Sometimes an idea for an article comes from an experience, a question, or maybe a new launch. The seed might be planted by something that piques my interest as a development in the industry, which I want to nourish into fruition by further research – or as with the last issue, a huge change in the industry itself. I am the first to admit that the plans I had for my upcoming articles have had some huge changes, in order to stay reactive and true to the events of the past 18 months. As the seasons meandered in and out of lockdown, we somehow flew from month to month. And now here we are in summer 2021.
Other times, a piece might come from an adventurous journey I take on a particular topic. A pet hate within the industry is the idea of trying something once and hailing it as a wonder. There are some things which you really need to invest your time in to see results. Wellness is one of them. We all aim to eat well, exercise regularly and take the time to rest, but sometimes we need a little more. Here, we might turn to supplements (along with the creation of the neuroplasticity to remember to take them), but where do we begin?
I started my journey with a tailored supplement regimen at the back end of last year, but as I thrum my fingers on the keys of my laptop (such a shame we don’t put pen to paper as much anymore, no?) I am sitting in a hotel room amid a three-week stint of back-to-back shoots and private clients. The dispense of my chosen supplements has become indispensable whilst my industry has finally ramped back up to full speed, during the reoccupation of its proud place in the economy.
But with all the best will in the world, and topical reading to boot, nutrition is not my area of expertise. I decided to reach out to an expert, an old friend Fiona Campbell. We first worked together over five years ago, with me as her client. A big move across the country and a huge change in work, as my move to freelance had left me unbalanced in my lifestyle, feeling sluggish, and struggling to find the answers to how to regain control of my seemingly unruly body. I was intrigued to see how I was doing now in my choices – and more to the point, how I could, dare I say, do even better.
READ THE FEATURE HERE IN THE ALPINE EDITION
Fiona’s background in nutrition is wide-reaching. Working internationally and with regular guest slots on Sky News, she also taught and led clinics for the College of Naturopathic Medicine in Bristol and worked as Director of Studies for four years, all whilst working directly with individuals and plenty of celebrity clients. With clinics in the South West, Fiona also offers consults online to cater to the needs of clients further afield.
I shared with her my areas of interest, which being honest, aren’t particularly trailblazing, but are areas I know for sure that so many of us look to improve. The world is re-opening, we are busy playing catch-up. We fill every moment and want swift answers for even the most complex of problems. So, let us break it down for you and help you to find the components you need for the sum of your own good health. It’s basic addition.
I’m confident in saying we all know about Vitamin D. In layman’s terms, it’s our ‘happy vitamin’. Helping to boost energy and maintain bone strength, it has been linked to immunity and disease prevention too, in relation to protection and even recovery from Covid-19. My go-to is vegan-friendly HUM – Here Comes The Sun.
Even better, HUM looks after the environment too, with all bottles using ocean-bound plastic (a crucial factor to tackle waterway pollution, repurposing discarded post-consumer and industrial waste). Estimates say that around 80% of ocean contamination is by plastic that originated from land, but HUM is working to eliminate their use of single-use plastic by 2025.
In my quest for nuclear-level energy resources, I looked to another HUM offering, Uber Energy. With adaptogen ashwagandha, and traditional herbs eleuthero and astragalus root, it’s a balanced lift without the jitters and delayed effects of caffeine. Reassuringly, Fiona approved too, “I really like this, it contains a decent amount of energy regulating adaptogenic herbs to avoid the ‘wired and tired’ effect of caffeine. It also contains B vitamins to support the development of red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body and help it to best utilise fats and protein for energy.”
I loved the vitality boost, but worried I was intolerant to one of the ingredients as my skin was less than happy with this addition to my diet. A delicate flower, I already know of my allergy to apples, lactose intolerance, and skin hypersensitivity to rose and lavender oils. I reached out to Fiona, to find out about potential sensitivities with supplements. What should I look out for as a symptom, or how might I work around this?
“Everyone reacts differently to food and supplements. It could be the fact that you were pushing yourself so hard with all the new-found energy, which caused the skin flare-ups, as opposed to an intolerance or allergy to the herbal compounds you were taking. To be absolutely sure, however, I would suggest that you take a nutrient focused complex for a month instead. B vitamin deficiencies are a key trigger for flare-ups by causing blood vessels to dilate. Then add the herbs back in later.”
