Photograph by Larissa Hofmann; Styled by Katie Grand.
England is experiencing its second lockdown, along with parts of Spain, Germany, and France. Restlessness and stress are sure to come with it; staying healthy becomes a challenge as sleep cycles, moods, and eating habits are jumbled. How can you be expected to veer toward a shot of wheatgrass when there’s a basket of deep-fried fish and chips, an antidote to quarantine woes, nearby?
Enter Rosemary Ferguson, one of London’s most esteemed wellness experts. After a successful career as a former model, Ferguson embarked on an entirely new livelihood: helping others embrace a holistic, clean way of eating and living. Known for her famed cleansing “Five Day Plan,” in the last decade alone she’s successfully become the go-to wellness expert for those in the UK and greater Europe.
Ferguson’s knowledge of the wellness sphere extends to her famously loyal group of girlfriends, which includes Kate Moss, Sadie Frost, Bella Freud, Jade Jagger, and fashion designer Pam Hogg. Moss says she considers Ferguson not just a friend, but an authority on all things wellness.
“I think Rose’s biggest influence would be the benefits on eating clean and seasonal,” Moss tells W. “Also, to give your digestive system a rest and reset. I regularly take supplements, but on Rose’s advice I take Symprove probiotics—and she’s had me add Puori collagen powder to my daily routine.”
Ferguson’s métier of healthy living has also inspired this group to practice wellness together, Frost adds. “I’ve always been health conscious, but as a group of women, we’ve all graduated to making sure we optimize our ultimate health goals,” she says. “What is great now is we all do it together. We all love yoga and detoxing, and we all follow Rose’s Five Day Plan together. Her guidelines for a healthy lifestyle are no fuss, no bullshit, and that makes it refreshingly easy to follow for all of us.”
To that end, Ferguson has provided an in-depth guide for facing a range of challenges this winter—whether dealing with seasonal depression, or how to best handle managing stress with your diet. And, to save the best for last, she’s provided expert advice on the healthiest spirits to consume during holiday gatherings—whether held in person or on Zoom.
For most people who are confined during a lockdown, there’s a monotony that sets in with daily activities, work, and eating habits. We tend to become lax in terms of managing our wellness, too. Is there an ideal morning routine you advise for your clients to help set positive patterns—something that’s healthy, balanced, and provides energy?
I think taking care of yourself as part of your routine is definitely important, and with this extra time during lockdown it’s great to focus a little on self-care. A wellness routine can really be anything from waking up and drinking warm lemon water, going out for a brisk 20 minute walk, or stretching in the evening whilst watching a film instead of slumped on the sofa. Perhaps you find you have more time to cook meals from scratch, so this could be something you enjoy doing every night. The idea is to find something that makes you feel good and you can make your everyday, normal routine.
What is the ideal green juice you recommend for women to take in the morning?
Lots of hydrating greens, alkalizing lemon, and anti-inflammatory ginger, cucumber, celery, Swiss chard, lemon, apple, and ginger.
What about probiotics? Which are most beneficial to gut health?
I’ve been taking a course of probiotics twice as year for as long as I can remember. I will take Symprove in liquid form—although some of the caps work well, too. I swear by it for overall gut health and better digestion. I take it in a shot—consistency is the most important thing with a probiotic so make sure if you are doing a 12-week course that you actually do it for those weeks. I usually say the evening, so the bacteria can do their thing at night.
There are also multitudes of collagen powders on the market right now. In your opinion, do collagen products really work?
You have to be very careful when shopping for collagen products, as lots have little to no actual collagen in them; instead, they are filled with additives, binders, fillers, and sugary flavors. When buying one, look for 100 percent collagen—whether that be marine- or bovine-sourced. I like Ancient Nutrition’s Ancient and Brave, and Puori. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and it can be vital for maintaining good hair, skin elasticity, hard nails, strong muscles, flexible joints, and tendons—but make sure you are buying a high-quality brand. Our levels of collagen decrease over time so it’s wise to add some into your daily routine; that being said, we can get collagen sources from food (but some people prefer to add a scoop to a smoothie or morning coffee). If you’d like to eat your collagen rather than supplement it, you can incorporate more foods that contain collagen and more foods that help your body naturally produce it. Think oily, fatty fish (and eat the skin!), organic poultry like chicken and turkey, bone broth, vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies, good-quality red meat, organic, free-range eggs, and dark leafy greens.
