Pancakes and quinoa, healthy eats, by healthista

4 healthy restaurants in London we’re loving right now

Looking for healthy restaurants in London? Healthista eats blogger Charlotte Dormon gives the low-down on where to go (including one where she spotted Tom Hardy!)

Whether you’ve started your 2016 health routine by wanting to go vegan, quit sugar, give up gluten, or try paleo, we’ve got some healthy ideas to take your routine out to eat. Healthista Eats blogger Charlotte Dormon takes the hard work out of healthy eating by seeking out the capital’s healthiest and tastiest restaurant meals around – so you can get on with life and enjoy eating really good food.  If you want to know where to find dairy-free coconut milk coffee, or the freshest organic salads in town – Healthista Eats is your ultimate guide to guilt-free gastronomy in the city.

Here are Charlotte’s favourite new finds for this month:

Breakfast: Farm Girl, Notting Hill

Highlights include: Antipodean-style brunch, American-style gluten-free buckwheat pancakes, superfood smoothies, and mashed avocado & poached egg deliciousness.

Ideal for: Weekend breakfast and brunch, a hot date, breakfast before a day of shopping at Portobello Road Market.

Pancakes, healthy eats, by healthista

The ultimate healthy pancake heaven

I was extremely excited when I first heard about Farm Girl. The Australian-inspired restaurant looked like a healthy food dream come true from the gorgeous pictures and reviews I had seen popping up on Instagram; a chic Antipodean-style café offering a wholesome and hearty breakfast and brunch menu, full of fresh juices, smoothies and everything nutritious that I love to eat. Luckily for me, this dream was a reality and I was hungry to see if it the food was as fab as it looked

Farm Girl founders, heathista eats, by heathista

The founders of Farm Girl,
Rose Mann and Anthony Hood

The founders of Farm Girl, Rose Mann and Anthony Hood, have managed to create something rather special in their new venture. Both have a passion for food, nature and farm life. In fact, Rose knows a lot about the great outdoors as she spent her childhood growing up on an Australian dairy farm, so the name Farm Girl has a relevant meaning. Bringing a bit of country-kitchen to the craziness of London can only be a good thing.

To boost their nutrition credentials and keep health and wellbeing high on the agenda, Rose and Anthony have enlisted Melly Lou – a naturopath, medical herbalist and yoga teacher – to provide them with knowledge and knowhow on all things good to eat. Along with Melly Lou and their head chef Benoit Marmoiton, they have together created a sumptuous menu of mouthwatering meals that certainly gets the thumbs up from me.

To try out the Farm Girl breakfast I invited Libby Limon, a nutritionist and yoga teacher for the hot fitness chain Frame. We were due for a catch-up, and I was keen to share my morning feast with someone who would appreciate it as much as me.

Farm Girl was ‘The Place’ to be to in order to fuel up for a busy day of cash making

We arrived around 8:30am and were surprised to see the restaurant already packed with hungry customers. I scanned the room and could see that it was filled with the Notting Hill cool crowd who had all come out to pep their fabulous day up with a coffee and a green juice. As well as the hip and trendy types, I noticed ultra-billionaire Roman Abramovich sitting in the corner of the restaurant, happily munching away on some scrambled eggs and sourdough toast. It looked to me like Farm Girl was ‘The Place’ to be to in order to fuel up for a busy day of cash making.

Almond milk cappuccino, healthy eats, by healthista

Almond milk cappuccino

After sussing out the clientele and surveying the beautiful interior within the building, I got back to my business and went through the breakfast selection available on the menu.

There was something to suit everyone’s different appetite and eating style – from vegetarian and vegan options such as the fresh fruit bowl with seeds, the acai bowl or the house granola, to protein-packed dishes such as marinated beef slices or the 3-egg omelette cooked in coconut oil.

Mocha cofee, healthy eats, by healthista

Almond milk Matcha Latte

Libby and I started off with two drinks a piece. I had the ‘Coconut Drip’ – coconut milk poured over cold brew coffee – which was insanely good, followed by an almond milk cappuccino – which was also spectacular. I wouldn’t normally have two coffees in one sitting, but who could resist with options like that? Libby had an almond milk Matcha Latte, followed by an Organic Sapp Birch Tree Water.

The Japanese have been drinking Matcha for centuries, and it has amazing antioxidant and fat-burning benefits.

