Hemsley & Hemsley
Sexy, superstar sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley talk to BWB about their recipe for a healthy, wholesome life.
“You are what you eat,” says the old proverb. For Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, however, the adage should say, “You are how you eat.”
The Hemsley sisters have become a force of back-to-nature starting at home in the UK and now reaching across the globe.
Their gorgeous recipes and beautiful faces and physiques are ubiquitous, but for this dynamic duo, it’s less about what you’re eating, and more about eating mindfully.
They won’t tell you to wake up to a 10-mile run, eat only raw vegetables or climb a mountain to meditate with an ancient guru.
Instead, the Hemsley “golden rules” include sleeping just a bit more, swapping ginger tea for coffee, chewing food well and even giving in to indulgences once in a while.
They’ve made butter and bone broth the new black and turned hanging out at home in the kitchen into the new night out on the town.
The siblings cook for A-list celebrities, but their easy, stress-free approach to wellness has become a huge hit among the masses.
They’ve made butter and bone broth the new black and turned hanging out at home in the kitchen into the new night out on the town.
Their book The Art of Eating Well launched last year to critical and commercial success and, when they’re not cooking and catering for their meal-delivery business, they’re busy blogging, writing for Vogue and sipping bone broth like its going out of style (thanks to them, it’s not).
Their recipes are all gluten, grain and refined sugar-free, but they’re so stunningly presented and delicious that most of their fans rarely even notice…until, that is, they start to feel more energetic and gaze back into glowing skin in the mirror.
The Hemsley’s spoke to BWB all about keeping things simple, but elegant on their plates and in their lives.
Without intentionally ‘launching’ the business, we became private chefs and wellness coaches. Within two weeks of creating our own blog, we were asked to contribute recipes to the British Vogue and the rest is history!
BWB: Let’s start at the very beginning. When did you board the healthy eating train and what made you jump on?
Jasmine: I worked full-time as a model from the age of 19, which meant I was surrounded by many, often conflicting views on health and nutrition. I was fascinated by this and eventually developed a way of eating that made me feel energized and toned despite whatever ‘fads’ were being hailed by the media. Naturally, I shared these tips and tricks with friends and family.
Melissa: It’s been 6 years since we turned this knowledge and passion for good food into a bespoke service that helps people with their digestion and relationships with food. Without intentionally ‘launching’ the business, we became private chefs and wellness coaches. Within two weeks of creating our own blog, we were asked to contribute recipes to the British Vogue and the rest is history!
BWB: In the US, we love labels – “vegan, paleo, etc.” I don’t see any labels in your recipes and on your blog. How would you describe your approach to eating?
It’s all about feel good food. We believe passionately in the importance of bringing food back to basics: enjoying natural fats, sourcing ingredients that are as close to nature as possible and preparing them for optimal digestion. In understanding real food, despite all the conflicting diet ideologies which surround us, you can easily steer yourself back on course. This is a mindful and sustainable way of keeping yourself in check without feeling like you need to embark on a grueling workout regime or strict diet.
We’re also about enjoying food and not making it the be all and end all – don’t stress yourself in social situations – just choose the best option and enjoy!
Food for us is at the heart of a healthy lifestyle. Neat tricks like our ‘better than’ rule, being kind to yourself, tuning in to your body and making fresh air, exercise and meditation part of your day to day are all intrinsic to our philosophy.
We’ve even been referred to as ‘food fairies’ by our clients!
BWB: You are hard to describe – bloggers, chefs, consultants… you do so much! If someone were to ask you “what do you do for a living?” what is your response?
Good question, we haven’t quite nailed this one either! You could say that we’re private chefs, lifestyle coaches, healthy home cooks and wellness warriors – we’ve even been referred to as “food fairies” by our clients!
BWB: Many people resist transitioning to a healthier lifestyle because they claim to be “too busy.”
What advice would you have for “busy” people? What are your favorite go-to recipes for busy days?
A little preparation goes a long way! It takes some organization, but in the long run, you save time and money cooking at home, and on top of that you know exactly what’s going into your body. We’re big fans of batch cooking.
We have Sunday Cook-Offs where we will get ahead for the week by roasting some veggies and making some delicious one pot soups or stews to call on which can also be frozen for those busy working week nights.
We try to eat frugally and not spend hours in the kitchen by bulk-buying cupboard essentials, eating seasonally so that ingredients are at their best and cheaper, using lesser fashionable cuts of meat like chicken livers which are highly nutritious and often overlooked, repurposing leftovers such as roast veggies into dips and herbs into pestos and of course making bone broth, a fantastically frugal ingredient that makes for sustainable, healthy home cooking.
Two of our most popular recipes would be our Flower Power Pizza, made from a cauliflower base, and our Black Bean Brownies that are so fudgy and delectable you’d never guess they were made from black beans.
BWB: Your book is HUGE, filled with hundreds of recipes, not to mention those on your blog, in your articles for Vogue, The Guardian and other press… but do you have one signature dish that people tend to request?
Clients, friends and family often ask us to rework their favorite foods. We love the challenge as it keeps us coming up with more ideas. The heart of everything we do is bone broth, but of course people are looking for food that fills an emotional gap too, so we make clever use of whole foods to reinvent these classics. Two of our most popular recipes would be our “Flower Power Pizza,” made from a cauliflower base, and our Black Bean Brownies that are so fudgy and delectable you’d never guess they were made from black beans.
BWB: What are your favorite kitchen essentials that you couldn’t possibly live without?
A Grater, a spiralizer and a slow cooker!
A grater isn’t just for cheese! We grate vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower into ‘rice’ or combine grated cauliflower with buckwheat and ground almonds to make a nutty flavored pizza crust.
