She's at the forefront of a wellbeing revolution and says it all starts with a good breakfast
Photo: Ellis Parrinder
Madeleine Shaw hasn’t always had a positive relationship with food. As a teenager she went through cycles of depriving herself then binging on food, after which she developed IBS. Aged 18 she moved to Australia and started working in an organic cafe that changed her food world.
Since then she's launched a blog, a supper club and written a cookbook, Get the Glow (hardcover, RRP £20, Orion). Shaw also acts as a health coach to the stars, such as Made in Chelsea's Millie Mackintosh.
We caught up with the now London-based clean-living guru to find out her wellbeing tips and why she believes there should be “no raw after four”.
How did you get interested in health and wellbeing?
“As a teenager I was bloated, constantly tired and my skin was flaky. Working part time at an organic cafe helped me learn about food and nutrition. After that I studied nutrition then moved to France to work as a private chef for an Australian rugby team. Two years ago I moved back to London, started my supper club and it all went from there.”
What do you eat on a typical day?
“Breakfast always has protein in it and something eggy, so maybe poached eggs, salmon and avocado, boiled eggs and gluten-free bread, porridge with nuts, seeds and yogurt. I’m not big on snacking, I just try to have proper meals. Lunch is a piece of fish with maybe some sweet potato and rocket salad and then a green juice or nuts in the afternoon. Dinner will be something like chicken fajitas and guacamole.“
Do you have any rules that you stick to?
“I go gluten-free because you do cut out a lot of rubbish that way. Some of the wheat produced now is so genetically modified, not like the wheat we used to eat.
“Also, chew your food; most people don’t take the time to chew. Aim to chew 10-20 times. It helps digestion and allows the food to properly absorb into your system.
“No raw after 4pm, so that’s no raw salad at dinner. I prefer slow-cooked foods in the evening – you’re not going to sleep with your stomach in knots.
“It’s much more cool to look strong and actually have a bit of flesh in your cheeks. Be happy and feel energetic. I think that’s so refreshing. In part, social media is to thank for the shift in attitudes towards healthy eating.
"We can see and hear about everything everyone else is doing and they’re inspiring us to do things differently in the UK.”
Photo: Martin Poole
If we should make one change to our diet, what should it be?
“To quit sugar. It’s not just about sugar in cakes but the hidden sugars – all the little bits of sugar that you’re having throughout the day.”
What foods should we regularly be including in our diets?
“Lots of healthy fats, grass-fed meats, as well as oils and nuts to keep energy levels higher. Including lots of veggies, specifically the dark green ones, is important as are gluten-free grains, such as quinoa and buckwheat. Always eat food you can grow, hunt or gather.
“I think things are changing, which is exciting. Take full-fat yogurt: people would look at me terrified when I would say to eat it, but healthy fats are natural and made in nature. Go with the natural foods.”
What’s an easy way to incorporate more veg into a diet?
“Choosing the ones you really like. If you hate kale, don’t eat it. There are lots of great veggies that you will like. Put them in smoothies or get lots of spice in there. People are afraid to season. They shouldn't be.”
Where are your favourite London eating spots?
Photo: Martin Poole
What do you eat when …
… your skin is looking and feeling a bit rubbish?
“There are two things to address: the first is getting lots of dark leafy green veggies, almonds, chia seeds, oily fish and red peppers into your diet (they have more vitamin C than oranges). The second is to address the stress. Do some yoga, meditate and take a few belly breaths.”
… you've had a heavy weekend?
“You need to put some goodness into you: a nice green smoothie, good quality protein. Fermented foods will rebalance your gut – you need to be good to it.”
… you're struggling to sleep?
“No screen time after 9pm. Read before you go to bed or try some sour cherry extract with rice milk, or some chamomile tea. We’re so stimulated, and you need to be destimulated.”
How do you relax?
“Having baths and cooking can be very therapeutic – although I am a very messy cook.”
What healthy food trends do you think we’ll see in 2015?
“A lot of sprouted fermented foods, getting even more nutrition from your food, soaking your grains and making bone broth.”