Matcha is the must-have health drink right now, and people in the world of wellness can’t seem to get enough of it. The Japanese have been drinking it for centuries for its antioxidant and fat-burning benefits. It can be an acquired taste when drunk just with water, but when whizzed up with some hot milk to make a creamy latte, the taste is far more desirable.

Organic birch tree water, healthy eats, by healthista

Organic birch tree water

Birch water is said to help clear up skin problems and support internal organs by cleansing the body of unwanted toxins

Birch water (water from maple trees) has also been a hit on the health scene of late, with an assortment of new flavours and brands showing up all over the place. The benefits of birch water are big news and apparently come down to the potent mineral and electrolyte-rich elixir, which is said to help clear up skin problems and support internal organs by cleansing the body of unwanted toxins. Whether all of this is true or not, birch water tastes good and provides us with a refreshing alternative to glugging coconut water.

To eat, there was really no other contender for me than the Berry Pancake, which is made from a homemade gluten-free buckwheat mix, with amber maple syrup, fresh berries and coconut shavings. It’s the ‘house special’ according to our waitress – and from what I saw, one of the most popular dishes on their menu. Libby chose the Avocado Toast with poached eggs: avocado with lemon juice, black pepper, coriander and a sprinkle of fresh pomegranate. There are plenty of extra goodies on the menu that you can add as a side, or to boost your breakfast if you fancy – Libby chose to pimp her eggs with coconut bacon to add some extra crunch and flavour (note that this is vegan and made from coconut, not using real bacon). I had coconut yoghurt to add some extra-creamy indulgence to my meal.

Berry pancakes, heathly eats, by healthista

These berry pancakes are to die for

As far as breakfasts go, this was certainly a winner for me. The berry pancake was a dream dish and a morning treat like no other – no words can describe just how good it really is. Although it isn’t what you would consider a ‘healthy’ breakfast, it’s certainly a whole lot better than your average American-style pancake dish. The fact that it’s made using buckwheat means it’s gluten-free (buckwheat is actually a seed, not a grain) and contains far more vitamins and minerals that wheat. The berries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and the maple syrup has a lower GI (glycemic index) than sugar or honey. The coconut yoghurt increases the calories, but the fats are good for you – and it tastes bloody amazing.

Libby adored her avocado and egg breakfast, saying it was ‘totally delicious’. She thought the nutritious combination of egg and avocado topped off with fruity pomegranate and crunchy coconut bacon was a taste sensation and a great breakfast choice thanks to the good protein and healthy fats.

The coconut yoghurt increases the calories, but the fats are good for you – and it tastes bloody amazing.

Farm Girl is a great place to go and has one of the best breakfast menus I have seen in London; as well as looking visually gorgeous, the food is healthy and wholesome, with great taste in every dish. Whether you come with friends, or to cosy up with a date, the welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff will make you feel as relaxed and ‘at home’ as you would in a cute countryside cafe.

Visit: Farm Girl, 59a Portobello Rd, London W11 3DB

Farm Girl cafe inside, healthy eats, by healthista

 

Lunch LEON, several locations in London

Highlights include: vegan SuperClean salad; Chargrilled chicken superfood salad; grilled chicken wraps; baked fries; poached egg pots; gluten-free low-sugar brownies and gluten-free pecan pie.

Ideal for: Healthy lunchtime hotspot, good whenever you need to be re-fuelled. Good place for those with any food allergies or intolerance.

Leon at strand, healthy eats, by healthista

When it comes to the London healthy fast food scene, Leon is a leader, providing a great choice of free-from-friendly, ‘clean’ fast food. As well as using organic milk, free-range meat, sustainably sourced fish and seasonal vegetables where possible, they continually improve their menu to keep up with the latest health food trends, providing paleo, vegan and sugar-free ready-to-go meals for busy health-conscious customers. If you’re counting calories, LEON list the amount in every dish, so no calculators needed.

I have been going to Leon for over 10 years now, as they cater so well for people who avoid gluten. I still remember the shock I had when I went to get lunch at their first store in Knightsbridge. Until that point I had never seen a restaurant/cafe that not only offered such a big range of wholesome meals, but where everything on the menu was clearly labeled to show whether it was dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan and so on. The food was fresh, full of flavour and they championed nutritious ingredients like wholegrain brown rice and pulses – which was simply unheard of in your regular lunch-to-go places.

