Aug. 5. 2015
Profile
McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder

Today I’m introducing a sweet friend across the globe, Calgary Avansino, a rockstar mom, entrepreneur, healthy food advocate, and cook.

She writes for Vogue, Sunday Times, and numerous contributions about her healthy family-friendly recipes. Calgary is here to share how she finds balance raising kids, running a business, making awesome YouTube videos, living whole and eating well, while still looking and feeling radiant. Cheers to Calgary!

Calgary Avansino

Name

Calgary Avansino

If someone were to ask you what you “do”, what would you say?

Wellbeing Expert, Contributing Editor at British Vogue, Wellbeing Columnist for The Sunday Times Style, Founder of www.calgaryavansino.com, Author of Keep It Real, which will be available February 2016.

What is your professional background?

After moving to London in 2000, I began a three-week internship at British Vogue. Soon after, I was offered the job as assistant to the editor-in-chief, Alexandra Shulman. Two-and-a-half years later, I moved to the beauty department to become a beauty assistant. This followed with a role as wellbeing editor and then executive fashion director. Between 2008 and 2013, I worked as executive fashion and digital project director, before becoming a contributing editor in 2013 in order to set up my own business. I have since gone on to launch my website – www.calgaryavansino.com, become a columnist for The Sunday Times Style, collaborate with Itsu on a range of cold-pressed low-sugar vegetable juices, spread “wellness” at various festivals, debates and talks, and written my book Keep It Real, which is out February 2016.

How would you describe your philosophy about food and healthy living?

I am a firm believer that healthy doesn’t have to be hard and it should always be delicious; what we eat is a great gift we can give our bodies, our minds and our health. I was raised vegetarian by very health-conscious parents who worked hard to ensure I grew up eating a balanced and nutritious diet full of “real” foods. They taught me how powerful food is for us – both physically and emotionally – and I still believe that strongly today. I stick to a plant-based diet full of good grains and good fats, and one that is low in sugar, wheat and gluten. I always try and listen to what my body needs though and I try not to put too much pressure on myself. I believe no one should ever count calories or skip meals. If you are eating whole, real nutritious foods you shouldn’t have to do any of that. Food should be a glorious, pleasurable part of life and not a source of deprivation or negativity.

What’s your favorite quote or mantra you can’t live without?

I have two that I always remind myself of: “Work Hard and Be Nice to People” and “You can’t do everything, but you can do anything.”

What’s your story, i.e. how did you get started in writing health and wellness articles for Vogue, Sunday Times, and so much more that you do?

It has always been a part of who I am and for years I was the unofficial health ‘guru’ at Vogue and amongst my friends. Curiosity meant it often became a topic of conversation with my friends and colleagues asking for recipes, advice and ideas. It seemed only natural that I start writing about how I lived and fed my children, spreading my experiences and philosophy as far and wide as possible to ensure as many people as possible benefit from all the positive changes that healthy living can bring.

What are challenges you encounter being a business owner?

TIME!!!!! I never feel like I have enough time to fulfill all the dreams I have. I wish I had 5 extra hands and 10 extra hours every day, but then again not having that has trained me to prioritise and be super efficient with my time. I have also recently hired an amazing assistant who has taught me it is ok to delegate. I am a bit of a control freak and learning to let that go is huge! No one can do everything themselves and stay sane.

You’re a rockstar woman. How do you balance running your own business, staying healthy, social life, being a mom, and looking amazing while doing it?

That is a huge compliment – thank you! But I certainly don’t feel like a rockstar and I wish there was a magic solution I could offer every working mother who is trying to delicately balance everything. But there are a few things I try to do to avoid the dreaded guilt we all feel from time to time and stay on track: I’m a big believer in compartmentalising the various parts of my life and being mindful while you are doing them. When I am at work, I try and give 100% commitment to what I am doing and the people I am meeting with. Focus, listen and be present. When I am with my kids, I try to be 100% focussed on them. Phone away, ears turned on, and not thinking about other stuff while I’m pretending to build Legos. Work doesn’t come into these moments. Mindfulness with my kids helps me truly enjoy my time with them.

