Glow Getter: Sarah Malcolm, queen of breakfast & warrior of PCOS.
Glow isn't a word we use lightly when describing the health kitchen wonder child that is Sarah Malcolm but if you've seen her luminous skin, radiant smile and bright eyes (even in her early AM stories!) you'll know exactly what we mean. And even if you haven't seen Sarah herself you'll have no doubt seen her drool worthy food photography and styling both through her own creative recipes to manage her PCOS and through her work alongside the biggest celebrity names in wellness cookery. Here Sarah shares a little more about the girl behind the bowl and camera, as well as how to self love while managing PCOS.
We absolutely adore your Instagram for so many things … the biggest being how hungry you make us! (Seriously check out @sarahmalcs but not if you have an empty fridge!) How would you describe yourself as a meal?
Oh wow that’s actually so hard. I love different textures, flavours and colours all in one. I also adore breakfast so I’d either be a bowl of porridge… not a boring one though! One with cinnamon, cardamom & turmeric and topped with berries & peanut butter and keeps getting better as you eat more. OR I would be some sort of sour dough toast with layers of pretty much anything going… and a poached egg on top.
What is the title of the current chapter of your life?
Finding the magic.
You have been instrumental to helping so many women personally and generating a greater understanding of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Would you be able to share your journey?
At age 23, I was diagnosed with PCOS. When my Doctor diagnosed me, I had very little knowledge of the condition. I was told there and then that my chances of ever having children were significantly reduced and honestly I felt so shocked and isolated, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with myself. I remember sitting on my sofa wallowing in self-pity and then decided that there must be something I can and that’s when I started researching endlessly on PCOS on a journey to banish my symptoms. The more I spoke to people about the condition, the more I was overwhelmed by just how many women it affects. I have never been over-weight but losing weight has always been a struggle and gaining weight, well that’s just the easiest thing in the world for me! It always puzzled me that I was the healthiest out of my friends yet I still struggled so much, but after my PCOS diagnosis, everything became a lot clearer. So I began by changing my diet and cutting out refined sugar to balance my insulin levels, upped my intake of greens and proteins and allowed exercise to become part of my every day routine. I’ve found a balance of eating well & exercising to please my body has helped me manage my symptoms but it’s still an ongoing journey. I often get girls messaging me saying “wow you look so great with PCOS, I can’t wait to do what you do and look like you too” which makes me overwhelmingly sad because everyone is different and annoyingly the symptoms manifest themselves in very different ways in everyone. There’s really no one way to do things, you just have to see what works for you.
Who or what lights you up when you are having “one of those days”?
Yoga! If I’m having a stressful day or things seem to be going 100 mph, I will get myself to a yoga class and allow my brain to switch off from all the chaos and dive into my own body. Also good food! There’s something so calming about cooking yourself something yummy and sitting down without distractions to eat it, preferably in the company of my loved ones.
What are your top tips for managing your symptoms?
Exercise as much as you can. I don’t mean multiple times a day but fit it into your week and move your body out of love. I used to do lots of weight lifting & high intensity classes but recently they’ve been sending my cortisol levels through the roof so now I find that yoga calms my nervous system & aids my digestion & ultimately makes me a happy gal. But do what works for you, find a routine, even if it’s walking. Exercise naturally lowers your insulin levels so it’s great not only for PCOS symptoms but mind, body & soul too!
Eating regularly. I’ve found eating every 3-4 hours has really helped me and allowed my blood sugar levels not to spike. I try to eat high protein snacks where possible & up my intake of veg.
Connect with others. Talk to other women who suffer from PCOS so you don’t suffer alone with it. It can be really daunting, but I’ve found a wonderful community that I can talk to about things which has helped me massively.
Which Spice Girl would you be?
I never actually fitted in to a Spice Girl stereotype at school, so in year 3 I actually made up my own. I think I called myself “Chilli Spice” and I danced on the side lines... But secretly I always wanted to be Baby.
Describe your perfect weekend …
A yummy yoga class followed by either a homemade brunch or brunch in one of my favorite spots in East London then a walk or cycle in somewhere beautiful & another home cooked meal. I try to switch off as much as possible on weekends (which can be hard as a freelancer) but I LOVE a quiet weekend.
How do you feel about social media?
My mind changes a lot on it but really I think I love it. It’s allowed me to connect with so many incredible people who I now consider some of my best friends. I also don’t think I would be teaching Yoga if I hadn’t had social media as I probably wouldn’t have known about it. Recently, I went through and unfollowed any account on Instagram that didn’t fill me up and make me feel great and that’s helped massively. There are so many wonderful people spreading the right messages and that should be celebrated!
What do you hope people see when they spend time with you?
Love & laughter. I don’t take myself too seriously at all and will make stupid jokes as much as possible but I have a real love for people and caring for people and when I’m with someone, I like to give them my time completely.
You recently spoke about self love at a Health Bloggers Community event, what is your own definition of self love and how did you come to this place?
To me, Self Love is self acceptance. It’s acknowledging every single part of you and honoring who you are. It’s allowing time for your true self & honest feelings & seeing them without judgement. But self love is also different for everyone. I couldn’t tell my friends to practice self-love the way I do, because I’m not in their head, in their body. Only you have control over loving yourself and that looks different on everyone. I used to spend hours scrolling through beautiful images of beautiful women and would obsess over them with my friends and it even got to the point where I’d see my friends with those air-brushed, unrealistic images on their phone backgrounds as a constant reminder to look that way. That’s when it dawned on me how destructive that outlook was and I knew that as my following grew, I had to challenge those images and push for women to love themselves as they are.
And finally, Sarah, Queen of brunch, lover of bowls … if you could only have one breakfast forever more what would you choose?
I think I’d have to go with Porridge. It’s SO versatile and you can make every single bowl different… even go savory and get a cheeky avocado & fried egg involved...