Have you ever dreamed of making a huge change? Felt the need to pursue your passions in your gut? The scary desire to flip your world on it’s head? Many of us have been there, but finding the courage to pursue a new path can be difficult.
The lovely Kaye Hudson knows exactly what that’s like! This amazing wellness warrior realized that her acting career was no longer fulfilling. She was passionate about health and nutrition and felt a deep desire to pursue those interests and build a new career.
Today she is a graduate of the University of Westminster, London. She has a Bachelors in Biological Science (with honours). Her tenacity has allowed her to achieve her dreams. Her business, Health and Hudson, allows her to design and present nutrition workshops, run boot camps (this amazing woman is also a fitness instructor) and run a nutritional consultancy service.
Kaye’s story will not only inspire you to follow your dreams, it will inspire you to care for your incredible body, treat it with kindness and provide it with the best possible fuel.
Without further ado, I am so pleased to introduce you to Health-Esteem Queen Kaye:
Tell us about your health philosophy.
The body responds to the type of fuel it is given. If the fuel is in harmony with the body, it will function like a well-oiled machine and if the fuel is not then it will struggle to function properly – under that stress and strain, detrimental effects will occur. Our bodies are quite patient with us, they give us time to correct. It is about balance; I always say that I am passionate about health and nutrition but I think to be obsessive starts to enter unhealthy territory.
What’s your favourite part of your health-esteem journey so far?
My time at university, without a doubt. Seeing how food affects our bodies on a molecular platform, how it effects the communication between the cells in our bodies, the effects on the endocrine system, the enzymatic reactions within our system… I could go on forever! It not only fascinated me but it made me think that if people truly understood the biological effects of how food reacts within their bodies they would see their diet differently.
Everyone knows the old adage “You are what you eat” but I think for many, especially after talking to people in regards to their diet, it rarely goes deeper than that. But it does go deeper than that, much deeper. Developing a deeper understanding about the body helps connect your mind to your health, creating positive changes.
This is what inspired me to set up and design nutrition workshops. I take scientific literature and research papers and I break down the clinical jargon, simplify the molecular reactions and make it relatable and understandable to those listening in order to help them understand their bodies more and learn how they can make changes.
After some soul searching you decided to transition from actress to nutritionist; what advice would you give someone who is dreaming of change?
Honestly, attending The University of Westminster in London to study science is the best decision I’ve made to date! After the age of 25 you are technically referred to as a ‘mature student’ and I was surprised by how many other mature students there were, with quite a variety of ages. It made me realise how many people at different stages of life decided to commit a number of years to completely changing their path, which I think is wonderful.
I would say to those thinking of such a big change: do your research and base your decision around something that really excites you. When those moments get hard, that excitement and passion will not allow you to give up; it carries you through. I gave up acting because I just did not have the passion for it. I ‘liked’ acting, and peoples’ expectations of me being an actress were high, but that is not a deep enough reason. So whenever I hadn’t filmed for a while or whenever I had a tricky casting, the lack of passion for the job made me know it was not worth it, that I was not putting my focus into something that was truly for me.
When I had to deal with statistical analysis of research results, one part of my degree I really did not enjoy, or when I stayed up over night to finish essays (looking at molecular reactions and having to understand and explain them at 4am is never ideal), it was OK, because overall I loved what I was learning. I was genuinely passionate about it.
Change is scary, but it is amazing what has unfurled for me since the time I started thinking that I should go to university. That thought led to me attending an open day at the university, that open day led to an interview, that interview led to me studying chemistry, physics and biology before I could even study a degree. Those studies and exam results led to me being accepted into a science degree with honours. One step just led to another and I am so happy with where it has taken me and continues to take me.
People know in their hearts when they need to make a change. Just take the first step and prepare yourself for the momentum that follows.
You recently finished a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Biological Science (congratulations!) – What are 3 of the most interesting things that you learned?
Thank you! Firstly, one of the most interesting things I learned was how amazing the human body is. There’s just so much going on within us on a biological level. It’s so easy to take it for granted but it truly is amazing and so clever how our bodies work. Even when something in the body is not well, or working as it should, our bodies are trying to do something to correct it or compensate; even if it is not leading to health as it is wanted, it is trying its best in the situation given. This is where our own nutritional choices come in to hopefully assist it.
Secondly, it taught me how to overcome something that seems scary, something that at first could not be understood. When I was first presented with a scientific research paper a few years ago it might as well have been written in Japanese, because it just felt like I was reading another language. Now it just seems like natural reading for me. I had to get used to it very quickly and I learnt so much along the way.
Thirdly, it has taught me that the progression of science is exciting, and how many possibilities there are out there yet to come. Yes, there is a sad truth that science can be used for unethical reasons, but when we look at the advancements science has made to improve lives and to improve health it truly amazes me. It opens our minds to so much more, it shows us that everything is relatable to energy and molecules, things that we cannot even see with the naked eye but can be used for advancement.