LEON food, healthy eats, by healthista

Meatball salad and baked fries

As well as a good lunch, if you have a sweet tooth you will be pleased to know Leon has a huge selection of gluten-free cakes, cookies and chocolate brownies. I like cakes and if you have read my articles before, you will know chocolate is one of my all-time favourite feel-good foods.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I turned to my left and saw non other than movie-star mega hunk Tom Hardy standing next to me

Well, thank goodness it is, as this particular chocolate craving I was dealing with one afternoon led me straight into Leon to order their fabulous hot chocolate. There I was at the counter watching the barista froth the milk and pour my choccie drink, and just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I turned to my left and saw non other than movie-star mega hunk Tom Hardy standing next to me. ‘Oh my F&*^ck**&g GOD,’ I thought, ‘this really is turning into one hell of a lunch break’. I was in such a shocked state that I barely noticed the man behind the counter trying to give me my drink – who on earth needs chocolate when Tom bloody Hardy is next to you! By now the craving had completely disappeared, which, for my blood sugar levels, was a good thing at least.

Tom Hardy at the The Revenant UK Premiere 2016, healthy eats, by healthista

Star tom Hardy can sometimes be found in LEON

I was still waiting for my chicken SuperFood salad box to arrive – which I was now hoping would take a lot longer than usual. I had to think fast and make a decision: would I hate myself more for not saying hello, leading every single one of my female (and some male) friends to be disappointed in me for not doing so; or would I hate myself way more for embarrassing myself in front of Tom ‘the Hunk’ Hardy by sounding like a complete idiot? After a second of deliberation, I chose option two and went in for the kill. ‘Hi, I am so sorry, but are you, um, Tom Hardy?’ I said, trying to look very unimpressed – like I was just asking a regular person the way to Oxford Street. ‘Ah, yes I am,” he said, looking quite chilled, despite this unexpected sudden interrogation.  I said ‘I am really sorry to have to do this, but at my office we have a poster of you on our wall and all the girls are really big fans, so I thought if I didn’t check and say hello, they would just be so disappointed with me’. Obviously, although it was was true, there had been a poster up and the whole office had a crush, I had to pretend I was doing this for ‘the girls at work’ rather than for myself!

I had just seen the show Peaky Blinders, which he was in, so I told great I thought it was then preceded to ask him what he was ordering. ‘The grilled chicken wrap. I love Lebanese food and this wrap is not far off, so this is what I like to order’. I obviously then told him about my love of Lebanese food and shared information on my top London dinner spots, which he seemed to be interested in (or at least pretended to be).

CHICKEN SUPERFOOD TARRAGON salad

Chicken superfood tarragon salad

Our food arrived – I took my box to go and he took his tray, and turned around to find a seat. (I was dashing to a pilates class, otherwise I might have changed my mind and decided to eat in, but there was no way that anyone – not alone a movie star mega-hunk – would distract me from getting to my reformer class at Body Control Pilates.) I said goodbye and told him I had to dash due to my Pilates class. ‘Pilates is supposed to be great for you. Where do you go?’ he said. Wow, I thought, imagine if Tom Hardy came to my Pilates class. That would be slightly distracting for the girls in the group, to say the least. Just before I thought my chat with Tom had come to an end, his friend – who had come to join him – piped up and said ‘Do you want a photo so you can show the girls at the office?’ ‘Yeah sure, that would be great,’ I said.   What I wanted to say was ‘WOW that would be SO GREAT’ but obviously kept my cool. So I moved myself to the right side of Tom and smiled away like a Cheshire cat as he captured the evidence for me. Although this sudden picture-taking caused others in the restaurant to peer around – making me feel a little embarrassed at my antics – I was also pretty pleased that I had the chosen to say hello. I mainly liked the fact I had this brilliant story to share with my friends, who I knew would soon be freaking out when they saw my latest post on Instagram – that would be slight change from my usual food pics.

Tom Hardy and Charlote in LEON

chicken wrap from LEON, heathly eats, by healthista

Chargrilled Aioli chicken wrap

Tom Hardy and his chicken wrap aside, Leon is by far one of most innovative and exciting fast food chains in London, offering great-value healthy lunch boxes. As well as their brilliant Superfood salads – which come with a choice of herby, spicy or garlicky dressings to pimp the taste – they also have vegan vegetable curries, and gluten-free lamb meatballs that come with salad and brown rice. Leon also has little pots of food that are great for a light lunch, or an afternoon snack – the grilled chicken pot and poached eggs pots are fab for late afternoon munchies.

