Stylist Live

"You must always risk failure. Failure doesn’t matter, not trying matters": Nigella shares her life lessons at Stylist Live

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha
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Nigella Lawson has spoken out against the contemporary mantra of clean eating and said she dislikes the idea that some people think they’re more superior for cooking every night. 

Talking to Stylist editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski at Stylist Live, the British chef said, “It’s not the food, because I like all food - sometimes I’ll be very happy to have sweet potato and a bowl of kale. I just don’t like the term. I don’t like the view that that other forms of eating are dirty and evil and shameful. 

“Some people say that clean eating is just eating foods that aren’t processed, but I think it’s about banishing so many food groups that I think it does encourage an unhealthy attitude towards eating. I’m not an extremist. I feel that it is absolutely natural and right that we should prefer to put food into our body that makes us feel healthier, better, happier and generally fit for purpose.

“However, that doesn’t mean persecuting yourself with fears of what terrible things might happen were you to have a slice of cake. The french have a saying ‘all things in moderation, including moderation’.”

“I don’t like it when people use food as a way of feeling they're better than other people and that makes me feel uncomfortable. Everyone is free to choose what they want to eat to make themselves feel better but not to make themselves feel like a better person.”

While Nigella says she has yet to find a takeaway that hasn’t disappointed her, she dislikes the idea that some people think they’re superior for cooking: “You’re not a better person because you cook - why do people think that? I think it makes me feel embarrassed when people go on as if they’re morally superior because they cook every night. As I would say, ‘I buy my clothes, I can’t sew’.”

Nigella who has released a new cookbook titled Simply Nigella, adds that she is “so anti-juice”.

“I think juice is the devil’s work. I cannot see the point of it. I don’t think it’s good for you. It gives us all the sugar without the fibre and it tastes both sour and sugary at the same time and I just don’t do it. I have never given my children juice”

For Nigella, nourishment is a sense of feeling “secure that there’s going to be food.”

“That I feel well, that I feel strong physically and absolutely alive. I have to feel as alive and as vibrant as I can.

“People always talk about comfort food but I’m not sure that I use food as an emotional ballast. For me it’s not about making me feel calmed in that way, I think [food] makes me feel connected to life in a positive way.”

During the Q&A session, the star offered life advice to a 25-year-old in the audience who said she was suffering a quarter-life crisis:

“My children always say to me, ‘oh mum, please, not another life lesson, but I will…my words of advice would be do it now, that’s so important otherwise it doesn’t get done. You must always risk failure. Failure doesn’t matter but not trying matters.

“Also, I think you should be honest with yourself. If you’re going to do something, do it, and if you’re not going to do it, don’t tell yourself you’re going to…because if you get into the habit of disappointing yourself, that erodes you completely. 

“And don’t judge yourself. I think when you’re young it’s so hard because you feel constantly people are judging you and you are so self-conscious. You can’t pre-judge anything so just do it - some things will work and some things won’t work.”

Other than food, the author said reading is one way she finds nourishment in life. “I don’t feel nourished if I’m not reading. Sometimes I feel that I’m a fast eater and sometimes I feel like sometimes I’m too much of  fast reader too. It’s that greedy gobbling down of words.”

Come along to Stylist Live, our four day urban festival of culture, catwalks and cocktails, from 15-18 October. Click here to buy your tickets - we can't wait to meet you.

Images: Getty, Rex Features

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Sejal Kapadia Pocha covers stories about everything from women’s issues to cult foods. She describes herself as a balance between Hermione and Luna Lovegood.