How to be healthy (without being bored)

I’m on an accidental detox. After spending a few weeks in India not drinking much alcohol, doing lots of exercise: walking, running, pilates – eating fresh vegetarian food and sleeping lots, I felt amazing. And so I decided to incorporate this healthy-living into my London life.

It’s surprisingly hard to detox in the capital. The lure of the pub is strong and social gatherings most often involve alcohol. In these cold, wet, wintery months – when energy is low – sugary foods are tempting. As is coffee.

And so I’ve decided to compile a list of helpful tips on how to stay healthy in the capital – without feeling like you’re missing out.

1. Instead of spending Saturday afternoon downing pints in a pub on Broadway Market, meet a friend in a coffee shop. Drink herbal tea (Gossip on Broadway Market has an amazing selection, elsewhere – opt for Teapig’s big, bulging herbal teabags):


Herbal tea definitely doesn’t taste as good as coffee – but you will feel so smug that you’ll forget this. If avoiding coffee is absolutely not possible, try decaffeinated. I used to laugh at decaffeinated: coffee’s weaker little sister – but have recently had a few and it’s exactly like the real stuff.

Bear in mind, whilst drinking tea with your friend, that you won’t have a massive hangover tomorrow – and feel yet smugger still.

IMPORTANT: Alcohol makes even the most boring/ annoying people more tolerable. Herbal tea doesn’t. Ensure you choose your company wisely. Last Saturday I enjoyed a 3-hour camomile tea-off with a girlfriend. It was delightful – but purely because she’s interesting and we had lots to talk about.

2. Fancy some chocolate ice-cream? Have a delicious chocolate soya dessert instead:

soya dessert

3. Swap steak, beef casserole, roast lamb and beef-burgers for jerk chicken, coq au vin, bean burgers and maybe just forget roast meals, actually – there’s always too much on the plate and it’s coated in oil. Have a homemade vegetable curry, or smoked haddock with a poached egg and steamed spring greens. You’ll feel better afterwards, I assure you.

4. Don’t stop exercising because it’s cold outside and you can’t afford a gym membership. Use an online pilates video, like Renee’s Pilates – it’s free. I use this half hour video every morning, at 7.30, before breakfast. It’s good for core strength, as well as flexibility and all over toning.

Walk everywhere. Walk quickly if it’s cold. Walk up the stairs instead of the taking the lift or the escalator. When your boyfriend/girlfriend asks you to get them a beer from the fridge, instead of telling them to shut up and get it themselves – go and get it: relish the opportunity to both please your lover and get some exercise.

Avoiding the bus and tube not only means you are walking and so getting fresh air and exercise – it also means you’re less likely to catch the norovirus from sneezing commuters.

5. It’s tempting to spend Friday nights in the pub, or going clubbing (well – for some people. I haven’t been clubbing for about five years). HOWEVER – going for dinner, or to the cinema – and maybe for just one pint – means you’ll wake up on Saturday morning feeling FLY and you can then read the papers, or your book, visit a gallery, go swimming – without the shakes. Being hangover-free makes you feel so much better than the fifth g&t does. And you also won’t have to worry about having embarrassed yourself the night before.

Many of us rely heavily on intoxicants to stimulate us, make us feel more sociable or to relax us. You will feel at your most sociable, relaxed and stimulated when you have purged your system of all the toxins. And you won’t forget what you’re talking about mid-sentence.

I looked in the mirror yesterday and noticed that my sclera (the white of the eye) is bright white, rather than slightly yellow. Rich laughed when I suggested this – but I’ve definitely noticed a difference. This is due to lots of exercise, water, vegetables – little to no alcohol and reducing caffeine intake.

Healthy body = happy mind.

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