Why do you think self-love is an important aspect of someone’s health?
Emotional well-being is a HUGE part of health. Our bodies react to stress and emotions, and the longevity of negative emotions will take its toll on a physical level. Self-love is not selfish, I think it is an absolute necessity to love and respect ourselves. I also think it helps people treat others with more love, kindness and care when they are happier within themselves also. Such an important aspect of health all round.
What changes were necessary in order to achieve your state of self-love?
These may seem harsh, but to cut out negative people in life who try and put you down or emotionally drain you. I’m so fortunate that I have an amazing family with very loving and positive parents, so it might be easy for me to say that as I don’t have to face that situation within my own family, where I know people who do, and it’s a difficult situation. But I am very choosy of who is around me.
I have encountered people, even ‘friends’ in the past who have tried to put doubt in my mind or try to discourage me, or are so caught up with their own dramas that they have nothing positive to say about anyone or anything. I taught myself years ago that I don’t have to have these people in my life. I choose. And by choosing I am loving myself. It’s amazing the difference it makes. I have wonderful friends which I am so grateful for. Even when something is going wrong in their lives, or they are having a hard time they are still positive people to be around in the midst of upset. Energy is contagious.
What inspired you to become the Healthy Foodie you are today?
Something quite simple really… Teenage spots! As a teenager I had the usual spots that I declared a war against with so many different face washes. But then I can across a book ‘Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal’. It explained that fruit and vegetables that were orange in colour were that colour due to the beta-carotene content within them and that when you consume foods with beta-carotene your body naturally coverts this to vitamin A, which is great for the skin. That truly amazed me! It set the ball rolling for which foods affected what. It also created a phase of eating a lot of orange food back then!
Tell us about your upcoming workshop on women’s health.
I am so often approached by people asking me questions in relation to nutrition, but I found recently that I was encountering women having concerns in regards to fertility and menopause. I thought this was something clearly in the minds of so many. Menopause especially is a situation that no women can really escape; we all have to go through it at some point.
My upcoming workshop is focused on this. And not just for those who are in that stage of life now. I talk about how we can use nutrition to prevent the early onset of menopause, which is something we can take nutritional action on in our younger years. I also go into how certain foods can help or hinder side effects such as hot flashes. We discuss the differences between the roles of genetic implications and lifestyle. And, of course, we cover health related problems like osteoporosis; the bone mass decreases more rapidly after the time of menopause, but nutritional steps can be taken to help.
I think that the more knowledge we have, the more we can prepare and arm ourselves with the correct food choices to lead a healthier life throughout the years, regardless of what is thrown our way. It gives us, as women, more power and makes us less like a victim of nature.
Describe a typical day on your plate.
I wake up around 7am and I will normally start to prepare food within the first few minutes of being awake, if I’m not working out first thing. We’re coming into autumn now so I’m starting to switch from granola and soy yogurt to large porridge oats cooked in almond milk with fruit. Pending on the fruit I will add a little maple syrup.
If it’s the weekend and my partner is not working we often make a cooked breakfast, something like pancakes or waffles. I’m much healthier than him, so I have to make different batter mixtures. For example, I’ll have buckwheat pancakes whereas he’ll have white refined flour in his… Try as I might, there are some eating habits that he is not picking up from me! I’ll then make coffee with my Nespresso machine with frothed cashew milk. I find that, of all the nut milks, this froths the best! I have to say coffee is consumed before my smoothie… It used to be the other way around for years! While I drink my coffee I often do some reading, not work related, although it is very often a food magazine. I like to write down what needs to be done that day. Somehow seeing it on paper helps me. I’ll then get ready for the day.
In the late morning I often go to the shops. I’m not great at just doing one shop a week. There’s always something I find I want to buy food-wise throughout the week
After my workout I like to have a smoothie with either whole soy bean or almond milk, blended up in my Nutribullet with both fruit and vegetables and flaxseed or nuts. It changes a lot. I’ll then shower and then I’ll make lunch.
Avocado is a staple part of my diet so it will either be a homemade guacamole or sliced avocado with tomatoes halves on oatcakes, with a handful of nuts, and some soy coconut yogurt with oats or granola too. It’s not often just one thing.
I will then usually have an afternoon snack such as sweet potato chips. I like to cook in the afternoon too. I like to make my own granola, or sweet potato bread, and if it’s something new, or a recipe that I have been working on that I’m finally happy with I will post it on Instagram. I’m currently working on recipes related to nutrients and menopause for my Women’s Health workshop, involving ingredients that I am suggesting women should incorporate into their diets to help their health.
Dinner will vary and my partner has very different eating habits. He’s a meat eater so it can be tricky! Fortunately we have a great local pub that does a delicious chickpea burger with sweet potato fries, and then he can go for his meat dish. Most evenings we will eat fairly differently.
With winter coming I’ve been making a lot of vegetable curries with turmeric, garlic, kidney beans, black beans, sweet potato, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, and coriander which I’ll have with rice and spinach pancakes. The beans are great for protein especially.