I’m a stickler for organisation and every aspect of my life is written up into lists; I have one for children, for all the various elements of work, for my house and my friends… It helps me to visualise how my day is going to go, all that needs doing and allows me to prioritise efficiently. I try to make time each week for “alone time” with each child and with my husband. It is very important to carve out these moments when real conversations unfold instead of everyone talking over each other. Even 30 minutes alone with a child means a lot (as long as you’re not looking at your phone the whole time ☺). At the same time, I also try to make some time for myself. If I am tired, stressed or not feeling myself, then I am no use to those around me. It’s important to look after number one… and to have love for yourself too!

Have dinner as a family as often as possible. Cooking together and eating together always grounds me. At least three days a week I try and get up an hour earlier than the rest of the house so I can get work done in the quiet time before everyone else awakes. It also gives me a chance to make my children, and me, a good breakfast for the day ahead.

You’re a foodie and also cook for the family, what’s your typical meal for…

  • First thing upon waking: a glass of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon.
  • Breakfast: homemade granola with almond milk; avocado & tomatoes on bread; chia seed pudding; or a big green veggie smoothie.
  • Lunch: I a big believer in leftovers so more often than not it’s a version of what I had the night before. Lentil salad; vegetarian stir-fry; baked tofu with beans; puréed vegetable soups; or green salads topped with beans, seeds and herbs.
  • Supper: PLANTS! They are always my first thought when I am figuring out what to make for dinner. Then good grains and lean proteins come second.
  • Snacks or sweets: my refined sugar-free macaroons (recipe on my website), cookies and bars – I’m constantly creating new recipes that are delicious but not packed with sugar. 
  • Favorite beverage: Water with squeezed lemon or Matcha tea when I need a lift

If you could pick one food to eat over and over again, what would it be?

There is no way I can choose just one! Avocados, coconut and spinach are three I couldn’t live without. 

On Nutrition Stripped we always talk about living whole and eating well– What are some of your typical…

  • Exercise routines you can’t live without: For me it’s all about variety – the best way to stay motivated is to never be bored or stuck in a rut. As my base I am a huge believer in walking (at a brisk pace) and on top of that, I will try just about anything. I love interval training as it really pushes your body to perform at its full potential. I also enjoy TRX training, reformer Pilates classes, Barre classes and yoga. When I really want to get my blood pumping I do spinning or a hot sweaty yoga class. 
  • Way to decompress from a busy day: The first thing I do is change clothes – strip away your day – literally – by changing into something comfortable. Then I pour myself a huge glass of water with lemon or a cup of matcha tea. I leave my phone on my desk and try to immerse myself in kid-life. We turn on music, prepare dinner, do homework and TALK! 
  • Favorite bedtime ritual: A bath with Epsom salts, slathering on organic oils, reading to my kids and then getting in bed with a magazine – it’s usually my laptop to be honest but a magazine is my ultimate indulgence these days. 
  • Tip for staying healthy and fit year round: I hate beach-body diets and January cleanses… so erasing that mentality from your mind is the first step. Who doesn’t want to feel healthy and full of energy all year long? My advice is making changes for forever not as temporary fixes.

Beauty talk, what’s your…

  • Beauty and skin routine look like: I try to keep it quite simple as I have rosacea, so I use organic oils on my face and nothing much else. I always apply sunscreen and try to use natural products as often as possible. It’s easy to swap traditional lipsticks, nail polishes, creams and shampoo & conditioners for more natural versions. 
  • Your favorite beauty products:
  • Your favorite hair care tip: Lulu Organics dry shampoo! It is such a lifesaver on busy days to save you time! Also I often wash my hair in the evening and braid it so it has nice beachy waves by morning.
  • Your secret (not so secret anymore) beauty tip:
    1. Use coconut oil as makeup remover.
    2. Embrace your age and your lines – there is wisdom in every crease. 
    3. Wear pigtails!

Where do you see yourself in the next 2-3 years? Any big plans you want to share!

So many that my mind is spinning! My first book will be launched in February 2016 and I want to write a second book specifically about healthy eating for kids & family. My website will soon be e-commerce so people can buy all the amazing beauty products, food ingredients and fitness kit that I talk about. The rest I’ll keep secret for now…. 😉

Lastly, why do you love Nutrition Stripped!? 😉

A one-stop healthy inspiration shop! Recipes, videos, guides and super cute t-shirts. What more could you want? x

So where can everyone keep up with you to learn more?

Website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

I hope you all enjoyed reading more about Calgary and how she finds inspiration in the craziness of running a business and staying healthy!

Cheers xx McKel