Inspiring Insights: Author and Cook Jasmine Hemsley

ZENB isn't alone in its mission to promote positivity, nutrition and wellbeing. Incredible individuals across the globe are using their talents to truly inspire change and deliver difference.


In our Inspiring Insights series, we’ll be asking them to share their expertise on living a more balanced life. And this time we’re speaking to Author, Cook and wellness expert, Jasmine Hemsley.


You believe small, everyday changes have the power to make a positive, profound impact. What’s the most impactful small change you’ve ever made?


Daily meditations, drinking hot/warm water instead of cold and fizzy, and eating lighter and earlier for supper wherever possible, are examples of the Ayurvedic wisdom of nature taking care of my mind-body — and I recommend these practices for anyone.


But the smallest and most impactful change has to be regularly pausing to take a deep breath and a long slow exhale to bring me into the present moment. From there everything becomes easier.


If you could invite any guest to join you on an episode of Sunday Slow, who would it be and what would be the topic of discussion?


If Maya Angelou or Lao Tzu were alive, I would love to just listen to them speak. Top of my wish list currently would be Deepak Chopra and Greta Thunberg — they have both inspired so many to look outside of their own small worlds and see the bigger picture. They carry such wisdom and strength and are not afraid to spread that.


I think the topic would have to be nature, just as Ayurveda helps me to understand; we are nature, we are of nature.


What do you think is the key to finding a healthy life balance?


Find ways to balance “doing” with “being.” It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of do, buy, achieve which can help us lose sight of what's most important and disconnect from our heart and our true state of inner happiness. Gratitude, meditation and making time to laugh and dance and just “be” is the balance we need.


In Ayurveda, they say that health is the delicate balance of mind, body and spirit which is something we should aim for in our day-to-day actions, rather than the idea of “when I get/have/do this or that,” then I’ll be happy.


If you had only 10 minutes a day for self-care what would you do and why?


Meditate! It’s a time-efficient reset, it allows the body to decompress, the mind to process, it deepens the breath, gives clarity of thought and allows you to listen to signals from your body and connect to your intuition.


What would you say to people who feel guilty about snacking?


First thing to say is that feeling guilty isn’t beneficial to us; in fact, it has a negative impact, so it’s time to break the cycle and look at what is causing this emotional stress.


Like everything else in life, there is a flow and a balance. Having a light breakfast, such as a snack bar and hot tea is beneficial to some whereas for others, who have been up at the crack of dawn or do a lot of manual labour, then a bigger breakfast is required. Everyone is different and we all have different needs at different times in our life.


For someone climbing mountains, breastfeeding, doing intense fitness, late nights, teaching or studying back-to-back classes or shift work, on the road, snacks are an important part of refuelling and tiding us over until the next meal. If we’re snacking because of boredom, stress, lack of sleep, then in the long term it can be a crutch.


Creating a routine in life is good for the mind-body, as is sitting down to eat a good meal — and for times that don’t fit into this model, there are snacks! And some snacks are healthier than others and still as satisfying.


So, like everything, we want to be conscious of the choices we make and the habits we keep, but without worrying excessively.


Summer’s here — what are your favourite vegetables to cook with and eat at this time of year?


My spare bedroom is currently a makeshift greenhouse — I’m growing some bee-loving plants from seeds: borage, chamomile, marigold, but I’m really looking forward to harvesting my courgettes, tomatoes, chard, cabbages, carrots and beans from late summer onwards! Right now, I’m loving baby beetroots (including their leaves) from my veg patch as well as last year's spring onions and leeks.


Avocado, kale, chia seeds… there have been some hugely popular plant trends in recent years — but which veggies in your view are the unsung heroes?


Trends in food are great because they open our eyes to new flavours, botanicals and cultures and encourage us to experiment and try new things. While the press love to market the weird and wonderful, the true powerhouses on our plates are the seasonal veggies that have always been in people's backyards, allotments, the greengrocers and later the supermarkets, so we often take them for granted. Staples for me are hearty root veggies like squash, beetroot, carrot, and final flourishes come in the form of red pepper pestos, peppery watercress and herby dressings.


What are your biggest passions right now?


Spreading the wisdom of Ayurveda and its tool kit — especially about the power of meditation and taking care of our digestion for optimum health! Currently, I’m hosting Sunday Slow wellness workshops and creating cooking videos from my kitchen, as well as hosting sound baths. I want to share the tools that have been so powerful in helping me grow and begin to get close to balancing my mind-body-spirit.


Lockdown has given me an opportunity to get stuck into my garden every day and helped me to be even more sustainable in my actions. My partner Nick and I are in the veg patch first thing in the morning, at lunchtime, and last thing at night. On weekends we live out there! Between the garden and the dogs getting us out to the park, we’ve felt like we’re getting a daily dose of holiday.


Finally, what’s coming up next for you?

I’m working on a few big projects behind the scenes which I unfortunately can’t talk about yet but keep your eyes peeled on @jasminehemsley for some exciting announcements soon!