This week #BEYOUROWN meet Hala El-Shafie, she is the founder and creator of the Nutrition Rocks lifestyle and nutrition team that helps to inspire both men and women from all backgrounds to eat better for health, whilst supporting them to ‘Rock’ a positive body image. #BEYOUROWN discuss 2017’s potential horizon and career highlights.
How does your day start and how does it finish?
No two days are the same and that is what I love. The first thing I do is put the kettle on then jump in the shower before I do anything – I will then have a lemon and ginger or liquorice and peppermint tea – I actually have so many different teas I could probably open my own tea shop! I am an early riser (because I have to be !) and I really relish that quiet time. I use that time to plan and do around 10 – 15 minutes of mediation.
If I’m not in a good mood when I wake up I make sure that I definitely am after my meditation and simply focus on a few of my favourite things and all the things I have to be grateful for. Depending on what I have on depends on how the day goes – I frequently have breakfast meetings and I get to go to wonderful events sometimes to speak and sometimes to listen to colleagues in the field speak, I recently went to one at the Rosewood Hotel which was just stunning the breakfast was out of this world and incredibly glamorous.
On the whole I always have back to back meetings, writing for magazines, TV meetings and the work for Nutrition Rocks is never ending. If I am having a nutrition rocks day the majority of the time is spent meeting with the team discussing the site, recipe development and our ongoing projects. I get a lot of items sent over to review and we are also planning several very exciting and exclusive retreats for next year. I am very fortunate I get to travel internationally with my work and through my work I get to stay in some of the most incredible places.I’ve recently come back from Dalaman in Turkey where I was reviewing an amazing location and I will be hosting a retreat there next year.
In the evenings I can be out for dinner 3-4 times a week – this could be for a restaurant review or dinner with clients, journalists or the nutrition rocks team and if I’m not eating out I’m cooking and believe it or not it’s the best form if meditation for me I truly get to switch off – I love nothing better than listening to some old school house music and cooking up a storm in the kitchen – it’s what I do it’s what I love – good food great music and passion – what’s not to love!?
I’m often working in the evening but I wouldn’t change this, it’s effortless – when you love what you do it’s great. I get to work with some of the most incredible people who have now become friends. I always try and get 8 hours sleep and I try to get to bed before midnight if not earlier. I have a routine, I need it – I like to have a bath, light some candles – I end the day how I start. I need to have that ‘me’ time just to process, reflect and offload. I end the day with some kind of fennel tea recipe or chamomile infusion from my very own tea collection and read something easy to help me un-wind.
What has been the high light of your career so far?
There have been so many it’s really hard to just pick one. I never set out to have a TV career it just happened which is mind blowing. Travelling internationally with my work has been amazing and something I feel incredibly fortunate about. I have got to meet some amazing people – people that I really respect and I am always humbled that also love and respect what I do. Sometimes I do pinch myself and think how has this happened ? It was never the plan. I just followed my passion and authenticity. I still feel that the best is yet to come for my career.
I launched nutrition rocks 7 years ago, it’s my passion. I have some huge plans for the brand and we have some very exciting news to release next year! Through the work that I do because i have a voice I am actually able to give back and this is very important for me as we have children that don’t have clean water or enough food to eat is just unacceptable. I want to use my voice to re-address the balance. People without food and water should not even be possible – we are in the 21st century and malnutiriton should have been eradicated. I work with a charity in Sudan and try to visit at least for three months I do this work voluntarily and am pushing to raise awareness and funds – it’s a desperate situation in some places – poverty I have never seen and no one should experience ever.
What is on the horizon for 2017?
2017 is going to be dynamic and insanely busy ! I am so excited for whats ahead including the amazing international retreats we have lined up, the Nutrition Rocks food range , and books! I’ve asked santa for more than 365 days and 24 hours to get through ! I’m blessed I have such an incredible team around me! It’s been 7 years and 7 is definitely one of my lucky numbers Ha !
Congratulations on your success so far, you also have two primetime shows out in 2017 on Channel 4 and ITV, can you give us a little insight of what to expect?
