Following a career on the runway, Sarah turned her attention to food and nutrition. “I wanted to help people use nutrition as a preventative measure to chronic diseases and improve their all-around health,” she says. Sarah took her message to London Fashion Week for a third year, this time by curating a talk at W London that featured a panel of nutrition experts who focus on holistic approaches to wellness. The discussion was fueled by The Perception’s Fashion Fix menu, which boasts a colorful array of vegetables, proteins, and whole grains. We caught up with Sarah to find out how she brought her message to life.
You worked with The Perception to design an immunity-boosting, stress-reducing breakfast menu that coincides with London Fashion Week. How did this collaboration come about?
Sarah Ann Macklin: I launched the Be Well Collective for LFW three seasons ago, with the objective of improving health and wellbeing for models during this demanding time. This year, I teamed with W London to bring together experts who focus on mental health, nutrition and meditation for a panel discussion. We’ve also curated a healthy breakfast menu to serve throughout the talks. We wanted this breakfast to be available throughout LFW, whilst the models were dashing past on route to castings, for journalists with demanding schedules, and for the public who fancy trying something new!
What was your approach to putting together the menu?
SAM: For me, a healthy menu should not be restrictive, it should incorporate as many nourishing items as possible. Every client I meet has different dietary requests, so it’s vital to maximize whole food ingredients. It’s important to focus on healthy fats, which add flavor to the dish and increase our satiety; balanced carbohydrates to spike our blood-sugar levels and reduce cravings mid-morning; and most importantly, be low in sugar. There are no hidden sugars in these dishes. They are all rich in protein, which is essential on busy days to sustain our energy levels.
What’s your favorite dish on the menu?
SAM: This is so hard! I truly love every one. However, I am a hummus addict, so I would have to opt for the savory pancake option!
Is it true that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?
SAM: No. Breakfast is important if you have a very busy day ahead. It will stop cravings, and ensure you are receiving something nourishing if you don’t have time to stop for a lunch. However, I am also a firm believer in fasting, with recent evidence showing some very beneficial health effects. Sometimes we can consume too much food, and never allow our guts a rest. For me, if I do fast, I like to break my fast around 10am, and I would usually opt for one of these breakfast items!
What principles of nutrition do you swear by?
SAM: Make sure you are constantly consuming water throughout the day. Hydration is the biggest cause of fatigue because our blood volume drops making it harder for blood to be pumped around our bodies. It’s a simple one, but the most vital!
Second, don’t restrict any food groups, and look at the quantities on your plate. If you are less active, reduce your carbohydrate level, but do not completely cut it out. Fiber is essential for our gut health which is sourced from wholegrain carbohydrates and veggies! Very important!
What advice do you have for someone who needs to kick their energy into high gear?
SAM: Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Try to switch off your social media two hours before bed, and reduce your phone use. We know the more hours of sleep you gain before midnight, the more your sleep quality is improved. Try not to eat too late at night, allowing your food to digest and steer away from sugary snacks, these will only play havoc with your sleep.
Start your day with a large glass of water, and keep hydrated throughout the day. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine to boost your serotonin levels and energy naturally. Eat whole foods; stay clear of processed foods. Load up on veggies but less on fruit, especially dried fruit as these are very high in sugar.
Do you think that the fashion world pays enough attention to nutrition in the true sense of the word? Where do you see room for improvement?
SAM: I don’t think any world (apart from the wellness sector) pays enough attention to nutrition. The reason I feel the fashion industry needs more support is because a model’s “looks” will get him or her a job. Girls are also under pressure to look a certain way, but without any guidance. Mental health is another important area where many people suffer. Nutrition can dramatically help support mental health. Starving your brain of nutrients will only impact mental health in a negative way.
What’s your favorite part of Fashion Week?
SAM: These days I watch the shows—I’ve done my catwalk deeds! I love it all. You always see the same faces at the shows which is wonderful. You get to catch up with everyone. London buzzes during LFW, and I find it to be a very special place to be.