The model and nutritionist talks resolutions, and the benefits of plant-based eating.
The modelling industry doesn’t always have the best reputation for being au fait with nutrition. Late nights, lithe limbs, sex, drugs and alcohol – those are the stereotypes we find endlessly fascinating.
But model-turned-nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson has successfully switched all-out hedonism for veg juicing (her book, Juice, is full of ideas for what green stuff to blitz into liquid), and non-stop partying for an appreciation for plant-based living.
PICTURED ABOVE: Rosemary Ferguson | PA Photo/Strong Roots/Lizzie Mayson
Discovered in a McDonald’s on Oxford Street aged 15, Ferguson went on to become part of the Nineties New York set, modelling for Prada and Miu Miu, appearing on the cover of Vogue and The Face, striding down catwalks in the grunge-laden era of ‘heroin chic’ and becoming close pals with Kate Moss (who, she says, has been known to juice with her).
Eating right wasn’t always a top priority. “To be honest, I didn’t think about food much back then,” muses the 45-year-old. “Although I was interested in feeling energetic, which was difficult given how hard I was working and the fact I was slightly burning the candle at both ends.”
She “started green juicing to try and put some credit in the bank, as it were”, and then in her 30s, studied and qualified in nutrition. Since then, when it comes to food, she has “approached it in a whole new way”, she says.
However, despite that penchant for juicing, she’s not of the austere deprivation-ilk often found in the wellness arena. Which is why you’ll still spot her holidaying with Moss, Sadie Frost and co, and she hasn’t completely sworn off nights on the razzle either.
“I believe in balance – a bit of everything and feeling well,” explains the Cotswolds-based writer. “You can’t have a good time unless you are feeling well, and that’s why I love food and nutrition – it’s truly amazing what food can do for you.”
So, if you’re looking for tough love and a forceful shove towards ‘new year, new you’ detoxing, she’s likely not your gal. “It’s always good to reset, it makes a brilliant start to the year. In the world we live in, a fast fix is a really useful tool,” she notes diplomatically. “But what really counts is carrying the benefits forward and making them a part of your every day.”
“I have two vegans in my house and one pescatarian, and my diet is 85% vegetarian,” says Ferguson, who is married to artist Jake Chapman, of the Chapman Brothers.
“I love what you can do with plant-based food,” she notes. “People are beginning to understand that eating more plant-based food is so beneficial to our health. We are learning more and more about the massive benefits polyphenols and phytonutrients give us.
“It is a lighter way to eat,” she adds – not to mention that “eating less meat is better for our planet”.
She first started cooking properly as a new mum, after having her first daughter (she now has three girls) – “and then I was hooked!” she recalls. “It is a huge responsibility feeding a little person; I loved working through all the ingredients and putting them together.
“It’s all about variety and balance in our house. When they were very little, I was careful with how I presented healthy food – I never wanted it to seem boring.” (You can see why she set up healthy junk food brand, FILTH, with chef Gizzi Erskine.)
When she’s not training for a marathon, running her nutrition clinic (“helping people on their way to wellness”) and her 5 Day Plan programme, Ferguson says she loves “being in my kitchen, I love being outside running and I love being with my family and friends.
“Oh, and I am very happy watching films in bed,” she adds – which seems a very agreeable way to spend the rest of winter.
Rosemary Ferguson has teamed up on recipes with Strong Roots, available at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Wholefoods and Ocado.
Words by Ella Walker, PA
Roast Butternut Squash with Rosemary, Shallots & Cranberry Relish, SERVES 4
1 bag of Strong Roots Roast Butternut Squash Chunks
10 shallots peeled and halved
5 rosemary sprigs
Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the date and cranberry relish:
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
60g dates, pips removed & roughly chopped
100g fresh cranberries
Pinch of coconut sugar
1 lemon, juice and zest
Freshly chopped parsley to garnish
- For the butternut squash, preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Place the Strong Roots Roast Butternut Squash Chunks, shallots and rosemary on a lined baking tray.
- Drizzle with oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden-brown and cooked through.
- In the meantime, to make the relish, put the red onion in a saucepan with a little oil and fry for three to four minutes before adding the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, dates, cranberries, two tablespoons of water, the sugar and lemon zest and juice (to taste). Simmer for about six to eight minutes.
- When the butternut and shallots are cooked, arrange them on a serving platter and spoon over some of the relish. Garnish with the chopped parsley.
PICTURED ABOVE: Rosemary Ferguson’s roasted butternut squash | PA Photo/Strong Roots/Lizzie Mayson
Chickpea Traybake, Serves 4
400g chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 bag of Strong Roots Chargrilled Sprouts
1 bag of Strong Roots Roast Butternut Squash Chunks
1 leek, chopped into generous slices
2 carrots, cut lengthways
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp caraway seeds
2tsp fennel seeds
1 bunch of mint
1 lemon, juice and zest
Himalayan crystal salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Pop them in a bowl and drizzle over one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the ground coriander, caraway seeds and fennel seeds. Season and toss the chickpeas before setting aside.
- Add the Strong Roots Roast Butternut Squash Chunks and carrots to a large flat baking tray – roast for five minutes.
- Add the Strong Roots Chargrilled Sprouts and leek, along with four cloves of garlic and a drizzle of olive oil and continue to roast for 20 mins. When they have 10 minutes to go, add the chickpeas.
- Prepare a dressing by chopping the mint leaves and add them to a hand blender. Zest and juice in the lemon. Pour in two tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of cold water. Season and blend until smooth.
- Remove the veg from the oven and transfer to a platter or plates. Drizzle the minty dressing all over and enjoy.
PICTURED ABOVE: Rosemary Ferguson’s chickpea traybake | PA Photo/Strong Roots/Lizzie Mayson
Tofu Winter Green Vegetable Curry, SERVES 4
1 block of firm tofu – cubed
2tsp curry powder mild
1tsp turmeric powder
1/2tsp ground coriander
1/2tsp coconut sugar
1tsp fresh grated ginger
1 can of coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 bag of Strong Roots Winter Green Vegetables
1 small bunch of coriander
- Drain the tofu and squeeze carefully with hands or two chopping boards to get out any excess water.
- In a small bowl combine the curry powder, turmeric, coriander, ginger, salt and sugar. Toss to combine.
- Add some coconut oil to a nonstick pan, add the onion and garlic and soften.
- Add tofu and spices and fry off for a further five mins. Add coconut milk and vegetable stock.
- Add the Strong Roots Winter Green Vegetables and mix through. Cook for a further five minutes. Serve with coriander.
PICTURED ABOVE: Rosemary Ferguson’s tofu curry | PA Photo/Strong Roots/Lizzie Mayson
Strong Roots is available at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Wholefoods and Ocado.