I’m so excited about both shows – I can’t give too much away but what I can say is people will find them intriguing and 100% will learn a huge amount about health and wellbeing from them and also have some laugh out loud moments too !
You have 10 years’ experience in the field, how do you feel the market has changed since you first began, and how have you adapted?
I have over 15 years experience in the field – The market is saturated with bloggers, self styled ‘nutritionists’ and so called ‘experts’ this is something of great concern as most of these people have no professional qualification to speak of . To use the title Dietitian you have to be registered with the HCPC and this only happens after stringent clinical training ether as a BSc Hons degree course or postgraduate MSc we are accountable for what we say and so and rightly so these are people’s health and outcomes you’re dealing with, we’re trained in pharmacology so we understand about drug nutrient interactions and what the clinical and physiological implications of our advice mean – sadly at present the title nutritionist is not protected and anyone can call them selves a nutritionist which has potentially serious consequences particularly when these people are not trained which wholly undermines my colleagues who have trained to degree level and beyond – this needs to change – I hold an honours degree in nutrition and dietetics and completed my clinical training at University College Hospital here in London. I’ll be getting behind the campaign to redress this balance – the public should not be taking advice on their health from people not equipped to do so – you wouldn’t go to your local grocer to ask which medicines you would take for your recent diagnoses so why would people take advice from someone regarding your health from someone who doesn’t have any training to advise otherwise ?
Where would you like to see Nutrition Rocks within the next 5 years?
I would like to see the brand grow to food ranges, kitchen ranges, books and most importantly a well oiled machine that pays handsomely to philanthropy – giving back and redressing the balance whilst having fun and following our passion. This is what our brand stands for and I say “OUR” because Nutrition Rocks is a collective a bunch of some of the best creatives in the industry who I’m also honoured to call my friends.
We love the way you “wish to inspire both women and men of all backgrounds to eat better for health whilst supporting them to rock a positive body image” How do you feel Nutrition Rocks does this?
Nutrition rocks is an ethos a way of life and an attitude – self esteem, empowerment and rocking and loving the skin we’re in is the seam of what we’re about and we hope to educate enthuse and support people globally to do this whoever you are and whatever stage you’re out – we want you to feel good from the inside out – attitude and happiness is everything.
What is your favourite recipe that you have created?
That’s like asking me to choose between my future children. I love all my creations but ultimately taste vibrancy and colour is the theme of all our dishes that also beautify you from the inside out. I love the butternut squash rainnow salad which you can have hot or cold and the crimson tone of our pink-lady apple and beetroot blush smoothie, it totally hit’s the spot first thing !
Can you talk us through the importance of fuelling your body with the right nutrients and minerals?
It’s essential that our bodies are well nourished what we eat forms the basis of every single cell and structure in our body it affects our mood, energy levels vibrancy looks and libido ! I’d say those were pretty important reasons to make sure what’s going in creates that energy that you want to put out into the world.
Exactly how badly can it affect you on a day to day basis if you skip meals?
Your energy levels will suffer and your effectiveness not only at work but simply to cope will be affected – life happens and we have enough stresses without adding to them with depleted energy levels and malnutrition – iron deficiency anaemia and low Vitamin D levels are zero fun and they are only two conditions that we can suffer with when we don’t eat well and look after our well being ! Not to mention being really awful to be around – have you never had your head bitten off by someone who’s skipped lunch ? That’s low blood sugars and a really bad temper and poor concentration too !
What is the breakfast of a winner?!
One that sustains you right through till lunch time, is a balanced and taste great – Making sure you have enough protein and complex carbohydrates at breakfast will ensure you stay fuller for longer and sustained until lunch time – I love avocado, salmon, scrambled eggs mushrooms and rye. Breakfast like a king and you won’t end up a pauper nutritionally.
Finally, what advice would give to any one wanting to be a nutritionist?
Get qualified, take the degree courses right for you. Speak to the British Nutrition Foundation and The British Dietetic Association. Study and study some more and ensure you take a recognised qualification. If you’re looking for an internship then I would suggest getting in touch with companies to take you on for experience.