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The Hemsleys: the peace within

This month, Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley focus on women’s health, and the importance of regular self-care rituals and natural choices

1. Inside track

‘Too often we think of organic as super-luxury and we justify it by saying, ‘If I had the money then I’d buy it’. But it’s not always about the expense. When it comes to organic tampons and towels, if you don’t want to use synthetic chemicals or bleaches on your outside, or in your home – then why on the inside? We like TOTM (Time Of The Month), a mail-order company that sends once a month, and only uses non-GM, organic cotton in its pads and tampons.’ Jasmine

2. Root cause

‘There’s a great herb – shatavari root – that can help stabilise hormones and it’s really helped some of my friends. We love the Haramaki Belly Wraps, £22.99, too, which provide warmth and thereby soothe muscle aches and discomfort.’ Melissa

3. Clued up

‘As women, we can have the “just get on with it” attitude – but it’s important to listen to what our bodies are doing and support them as they do it. I used to get these weird tremors every month and didn’t even know what they were – I was ovulating! – and it makes me laugh to think that I went for years without even questioning it. There are some clever apps that help you track your cycle (such as CLUE, which tracks mood and energy changes, too), but I’d urge you to just own it – your health, your body, your cycle. The healthiest people I know are always aware when their bodies are out of sync because they pay loving attention to them – and if something does go wrong, you’re much more likely to notice early and deal with it before it becomes more serious.’ Jasmine

4. Question time

‘When we think about tampons, I bet most women use whatever their mum gave them when they first got their period. It’s something you’re going to use every single month for decades. There are many scare stories about the natural things in life, so people think that anything that comes out of a box is safe and tested. Sadly, it’s not always the case. Always be a conscious, questioning consumer.’ Melissa

5. Bee calm

‘Pranayama breathing is a great tool to have and when you really start to think about your nervous system and how it reacts, you can use the breathing to calm it down. Even the simplest technique – which involves sticking your index fingers against your ears and making a loud humming sound (the bumble bee breath) – is surprisingly effective. You can feel the vibration going around your whole head and it soothes and calms you down.’ Jasmine

6. Floor plan

‘If you’re so tired you can’t even stand up, then a yoga nidra session (a meditative practice that is done lying on your back, with no movement) is perfect. It’s a great way to relax when you can’t even function or sit without your back aching.’ Jasmine

7. Body wise

‘Our society is starting to return to ancient wisdom, which is more readily available to us. We’re learning that science or food or fitness is not the be-all and end-all. We’re realising that there are so many more strings to our bodies and, if we look after them, then good things will happen.’ Melissa

What’s in the flask?

‘We created this recipe for a two-day retreat, where it acquired its name. Play around with what is in season or in the fridge, and use lots of fresh greens and herbs to brighten it up.’ Jasmine and Melissa

Moroccan meditation stew

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 1½ tbsp coconut oil or ghee
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 4 dried dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 large carrots, diced into 1cm chunks
  • 4 large handfuls mixed root veg (such as beetroot, swede, celeriac or squash), diced into 2cm chunks
  • 2 x 400g tins tomatoes
  • 100g dried red lentils or 400g tin chickpeas or beans, rinsed and drained
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 litre bone broth, vegetable stock or water, plus an extra 300ml if cooking lentils
  • 1 large red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 4 large handfuls chopped greens (such as spinach or chard)
  • 1 large handful fresh parsley and/or coriander, with leaves and stalks chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil, for drizzling

Method

1. Fry the onions in the coconut oil or ghee in a large pan over a medium heat for 8 minutes, until soft and starting to caramelise.

2. Turn the heat to low, stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

3. Add the dates, carrots, root veg and tomatoes with the dried red lentils (if using) and season with salt and pepper.

4. Pour in the broth, stock or water, bring to a simmer and cook for about 12 minutes until the vegetables are just tender.

5. Add the red pepper with the greens and chickpeas or beans (if using) and cook for a further 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in half the herbs and all the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Serve each bowl with a drizzle of olive or flaxseed oil, the lemon zest and remaining herbs.

Find recipes and foodie inspiration on our dedicated #360me wellbeing channel.

Photograph: Nicholas Hopper