Interview with Psychologies Wellness Director Eminé...
13 November 2015,08:00:48 BST
Eminé Ali Rushton is the Beauty, Health and Wellness director at Psychologies Magazine in the UK. She has also launched her first book The Body Balance Diet Plan, aiming to debunk and decode Ayurveda for a thoroughly modern audience, providing a truly practical and painless way to bring your mind and body into healthy balance, lose excess weight, energise and boost optimism, for life. It is supported by an ambitious new lifestyle and wellbeing webiste, The Balance Plan.
Our PR manager Lucy was lucky enough to catch Eminé for an interview and ask her some healthy lifestyle based questions...
1. How do you start the day?
I am ordinarily woken by one of my children, around 7am. If not, I naturally wake up at 7am anyway, after 5 years of maternal indoctrination! I have a Philips light/clock that mimics sunrise and plays gentle birdsong in winter... in spring & summer, the birds are tweeting very loudly from the big trees outside my bedroom, so no fakery is needed. I get up, stretch, deal with the kiddies, then boil the kettle and drink a glass of hot water with a squeeze of lime every morning. I also take my probiotic. 20 minutes later, and I sit for breakfast with the family... dosa waffles, eggs, pancakes, sourdough toast... we always eat well!
2. Who or what inspired you to starting living a healthy lifestyle?
I have always been drawn to the pursuit of health. I am Mediterranean and my dad, in particular, was always aware of eating seasonally – lots of fruit and veg – and I grew up eating homemade Turkish food, about 80% of the time. I always know when I am in a good, healthy place, and when I am not. We also had frozen food and shop-bought puds and baked goods a bit too much, but my mother was 25 with 3 children under 5, so bless her, she really did do her best! I went to university, and for the first time, reveled in the freedom of cooking for myself. I cut out cow's milk after 19 years of intolerance, and that really changed things for me. I went from having a constantly snotty nose to feeling lighter and healthier. I also worked out that I could eat well on some very cheap healthy staples – veg, basmatic rice, good stock, sardines and mackerel, good eggs, and spices... that was the turning point. Then, when pregnant with my first child, I discovered Ayurveda, and adapted my diet to suit my own dosha... the health benefits have been huge. I am lighter, more energetic and more positive in mind than ever before... despite being much older!
3. What is one unhealthy habit you can’t or don’t want to let go?
I will always, always eat sugar. I love good chocolate and enjoy some almost every day. I also love making my own puddings – flapjacks, crumbles, muffins... I use spelt instead of wheat (and have been using spelt for about 8 years), and unrefined sugar (sometimes coconut), honey and maple syrup. But I will also, very happily and without guilt, enjoy a slice of cake and a cup of tea when I am out... Ottolenghi's Flourless Chocolate Cake is something I would never want to go without !
4. What does your day-to-day look like?
I work 5 days a week for the wonderful wellness-pioneering magazine, Psychologies, and fit my own personal work for the Balance Plan (balanceplan.co.uk) around that. I am in London a few days a week for meetings, launches, appointments, and in the office writing, editing, commissioning, the rest of the time. As Health + Wellness Director, I am fully immersed in this industry that I live and breathe... it's busy, very busy, with lots of emails to answer, deadlines to meet, and people to catch up with, but it's an utter joy. Once work is done, I am all about home, family, and peace. I am very good at shutting my phone away, family dinners at the table, and once my children are in bed, a minimal amount of work is done, before tech curfews from 8 or at a push, 8:30pm. Then rest, yoga, bath, and lovely time to catch up with my husband.
5. What is your biggest concern that needs to be addressed in the public? (Environmental, social, etc.)
I wish we would all just be a bit less reactive. We have a very 'all or nothing' approach to health and diet. We seem to think that the 'answer' is some really complex formula that involves cutting out lots of 'bad' stuff, and replacing it with expensive, hard-to-find and often less palatable alternatives. Years ago I was told not to eat butter, full fat milk, cream or coconut oil... I thought it was piffle – as long as it's organic, it has so much to offer us nutritionally. My cholesterol levels are very low, and my 'good cholesterol' levels are very high... I never eat refined, mucked-about-with food... I eat seasonally... I eat WHOLE food... I make my own food, or my wonderful husband makes it for the family... we just keep it all super simple. No food is demonised or off-limits. Yes, cow's milk makes me snotty, so I have goat's and nut milks. It all just seems so very simple – almost no point expending thought on it! And I wish this simple message could be gotten through to people who are on calorie-controlled diets, shakes, or those awful processed diet 'snacks'. Real unprocessed food will never ever do you any harm.
6. What is your perfect pick-me-up?
I, unfortunately, get really jittery and find it hard to sleep when I have coffee (even a single shot in the morning!) so haven't had caffeine for about 7 years. There are indisputable health benefits associated with good organic coffee though, so I hope to become a bit more tolerant! When I am foggy and tired, I tend to just throw open windows and breathe in some gusts of fresh air. Or go for a walk if I can. If I can't, I stand up, stretch, and might have a chat with a friend. Interaction boosts me more than anything! Food-wise, I eat very regularly – 3.5 to 4 hours hours between meals, so my energy is pretty stable. I always have something in my bag to snack on if I get caught out – homemade flapjacks, one of the leftover pancakes from breakfast covered in nut butter and coconut, an apple etc... and I am careful to up my iron levels at certain times of the month, as that really does make me feel tired...
7. What are some easy tips you can give to start living a healthier life style?
- Make time, every day, to do something for you that you really enjoy – read a book, take a bath, go for a walk, listen to a favourite album. We are much more likely to want to LOOK AFTER ourselves in terms of our diet and health, when we feel more optimistic about life. And happiness & health are inextricable.
- Start every day with hot/warm water and a squeeze of lime
- Eat seasonally, and locally, whenever/however possible. You may need to acquaint yourself with what you have around you too – my local butcher is my saviour – he sells veggies from all the local farms, and organic meat from our nearest farm... and it is always, always cheaper than the supermarket!
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