I was excited for the confidence boost to add this back in gently, just with a little tweaking. After all, the body is no straightforward two-stroke engine; it’s a complex design of intertwining systems, which sometimes require a little trial and error to get running in tune.
Immunity is at the forefront of wellness focus right now, and for good reason. It has been a scary time for our communal health, and a time where self-care from all angles has been so important to be able to stoically keep calm and carry on. But where do we aim? Vitamin C? Vitamin D? Probiotics? I let Fiona take the lead here for guidance on how best to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
“Many people don’t know that 80% of your immune system tissue is located in your gut, so a balanced microbiome which keeps the lymphatic tissue healthy is key to keeping inflammation and illness at bay. I really like EQUI London – Immunity Edition because it contains a sensible amount of beneficial bacteria, as well as Vitamin D and plant compounds. Research links these with a faster recovery from upper respiratory infection, plus a reduction in flare-ups associated with inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Many companies attempt to get everything you appear to need in one bottle, but consumers end up with ingredients at levels too low to support any potential results. EQUI London, however, specialises in a one-bottle solution and I think they are absolutely nailing it. It’s important not to take too many different supplements at once, for two main reasons: firstly, you won’t know what’s working when you do see results, and secondly, there is the potential to damage your health if you take too much or the wrong things together. Nutrient, herbal and drug interactions are more common than you think, so it’s important to consult a nutritionist or your GP before starting any new regime.”
I will readily admit, as one of my longest-running supplements in my armoury, Advanced Nutrition Programme – Skin Clear Biome is one of which I am least willing to give up. It is also one of the most simple additions, with little worry of contradiction with other supplements, just zinc and their Skin Clear Biome complex of four bacteria and yeast strains. The strong link between gut health and immunity leads further to the improved health of your skin. For me, it means an obvious reduction in redness, far less congestion and a brighter complexion overall.
But it takes time, as Fiona reminds us. “I always have to remind my clients that due to the lengthy cellular renewal process in the skin it often takes four weeks to start seeing any changes. It’s frustrating when you’re suffering from a serious skin problem, but while you’re waiting for dietary changes and any nutritional support to start taking effect, the best thing to do is focus on hydration, sleep, reducing stress and avoiding inflammatory elements such as nicotine and alcohol.”
Another little helper I love to add in is HUM – Arctic Repair. With Vitamin A, E and Omegas 3-6-9 from vegan-friendly Lingonberry seed oil, it’s a simple, yet effective formula which easily fits alongside other supplements, and works to improve the skin in several ways. Firstly, Omegas 3, 6, and 9 are crucial for synthesising cell membranes, and calm the skin’s inflammatory response whilst improving the quality and performance of your skin within its protective barrier function. Antioxidant Vitamin E works on cell function, combatting free radicals to further improve skin health, and finally, Vitamin A directly speeds up healing, prevents breakouts and maintains the skin’s natural moisture levels.
It’s wonderful to be able to confidently attribute a cause and effect, and over the weeks since first introducing Arctic Repair, fine lines around my lips and eyes don’t jump out at me at first glance in the mirror quite the way they did before. And, despite the change in the seasons, my usually oily-tending complexion feels much more balanced.
The fountain of youth
What used to be elusive is getting tentatively within reach with every passing year, with new treatments, advanced skincare and new nutritional formulas. For those who don’t get on with tablets or capsules, meet EQUI London – Beauty Formula, a daily nutrient powder, as an easy addition to smoothies, or simply taken in water. But what does it bring to the equation? Formulated to improve all areas of skin health, in just two scoops, with a balanced mix of vitamins, minerals, adaptogens, probiotics, marine collagens, herbs, supergrasses and berries – it’s the perfect addition to a good skincare regimen and an overall balanced diet.
If you’re looking for a vegan option for fortifying collagen, which until now could be difficult to find, look no further than Advanced Nutrition Programme – Skin Collagen Support. It’s another Fiona-approved formula. “I like the ingredients in this complex, Super Oxide Dismutase being one of my absolute favourites as a clinician; its role is to prevent oxidative damage and it’s as much of a superhero as it sounds. Combined with MSM, this supports healthy inflammatory processes and should provide good antioxidant support for the skin.”
