In the 16 years since native Californian Calgary Avansino moved to London, she’s seen her deep-seated love for wellbeing go from out of the ordinary to hot topic. After a lifetime of building knowledge on the subject, Avansino is bringing her passion-turned-manifesto to the world at large with her first book, Keep it Real. Here’s how one woman’s healthy lifestyle turned into a paradigm anyone can take on, and why we should all be changing our habits, right now.
“I want to go right back to the roots of what truly healthy living is about, it’s a lifestyle, it’s there forever”
“Things shifted in London about five years ago – I’ve always lived this way, but suddenly people were really interested. I started a blog on Vogue and I started writing for Sunday Times Style about these issues and it just snowballed from there. I think the reach of a book is different from anything else and the permanence of it is really amazing, it was very exciting to do something that would be there for the long term.
I think it’s incredibly important we pass [healthy eating] on to the next generation, more than ever. We have extraordinary rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in children of younger and younger ages, it’s not just a trend it’s a massive global and medical issue. I’m starting a programme where I go and speak in schools; it’s amazing how little young kids know about what food actually is. The only way to change things is education – I absolutely think it’s possible to get your eight year old to eat healthy things, but it’s harder than if you start when they’re two!
“What you put in your mouth matters, every time you do it”
My main idea is what you put in your mouth matters. Every time you do it, it matters. Growing up it was a very different environment in California, a lot of the things I took for granted as part of life were deemed extreme when I moved here, things like exercising and being interested in where your food was grown. So much food is grown in California so there’s a real emphasis on that. My passion for wellness is so deeply ingrained in me it’s hard to know where it comes from. My parents were very health conscious, very interested in the provenance of food and cooking and eating as a family. I have three kids now so I know you can tell your children as much as you want but they do what you do. What you show them and how you act is how they end up acting, my parents were amazing role models.
When I sit down to write the most important thing to me is that it’s simple and approachable. I want to go right back to the roots of what truly healthy living is about, it’s a lifestyle, it’s there forever: I don’t want you to buy my book if you think it’s a diet. Dieting is where women especially get into trouble because it’s just a cycle of feeling bad about yourself. My book takes it right back to what I feel is the most important thing and that’s eating food that comes from the ground. In the book I break it down by chapter; I talk about sugar, breakfast, kids, and practical advice like how to stock your pantry and how to use your freezer, things people can use as much or as little as they like. I want people to dip in and out, to go to the breakfast chapter, for example, and revolutionise breakfast in ten minutes. There’s things you can do in a very un-intimidating way.