The last decade has seen major life changes for entrepreneur Liz Earle. Having left the beauty company which still bears her name in 2017, she’s now back in start-up mode, with her digital and print magazine Liz Earle Wellbeing . She’s designed an award-winning Fairtrade jewellery collection , started the charity Live Twice and had her fifth child.
Her most recent project is her 36th book, The Good Menopause Guide, a guide to looking and feeling your best through the perimenopause, menopause and beyond. In it, she shares, among other things, myth-busting advice on HRT and she opens up the conversation about some lesser known aspects of the menopause such as increase in caffeine sensitivity and itchy skin.
Here she shares the new habit changes that have made the biggest difference to her life.
My daily dose of kefir
"I’ve always had a pretty low maintenance morning routine, but one significant change I’ve made in recent years is the introduction of kefir – a live super-yoghurt drink jam-packed with powerfully beneficial probiotics which I now start the day with. I make it myself using fresh live kefir grains and organic whole milk – although you can use coconut milk, coconut water or any other nut ‘milks'. I normally drink my kefir neat but it is also absolutely delicious in smoothies – such as this one with blueberries and bananas I recently made for the Liz Earle Wellbeing Youtube channel.
"I find kefir gives me a real boost in the morning and has made a big difference to my overall wellbeing. My skin is clearer, energy levels higher and digestion better. I also use it as a naturally ‘live’ skin cleanser (it’s high in lactic acid) by leaving a layer on my skin at the weekends for a few minutes for smoother, brighter skin."
Pockets of stillness
"I recently travelled through Sardinia and Greece for a mini-series for This Morning on Blue Zones (special regions where people share a common lifestyle, whose exceptional longevity has been properly verified). One of the key learnings that have stayed with me is the importance of weaving ‘pockets of still’ into your day. In the Blue Zones, people do this in a variety of ways such as meditation or relaxing walks – a large part of longevity is shedding the stress that is so often associated with busy modern lives and I didn’t see any stress in the communities I visited! Like most working mothers I feel as though I’m on the go the whole time, but since learning more about Blue Zones I make more of an effort to book myself in for a small dose of quiet ‘down time’ into each day – even if it’s just ten minutes of sitting in the garden with a book."
Taking up running
"I’ve always enjoyed exercise, especially outside, but I never had the time nor inclination for running – until a year or two ago when a friend suggested I give it a go and now I’m hooked! I still love Nordic walking and Pilates, which have kept me fit for twenty plus years but running is a new addition to my exercise routine and I’m so pleased to have found it. I’m not a race runner – and have no plans to be anytime soon – but I do enjoy heading out into the fresh air three or four times a week first thing (after my kefir!) for a quick 20-minute run, in the knowledge I’m also maintaining my bone density. Weight-bearing exercises such as running (any exercise that includes any type of upright movement so pressure flows through the spine, pelvis and legs is weight-bearing) help strengthen bones and keep them strong."
Keeping it light at work
"I feel so fortunate to have my daughter Lily alongside me at Liz Earle Wellbeing (where she’s Head of Digital) and one of the best pieces of advice she gave me early on in working together was to lighten up at work! My wellbeing brand is so much a part of my DNA that I genuinely live and breathe it every moment of the day (and sometimes, night!). But of course, it’s perfectly possible – and preferable – to have fun while living the wellbeing working dream! I find that sharing the load with my team and not trying to do it all myself has really helped with keeping it light at work. I also have several young interesting millennials in my team now, all plugged in to what’s buzzing and I love hearing the chat which makes work even more fun!"
Posting on social media
"It’s easy to forget how relatively new social media is – Instagram was only launched in 2010! One habit I have definitely introduced during that time is social media engagement. I confess I was nervous about putting myself in the spotlight, but now I absolutely love having my own voice, especially on Instagram as it’s a lovely community. Customers just love to connect with actual founders and not faceless brands. I love the way Instagram connects and introduces people – I met the gorgeous celebrity cake-baker and inspirational gym-bunny Lorraine Pascale through Instagram and when we first met at my studios ( she recorded an interview for Wellness with Liz Earle) we gave each other a big hug like old friends!"
But, not allowing tech to take over
"My iPhone is my most useful gadget, and of course I’m on it much of the day when I’m out to keep in touch with my magazine team. I’ve always tried to foster a healthy relationship with technology though, and my recent interview with bestselling author Andy Crouch of the Techwise Family, for my Wellness with Liz Earle podcasts, prompted me to review my own healthy tech habits – such as having switch-off times during the day. This is an old habit I’ve reintroduced – I turn my phone off in meetings and leave it in my bag while I’m working so I don’t get distracted."
Making room for phytoestrogens
Food has such tremendous power to help and heal our changing bodies, especially in later life when we rely on greater levels of nutrition to sustain us. The research I carried out for my latest book, The Good Menopause Guide, really reinforced this message and particularly the importance of phytoestrogens, which provide oestrogen-like compounds that occur naturally in the plant kingdom. Not only are phytoestrogens tasty and nutritious but they are also fantastically nourishing – great for mid-life wellbeing. I’ve now developed a weekly (sometimes daily!) phytoestrogen habit – baked sweet potato burgers made with kidney beans and chickpeas, and menopause tea loaf being firm favourites.
Regular family get-togethers
"Now that two of my five children are grown up and live in London, we don’t all see each other every day or even every week as we used to. So, I’ve introduced monthly family roasts where everyone comes back to our West Country farm and we all catch up over lunch and a walk in the fields. Really special family times."
"Our plans to go global as a magazine are keeping my team and I pretty busy. Many of the Liz Earle Wellbeing team work from home throughout the week, coming in as needed, so I think it’s more important than ever to make the time for the whole team to get together on a regular social basis too. Wellbeing Wednesday is the day we all try to have bring-and-share lunch together in the office and it’s really added to our culture of care (and sense of fun!) at work. It’s something I really look forward to."
"They say it’s greater to give than to receive and I can personally vouch for this. Since setting up my humanitarian charity LiveTwice in 2010, which aims to offer opportunities to the disadvantaged through skills training and personal support giving them a second chance in life, I’ve been humbled and genuinely enriched by making more contact in recent years with those in need, whose lives we can help improve with practical, educational and caring support. Live Twice’s recent projects include work with a socially excluded community in Italy; slum-dwelling street children in Nairobi and unemployed young people in Manchester. Knowing you’ve made a positive difference to someone else’s life gives the ‘giver’ a massive personal boost too. I’ve made personal connections with both workers and beneficiaries in so many of our projects now, which is a really enriching experience. Highly recommended!"