I grew up around a lot of food. My dad is in the restaurant business, so I was learning about food and cooking from a very young age. I started working in kitchens when I was 16, and the rule was to try everything once! It helped me to develop a taste for flavours.
I used to be a yo-yo dieter. My weight would fluctuate as much as 1–2 stone every 6 months. It was exhausting and I was unhappy – I was very overweight and had terrible skin. So I started to look for a healthier way of eating.
I discovered alkaline foods about six years ago. An Ayurvedic doctor suggested eating a mainly alkaline diet might benefit me. He explained that all ingredients react differently when digested by the body – either they become acidic or alkaline. Our blood pH is naturally slightly alkaline, so eating a lot of acidic foods means the body has to work harder to return to its natural state.
I don’t believe in diets. I think they’re detrimental because it’s impossible to stay on them for the long term. I wanted to create something for me that was a lifestyle not a diet. My ethos is to use the 70:30 rule – 70 per cent of my week is made up of alkaline eating, and for the remaining 30 per cent I let myself eat what I want, be it pizza or a fry-up.
It’s important not to skip meals. Every meal is ‘the most important meal of the day’. Breakfast is key as the first thing you put in your body sets you up for the rest of the day. If I’m training in the morning I’ll eat an egg or oat-based breakfast for a protein kick.
I launched a brain-boosting breakfast at Pullman London St Pancras Hotel. It’s called the Intelligent Breakfast and it’s perfect for travellers. The menu contains ingredients that help brain productivity and support the gut, which is important when you’re on the move. The menu is designed to put a lot of interesting, good-for-you ingredients in front of people to give them the opportunity to try something new.
Always read the label. Big brands are starting to jump on the healthy-eating bandwagon but can use ingredients that aren’t necessarily good for us. I would advise people to always read the label and to make as much as possible from scratch. This year we’re growing the Honestly Healthy marketplace. It’s a sustainable platform for UK businesses to sell products with a similar ethos to ours.
Three things I love…
GREEN SMOOTHIES My favourite is a blend of spinach, cucumber, mango and avocado. Everyone should try to eat more greens, and a smoothie is an easy way to do it.
TEFF PANCAKES from my Intelligent Breakfast menu. They’re topped with cultured kefir yogurt and mushrooms – so delicious!
LEMONS I hate it when I run out! They’re fantastic for adding flavour to meals. I use both the juice and the rind.