form of sweat, leaving me feeling confident and excited about whatever comes next.
Are there any workout trends that you’re particularly loving this season? There are a few that I’ve been really excited about in the past six months. I love the intensity of Russell Bateman’s SBC classes at Baker Street and the new Dance and Interval classes at Barrecore are terrific to burn calories. The new studio for Paolas’ BodyBarre in Fulham is fantastic – wish I lived closer! And I always love a hot yoga class at TriYoga.
Name your top healthy foods you couldn’t live without! I absolutely couldn’t live without avocados and nuts. Since I don’t eat much meat at all, they are positive sources of fat and protein for me. Equally important to my diet are apples, which I eat often with almond butter as a snack, as well as blueberries and basically veggies of every variety. I’m a plant-based girl through and through!
You’re hailed as the “Sugar-Free Queen”! Tell us about why you are so passionate to dish the dirt on sugar? Quite simply, it’s making both adults and children unhealthy, unwell and overweight. According to the NHS, the average person in Britain now consumes roughly 700g of sugar a week, which equates to 140 teaspoons. Experts have said, however, that our bodies are only designed to handle half of that or less per week. The bitter truth is that our health has become severely impacted as a result of this excessive sugar consumption. Expanding waistlines, constant cravings, binge eating, increased blood pressure, heightened risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease – the underlying force behind much of this is sugar. One in four adults are now obese in the UK and there are 3 million reported cases of diabetes. Something needs to be done – and rapidly – about the way we eat and think. Saying goodbye to sugar is a great first step.
What’s your fail-safe sugar-free breakfast that you can’t stop making? I try to mix it up so I am never bored by my breakfast and, more importantly, so my kids aren’t bored. Chia seed pudding made with homemade almond milk, cinnamon and blueberries is a favourite and other regulars are bircher muesli, rolled oat porridge made with almond milk and flaked coconut, wheat-free toast with avocado and my famous green smoothies. I’m always trying new combinations too, so we’ll often have a new rice porridge I am testing or gluten-free muffins made with delicious fruits and grains.
You’re a very busy lady who’s always on the go, how do you fit in exercise and how do you maintain a healthy diet when you’re travelling a lot? In terms of exercise, I always schedule it in my diary as I would a meeting. With a packed work diary and two young children, it would be easy to find reasons not to go if I wasn’t strict with myself about finding time. I’ll sit down on a Sunday evening and work out a plan for the week ahead. Sometimes I will make an hour for myself at lunchtime; other days I wake up an hour earlier than normal, before the children have risen, to fit in an intense morning workout. If I am planning to meet a friend, then rather than suggest a restaurant or bar, I like to head to exercise classes together. It’s a great way of finding that extra time in the day and always fun to do with a plus one. When I am travelling, I religiously plan ahead and bring tons of healthy snacks with me. I’m also always on Google searching, “best healthy restaurants and juice bars in ……” – you’d be surprised what amazing places you can find all over the world.
What are your must-have beauty essentials? Water, sunscreen and sleep! That’s what really helps me feel fabulous – but of course a coat of mascara and a sweep of bronzer can do a world of good too.
What makes you feel confident when you’re just having one of those days?! I always throw on a bright, cheerful dress if I’m really tired or if I’m feeling it might be “one of those days” and I also try to spend an extra five minutes to put on my make-up properly. I know it sounds like a cliché but I make a special effort to smile at people, help someone and compliment people if I’m having a down day – I really believe the good vibes bounce back to you.
Did your healthy habits come from your childhood or was it something you discovered later in life? I was raised on a vegetarian diet by health conscious parents; many of the habits I have now as an adult have been part of my life from a very young age and I thank my parents for that endlessly. However, I’d say in the last ten years or so, I have fine-tuned these to suit my lifestyle and personal tastes. I’m much more flexitarian now, if I fancy steamed salmon or eggs I have them but my diet is primarily plant-based.
Do you have a favourite quote or mantra you like to stick by? Work hard and be nice to people!
You’re having a dinner party, what would you cook? Depends on who is coming! But I always try to serve an assortment of delicious veggie recipes to prove to people how satisfying eating this way can be. Sometimes I serve fish, but never meat. And I always make a mouth-watering dessert that does not contain refined sugar or dairy. I love telling people that, right after they’ve said, “that was the yummiest dessert!”
What’s your favourite go-to “healthy hub” in London? Luckily there are more and more by the day. Roots & Bulbs, Nama, The Good Life, The River Café, Whole Foods, KX Gym, Juice Well, Daylesford Café.
Do you have any top tips for any sugar-free newbies? First of all, learn to look out for hidden sugar in places you would least expect it. Fruit juice, fruit yogurts, pasta sauces, canned salmon, breaded fish and chicken fingers, instant porridges, breakfast cereals, salad dressings, marinades and, of course, all processed foods. If you start there and begin to educate yourself about all of the sneaky hiding places for sugar, you will be well on your way. Then you just have to commit to purging it from your diet. The great thing is that once you quit the white stuff, you don’t crave it!
Can you describe your perfect holiday destination? For beach holidays, I’d say it definitely has to be Maalifushi in the Maldives. It’s unbelievably peaceful there and their focus is all on wellbeing, relaxing and healthy living – they even have a raw, vegan menu, which is one of the best I’ve ever eaten from. It’s my ultimate happy place.
It’s been a busy day, how do you wind down? The first step of winding down for me is taking off my “work” clothes and getting into my comfortable home clothes; I try to symbolically leave whatever stresses the day brought there in a pile with my clothes. I leave my phone downstairs so I’m not tempted to check it while I am with my kids, and then I just try to shut out the rest of the world and BE with my little precious girls. Sometimes we read, sometimes we have a dance party and sometimes we just hang out but it’s always the best part of my day!
What are your favourite few things from our active-wear store? L’urv Sunshine Seduction Floral leggings