Health & Wellbeing Rules From An Ex-City Worker | SLMan
Having discovered the power of breathwork after losing his girlfriend to cancer in 2014, ex-City worker Stuart Sandeman founded Breathpod in 2017. On a mission to spread the word about breathwork for improved energy, productivity, confidence, focus and emotional wellbeing, Stuart is the definition of a wellness authority. Covering green smoothies to his favourite plant-based bolognese recipe and his preferred immune-boosting supplements, he told SLMan what his average day looks like, and how he keeps mentally healthy…

My morning routine is non-negotiable. I always start the day on a healthy note. I wake up at around 6:30am and the first thing I drink is a pint of hot water with lemon before practising transcendental meditation, which involves silently repeating a mantra for 20 minutes. At around 7am I’ll do half an hour of yoga (the Down Dog app is my go-to) followed by 15 minutes of breathwork and half an hour of strength and cardio using the Freeletics app. At 9am, I’ll take a cold shower and make a celery, ginger and lemon juice. I find this routine really sets me up for the day ahead – lockdown has actually made it more consistent as my schedule hasn’t involved needing to rush out the door.

Once I’m ready for the day, I make a fully loaded green smoothie. The contents change depending on what’s in the fridge, but it usually contains pea protein, banana, frozen berries, spinach, kale, super greens (chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass and barley grass), cacao and maca. When the weekend lands, so does brunch, and my girlfriend Nova makes the best brunch on the planet – smoked scrambled tofu on rye bread with garlic greens and avocado.

I take quite a few supplements. As well as the ingredients in my morning smoothie, I take a pretty comprehensive multivitamin. During lockdown, I was also taking oil of oregano, NAC powder (N-Acetyl L-Cysteine), vitamin C, echinacea and a probiotic.

My diet is 90% plant based. For humans to consciously evolve, our eating habits have to do the same. I understand we often think of diet as what’s right for our body on a personal level, but I think it’s time we think collectively as a global community and do what is right for the planet and all its inhabitants. There are so many amazing plant-based choices now and lots of inspiring plant-based athletes you can follow for ideas if you’re stuck. It’s an exciting time to be plant based. The Bosh! Bangin’ Bolognese has been my favourite dish to cook for friends recently – I make it with lentil pasta for an extra protein hit. I’ve also been loving Tofoo’s Smoked Tofu Carbonara – it’s delicious.

"There are so many amazing plant-based choices now and lots of inspiring plant-based athletes you can follow for ideas if you’re stuck."

My weekly fruit and veg box is a staple. I am at the mercy of its contents for ingredients. A go-to dinner for me is a ton of veg cooked in the wok with loads of garlic and an array of spices, as well as a small amount of Marigold’s Swiss Vegetable Bouillon – it’s my secret ingredient. If you don’t have this in your cupboard, go and buy it. It’s a stock powder that makes everything taste amazing. I also add some sort of vegan protein source – chickpeas, black beans, tofu or lentils – all of which I stock up on every week, without fail.

I have a sweet tooth. In particular, it’s an after-dinner sweet tooth, and ice cream is my soft spot. Almond vegan Magnums are my guilty pleasure.

I don’t drink like I used to. I increasingly find a glass of wine or a couple of beers throws my flow off the next day, so I try and stick to drinking only on the weekends, or when I don’t have much on the following day. My drink of choice would either be a lager, cider, glass of red wine or a mezcal.

I’m a fan of the capital’s healthy eateries. I don’t eat out regularly, but love going out for dinner when I do. For brunch, I love Route Café in Dalston, Brunswick East and Friends of Ours in Hoxton; Salad Mafia at Boxpark for lunch; and Inko Nito and Genesis in Soho for dinner. There’s also a great Vietnamese place next to my house called Nomnom, which serves incredible food. I’m also prone to a weekend Deliveroo – my top picks are Picky Wops Pizza, Mooshies Burgers or Rosa’s Thai.

I was into judo when I was younger. As judo is a weight-controlled sport, I dieted a lot, and often had to cut weight before a fight. While I now understand this probably wasn’t the best thing for a teenage boy to be doing, it taught me to understand my body, how I could fluctuate my weight, and what foods my body would positively respond to.

I do a cleanse of sorts once a year. Now, after a period of indulgence, I simply ramp up my healthy living – a clean diet being a large component of that. During lockdown, I did a five-day melon cleanse, which was hellish – I never want to see a melon again. The cleanse involves only eating melon for five days in order to reset your digestive system and heal internal organs. You can eat as many melons as you want – as calorie restriction isn’t the aim – but nothing other than melons should pass your mouth, including tea and coffee. It was hardcore both physically and mentally, and while I’m not sure how effective it was, it certainly made me appreciate food.

My approach to fitness has changed over the years. I used to train really hard with the dream of making the Olympic judo team and would go all in with my training, which often resulted in injury. In the last couple of years, I’ve learned to slow down a bit, listen to my body and know my limits. I prioritise slower, controlled movements, rather than throwing myself and weights around. Pre-lockdown, my fitness regime was a mix of CrossFit, yoga, calisthenics, boxing, jujitsu, strength training, HIIT and cycling, while it’s now more app-based at home. I love the Freeletics app for strength training, Down Dog for yoga, and also throw in some cycling and a little running.
 
It’s important to stay sane in a city like London. My morning routine is an important component of keeping me sane – it sets me up for the day and keeps me balanced, motivated and energised. Music is also the perfect way for me to escape the city pulse. If I’ve had a particularly stressful week and feel off balance, I take myself to a park and walk barefoot, summer or winter. It works like magic.
 
I often treat myself to a massage. A massage is so beneficial to the body to shift stress and tension – it’s one of those things I wish I could do monthly. The only other treatments I book are breathwork sessions. Fortunately, my girlfriend is an amazing facilitator, so we do those together at home.

For more about the power of breathwork, visit Breathpod.me

 

*Features published by SLMan are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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