Interview

with Calgary Avansino

Calgary sat down with us to talk about healthy eating, family, and life in London.

Calgary Avansino is an inspiration. The London-based well-being expert and Vogue contributing editor channels this inspiration on her website, where she offers daily advice how to live better.
Last July, Calgary sat down with us to talk about healthy eating, family, and life in London.

provides daily inspiration on how to live better.

BWB: What inspired you to take the step to make wellness your life’s work?

I didn’t really have that “ah ha” moment when I felt this was something I needed to do. Wellness has always been a part of my life. My friends and colleagues will tell you that I have spent many years, long before the launch of my website or juices, persuading them about the benefits of making homemade own nut milk, going gluten-free and indulging in greens.
The real change cam when I decided to go from being the unofficial “Wellbeing Guru” at the Vogue offices to launching my own company. I wanted to show everyone just how straightforward it can be to make positive and healthy choices, and to demonstrate all the easy ways new habits can be incorporated into our lives. We just have to make that first change, no matter how small.

BWB: Did you find inspiration growing up on the West Coast?

I grew up in Nevada until I was thirteen and then moved to California, but it really wasn’t as much about where I grew up as much as how I grew up. My parents were very health conscious; they ran marathons and always prepared healthy, homemade food. My sister and I grew up in an environment that valued REAL food and the importance of cooking at home.

Slowly change is happening in England and I am enjoying seeing all the ways that California living is starting to enter the local consciousness. From juice bars to wider varieties of organic vegetables, the change is all very positive.

When I first moved to England over a decade ago, I’d often get funny looks from people because I was out and about in workout leggings or drinking a green juice – now it’s completely normal, trendy even!
Slowly, change is happening in England and I am enjoying seeing all the ways that California living is starting to enter the local consciousness. From juice bars to wider varieties of organic vegetables, the change is all very positive – although there is always room for improvement.
I want to show just how much this mindset can enhance a lifestyle, not only for one person, but for an entire family – children included. If we start children at a young age, healthy-eating will impact their life in so many positive ways.

BWB: London has changed a lot too. What are some of your favorites places for:
Juices; Healthy Restaurants; Beauty:

For food and juices I love:
Tanya’s Café , Roots and Bulbs , Nama Foods , The Detox Kitchen , Juicebaby , The Good Life Eatery , Retreat Café

For beauty, I love:
Content Beauty , Neal’s Yard Remedies , The Organic Pharmacy , Beauty Counter , Naturisimo

BWB: What is your secret to balancing your work and your family life … now with 3 children!

I wish I had a secret magic solution to recommend for every working mom who juggles the demands of motherhood with a career.
I can only say what works for me and helps me avoid the dreaded guilt we all feel from time to time – here are my tips in no particular order:

Mindfulness with my kids helps me truly enjoy my time with them.

* Focus on organisation: I am a master list maker. I have lists specifically for the kids, for various elements of my work, my house, my friends, etc etc. This makes me feel I can get ahead of things and on top of tasks that need to get done. If I feel overwhelmed, then everything else seems to crumble for me and lists (and ticking things off those lists) helps me feel less overwhelmed.

* When I am with my kids, I try to be 100% focussed on them. Phone away, ears turned on, and not thinking about other stuff while I’m pretending to build Legos. Mindfulness with my kids helps me truly enjoy my time with them.

* I try and get up an hour earlier than the rest of the house at least three days a week so I can get work done in the quiet time before everyone else awakes. It also gives me a chance to make them, and me, a good breakfast.

* Have family dinners as often as possible. Cooking and eating with my family always grounds me.

* Each week I think of ways I can have a bit of alone time with each child and with my husband. It is very important to carve out these moments when real conversations unfold instead of everyone talking over each other. Even 30 minutes alone with a child means a lot (as long as you’re not looking at your phone the whole time)

Set a good example by eating real, wholesome foods, by cooking in front of your kids and by caring for your body.

BWB: How can we encourage children to eat better?

Firstly, don’t bring anything into your house that you don’t want to argue over. If you put chocolate bars in your cupboards, then your children are going to want to eat them. If you only have healthy foods in your cupboards, you won’t mind them rummaging!

Secondly, actions speak louder than words. Set a good example by eating real, wholesome foods, by cooking in front of your kids and by caring for your body.

Try to include your children as much as possible in the buying and cooking of your meals, and teach them about nutrition (in the simplest terms) from an early age. As much as I want my children to make healthy choices, I also want them to know why they are making those decisions. Whenever I can, I involve my children in the cooking process. It takes longer and is messier, but they are always proud of the outcome and that makes food taste more delicious – or so my daughters tell me!

So many parents rule out food before their child has even tried it. I quite often hear, “oh my daughter doesn’t like greens” or “my son doesn’t like lentils”. Don’t expect everything to work the first time, keep trying with different vegetables. Don’t just give up and revert to plain pasta – persevere.

I live by the 80:20 rule. This means trying to eat well and give my children good food for 80% of the time, and not stressing about the other 20% when it is out of my control.

Always put veggies (raw or cooked) on the table first when they are most hungry. Don’t make a big deal of it though. Just put them in front of them and leave it at that.

Finally, I live by the 80:20 rule. This means trying to eat well and give my children good food for 80% of the time, and not stressing about the other 20% when it is out of my control. There are inevitably going to be times when they eat lots of sweets and treats. I just try to encourage balance, so after a sugar-fuelled party, for example, I will give them some chopped veggies when they get home.

BWB: What is your beauty routine?

Simple, simple, simple. I have rosacea, so I try not to use too many products on my skin, instead opting for organic natural oils. I body brush every day and bathe in Epsom slats; I use coconut oil to remove my make-up and as a hair masque; I braid my hair after washing it and sleep in it which creates to best beachy waves the next day and always tint my eyebrows.

BWB: Have you recently discovered some skincare & make-up brands that you love?

These aren’t necessarily new but some of the conscious and fabulous brands I use: De Mamiel ,Zoya  Ila , Beauty Counter , Antipodes RMS Beauty , Pai Skincare , Rahua ,  Ilia , Aurelia Skincare .The Organic Pharmacy

BWB: Any projects in the making?

Yes lots – I have recently launched my website which is packed with delicious recipes and videos, inspiring wellbeing interviews and plenty of resources to help you on your path to healthy living.
My first book Keep It Real will be published in February 2016 so I’m putting the finishing touches on that now. My website will be transactional by the end of the summer so you will be able to buy many of my favourite things, like baby creams, superfoods, face oils and chemical-free makeup. I have also created a range of cold-pressed vegetable juices with Itsu, which are available in all of their stores.

Plants should be our number one – always – and we need to retrain our meal planning this way.

BWB: This is our special ‘Going Green’ issue. Any ‘green words’ of wisdom?

Start thinking about plants as the main event in your meal. Not as the side dish and the after thought, but as the most important. Place everything else (good grains and lean meat) second. Plants should be our number one – always – and we need to retrain our meal planning this way.
Ultimately though, when it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle, my greatest advice is: just commit to making that first change. Take it one step at a time and be kind to yourself. Praise yourself for every accomplishment along the way – you will find that everything else slowly but surely follows!

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