Healthy Rituals | Grace Kingswell | Nutritional Therapist

For the team here at Pentire, launching our Healthy Rituals campaign was about bringing to life the habits in our daily lives that we can truly depend on to make us feel good. The ones we know come with a guarantee of feeling “better” after we complete them than we did before. 

Whether it's getting out at first light to go trail running, plunging yourself into cold water for a swim, or simply practising yoga on your living room floor. Different rituals work for different people – and we wanted to start the year by opening conversations with friends of Pentire to find out which rituals matter most to them. 

Our hope is to help members of our community to learn from one another - and to begin 2022 with healthy intentions, old and new. 

Which is what led us to sharing stories over a frothy, full-fat milk latte with Grace Kingswell, Cornwall-based Nutritional Therapist and friend at botanical haven, Open Surf in St Agnes.  

At the heart of Grace’s approach to Nutrition is a belief that wellness should be looked at with a lens on the bigger picture: one that includes mind and body; and one that looks beyond symptoms to uncover the root causes of health problems. 

As a person whose job is to advise people on how to improve their health through the power of food, we wanted to uncover what rituals matter most to Grace for her own wellbeing. This is what we found out. 

As a nutritionist, what are two healthy rituals that are important to you for maintaining a healthy mind and body? 

As a Nutritional Therapist, I can’t not mention food as one of them! Last year I started a hashtag called #eggsandveg, following a podcast I’d released about the problem with porridge for breakfast… Porridge lovers, I hate to break it to you but oats aren’t as ‘slow releasing’ as they’re cracked up to be. What we really need first thing in the morning is protein and fat, and ideally some colour from veggies. This is so that we can maintain a stable blood sugar and not risk a huge insulin spike from consuming only carbohydrates first thing in the morning. The benefits to your hormones, skin, mood, energy and mental health will overwhelm you - as it has so many others out there! 

So for me, every morning I make my eggs, usually fried in butter, but sometimes scrambled (also involving lots of butter), and alongside that I’ll have some sauerkraut or kimchi, steamed greens doused in olive oil, cherry tomatoes piqued with salt and black pepper, and if I’m feeling really fancy either a slice of avocado or a piece of high quality bacon from Piper’s Farm. 

My second healthy ritual used to be a morning dip in the ocean, but recently I’ve listened to my body and realised that cold water wasn’t what I needed at the moment - as physiologically it’s quite a stress. 

So I suppose my second healthy habit is to always check in with how I’m feeling, and not push myself beyond the bounds of how I feel that day. We deal with enough stress in our lives these days as it is, I personally don’t subscribe to adding extra pressure when you’re not feeling like it. I do, however, always go outside first thing - morning daylight is a noon-negotiable for me as it sets my circadian rhythm up nicely and energises me for the day ahead. 

Do you believe in setting goals or intentions at the start of a new year? If so, any good ones for 2022? 

I never set intentions for January, and I actually think this is just laziness! I’m sure if I took a moment to think about it I could come up with some, but they’d be broad statements like ‘be more affectionate,’ ‘call your girlfriends more often’ and ‘remember to do something creative.’

I’ve never prescribed to silly notions like ‘eat more fruit,’ and ‘lose weight,’ since I truly believe that change doesn’t come from bullying ourselves into submission - something I cover a lot in my clinical practice. True health comes from working synergistically with your body to find balance. Also, if you DO want to lose weight or change your diet, January is probably not the time - it’s dark, we’re programmed to sleep more and carry more weight, and we might be suffering with a winter cold (or virus…), so wait until spring when the body is ready to bloom again! 

What are your thoughts on Dry January - will you be taking part this year? 

Yes, but not on purpose. I rarely drink these days, it doesn’t suit me and it doesn’t really fit with my idea of optimum health. Alcohol is a liver toxin, and there’s literally no way of sugar coating that - however much resveratrol there is in red wine! (incidentally, not much, and you can get it from grapes too). There are a few instances in which I love a glass of wine though, with a spaghetti Bolognese for one (anyone else?!) and a sip of champagne at a celebration. Other than that, I really do stick to non-alcoholic alternatives. Alcohol wrecks my sleep and wreaks havoc with blood sugar levels - so not only do you wake feeling hungover, but you wake craving carbohydrates and then inevitably make poor decisions when it comes to food that day. 

What are your evening rituals? How do you like to unwind at the end of a long day? 

It’s funny you should ask this, as I just came off a call with a client where we discussed her sleep routine. The body thrives on routine, so when clients struggle to wake feeling rested we work on an evening routine for them that winds them down well. 

For me it involves a hot bath as soon as I clock off from my working day (I love baths, but also Cornwall is so cold and windy), lighting the fire, switching the Christmas tree on (or at any other time of the year, the fairy lights - because yes, I keep some up all year round), hugging my puppy and usually pulling my duvet off my bed and onto the sofa ready to cosy down and watch something on TV. At the moment, as I’m feeling festive, I’m making myself either a pomegranate juice, sparkling water, splash of bitters drink thing or a Pentire and tonic with more lemon juice than tonic (almost) and taking it into the bath with me! 

And finally, the golden question. What’s your favourite Pentire serve? 

I really must branch out because I usually just go for a P&T! Does it count as fancy if I put a sprig of rosemary in it?