We always get told that the best antioxidants are the most colourful. But as with many things that are good for us, including the rainbow every day isn’t that easy. HUM – Daily Cleanse gets you your colours, from chlorella algae to beetroot, and spirulina too. In fact, the blend offers an array of different detoxifiers to support better digestion and clearer skin.
Fiona delves deeper for us again: “Having enough antioxidant support is crucial for your internal and external glow. The role of antioxidants is to help to neutralise free radicals which can damage the cells of the skin and cause more signs of premature ageing.
It’s absolutely true that eating a wide enough variety and an optimum quantity of fruits and vegetables is a challenge, but that’s the first port of call if you really want to beam from the inside out. It doesn’t matter how good a supplement is, if you haven’t got the right building blocks in place.”
We have already heard from Fiona about the importance of your gut health, but what about a little above that, your stomach? HUM – Flatter Me offers a complete range of digestive enzymes, working to assist in the breakdown of everything from proteins to vegetable fibres, with herbal digestive aids fennel, ginger and peppermint. From a helping hand for a sensitive tum to getting a headstart on a heavier meal, Flatter Me should always be nearby.
“I often recommend digestive enzymes, particularly where there are persistent signs of impaired digestion which occur immediately after eating. This formulation really does hit the spot where bloating and cramping persist – and you’ve already spoken with your GP.
That said, nothing delivers more effective results than slowing down and chewing your food properly. So many of my clients suffering from IBS are surprised to discover that with a bit of focus and mindfulness around eating, the vast majority of their symptoms can disappear within days.”
Strength of sinew
I will admit, I was lost at this juncture. I balance my multi-vitamins, I’ve read widely, sought advice at each crossroad, and trialled supplements for so many other aspects of my wellness. My runner’s knees are woefully ignored in my current schedule, but I was sure Fiona would be able to put me back on the right path.
“When you think of joints, think of good fats such as Omega 3 and 6, collagen, and getting enough sunshine to maintain optimum levels of Vitamin D. Look to support your gut microbiome, where 80% of your immune system tissue lives and which keeps inflammation in check. I always recommend high-strength Omega 3 supplements such as Nutri Advanced – Collagen Forte.”
The final sum
My favourite part of Fiona’s method is her perfectly linear approach to the idea. As we’ve seen, put simply, nutrition is what you consume. It sounds so simple, but something that is so easily forgotten, what with so many variables in the area and our busy schedules. “Of course, none of these supplements are going to work properly without the foundation of a healthy diet. Eating locally produced food that meets organic standards such as the ones I recommend in my 21 Day Nordic Energy Plan is crucial to the maintenance of health and well-being. There is no skirting around that with even the most glossy of pills.”
My first experience with Fridge Fills from Detox Kitchen couldn’t have come at a better time. Bouncing around from hotel to hotel at the tail-end of a lockdown is not conducive to accessing the best dining experiences, an evening at Soho House notwithstanding. Returning home, tired and bloated, the desire was burning for a nutritious meal, yet the time and energy to make it was smouldering in ashes. I was met with a fridge laden with beautiful meals with the best ingredients to keep me going through my busy weekend of clients.
Their vegan-friendly Cobb garden salad is a particularly scrummy mix of chunky new potatoes, crisp cherry tomatoes and smooth vegan feta cheese, with a tangy cashew dressing. Here you have swift lunches or light dinners at the ready, with so much more excitement on the palate than one might be able to rustle up themselves on the fly.
When you’re craving something more filling, their straight-to-oven meals are ready in fifteen minutes, with hearty slow-cooked (just not by you) curries, to super-fun dishes like their enchilada lasagne. Mexican meets Italian? Let me at it. Fragrant rice, smooth black beans and a signature smoky chipotle sauce, layered over corn tortillas. Most definitely something I will recreate at some point, but which I was very happy to bring to my plate with absolutely zero effort.
And so it is, we again come to the close of another theoretical adventure together, but hopefully one that offers the elements of a new practice to explore. I, for one, am not planning to stop tinkering with the numbers – not just yet.