Seamus Mullen is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and health and wellness expert. Be Well caught up with Mullen to talk food, fitness, and why he loathes the term guilty pleasures.
Wellness Inspiration: I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention Dr. Lipman. In addition to being a pioneer in the world of alternative medicine, he personally helped me change how I thought of both illness and health. I worked closely with him for several years to overcome rheumatoid arthritis and turn my life around. Since then I’ve met so many inspirational folks that it would be impossible for me to list them all, but I’m amazed at how many people out there have taken control of their lives and reclaimed their health from behind seemingly insurmountable odds. Another huge inspiration to me has been Dr. Terry Wahls; in addition to having an incredible journey coming back from MS, she is one of the most knowledgeable people on the subject of the gut–immune health relationship.
Health Passion: I’m super excited that it’s no longer considered to be on the fringe to believe there is a relationship between modern illness and diet. I love that there are now more and more practitioners of conventional medicine that are embracing a 360-degree view of health.
Wellness is ______: Wellness is natural. When we have a connection to nature, we are well. That means eating as nature intended us to, moving our bodies through nature, and experiencing nature in our surroundings. You know how all the worries in the world seem to shrink a bit the moment we feel ocean waves lapping at our toes or when we walk barefoot through the grass in the summer? That is wellness.
Guilty Pleasure: I eschew guilty pleasures. I actually hate this term. I think it’s rooted in the Judeo-Christian notion of sin. That notion that if it feels good, it must be bad. I think when it comes to food it’s a dangerous idea to have so-called guilty pleasures. It promotes a sense of indulging but feeling bad about the indulgence, and that promotes an antagonistic relationship with food, which is antithetical to wellness. There are so many indulgences that are also completely nourishing, like dark chocolate, papaya, macadamia nuts, avocados…. I advocate loving foods that love you back and that you can love yourself for loving! That said, salt-and-vinegar potato chips are pretty freakin’ delicious…. I just don’t eat them all the time, and I don’t feel bad about it when I do!
Relax & Chill Out: Exercise. I move my body consciously every day, and I find that the harder I work my body, the better I rest and relax.
Morning Start: Lately, I’ve been having a tall glass of water with raw, unsweetened cranberry juice and probiotics. It’s a perfect morning elixir. I have coffee after that and then catch up on the news before work.
Exercise of Choice: I’m a cyclist, so my preferred exercise is to ride my bike. I also love yoga and boot-camp-style workouts. I go to Fhitting Room and Warrior Fitness Boot Camp as well as several yoga studios.
Sleep Routine: I try to read in bed before sleeping, but I usually don’t get further than a few pages! Right now I’m reading The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen and rereading The Wahls Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls. I tend to go to bed around 11:30 or so.
Travel Carry-ons: Water. I always fill my bottle before going through security; that way I force myself to drink a whole bottle while in line. Then I get more water on the other side! I also take snacks, like nuts, beef jerky, dried fruit, the occasional can of sardines. I never fly without saline nasal spray, and I always beef up on the zinc and probiotics before flying. Oh, and coconut oil, I always travel with it.
Favorite Healthy Destination: Hawaii…or anywhere tropical with delicious ingredients and, ideally, access to a kitchen. I hate being in a beautiful place with beautiful ingredients and nowhere to cook them! I love being by the sea and being able to snorkel/stand-up paddle/swim/yoga on the beach. I’m terrible at vacations where you lay around and don’t do anything. I’m definitely the activities guy when it comes to vacation.
Always in Fridge: In no particular order, kefir, kimchi, avocados, anchovies, dark leafy greens, frozen wild blueberries, and grass-fed butter.
Pantry Staples: Macadamia nuts, almonds, dried tart cherries, dried golden berries, canned sardines, grass-fed beef jerky, and seaweed.
Favorite Way to Reset: Lots of vegetables, lots of water.
Favorite Healthy Food On-the-Go: Macadamia nuts. I keep them cold in the freezer; they taste sweet and creamy when you freeze them.
Ingredient I Always Avoid: Refined simple carbs. Refined sugar. Processed meats.
Can’t Live Without: Cycling. It’s my balance. It keeps me sane.
Current Mantra: Use it or lose it.