We are so passionate about spiralizers that we launched our own one earlier this year! Spiralizers turn fruit and vegetables into spaghetti-like spirals, noodles and ribbons. And we couldn’t live without a slow cooker! You just throw in the ingredients for a stew in the morning then come home to an easy and satisfying supper.
BWB: 3 foods you couldn’t live without?
Bone broth is our secret weapon for quick and tasty meals and a nourishing all-rounder packed with vitamins, minerals, collagen and keratin, which make it amazing for skin.
It’s easy to make and kind on the pocket. We use homemade bone broth to steam veggies, add to sauces and as the base of soups, stews and quinoa risottos or wherever a savory recipe calls for stock or water.
We love coconut oil. We cook with it, bake with it, add it to smoothies and use it to moisturize skin and hair.
Sea salt is fantastic for flavor and packed full of minerals.
Spiralizing provides a great way to replace refined and glutinous food in your diet with more nutrient-rich veggies.
BWB: What do you think we’ll see as far as any new food “trends” go in 2015?
Definitely spiralizing. Not only for beautiful presentation and adding texture to dishes without the need for fancy knife skills, it also provides a great way to replace refined and glutinous food in your diet with more nutrient-rich veggies. Aside from zoodles (zucchini noodles) use a spiralizer on cucumber, carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash, beetroot, celeriac, kohlrabi, parsnip, radishes, pear, apple, onion, cabbage and even broccoli stems.
Secondly, we’d have to say bone broth. Up until now bone broth had fallen out of favor as a kitchen staple, but quality food always comes back and it’s recent revival means that boiling bones is back on the menu. Bone broth has always been at the heart of what we do – so much so that our popular tote bags say #BoilYourBones on them! Full of flavor and deeply nourishing, it is a fantastically frugal ingredient that makes for sustainable, healthy home cooking and is also a great way to enjoy quality protein.
BWB: What’s your favorite…
…breakfast? Buckwheat porridge with coconut oil, grated apple and goji berries, Chia Chai Butternut Breakfast Pudding or eggs anyway – even with kimchi!
…lunch? Leftover meat stew, Vietnamese Chicken Pho with Courgette Noodles or Beef Shin ’Osso Bucco’ Stew with Cauliflower Mash.
…dinner? Mung Dahl or Squash, Red Lentil and Coconut Curry which we’ve had in the freezer from our Sunday Cook-Off.
Melissa: Carrot and Flax Crackers with Mung Bean Hummus and a Tahini Bliss Ball or even a small bowl of leftovers, like our Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Salad with Brazil Nut Pesto.
BWB: What are your favorite spots in London to…
…eat out with friends?
Paradise in Kensal Green has a lively yet intimate atmosphere, the food is delicious and it’s fun for dancing too. Afterwards you can mill around in the brilliantly decorated rooms, chat to friends and go for an all-out boogie when the DJ’s arrive.
…have a drink (“drink” category also includes green juice of course!)?
For an invigorating cold-pressed juice we go to Raw Press on Dover Street.
…to pamper yourself?
Alexandra Soveral facials every couple of months work wonders and are a real treat.
…get (even more) beautiful?
Content Beauty in Marylebone is our go-to beauty emporium as they stock natural and organic skincare products and makeup.
BWB: What is your daily beauty routine?
We have the same outlook towards beauty as we do food; keep it as closest to nature as possible.
We always look out for organic brands (after all your skin is your biggest organ!) and try to only wear makeup to events and shoots. When we do, both of us love a slick of black Jane Iredale eyeliner as an easy way to do instant glam. For a pop of color, Mel loves a statement lip with Ilia’s lipsticks and Jasmine is all about the cheeks with RMS pots.
BWB: What brands and products do you recommend?
Alexandra Soveral Angel Balm, Tata Harper brightening serum, Pai rosehip oil, De Mamiel seasonal skin care oils, Couleur Caramel BB cream and concealer, Z’kin face mist and RMS Lip to cheek. We get most of these from Content Beauty in Marylebone, London which has a wealth of information and is stocked full of great organic products.
We also love Neom Organics lavender, jasmine and rosewood candle to unwind and our latest discovery, The Body Deli scrubs from www.abeautifulworld.co.uk.
BWB: Other than eating well (and running around working so hard from what I can see!) what do you do to stay fit?
Jasmine: Staying fit has an overall effect on your body and mind so I do it for the feeling rather than keeping up appearances! I do barefoot running – quick runs around my local park and daily yoga videos on YouTube.
Melissa: Yoga, self practice most days as it’s hard to get to a class with our busy schedules. I also love Frame dance workshops, especially the ‘Move Like Beyonce’ one!
BWB: You’re now the health and wellness gurus for so many people. Who are your personal health and wellness inspirations?
Jasmine: My holistic and business mentor, Susie Pearl. Her approach fuses solid business sense with making sense of your intuition.
Melissa: Gary Gorrow who taught us to meditate – one of the best tools we have ever learned and we practice daily even if it’s only for 10 minutes on the train or the bus.
We hosted an urban retreat with him and our dear friend Yasmin Sewell called the Mind Body Reset last year, which we hope to do again!
BWB: What do you have on the horizon for 2015? Any upcoming plans or projects to share?
We’ll keep on cooking and sharing recipes!
We’re thrilled to have launched the book in America, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. We’re looking forward to traveling to these countries to share our philosophy with others in making food and lifestyle decisions that best suit them.
We’ve also almost finished writing our second cookbook, which will be out in 2016!
Buy the book HERE.
Rebecca Leffler is a writer, journalist and wellness consultant. She is the author of best-selling French book Green, Glam & Gourmande and follow-up title Green, Glam & Happy. Her book “Très green, très clean, très chic: Eat (and live!) the new French way with plant-based, gluten-free recipes for every season” was released in 2015. Follow Rebecca at Lafleurparisny.com.