Celebrity nutritionist Madeleine Shaw is one of the poster girls for the clean-eating movement. To celebrate the recent release of her debut cookbook, Get The Glow, we spoke to the Instagram star to find out more about her food philosophy and journey from London twentysomething to bona fide health guru...
What inspired you to set out on this healthy eating path and change your lifestyle?
I developed terrible IBS from eating your typical low-fat, high-sugar diet (thinking it was healthy). I was living in Sydney and came across an organic café one day. I started working there and it changed my life: I immediately started to feel better and was full of energy. Eventually, I packed my bags and moved back to London to spread my message about healthy eating: that you should only eat foods you can grow, hunt or gather.
What are the key principles of Get The Glow?
- Ditch white sugar
- Eat healthy fats from avocados, fish, meat, nuts and seeds
- Love your body
- Heal your digestive system with belly breathing, fermented foods and stress reduction
- Remember this is for life, not just for six weeks.
What's so bad about refined sugar?
Refined sugar sends our bodies out of whack: a high intake upsets important hormones, especially insulin, which affects how we store energy. As well making us store fat, sugar masks the taste of other foods, dulling them so you think you only enjoy the sweet stuff. When you come off it, you’ll actually be able to taste properly again. Sugary foods also affect your mineral and nutrient absorption, and contribute to bloating and indigestion. Finally, sugar is just plain bad for you. Studies from around the world show that it’s linked to a range of metabolic problems, including diabetes and cancer.
And what about low-fat foods, should we avoid them?
They’re processed and full of sugar. ‘Full fat’ just means the product is in its natural form – and it’s always best to eat food that hasn’t been played with.
What are the benefits of following the Get The Glow programme?
Quite simply, your skin will glow. Sugar reacts with proteins in our bodies, causing them to form advanced glycation end-products, which age the skin. It also causes a breakdown of collagen, so when you quit the sweet stuff your skin will become radiant and resilient. Sugar also makes you hungry all the time, so you’ll stop obsessing about food all the time, and the weight will fall off, leaving you with a healthier, leaner physique. You’ll also feel happier, as your energy levels and moods will be more stable once you quit sugar. Time and time again, clients tell me they feel less anxious, irritated and grumpy after following the programme. Finally, you will learn to love your kitchen, as abandoning sugar means swapping processed foods for lots of home-cooked meals.
You mention #BeatTheBloat a lot in your book. Can you give us three tips on how to do this?
1. Eat fermented foods (sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha)
2. Ditch gluten (wheat, rye and barley)
3. Belly breathe – take five long inhales and exhales, allow your belly to rise and fall (it helps reduce stress, which is interlinked with your gut)
What makes Get The Glow different from all of the other healthy eating titles on the market?
It’s practical and realistic: I teach you how to deal with a hangover and eat out at restaurants. The book also uses foods you can actually pronounce and find in the supermarket. There’s a diet program, as well as lots of simple and tasty recipes, using meat and fish. My favourite is the slow-roast lamb shank
Describe what you typically eat in a day:
For breakfast I’ll have poached eggs and avocado on toasted, homemade quinoa bread. Lunch is usually a buckwheat risotto with peas and asparagus, while supper consists of a Thai beef salad with salt and pepper cashews, topped off with some raw chocolate avocado mousse for dessert. If I ever cheat, it’s a croissant – but I only love the proper French ones.
A lot of people struggle with eating healthily on-the-go. What are your tips for this?
Plan ahead, carry snacks like nuts and seeds with you, and go for foods with the fewest ingredients possible. My favourite healthy eating spots in London are Ceviche, Ethos, Juice Well and 10 Greek Street.
Where are your favourite places to workout in London?
What’s coming up next for you?
I’m launching Alpha Babes, an online transformational program to create strong empowered women. I’m very excited so watch this space!