For those with food allergies and intolerances, Leon is a five-star all-round winner and continues to outdo most of the other chains like Eat or Pret

For those with food allergies and intolerances, Leon is a five-star all-round winner and continues to outdo most of the other chains like Eat or Pret. To further ‘up the ante’ on its contenders, Leon packs its lunches with favourable wholegrains like quinoa, brown basmati rice and wholemeal flour. Ethics and fairness is important to the business, so where possible they choose fair-trade and organic too.

Visit: Locations throughout London 

leon inside menu, healthy eats, by healthista

LEON is a great fast food option for calorie counting food lovers

Evening – Andina, Shoreditch

Highlights include: Quinoa and avocado salad with palm hearts; Braised aubergine; Butterbean and quinoa tacu tacu with panca chill; Roasted pumpkin and beetroot salad; and seriously good vegan chocolate and avocado mousse.

Ideal for: First dates, date nights, fun evening out with a group of friends, and vegan and healthy food lovers.

Chullo Salad_solo

Chullo Salad

Last week I had a dinner date with Healthista Editor Anna Magee. Anna takes her health seriously – if you’ve seen her figure, you will know that for a fact. She works hard, trains hard and eats clean. It was important that I found somewhere good to eat, as going out for dinner is a rarity. She is either busy doing her FightKlub class, lifting kettle bells or working around the clock to write up the latest news stories for Healthista.

Peruvian restaurant Andina was just the location I was looking for. Andina serves healthy food inspired by the Peruvian Andes, with a focus on the use of ancient superfood ingredients such as maca, amaranth and quinoa. The food had already been tried and tested by me on a number of occasions. As well as being a fun place to eat out, the quality of the food is exceptional, and there are plenty of dishes that suit those who eat vegan, gluten-free or dairy-free.

The Replenish menu is packed with a luscious list of ‘clean eating’ dinner options to enhance any wellbeing and fitness routine

Starting in 2016, Andina wanted to provide something really special to help those on a mission to get healthy by introducing the new ‘Replenish’ menu. Created by Andina founder and chef Martin Morales and health and fitness specialist Harry Jameson, the Replenish menu is designed to offer a nutritious and enjoyable meal for those who want to work out and eat well. Having been involved in the fitness industry for over 10 years, Harry Jameson has built an impressive portfolio, working with some of the industry’s most prestigious trainers and business professionals in the sports, finance and entertainment sectors. His ethos of wellbeing is fully aligned to that of Martin and Andina, and the Replenish menu is packed with a luscious list of ‘clean eating’ dinner options to enhance any wellbeing and fitness routine.

Ceviche de Palmitos

Ceviche de Palmitos

Anna and I almost danced around the room with excitement when we read the list of dishes available on the Replenish menu – it meant we could continue our January health resolutions, but still enjoy a nice meal out.

Although there were a lot of delicious meat and fish options to pick from, the veggie and vegan dishes sounded gorgeous. As one of my New Year’s resolutions was to cut out meat for a while, and Anna preferred to eat vegan, we decided to get stuck into the veg.

Eating more of a plant-based diet when you can will not only make you feel better, but open your eyes up to a different way of eating well

Going meat-free at restaurants like Andina, where they create flavorsome and imaginative dishes, certainly doesn’t make you feel like you’re missing out on anything. As a nation, we eat way too much animal protein and eating more of a plant-based diet when you can will not only make you feel better, but open your eyes up to a different way of eating well.

Cock tails, healthy eats, by healthista

Dry January was not on my radar this year – I had enough resolutions to keep me busy and I’m not a big drinker anyway. Having a couple of cocktails to let my hair down on a Friday evening with my friends is one of my favourite things. As long as you drink in moderation, avoid excessively sugary drinks, stick to a decent-quality alcohol, stay away from cheap white wine and don’t mix your drinks – you won’t end up regretting it. Andina can cater for all the above, so just ask your waiter to help you select something that suits.

We started with two cocktails: Amantani – vanilla-infused pisco, gin, goji berry and passion fruit juice, and Huánuco – apple and cucumber pisco, Chase elderflower liqueur and Fever Tree elderflower tonic. Both drinks were seriously good, not too sweet and just the sort of fun alcoholic treat I was looking for to kick-start our evening.

