Vicki Edgson is one of the UK’s leading nutritionists, has a private nutritional therapy and naturopathic clinic in West London, has published six best-selling books and lectures around the world. Vicki’s philosophy is about ‘getting as close to nature as nature intended’. Ella Waving interviews her to find how women can achieve a sense of body confidence and wellbeing, break bad food habits and get a beach body for summer.
Hi Vicki. You have just launched ‘Vital Energy’, 7-day health and wellbeing retreats in San Juan, Ibiza. Can you explain the philosophy behind the retreats, and why you chose to set them up?
We all start life with a great level of vital energy and as we go through the stresses and strains of everyday life that is often drained from us – we don’t realise this until we find we have none left. The Vital Energy Retreat reconnects the guest with all essential senses to ensure those things that are actually important – nourishment, replenishing, renewal and repair to both body and mind are present.
As well as diet and nutrition your retreat focuses on traditional Chinese medicine, relaxation techniques and exercise. Why do you believe a holistic approach to health is so important?
The body-mind connection requires a jigsaw puzzle of care and attention to address many different areas of our total wellbeing. There is never one area of health that is in isolation, so addressing all the senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) is essential for total wellbeing.
For those who may not have the time or budget to attend the retreat, how could we recreate the experience at home?
A short weekend version where you turn of all electricals – phones, computers and TV. Manifest the bathroom in to a mini-spa take a long Himalayan salt bath to help remove impurities. Curl up for an early night’s sleep. Fill fridge with vegetables, fruit, juices and soups.
What do you believe to be the most common diet and nutrition myths?
Common – eating egg will NOT raise cholesterol levels. Butter is not bad for you, whilst vegetable spreads contain chemicals that the body is not able to break down and detoxify. Therefore butter IS better in small doses.
In today’s fast-paced society tiredness and lethargy are a common complaint, what are your top tips for regaining your energy and ‘joie de vivre’?
First top tip – prioritise sleep. One hour before midnight is the equivalent of 2 hours after midnight, cut down alcohol consumption if you are drinking on a day to day basis / aim to drink 2-3 nights maximum. Get moving many people kid themselves that they are exercising when they are just paying lip service to it. Do something fun every day – dance your socks off for 10 mins, buy a skipping rope or hula hoop. Treat yourself to a wonderful beauty product that makes you feel special.
If you could suggest just one simple change that we should we all make to our diets for better health and wellbeing, what would that be?
Eat only products that you can find growing naturally – it makes the biggest difference.
Both your Vital Energy Retreat and your Holland Park clinic offer cookery classes? Do you feel that as a society we are lacking basic cookery skills? Why is getting back to basics in the kitchen so important to good health?
Back to basics is important for health – we have lost out connection with choosing, eating and preparing as nature intended. When food is bought in packs and heated in an oven, there is no association with what might be beneficial, beyond taste. Preparing own foods allows one to experiment with texture, colour and flavour.
Your focus is on long-term lifestyle changes rather than quick-fit diets, however with summer on the way many of us will be experiencing ‘bikini panic’. What are your tips for getting (and maintaining) a beach-ready body in a healthy way.
Cut out all pack snacks and fizzy drinks such as cola. Cut down on high-sugar fruits and increase all green vegetables for an alkaline diet that allows you drop weight naturally. Embark on a 3 or 5 day Radiance Greens juice fast to kick start your summer programme (radiancecleanse.com).
In your opinion how strong is the link between food and emotional wellbeing? For example, do you feel that difficulties such as stress, anxiety and depression can be managed and improved through specific diets?
Inextricable – particularly for woman who rate their personal body image along with the degree of happiness. I encourage women to appreciate the body they have rather than the body they want to be. Stress and anxiety create an acidic state in the body – check out my new range, Honestly Healthy foods, for managing excess stress and anxiety levels, satisfying hunger and creating a better sense of wellbeing.
Do you feel women in general have an unhealthy relationship with food and body image? If so, what can be done to address that?
Women are forever questioning their relationship with diets and the whole ethos of my practise and the launch of the Vital Energy retreats is to address exactly these issues. Women can learn need NOT be restrictive in their diets and discover that food can even be wonderfully pleasurable.
Vicki Edgson launched her Vital Energy Retreats in Ibiza this year. For more information, visit vickiedgson.com/retreats.
Vicki has created food brand Honestly Healthy with Natasha Corret which launched in June 2011 honestlyhealthyfood.com