Em the Nutritionist shares 12 of her self-care essentials

em the nutritionist wellness tips
12 self-care tips from Em the NutritionistHearst Owned

With over 1 million followers on Instagram, you’ll likely have already tried (and loved) one of Emily English’s – aka ‘Em the Nutritionist’ – viral recipes. From healthy ‘marry me’ chicken orzo to spicy tuna bagels made in the air fryer, her recipes are easy to make, nutritionally balanced and most importantly, delicious.

With a BSc degree from Kings College London, Emily – who originally turned to nutritional science to help rebuild her relationship with food – has very quickly become Instagram’s favourite food influencer. From morning rituals to how she winds down at the end of a busy week, we caught up with her to find out her self-care non-negotiables and the healthy habits she lives by...

I always try and wake up as early as possible – around 6am – because I like feeling ahead of the day, and I think mindset is so important when it comes to making healthy decisions.

The first thing I do in the morning is hydrate. I’ll have a big drink of water, often with a scoop of L-glutamine powder in – which I use to help support my gut health. I often put a liquid vitamin D supplement in my water too. And if I’m feeling fancy, I may put a little bit of fibre in there as well – maybe a scoop of chia seeds. This all goes into my Stanley quencher and I try and drink as much as I can.

A brisk morning walk is a non-negotiable. As the sun starts to come up, I get out for a morning walk because sunlight is nature’s caffeine – it’s like a big cup of coffee without having to have a big cup of coffee. I tend to just walk along the river, anywhere that’s peaceful. I’ll listen to a podcast or use that time to get really creative – I’ll often write a lot of my recipes or plan my content as I’m moving. Then I’ll come back and have a big breakfast full of protein and fibre and all the colour and diversity, and then a nice big cup of tea or a matcha. Jenki is my favourite matcha brand – if you want to go and get the best matcha in London, the little matcha bar at Jenki is iconic.

I always opt for a savoury breakfast. It’s what makes me feel my best. It keeps me balanced and sustained. And while I’m a creature of habit, I like to make tiny changes – so if I’m having eggs on toast every single morning, I try and diversify what I pair it with. So one morning I’ll pair it with fresh pesto and tomato, and the next morning I’ll pair it with spinach and maybe a dollop of hummus and a sprinkle of seeds.

I’m a Reformer Pilates girl. I used to do a lot more resistance heavy-weight training, but I’ve really gone off that. Pilates has been able to strengthen my body, and my mind, just as much. Resistance training was purely about growing the glutes and shaping – it was all about aesthetics – whereas Pilates is just a much softer movement and it suits me better mentally.

I think the movement of wellness is changing. Wellness now is actually about being well. I think there’s been a shift in society and culture about the way we actually think about what wellness means to us. People are really starting to prioritise self-care, but in a proper way – so the way that we eat, the way that we move, how we’re thinking, how we’re feeling, it’s now about feeling well.

Nothing makes me happier than when I’m in the kitchen. Creating food and making something that tastes delicious, that my body also loves, makes me so happy. My hot honey halloumi avocado on toast was my first ultra-viral recipe – and it’s so simple. The recipes that I spend a long time thinking about and creating do well, but often it’s the simple, accessible things that really fly. I think that speaks volumes about what people actually want when it comes to nutrition – something fuss-free, tasty and simple.

Vitamin D, magnesium and fibre are the three supplements I recommend. We can 100% get everything we need from a well-balanced diet, but the difficulty is not all of us get a well-balanced diet. I think it’s wrong of health professionals to demonise a supplement routine by saying you can just get [essential nutrients] from fresh food, because they’re not thinking about the realistic way that people live their lives. We’re busy, we’re stressed, we’re on the move. My top three supplements that anyone should be exploring are vitamin D, preferably a liquid form because vitamin D is fat soluble, so we need fats to be able to absorb vitamin D. Magnesium – I also love to use magnesium topically, in a bath or body oil. And a fibre supplement with a prebiotic effect, because so many of us do not get enough fibre in our day.

The one thing everyone could do to improve their diet in 2024 is, to add one extra colour to your plates. I often say; when’s the last time you ate something purple? Purple is indicative of something called anthocyanins, which is a really potent antioxidant and just so good for our health. The more colour we get in, the more micronutrients and the more antioxidants – it’s basically just a way of ticking off nature’s multivitamins.

When I’m not in my kitchen creating recipes, I like to go on big long walks with my partner and you’ll often find me in a new restaurant every single week. I spend all of my free time discovering new foods – I am obsessed with eating out. My favourite restaurant at the moment is a place called Dorian in Notting Hill. It’s a really cool neighbourhood restaurant where you can sit at the counter and watch the chefs work.

I don’t use any health tech to track my sleep, fertility cycle or food. I’m tech-free – apart from looking at my steps. With my history of disordered eating, I find these things very triggering and very addictive. So for anyone who has that fragility or struggles to see that fine line between where disordered eating falls into an eating disorder, I actually recommend people to stay clear of it. I’m colour, not calories. I like people to shift away from this mass equation approach to the body and to think about how you feel – because what you often look at, when it comes to numbers, doesn’t actually relate to how you feel inside.

I’ll always have a hot shower around 90 minutes before bed, because the rise and then drop in your body temperature actually helps trigger melatonin production. So I always try and have nice evening shower, and that’s when I do my skincare. I love good skincare products – the Elemis cleansing balm, as soon as I put that on my face, I know it’s bedtime. It just smells so good. It’s like a spa. I’m just obsessed with it. Then I try and use a little bit of magnesium on the areas I build up lots of tension – so I’ll use the Neom magnesium body cream, which is really gorgeous – and I’ll rub that onto my shoulders and my calves just to help release those tension points. And then a little spritz of the Neom sleep spray as well.

Shop Emily’s wellness essentials

Emily English partnered with EE to host a ‘Master Wellbeing’ workshop at EE Learn Live, which took place at The Strand on Thursday 15 February 2024 to give secondary school students the skills to grow healthier and happier through actionable wellbeing techniques. Anyone can log on and access the content from the day, including Emily’s workshop, on EE’s LearnSmart hub.

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