Anna and Charlotte, healthy eats, by healthista

Charlotte and Anna enjoying a healthy Peruvian after-dinner tipple

For our meal, we picked a load of things to share from the Replenish menu. This started with the Ceviche de Palmitos – palm hearts, quinoa, avocado purée and amarillo tiger’s milk (not actually milk collected from tigers, but the traditional name for the lively citrus dressing); and the Quinoa, Avocado and Cucumber salad. Wow, what delight this veggie feast was turning out to be. The creamy avocado deliciousness combined with a trio of nutrient-dense quinoa, tasty palm hearts and crunchy cucumber was light, refreshing and full of zing. Quinoa is a good addition to a dish for vegans as it’s rich in protein, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamins C, B and E.

For our mains we shared the Tacu Tacu Quechua – braised aubergine, butterbean and quinoa tacu tacu, panca chilli and a small amount of queso fresco (avoid the cheese if you are going vegan), and the Chullo Salad – roasted pumpkin and beetroot, goldenberry-amarillo chilli vinaigrette, beetroot mustard, popcorn shoots, pumpkin seeds and orange. The Tacu Tacu Quechua aubergine dish was unbelievably good. The taste of hot chilli and cooling feta cheese combined with the soft warm aubergine was one of the nicest meat-free main courses I have ever tried. Feta cheese is made from goat’s or sheep’s milk, both of which are often easier to digest than cow’s milk for those with a dairy intolerance. The chilli in the dish doesn’t only just spice things up in flavour; it gets you in shape too. Compounds in chilli help to boost the metabolism, aid weight loss and reduce cholesterol.

Ensalada de Quinoa, healthy eats, by healthista

Ensalada de Quinoa

The Chullo salad couldn’t have been better. Even reading the description I knew that it would taste awesome; not only was I right, but it was visually stunning too. All the food served looked great, but this dish in particular was so bright in colour it looked like it could be something decorative for the table. Brightly coloured vegetables don’t just look good, they contain unique pigments and powerful antioxidants that protect the skin from UV light, premature ageing and support the health of your eyes.

To finish off our feast we had to order the vegan and gluten-free Huayno de Chocolate dessert – chocolate and avocado mousse, tamarillo fruit sauce, purple corn crumble, chancaca syrup (a low GI syrup) and sweet chifles (green plantain).

Huayno de Chocolate, healthy eats, by healthista

Huayno de Chocolate

The pudding was – in one word – sensational. Although some of the ingredients sounded a bit different to your usual fruits, they actually created an exotic blend of fruity sweetness that complemented the rich and creamy chocolate wrapped around your tongue, tantalizing your taste buds into a frenzy of orgasmic excitement.

The pudding was – in one word – sensational

Harry and Martin have created a menu that works wonders for me. To feel good all the time – not just for January – it’s critical to eat a diet high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, good fats and adequate protein. Eating this way will not only to keep you from getting ill and rundown when you’re training, but help ensure that your body is supported on a daily basis with the nutrition it needs to fight, repair, restore and regenerate. This allows you to carry on working hard, training hard and enjoying a vibrant life.

Well done, Andina. Anna and I loved our meal and we’re looking forward to coming back soon and trying more.

Visit: 1 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, London, E2 7DJ

Weekend: Bulgari HotelKnightsbridge

Highlights include: Detox lunch and vegan smoothie by the poolside; Ayurvedic massage; 5-star spa; and bespoke personal training.

Ideal for: Some R&R time, feeling fabulous, a birthday treat, or getting steamy with Russian millionaires.

outside hotel, healthy eats, by healthista

My best friend Naomi and I used to spend a lot of time together. We would hang out most weekends and spend hours shopping, eating, talking and going out dancing to music. Fast forward a few years and things have changed quite dramatically. Dancing and dinners out are a thing of the past as Naomi has had a baby and also been on lockdown finishing her studies for a PhD. Most people find having a baby hard enough, but studying for a PhD as well can be enough to send you over the edge. ‘I have to have a break, or I will end up going mad,’ she said on a call to me before Christmas. ‘All I do is study until midnight, change nappies, clear up, cook and then start all over again – what has happened to my life? I don’t know the last time I got to just sit and read and have an hour of doing nothing,’ she said with desperation in her voice.

