Welcome to the second installment of My Happy Healthy Life, a feature column in which I interview people who inspire me about their health and wellness lifestyles! Today, I’m interviewing Elle Young, the publisher over at The Sugar Free Kitchen! Elle and I have actually never met in person because she lives in the UK, but we met on Instagram last summer and have been talking ever since! I love how social media can introduce you to such amazing people Please give a warm welcome to Elle!
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi, I’m Elle. I’m 26, I live in Cambridge (UK), I’m currently studying for a Masters degree in Social Anthropology of Development (long title, I know!) and I’m a passionate foodie! I also run The Sugar Free Kitchen blog.
Have you always lived a healthy and happy life? If not, what got you on this path?
I’ve always been pretty healthy. I’ve always exercised, I grew up on a mainly vegetarian diet (not that this always means healthy!) and have never smoked. However, I haven’t always been as kind to my body as I should have. During my undergraduate degree I drank quite a lot of alcohol (I now haven’t drunk for 3 years!) and ate a lot of chocolate biscuits! I decided to stop eating refined sugar in 2013 to help my IBS and it worked, so I began researching more into my diet. It’s only quite recently that I’ve started to focus more on my mental health rather than my physical health. Being happy, mindful and having a ‘quiet’ mind is becoming increasingly important to me which is why I’m getting more into yoga.
How do you nourish your body? Can you tell us about your diet and exercise routine?
I eat well everyday, stay hydrated, make sure I always get at least 8/9 hours sleep a night and exercise regularly. Cliché but it works! My diet is free from refined sugar and I also don’t eat wheat. I’ve suffered with IBS for about 15 years and avoiding sugar and wheat seems to have sorted it out, which I’m so thankful for! I do a mixture of circuit training, yoga and walking with the occasional run thrown in for good measure! I love swimming but don’t go very often as it’s pretty expensive here in the UK
How do your nourish your soul? What keeps you happy and balanced?
Nourishing my soul and mind is something that I really need to work on but I’m doing an okay job. I practise yoga, go for a long hike or have a hot bath to unwind, but I’m really keen to get into meditation and learn how to control my breathing.
I’m generally happy as long as I spend some time outdoors. I absolutely love walking – I really enjoy being outside and seeing nature and wildlife. I’m also a big traveller, I love experiencing new countries and cultures. The thrill of going somewhere can keep me happy for months!
I’m always curious about people’s morning routines! How do you start your day?
I wish I could say that I start the day with hot water and lemon, a green juice and an hour’s yoga, but unfortunately I don’t! I hope I will be able to in the not too distant future but at the moment I commute to London three days a week so I’m usually quite pressed for time. I wake up, get ready, then head downstairs for a pot of English Breakfast tea and breakfast. I usually have eggs, fruit, porridge or a smoothie bowl.
Who do you follow for health/happiness advice?
I absolutely love Instagram. It’s a great source of inspiration for food, health and happiness. My number one would have to be Rachel Brathen as we seemed to share quite a few experiences last year which is purely coincidental but quite humbling. She reminds me daily to open my heart and that I am where I am for a reason. I need these reminders quite often as this Masters is pretty tough but I need it to get to where I want to be with my career so I know it’ll all be worth it!
What are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India by Sarah Besky. It’s for my course, but it’s something I’m interested in anyway. It’s an insight into the lives of the people who work picking tea in India. I think we all take commodities such as tea and coffee for granted, so I enjoy reading about the people who work so hard to provide them so that I can be more mindful and grateful for what I have.
What are you absolutely passionate about?
Travel. I have been obsessed with discovering the world since I was 15. I could talk for hours about my past trips and the future ones I have planned. Meeting new people, soaking up new cultures and seeing new sights is so important to me. We’re only here for a finite amount of time, I’d hate to leave this world not having seen as much of it as I could.
What are your current health and happiness goals? What are you working towards?
This year I’m focused on getting strong. I’ve always focused my exercise on cardio whereas this year I want to get strong! I can’t even do one push up, let alone some of the yoga poses I want to be able to do, so this is the year that I increase the strength in my arms, core and back. I can’t wait! Happiness wise, I want to find inner peace and be kind to myself and others. I don’t think I’m too far off that one!
Any other tips for us?
Eat well, travel well, sleep well, follow your dreams and you’ll be just fine…xxxx