While every woman’s body has different nutritional needs, if you had to pick supplements that women should take at various ages, what would they be?
A good-quality probiotic at any age is a must. In your 20s, a good-quality vitamin C as we’re often running on empty during these years, burning the candle at both ends. Your 30s: perhaps a liquid zinc to help support skin, hair, nails, reproductive system, and keep immunity in check; and your 40s, a quality fish oil to help fight inflammation, keep skin supple, balance hormones, and help reduce any aches and pains that may start in later in life.
London in the winter is much like New York this time of year: darker and colder. That means not a lot of people are outdoors, leading to a loss in vitamin D. Are there supplements you prefer to help with low vitamin D levels? Which foods rich in vitamin D do you recommend?
Most people don't get enough sunlight in the colder months to produce an adequate amount of vitamin D, so from October through to March I would recommend everyone supplement it. Besides helping the body absorb calcium, vitamin D is important to other bodily processes too, such as moving your muscles, carrying messages between your brain and body, and helping the immune system defend against pesky bacteria and viruses. I like to take it in liquid form as it is easily absorbed and easy to administer. You’ll find vitamin D in foods like mushrooms, fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel, egg yolks, and some fortified foods such as plant-based milks, cereals, and breads.
It’s only natural that being constantly indoors, confined due to the pandemic, can result in mild to severe forms of depression. What are some natural supplements and holistic approaches that could help with depression or lethargy?
I would take a good-quality fish oil and a probiotic like Symprove every day. Serotonin, our feel-good hormone, is made in the gut and people are often surprised by the connection between our moods and our gut health. Some other things that I think can benefit our moods at the moment is having a nice routine just for you. Perhaps a relaxing bath in the evenings with Epsom salts and lavender oil, healthy nutritious foods like soups, stews, and curries. Spending time outdoors can all help, and exercise is vital. Try not to eat and drink rubbish during moments when you seek comfort or familiarity, as ultimately it can make us feel much worse. Focus on whole foods: fruits and veggies and good-quality fats and protein.
Are you a fan of herbal teas for de-stressing? Which ingredients and any particular brands we should try to choose?
I love herbal teas and always have a cup in my hand. If you can, I always try to buy organic due to the pesticide consumption found in herbs and tea leaves. Particularly for de-stressing, I find fennel, dandelion, chamomile, and a nice, sweet, tart berry tea like hibiscus do wonders. However the most de-stressing thing you can probably do is have a warm cup of whatever herbal tea you fancy—there’s something really comforting and calming about a hot cup of tea.
If someone is going to consume a few drinks, which alcohol is the healthiest, cleanest, and provides a minimal hangover?
I would avoid sugary mixers and creamy drinks (think Baileys, fizzy drinks, and sweet bowls of punches). Stick to clear alcohol like tequila or vodka and mix with coconut water or sparkling water. You can add fresh lemons, limes, ginger, and cucumber to jazz up the taste. If you like mulled wine, try making your own mix by using half the amount of sugar (you can use raw organic coconut sugar or date sugar) and a 100 percent pure orange juice. I would also suggest keeping hydrated between drinks with big glasses of water and eating a balanced meal before/with your drinks.
Lastly, let’s touch on the subject of sleep. What do you recommend to readers who are experiencing sleep issues?
My top sleep tips would be:
Enjoy some fresh air during the day.
Move for at least 30 minutes during the day (walking, running, yoga, dancing).
Enjoy a warm lavender bath before bed.
No eating two hours before sleep.
No caffeine five hours before sleep.
No electronics (iPads, phones, etc.) one hour before bed.
If you are really struggling, melatonin, magnesium, and valerian root are wonderful relaxation aids—but check with your healthcare practitioner before taking.
Enjoy a cup of chamomile tea with a spoonful of raw honey before bed.
Do some light stretching before bed.
Avoid sugar in the evenings.
If something’s on your mind, write it down before you go to sleep—or talk it out with your partner/a friend/family member.