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Fit For Success

‘I buy organic and make it go further’

emma headshot 2Emma Cannon, 42 is an acupunturist and author of Total Fertility (£14.99 Rodale).  She lives in Streatham Hill with husband Roger and daughters Lily, 17 and Violet, 12.  Here she shares her everyday health secrets with Healthista

‘As a women’s  integrated health specialist and fertility advisor I have to keep well and practice what I preach. Being as healthy as a possible for me means making the choice to buy the best food I can afford, but also making it go as far as it can.    I also see my health as a long-term investment.

Emma Cannon 225

I’ve been practicing acupuncture and complementary therapies since the early 1990s.  20 years ago I read the book The Web That Has No Weaver by Ted Katchuk and it began my love affair with Chinese Medicine.

Now, not only do I use acupuncture in my work I also use its principles in the way I live my life. Being tuned into the seasons is important and in Chinese Medicine is believed to affect everything from the way you eat to the way you work.  For example, I would never start a big project in summer because in Chinese Medicine it’s seen as a time to be less tied down by work and more spontaneous and open to the needs of friends, family and social life.

Emma’s every day fit tips

Little at a time  ‘I now run alone for 20 minutes twice a week.  My philosophy is not to over-do things and that is just enough for energy and toning. Anymore would leave me depleted’.

Salts baths  ‘I have an Epsom salts bath once a week. It’s great for relaxation and pre-menstrual tension as the muscles absorb relaxing magnesium from the salts through the skin.  You use two cups in a warm bath and always before bed as the soporific effect is guaranteed.’

Dry skin brushing  ‘Three times a week I dry skin brush using a natural bristled brush in circular motions all over my body for a few minutes.  It’s invigorating and makes the skin glow, but I also believe it helps my lymphatic system, which was challenged by my cancer.’

Less is more  ‘I get a fruit and vegetable box delivered by Abel & Cole and then supplement my shopping by buying from Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.  Though I usually opt for organic, I will make it go further.  For example, two organic chicken breasts are £8 so I hammer them out until they’re thin then add bread crumbs with sesame and poppy seeds and shallow fry them so that with a salad, they feed four.

Bulk benefits  About three times a year I spend about £200 on staples, for example lentils, rice, grains and pasta in bulk.  It saves me so much money and also means that even when the fridge is empty there is always something I can cook up a meal for the family with.  I buy mine at Infinity Foods in Brighton as they home deliver (

Boiling secret  ‘On Sundays when we have roast chicken, I will boil up all the chicken bones and make a base to use on Monday for risotto, pasta sauce or a hearty soup.  Boiling up cooked chicken bones cooked takes only an hour and a half or from a raw chicken, about six hours.  In Chinese medicine the broth is considered a blood nourisher and given to women post-menstrually.

Mindful meditation  ‘When I was learning to be an acupuncturist and during my chemotheraoy I did Qi Gong, meditation and yoga to calm my mind.  Now, I haven’t time to sit and meditate but I do practice mindfulness which means focusing on exactly what you are doing.  Going through my cancer treatment made me realise we can’t know what’s coming next and being in the present moment is liberating. Now, whether I am ironing a shirt or walking down the street I focus on the present moment and always feel calmer’.

Best health advice I ever got:  ‘Eat light, live longer.  In Chinese medicine, eating less, chewing well and savouring food is key to a healthier, longer life.  Cooking smaller portions and savouring food means you will not only save money, you may discover you need less.’

total fertilityEmma Cannon’s new book Total Fertility (Rodale £14.99) came out on June 3rd


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