November 11th 2019
An Appointment With: Karen Cummings-Palmer
March 30th 2015 / 0 comment
We chat with the nutrition expert about how she found her calling, her daily routine and why massages, meditation and a bit of Bob Marley keep her sane
The biggest advert for the healthy lifestyle Karen promotoes is Karen herself. With glowing skin and an infectious energy, whatever Karen’s got we want it. Helping clients with their individual health goals in London and across the pond in Hollywood, Karen also consults for wellness brands and hosts inspiring health days. Read on to find out how she made it to where she is today and how she juggles it all...
Why did you decide to specialise in food and nutrition?
Like so many women, I had issues. Whilst I have never been fat I spent almost a decade just a little too heavy for my liking. It literally took me 10 years to lose 10 pounds because of course it is not just a simple calories in, calories out equation. I also had terrible eczema as a child which left me with scars into my twenties. After working in hotel and restaurant marketing I wanted to combine food and lifestyle with a way of supporting my health and the health of others in a holistic way so I studied integrative nutrition. I think these little marks of humanity are a bit of a gift when it comes to working with clients on such a personal level.
When was your big break?
It was more like a breakthrough when I was working in Los Angeles providing on-camera health and beauty content and I had a chance to set up a pop-up wellness studio at the Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills. I worked with some inspirational practitioners and clients including the fantastically gorgeous Raquel Welsh. Hollywood is so interesting - it is both carrot and stick for so many of us but there are a growing number of women who are living proof that youth is not the only currency. I now do a lot of work around age-management.
What does an average day look like for you (if there ever is one!)?
My day starts at around 7am with a stretch followed by hot water and lemon and a movement routine that combines yoga, Pilates and free weights. I am really disciplined about doing this daily but I am very relaxed about how much time I spend on this. Everyone has five minutes, so that's what I commit to - if my schedule will allow I might do up to 20.
Breakfast is another non-negotiable, it's really important to mix it up but it always starts with some kind of green juice. This is usually E3 live or Green Magic with berries and aloe or coconut and ginger in my Nutri-Bullet often followed by eggs of some sort. Every day is different which is a joy as well as a logistical challenge. I see clients by Skype as well as in person which can include kitchen edits and cooking classes and I also work with corporates, which involves spending afternoons with small teams of colleagues which is a lot of fun.
I speak at retreats and work with brands from time to time so I spend a couple of hours most days writing and planning at my kitchen table over Matcha green tea. I try to eat a light meal of fish and green veg or a broth by 7.30pm if I am at home. I have a hot tonic of Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother and Turmeric and try and shut down technology by around 9pm (must try harder) and get to bed by 11pm. If I am out, I go with the 'what's good for the soul' principle and order whatever I feel like. My husband is French and in the restaurant business so a glass of wine with dinner is a fairly regular occurrence but it is nearly always one and nearly always red.
What's the most common question you get asked by clients?
Am I drinking too much?
Who's your team 'me'?â¨ Who do you rely on to keep you happy, healthy and sane?
COMO Shambhala Urban Escape at The Metropolitan by COMO, London has the most wonderful therapists; I try and have regular massages with Ile and occasional acupuncture with Ayako. Rowan at QMS in London for game changing facials. My hairdresser Vanessa who just gets it and Amanda George in LA for her instinctive natural colour. Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley and Frank Sinatra for providing the soundtrack. Meditation with Sunita at Tri-Dosha and my partner at the Time Well Spent Retreat. Long walks, Agape Spiritual centre in LA and the ultimate therapy of quality time with my nearest and dearest especially if we are dancing!
How is your industry changing?
I think people are beginning to be less prescriptive and trend orientated. As complicated as so many people would like to make it most of us need to eat real unprocessed food that is largely green with some good quality protein; avoid refined sugar and move a little a lot.