Bulgari now offers a super healthy detox menu with fresh cold-pressed juices, vegan protein smoothies and nutritious salads

smoothie, healthy eats, by healthista

You can enjoy fresh cold-pressed juices, and vegan protein
smoothies by the pool

There was only one way to give her her some much-needed R&R, and that was to go to a spa and chill the hell out for the day. Getting out of London was a little tricky with our schedules, so I called my friend Astrid who is head of PR at the Bulgari Hotel – one of London’s swankiest five-star locations. Astrid had always said I should come to the Bulgari spa for the day as it had a fabulous pool and spa area, high-tech gym, incredible personal trainers and the best massages in town. As far as the food goes, Astrid told me that the Bulgari now offers a super healthy detox menu with fresh cold-pressed juices, vegan protein smoothies and nutritious salads that you could sit and enjoy whilst chilling on a lounger by the pool. This sounded just the sort of thing that could give Naomi and I some time together and the day of relaxation she needed.

 

Astrid, as all good PR people do, sorted things out for us in a matter of hours. By the end of the day we were booked in for a personal training consultation, lunch by the pool and an Ayurvedic massage that was designed specifically to tackle sleep issues, poor digestion, stress and anxiety.

Naomi was ecstatic when she heard the news and got on the case to immediately find a babysitter so she could escape for the day.

You’re more likely to see the millionaires wandering around in some jogging pants and a sweatshirt than suited and booted and looking pristine

The Bulgari is super-posh, but you don’t have to don the diamonds and designer bling if don’t wish to. In fact, most of the mega-wealthy that stay at the Bulgari tend to kick back and keep things casual. You’re more likely to see the millionaires wandering around in some jogging pants and a sweatshirt than suited and booted and looking pristine.

Naomi and I arrived in no make-up – not something I like to do when I am swooshing through the lobby of a five-star hotel, but I was going straight into the steam room. I was dressed in my best sports gear, so whilst Naomi was snoozing by the pool, I could go for my fitness consultation that Astrid had arranged with the Bulgari’s head personal trainer.

We checked into the spa and then were taken on a tour by the manager. There was everything we needed: steam rooms, saunas, relaxation areas, sleeping areas and a huge Jacuzzi pool we could float around in.

vitality pool, healthy eats, by healthista

The lushious looking vitality pool

After getting changed into our swimwear and throwing on the robe and complimentary slippers, we found a lounger by the indoor pool and grabbed a load of magazines, then rang the bell on our table to order a vegan superfood smoothie to start off our experience.

Once we had spent some time lounging, enjoying a catch-up and reading magazines and drinking our smoothies, we were feeling a lot more revitalized. We had a swim in the magnificent pool, a laze in the hot tub and a cleanse in the steam room – and then it was time for lunch.

hotel pool, healthy eats, by healthista

As Naomi is a nutritionist, eating healthy food is a priority for her, so I was pleased we could order something nutritious to eat.

We opted for the mixed vegetable and feta cheese superfood salad along with smoked salmon on gluten-free toast and a grilled pineapple with coconut sorbet as a dessert.

When smoked salmon is good, I find it one of the most simple and pleasurable healthy foods to eat. And at a five-star hotel spa, you know that only excellent quality will be served to their prestigious guests. I ordered mine to be served on toast (you can choose wholegrain, white, rye or gluten-free) drizzled with fresh lemon and a dusting of black pepper, topped off with a side of crisp Italian rocket leaves. This is by far one of my favourite ways to eat salmon, and it makes a great brunch or lunch dish.

salad, healthy eats, by healthista

Mixed vegetable and feta cheese superfood salad

The pineapple pudding was just the sort of sweet treat you want when spending the day at a spa. A rich pudding would leave you too bloated to swim – and wouldn’t be ideal when you’re prancing around in your bikini. Pineapples contain a unique enzyme called bromelain, which helps to bread down protein in your food so it can be absorbed and more easily. Pineapples also remind me of being on holiday – which I love – and when they’re served in thin slices and lightly grilled and served with ice cool vegan coconut like they are here at the Bulgari, they’re just heavenly.

Once lunch was over, we spent some more time people-watching by the pool, sipped on fresh ginger tea and waited for our massage therapist to pick us up for our Ayurveda massage treatment.

The therapist came and collected us and took us up to the treatments rooms.

