skin and within
Nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik is transfixed by the human gut. An advocate of conscious eating and ditching rules and fads, Eve’s book Be Good To Your Gut is a mix of expert knowledge and can’t-wait-to-cook-this recipes. A regular columnist for titles including MatchesFashion.com and Psychologies magazine, Eve is a tutor for the Guardian’s masterclasses, helping people navigate the choppy waters of healthy eating. We chatted to her about the importance of table settings for one and how cheese can improve your skin.
"Technology has become so overwhelming that it has fundamentally detracted from us just being present in any regard."
PS: How does having digestive balance impact your life balance?
EK: A lot of the clients I see are constantly in fight and flight survival mode to the point they're eating when they should be in rest and digest mode, that relaxed nervous system state. A lot of people seem to exist too much in fight or flight, which has knock on effects in other areas of the body. That’s when they’ll start to experience the effects of stress.
PS: We've kind of lost that idea of sitting down to eat at all, let alone sitting down to eat together.
EK: It used to be standard to sit down and eat food together as a family, but now technology has become so overwhelming that it has fundamentally detracted from us just being present in any regard. In Italy and Spain and there is definitely still a culture around sitting down and eating meals together. They certainly don't have the same disconnect, from what I can tell, that we now currently have here. Some of my family in Wales still sit down quite regularly to a Sunday lunch, but not in quite the same way. I think it's something we've definitely lost touch with.
PS: How might we can reconnect with that, especially people who are on their own or perhaps not with somebody for every single meal? Is it important to use lovely tableware and take time over the place setting?
EK: Yes, because that’s saying you're worth it. Eating rapidly, and not really caring about what you're doing is actually sending a signal to yourself on a much deeper cellular level, that you’re not worth the time and effort to sit down and eat a meal. I encourage clients to try and make small changes - even just the way you present your food can actually totally transform the way that you eat it, and that has such an impact on how we digest it, beyond what the food is itself. Putting something generic like sandwhiches or crisps on a plate means you'll probably be more likely to pick the crisps up individually and eat them in a different way, where you might otherwise just open a bag and start chugging. The connection is different. You don't have to be in company to sit down, chew your food and switch off devices - apart from anything else, it helps put us in that rest and digest mode. Having a curfew with your devices is important - not at meal times, and definitely not in the bedroom. There are only two things you should be doing in the bedroom, neither of which is checking the internet!
PS: This comes back to the idea of conscious eating – technology has had such a massive impact on not just our brains, but our digestion too.
EK: They have studies to show that you get a dopamine hit from getting a like on your Facebook or Instagram post and it has become addictive. Half the time we don’t even know what we’re looking at, do we? It sounds a bit woo-woo, but we’re not present a lot of the time. It’s almost as if connecting with people, having conversations or looking people that you don't know in the eye is very odd now.
"I’m a big believer in how your skin reflects a lot of what is happening internally and so I consider nutrition a big part of looking after my skin."
PS: What can our skin tell us about our general health?
EK: Obviously I’m a big believer in how your skin reflects a lot of what is happening internally and so I consider nutrition a big part of looking after my skin. Being a specialist in gut health and fascinated by the gut-skin link, looking after the health of my microbiome (the trillions of microbes that live in and on us) is super important to me. After the gut, the second largest collection of these microbes is on the skin, which is why there is such a strong relationship.
"Good quality sleep immediately gives my skin a boost - no cream, make-up or supplement can mitigate the effects of poor quality sleep."
PS: What are your tips for healthy skin?
EK: A daily supplement like SYMPROVE and fermented foods such as live yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and cheese – yes, cheese is part of my beauty regime! Good quality sleep immediately gives my skin a boost - no cream, make-up or supplement can mitigate the effects of poor quality sleep. I use the hour before I go to bed to take dedicated time and care with my skincare ritual.
PS: What about facials and products?
EK: A monthly facial at Pfeffer Sal helps to (literally) give back nourishment to my skin, as well as some kindness and compassion to myself, which has myriad benefits. It was there I was introduced to the incredible Cosmetics 27 range, which I feel has transformed my skin. I also really love the Essential Serum by Pfeffer Sal, which gives my skin that much-needed boost from living in the city.
"I also really love the Essential Serum by Pfeffer Sal, which gives my skin that much-needed boost from living in the city."
PS: Finally - is there anything you couldn’t live without, food-wise?
EK: I have a hot chocolate, non-negotiably, pretty much every day. I love chocolate - it’s a mainstay for me.
Try eve's delicious, stress busting liquourice infusion.
2 tablespoons liquorice root
1 heaped teaspoon whole cardamom pods - approx 15 pods
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Put all in a teapot and cover with hot water. Allow to steep for 10 mins. Strain into a cup. Sip & savour.