Nutritional therapist and model Rosemary Ferguson knows all too well how stressful, full on and unhealthy London Fashion Week can be. Here, Editor-in-Chief Susannah Taylor asks Rosemary her health advice on how to navigate the madness of the week and come out of it as healthy and glowy-looking as possible - advice we could all learn from in everyday life.
ST: Models have to get up very early during fashion week. What’s a great breakfast that will see models through until lunch?
RF: It is an old fave, but porridge is brilliant for slow burning energy. You could try millet porridge with millet milk, or quinoa porridge. There are lots of porridge places popping up now in London, such as 26 Grains which make it a bit sexier! Bircher muesli is another one, which is so easy to make and will keep you going all morning. Add cinnamon, fruit, grated carrot, beetroot, raw yoghurt, seeds etc, there are so many things you can add to a basic bowl of porridge to make it super tasty and and perfect for your needs.
ST: What snacks can models pack in their bags?
RF: You must remember that if you get too hungry you will end up grabbing something sugary that will give you energy for a second but leave you feeling more tired, so it’s best to eat 3 decent meals. However if you’re feeling hungry in between, what about dried seaweed? It is full of chlorophyll and energy boosting phytonutrients. Seeds would also be good as they contain a bit of protein to keep you going and some good oils for the hair and skin. I am a big fan of hummus plus some carrots, or some corn crackers, again protein, great for skin and they provide slow-burning energy. If you are a very sugary kind of girl or boy, perhaps try dried pineapple or mango - they are high in sugar but they have got a load more going for them than something like a Snickers bar.
ST: Is there anything that models can take that will boost their skin fast?
RF: It’s a good idea to grab a juice or a smoothie when you can. I would say when you have lunch, grab a juice at the same time. The reason I say this is because you need to help your liver and flood your system with antioxidants to boost the skin; having a juice is a really good and fast way of doing this. Orange veg or purple or green are the ones to think about when choosing one. Bright colours rule!
ST: What supplements should models take to avoid getting ill?
RF: The go to is vitamin C - if you feel you are on the verge then you should blast the vit C. If you are dying from tiredness and stress, then vitamin B is going to be the one for you. Make sure you have got a multivitamin with good levels of magnesium and zinc too, both really important for the immune system. If you are really on your knees you could have a vitamin infusion. Make sure you talk to a professional before who tailors the infusion to your needs, though. You could also try herbs such as rosemary which is great for colds and flu and also something called ashwanganda, a powerful Ayurvedic herb which will help your body to adapt to anything you throw at it.
ST: Is there anything models should drink to help survive the week? Juices to drink? Teas to sip on?
RF: It depends what you are doing. Are you partying? Are you having trouble sleeping? Are you coming down with flu? For Fashion Week you will want to feel and look as good as you can, so skin is really important, and as I said you want to boost the antioxidants in the system by juicing brightly coloured vegetables. Bitter greens like rocket and chicory are also great for your liver and will help to bolster it if it is taking a battering! If you need more fibre to help things stay moving and keep the waste leaving the body then try adding chia seeds to a smoothie which are very hydrating.
As for teas, they are gently therapeutic and you can change them depending on how you are feeling. Something like licorice is good for stress and fatigue, chamomile for sleep and relaxation, fennel for any upset tummies, rooibos for an antioxidant boost, green tea for a lift - the list goes on. Herbal teas are a brilliant way of increasing your fluid intake - good hydration will help your energy levels as well as make your skin glow.
ST: If models were to pack a packed lunch that's filling without being bloating what should it consist of?
RF: Brown rice or quinoa and some chicken, or avocado and veggies would be wonderful. Food is an individual science though and you have to listen to your body. Sometimes keeping protein and carbs away from each other will help if you suffer terrible bloating. Root vegetables cause less bloating than say salad or raw veggies - just make sure you chew your food properly and take your time. Not chewing food properly (so that your body has to break it down more in the stomach) is one of the main causes of bloating.
ST: Should models have a decent supper?
RF: I think so, I can’t sleep if I’m hungry, and then you are shattered for that early morning start. Don’t eat too late though as this could make sleeping difficult, and I know that time can be short but try to make a little bit of time if you can. You don’t want your body to be digesting while you are trying to sleep. If you are going out you will feel much better if you have something in your tummy before you start drinking too.
ST: If they have to grab snacks from Pret what are the things to avoid and the things to eat?
RF: The things that you think look healthy (such as yoghurt-covered nuts, and flapjacks) can actually be pretty processed and high in sugar. A good guide when you are in a cafe is to think about what foods are closer to their natural state. The closer they are to coming out of the earth or off a tree, the better they are.
ST: What should models steer clear of?
RF: One thing I think is easy to cut out is fizzy drinks. I know girls used to drink lots around Fashion Week but they really don’t give any benefit at all. Have a fizzy water instead.
ST: If models do go out and party what should they eat and drink to recover?
RF: I get asked this all the time and the answer is SO boring and goes against everything that you feel like eating when you are hanging. Models’ young livers will probably help them out, but it’s important to assist them by putting back some nutrients that will help their body recover. Try a smoothie, think of it like a milkshake but with spirulina instead of chocolate - greens are good for the liver and it will thank you for them, they will also help your energy levels because of the B vitamin content. Because of their cysteine content, eggs help mop up left over toxins - have them poached or boiled on a good quality bread with some avocado, chilli and lemon. This would be pretty ideal as you are getting some protein, plus some slow burning carb to help your blood sugar levels, some good fats to reduce any inflammation and it is also very alkalising. You will feel better in the long run if you have something like this for breakfast rather than a Pain au Chocolat or a greasy fry-up… honest.