After being invited to sit down, I was asked a number of questions by the therapist about how I slept, how I felt emotionally and any concerns I had at present. I told her I felt pretty tired, a little stressed and frazzled, but no different from the average Londoner (although I don’t think your average uptight Londoner usually comes to de-stress at the Bulgari…). I said I would like to relieve the tension in my shoulders and feel revitalised after my treatment.

She suggested I should have a combination of energising and restorative oils used to balance my Pitta and Vata qualities. (Ayurveda diagnoses you using three types of doshas. Although we all have the three doshas, we tend to be predominantly one or the other – in my case a combination of Vata and Pitta.) The therapist asked me to smell two different Ayurvedic oils so she could select the best one for me. I choose the Pitta one and then got myself comfy on the bed ready to have my Pitta massage treatment.

grilled pineapple with coconut sorbet, 4 healthy restaurants, by healthista

Grilled pineapple with coconut sorbet

I finished the treatment feeling exactly how I wanted to feel – refreshed, relaxed and free of tightness and tension

I am not a professional spa reviewer, but I can say from personal experience that I thought the treatment was a 10 out of 10. After being smothered from head to toe in the gorgeous scented oil, each area of my body was massaged to release the built-up tension and sore muscles. I finished the treatment feeling exactly how I wanted to feel – refreshed, relaxed and free of tightness and tension.

Naomi was on cloud nine when she emerged from the treatment room. Her stressed and furrowed brow looked like it had been magically wiped away by her therapist and she looked happy and calm. It was apparently ‘amazing’ and exactly what she needed.

I left Naomi to drink herbal tea in the relaxation area and went to get ready for my fitness consultation. I was looking forward to meeting personal trainer Lee to find out what sort of exercise I should be doing to keep fit and stay in shape.

hotel gym, healthy eats, by healthista

The Workshop gym at the Bulgari was just as smart as I had hoped it would be. It was certainly not the average hotel gym I had seen over the years with a few old treadmills, a tired-looking rowing machine and a load of oversized dumbbells collecting dust in the corner. This gym had smart décor, shiny new high-tech equipment and staff that looked in immaculate condition. There were no meatheads munching on tuna looking angry on steroids in this gym, just slightly overweight Bentley-driving billionaires trying rid themselves of the excess weight accumulated from too many lavish dinners in Mayfair.

IN the gym, there were no meatheads on steroids, just slightly overweight Bentley-driving billionaires

Lee, the head trainer, came striding over and greeted me with a firm handshake. He had the bright energy and enthusiasm that seems to gleam from people who work in the fitness industry.

After questioning me about my usual workout routine and goals that I had, Lee made me go through a series of tests and exercises that tested my flexibility, strength, balance and mobility. He said that this was to see whether there was any poor alignment in my body that could cause an injury, as well as working out what sort of exercises would be best-suited for my body. He advised me to avoid running as my ankles are quite unstable, and advised it would be good for me to work on lunges and squats using light weights and exercises to build specific muscle and strength in areas that were weak in my body.

Lee took me through a short workout to finish off the session then went off to make me a chocolate vegan protein and almond milk smoothie – yum, what a nice way to finish a gym session.

I left the gym buzzing with enthusiasm – and a bit more motivated to change my normal workout routine – to go and find Naomi. I could see she was happily soaking up her last few minutes of peace and quiet before she went back to being mum, by finishing off her book.

We left the Bulgari feeling good. We were still free from make-up like when we arrived, but this time looking fresh-faced, with a rosy glowing complexion and a body that felt soothed, not full of knots and tension. It was a wonderful to spend some time together and enjoy time out in a luxurious place, far away from our everyday worries and the normal world.

Visit: The Bulgari Hotel & Residences, 171 Knightsbridge, London, SW7 1DW

 

Charlotte

 

CHARLOTTE DORMON is our Healthista Eats blogger.  She’s not a chef, or even that much of a cook.  If it’s recipes you’re looking for – you’re in the wrong place.  But whether it’s Sunday lunch or Friday night cocktails, she’s the one friends and family turn to when they want to know how to eat out and be relatively healthy.  Each week she’ll now be bringing you the same insider knowledge.  We’ll drink – and eat – to that. Follow Charlotte on Twitter @HealthyEatsLDN and Instagram healthyeatslondon

 

 

MORE HEALTHISTA EATS FROM CHARLOTTE

Stay updated with news and reviews by following our Instagram feed @healthistatv

 

 

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