A mindful morning gets the day off to the best possible start. Breakfast is without a doubt my favourite meal of the day. In fact, I love it so much that I eat it twice. I have a black coffee and fruit plate before training and then something more substantial before heading into work. This second breakfast can be anything from avocado on sourdough to overnight oats (try using a mix of oats and quinoa flakes) with yoghurt and fruit, or a savoury breakfast bowl with roast pumpkin and eggs. I try to be healthy in everything I eat but with breakfast I think about it a little more as I’m setting myself up for the rest of the day. Ten minutes of meditation is also non-negotiable for me in the morning – this gets me focused and ready for the day ahead.
Nutrition is not low-fat or low-calorie. It’s not about being hungry or deprived, either. I believe the connection between what we eat and the way we look and feel is incredibly powerful. I made a promise to myself a long time ago never to deny or deprive myself when it came to food, instead choosing to love and nourish my body. That being said, I believe that to look and feel your best you need to eat predominantly real food and limit anything that is overly processed and refined. Lots of people see the weekend as an opportunity to indulge or have a cheat day, but so long as food is mainly plant-based, fresh, in-season and nutritious, I’m happy. On the weekends, I actually tend to eat less as my days are less structured. I’ll often have a late breakfast, skip lunch and go straight to dinner, with maybe a snack in between. The one thing I do love on the weekend is an almond croissant and dinner may be three courses instead of just two.
I eat dessert every day. I have such a sweet tooth, so indulge in this daily, but always with something that is nutrient-rich. I treat dessert as my third snack of the day – my go-tos include homemade raspberry and hazelnut chocolate, yoghurt with homemade granola and berries, one of my homemade bliss balls (my favourite is the chocolate and peanut butter flavour), or a peanut butter and cacao nib cake that I make ahead of time and keep in the freezer.
Snacking is a great way to keep energy levels topped up between meals. My go-to snacks include hummus with carrots and cucumber, a homemade protein ball, or apple slices with peanut butter. Smoothies are also a great way to pack in lots of nutrition and, if you can stomach a green smoothie, even better. What I enjoy most about a smoothie is that the combinations are limited only by your imagination, and you can address unlimited health concerns with the ingredients you choose to include – from boosting immunity to getting an extra boost of energy. If you’re new to green smoothies, start with spinach leaves, a banana, half a pear, one orange, half a cucumber and coconut water. As your tastebuds become accustomed to the flavour, you can add kale, parsley, celery and spirulina powder.
Dinner needs to be quick and healthy. During the week, by the time I’ve finished work it’s often late, so dinner needs to be quick and easy to prepare but also delicious and healthy. Fish is a staple in our house – my favourite recipe is grilled miso salmon with a bean and pea salad – but I also love stir fries, as they are a great way to use lots of vegetables. I love making a vegetarian lasagne on the weekend, too, which I can then heat up throughout the week, served with a rocket, pear and parmesan salad.
Eating little and often can help. Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of listening to your body’s needs when it comes to food. Skipping meals is probably one of the worst things you can do for your body. When you skip meals, or leave too long between meals, your metabolism slows and you stop burning the calories you should. When you start to eat smaller meals more frequently, and especially when you include metabolism-boosting fresh fruit and vegetables, your body will use this fuel at a higher rate. My philosophy with food is about eating according to what you feel your body needs for the day ahead – not being greedy, but not depriving yourself either.
Stock up on colourful foods. My superstar fruit and vegetables include green, leafy vegetables, which should be part of your routine every day. You’ll always find broccoli and spinach in my fridge – they cleanse the liver and keep blood flowing and skin glowing. Berries are also anti-ageing heroes – I sprinkle them over my cereal in the morning or enjoy them for dessert – and tomatoes are a powerful antioxidant that can lower your risk of certain types of cancer. Did you know cooking tomatoes increases their antioxidant power by more than five times? Add them to sauces, frittatas and soups.
Apple cider vinegar can aid digestion. An age-old digestive remedy, apple cider vinegar is great for promoting optimal digestion and encouraging the growth of friendly bacteria in your body. Look for one that is ‘raw’ or ‘unfiltered’ and either drink it before your evening meal (one tablespoon diluted in a cup of water) or add it to a salad dressing. It’s also rich in minerals that help cleanse your digestive system.
Keeping your body in an alkaline state can improve mood and energy levels. The foods we eat can affect how acidic or alkaline we become. Some foods, such as sugar, meat, eggs, cheese, rice, oats, alcohol and caffeine, break down into acid-forming substances, where others assist in keeping our bodies at their health-promoting, alkaline best. Alkaline foods include green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, seeds and nuts, spirulina, pineapple, onion and sweet potato. I try to make sure my diet is made up of 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming foods.
The right supplements can keep your health on track. I believe we are what we eat, so mostly rely on the food that I eat for nutrients, but I do supplement with magnesium, vitamin C and collagen. During the pandemic I also started taking vitamin D and zinc as well as an immune support supplement.
Lower-impact exercise suits me better these days. I used to be a cardio queen, doing high-impact classes every day, but low impact exercise such as weights, Pilates, yoga and walking is my focus at the moment. I like to mix it up every week, but always exercise first thing in the morning before life gets in the way. I strength train twice a week with a trainer, do yoga at home or at a local studio a couple of times a week, walk my dog twice a day for 30 minutes and love a long beach walk or hike at the weekend.
A weekly massage keeps my body in check. I’m not talking the type of massage you can fall asleep to – think more a deep tissue ‘fix my tight muscles’ type of massage. It’s an incredible tonic for both mind and body. I also have a facial every six weeks to keep my skin glowing and radiant.
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DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.