What is a daily health ritual must?
I have to say exercise, although the amount does vary. I just feel good after moving my body, even if I’m pressed for time I fit in something small. I do some squats, 15 minutes of lower body exercises or fit in a high intensity interval training (HIIT) session at home on my own, or go for a run. Either way if I look back at my day and don’t think I have moved enough, I feel uncomfortable about it. I would like to implement more in the way of yoga into my day, that’s something that tends to come in waves, whereas running is my normal ‘go to’ exercise. I genuinely find it therapeutic.
What advice would you give for someone wishing to make some health invoking changes?
Start small and build up. I think sometimes people go full on, declaring they are going to cut out this and that from their diet and go to the gym 4 times a week, and it tends not to last. For me it’s been a way of life for many years; health and good nutrition is a major part of my life, but it has grown over time and it is natural for me to have a shopping trolly full of healthy produce and to go for a run. When it’s not a part of your normal life you have to be kind to yourself and give yourself time to adjust, implement these changes bit by bit and soon they will become healthy habits and hopefully the differences will be clear and you will just simply want to continue on that path of looking after yourself.
What’s your biggest health misconception pet peeve?
That if it’s low in fat it must be good for you! This is often not the case. I’ve seen products advertised as low in fat but then when I read the label it’s full of sugar and has very little in the way of nutrient value. I’ve also read a product saying ‘25% less fat’, but then when I read the contents, most of the fat reduced was from the unsaturated types, so the saturated fat was still almost as high. As a claim, companies can get away with it, which I do not agree with.
What is your favourite health food staple?
This seems so cliché but its avocado! I rarely go without eating an avocado and it’s been like this for years now. The popularity for avocados has reached great heights but I feel for good reason.
What’s your go to healthy snack?
Oatcakes and humus. It’s quick, easy and healthy and I love it!
What does Health-Esteem mean to you?
Having the confidence in your life to take control of your health and nourish yourself accordingly, both mentally and physically.
Please share a favourite health-inducing recipe
Nutty Pomegranate Quinoa with Mint & Lime Dressing
Quinoa… This beautiful seed has all nine essential amino acids that our body requires to stay healthy. This is gold star news especially for vegans and vegetarians. Quite simply, essential amino acids are the ones that our bodies cannot make and must be obtained through the diet. They all hold different and important jobs and along with the non-essential amino acids, they are the building blocks of our bodies’ protein. Quinoa has no overpowering taste. To me it’s like a blank canvas, and therefore it’s what you add to it that makes the difference, so it’s easy to be creative. This is a nutritional gem which can be tasty, filling, and really healthy.
2 Servings (360g)
1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of water
1/4 cup of shelled pistachio nuts
1/4 cup of cashew nuts
1/4 cup of fresh chopped mint (and extra for sprinkling over finished dish)
Juice and flesh of 1 lime
1 tbsp of rapeseed oil
In the Making
Empty the dry quinoa into a saucepan and add the water and stir.
Leaving the saucepan lid off at this point, place the pan over a high heat until it has reached boiling point. As soon as it has started to boil, reduce the heat to a low setting, use the lid to cover and allow the quinoa to simmer for about 15 minutes. Throughout this time stir it on 3 or 4 occasions, making sure that it’s not sticking to the bottom or drying out too quick. You don’t want to add too much water as this can potentially result in a porridge looking consistency. The desired result should be light and fluffy! Stirring throughout the cooking time should help coat all the seeds evenly with water and prevent clumping.
While the quinoa is simmering away, start preparing all the cold ingredients. Cut open the pomegranate and remove the fruity seeds and place to one side. Remove the shells from the pistachios and place them with the cashew nuts on a chopping board. You can of course buy pistachios that have already had their shells removed which does save a little time. Gently run a large blade carefully through the nuts, chopping them into large pieces. This will need to be carefully done to prevent flying chopped nuts going everywhere! Chop the mint up so that the pieces are still fairly large.
Place the mint in a screw top jar with the chopped nuts, rapeseed oil, and lime juice. Scrape the flesh out of the lime with a teaspoon into the jar too. Close the lid tightly and shake vigorously up and down and side to side for about 30 seconds. This is to help release some of the oils from the mint into the dressing. If you don’t have a screw top jar find something that works equally as well. When I was creating this dish I was thinking of how mint is ‘muddled’ for the flavour for cocktails such as mojitos, and I actually used my cocktail shaker to try this dressing out first time.
After 15 minutes your quinoa should be cooked through and taken off the heat completely. It should be soft but still with some bite, and loosening it with a fork should separate the seeds and help make it light and fluffy. Pour over the dressing from the jar and stir through using a fork coating the seeds throughout. Add the pomegranate and stir through again so that it is evenly mixed within the quinoa.
Either serve hot, or allow to cool and pop in the fridge in an airtight container for at least 2 hours. It makes a delicious cold dish which can be prepared in advance, and wonderful to have ready at hand when hungry.
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