Blake Woman - Xochi Balfour
Tell us a bit about yourself, and your life so far...
I am a holistic living author and writer blogging at www.TheNaturalista.co.uk. I set up a street food business with my husband a few years ago and we embarked on a crazy adventure which left me exhilarated and inspired but also completely burnt out physical and emotionally. In my lowest moment, I realised I needed to address what I was putting into my body and how I was treating myself and I embarked on a nutrition diploma which I am just completing. I began to blog about my journey and soon incorporated natural skincare recipes and mindful living and self inquiry. For me, these have become the three pillars of vitality and it's by nurturing them all in our own lives that we can attain true balance and harmony.
When did your interest for wellness and nutrition start?
When I realised how disrespectfully I was treating my body and ignoring the many ways it was signalling to me that it needed rest, nourishment and to be heard... looking back on that moment now I realise how invaluable it was in catalysing change and helps me to really identify with what my busy clients are going through themselves - even if at the time we feel desperate, once we allow the body to re-achieve its natural balance, we realise how intelligent it is, and how removing the stimulants and refined foods, and chemicals and additives, we allow it to do its job properly.
Talk us through your daily routine.
It always changes as I have been travelling around a lot this summer and am often away from home. I often need a cup of rooibos with almond milk and coconut oil before i really feel ready to face the day's tasks and this is one of my most cherished drinks to replace the caffeine on which I was dependent for so long. I like to do a morning gratitude ritual with my husband where we say one thing we are grateful for and one intention we have for the day to the other. It sets a lovely tone of intention and positivity and can be very quick if we are busy.
For breakfast I usually have chia with fruit, or a smoothie, or some toast with avocado or nut butter, and then I am usually at the computer for the morning if I am at home.
For lunch, it's veggies from the fridge and perhaps some pulses or egg, fish or tofu - we try to be as resourceful as we can with the food we buy so it's often a case of improvising with leftovers / what is around. I try to go for a little walk or do yoga each day, it is always important to get out of the house when one works from home, and in the evening i relish a bath - even in summer - with essential oils, a space to be alone, rest and meditate. Dinner is usually something warm and grounding, usually cooked - at the moment I can't get enough of dahl and brown rice with steamed greens. And dark chocolate rounds things off most nights...
Is using organic/local/sustainable products/materials important to you? Why?
Yes, very. Organic is essential if we are to not only avoid harmful chemicals about which we know very little, but also if we are to obtain the maximum amount of nutrients from the food we eat. Often the soil in which chemically farmed food is grown is so weak that its nutrient status is very poor - many people can eat bags of supermarket spinach only to still be low in iron, for example. Even if you cannot afford to buy 100% organic, every choice you can make to support the movement and your body through it makes a world of difference. In the same way, buying locally and sustainable wherever possible not only supports those suppliers who work for a better way of living and consuming, but also contributes to your own sense of harmony and intention across all areas of life. We are the sum of all our choices and this is a powerful thing to remember.
How would you describe your style?
It is pretty fluid at the moment- after years of jeans I find ,myself embracing dresses and more feminine pieces. I love snuggly, laid back textures and nothing too structured - boots and a biker jacket are all I need. Increasingly I am in the countryside or nature, so high heels and glitzy accessories were forgotten long ago... soft textures and intelligent pieces that will last a lifetime are what I am looking for.
What is your wardrobe essential? Why?
A loose grey T shirt of one variety or another. They go with everything and never fail me.
Top 5 recipes:
Of course some are from my book, which is the accumulation of my most useful and easy healthy meals:
- Roast cauliflower or broccoli with polenta and nutritional yeast
- Creamy cashew chia with coconut and vanilla
- Wild salmon and quinoa fishcakes with ginger and sesame
- Raw acas and berry cheesecake
- And finally I love a really quick and easy beef hash recipe from Jamie Oliver - perfect with organic mince and fresh carrots and celery.
So, what is next up?
My husband and I are running holistic healing retreats in London, the countryside and abroad and this feels really natural and exciting for us at the moment - to hold the space for others to come and simply be where they are at, let go of what needs releasing, and nourish themselves inside and out as a group in a safe and sacred space. I'm sure it won't be long until we move fully to the countryside to live in nature, until then it's as much travel as we can fit in!