Former Bondi dweller, Nutritionist, Heath Coach and Yoga Teacher Madeleine Shaw Talks About Her Self-Confessed ‘Obsession’ With Australia And Her New Book, Get the Glow.
At 18, Madeleine Shaw abandoned plans to study at the Newcastle University in chilly Northern England to come and live in Australia. She now credits living in vibrant, sunny Sydney with inspiring the overhaul of eating and lifestyle habits that were making her feel and look bloated and unhealthy. As her first book hits the shelves in the UK and Australia, we spoke to the London-based nutritionist, health coach and blogger about food, lifestyle and her favourite things about her time in Sydney.
1. Your book advocates a low-carbohydrate, grain-free, sugar-free diet to #beatthebloat and #gettheglow – but still features plenty of decadent dishes, such as the steak with parsnip chips and the raw cherry and chocolate fudge. What is your food philosophy in one sentence?
It’s about going back to basics: remove processed foods from your diet and eat food that you can grow, hunt or gather.
2. Living in Australia has had a big influence on you. Your recipes pay homage to your time in Sydney (with recipes like your Simple Overnight Bircher and Green Goddess Bowl). Tell us how living in Australia inspired you to eat better and change your lifestyle?
Living and working in Australia corrected a number of misconceptions I had long held about food and health.
While born and bred in London, I am a child of Kiwi parents and as a result, was lucky to be able to easily work in Australia. Whilst studying Ancient History at the University of Sydney, I started working at an organic café in Bondi. At this time, I was suffering from severe digestive problems. It was there that I learnt all about eating good fats (and ditching my low-fat, high sugar diet) – which meant my digestive problems disappeared. It was also where my love of slow cooking and raw food originated from.
More broadly, Australia taught me that being healthy wasn’t about dieting, it was about lifestyle. I had previously thought that being healthy necessitated being boring and restricted. In Australia, I observed that ‘healthiness’ was seamlessly a part of people’s everyday lives and it wasn’t a chore: people loved exercising and made it social. People went to the gym because they enjoyed the way it made them feel, not to lose weight. In London, exercising wasn’t cool at this time and I would have been laughed off the streets if I’d walked down the street in my gym gear. Now, it’s all come full circle.
3. As the Southern Hemisphere descends into winter, can you share some tips about how to stay motivated to eat clean and work out in the colder months?
In winter, I agree that you feel like hibernating. But have a hobby and get out there! Get your exercise completed in the morning so that it is done and eat comforting nutrients to bolster you and keep colds at bay – soups and broths packed with vegies.
4. There are so many titles out about healthy eating at the moment. What makes your new book, or your approach, different?
My book is different to other titles for a number of reasons.
In addition to 100 recipes, it contains the 6 week ‘Get the Glow’ programme, which is an easy and unintimidating guide to getting just that – through ditching sugar, replacing a low fat diet with a love of healthy fats, self-love and authenticity, farewelling gluten, mindfulness and tips to make you last the distance.
The book is realistic: I am not perfect and don’t portray myself as such. I appreciate that life is for enjoying so in addition to nutritional advice the book offers helpful tips, such as the best approach to combat a hangover.
5. What are your daily rituals?
My daily rituals include rising early and starting my day with a cup of warm water, turmeric and apple cider vinegar; exercise (I’ll often take a midday boxing or yoga class); working from home (if I’m doing a food shoot) or from the Little House in Mayfair (a private members only club where I can set up with my assistant and my laptop); and lots of engagement with my social media platforms (I post three images on Instagram a day and tweet a lot). In the evenings, I aim to finish work at by 6pm and be in bed by 10pm, with dinner with my boyfriend or friends in between.
6. What are your favourite healthy, affordable, and fun places to eat out in Australia and the UK?
I love eating out, and my weekends are spent exploring new offerings, or revisiting my favourites.
In London, my go-to restaurants are:
- Boma, Fulham and Parson’s Green (the name means ‘a safe enclosure’ in Swahili);
- 10 Greek Street, Soho (the best, and buzziest date night venue); and
- Abbeville Kitchen, Clapham
While I travelled the East Coast of Australia during my time there (and loved it), I’ve only ever spent a concentrated period of time in Sydney. My top spots there are:
- The Grounds, Alexandria (I had heard great things so, when I landed in Australia in December last year for a holiday, I went straight there from the airport – and it delivered);
- The Depot, North Bondi; and
- Porch and Parlour, North Bondi (the prettiest restaurant!)
7. What was your most memorable meal and why was it significant?
Last year’s birthday dinner at Abbeville Kitchen is a particularly fond memory. I was surrounded by family, friends and my boyfriend and we tucked into the most amazing slow roast lamb and red cabbage (my obsession with slow roasts continues!). I felt like a queen.
8. You recently launched the book at Harvey Nichols in London, where you were photographed with one of your clients, former ‘Made in Chelsea’ star Millie Mackintosh. What types of services do you provide clients, including your high profile clients?
Since I started my website in 2012, I have provided select clients with health coaching and nutritional advice. Millie undertook the 6 week Get the Glow programme awhile back and has been a great support to me. In recent months, I’ve pared back one-on-one coaching to focus on the book, but I’ve just started working with British You-Tube sensation and beauty blogger and vlogger Tanya Burr. I’m teaching her yoga (in addition to launching the book, I completed my yoga teacher training last week!) and she has just started the Get the Glow programme.
9. What is coming up next for you?
There’s lots on the horizon that is exciting. I’m involved in a new project with a London-based Australian friend called “Alpha Babes”, which aims to empower women through exercise, nutrition and mindfulness. Underpinning our goal of empowerment is our motto, ‘strong, not skinny’. We are currently running live events around London (typically a yoga class, followed by a healthy brunch), which is attracting really cool group of women. I’ll continue to run my monthly supper clubs around London and the UK at different locations (previous venues include Boma, The Grace Belgravia and the Hoxton Hotel), and there’s also the prospect of a second book.
10. Finally, your favourite recipe from Get the Glow?
The raw cherry and chocolate fudge. It’s so fun to make and gets people excited about healthy eating precisely because it doesn’t feel, or taste, healthy at all.
The Word From Madeleine Shaw
Top 3 tips to #beatthebloat
- Chew your food
- Increase your intake of fermented vegetables (sauerkraut; kefir; miso)
- Quit wheat
Top 3 tips to #gettheglow
- Eat healthy fats (avocado, nuts, free-range eggs, pasture-raised meat; cold-water fish)
- Love your vegetables and colour your plate with them
- Think positive. A key tenet of the Get the Glow philosophy is positive thinking about your life and your body
Favourite Australian brands?
Organic mineral makeup by Inika; clothes and swimwear by Zimmerman and activewear from The Upside
Favourite Health App?
Headspace, which allows you to meditate on the go and to select the length of your session (I like the 10 minute sessions)
Yoga is my ultimate form of exercise. But if you have a limited window, I’d recommend five minutes of interval training (sprints; 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off), followed by a quick yoga stretch (sun salute; downward dog; upward dog)
3 ingredients you couldn’t live without?
- Coconut oil (because I cook with it every day);
- Eggs (such a breakfast staple, and used so often in baking); and
- Avocado (spread it on your (quinoa) toast, and it makes every salad)
Steak & Parsnip Chips
Have you tried any of Madeleine Shaw’s recipes? Tell us below…