The Expert

Rosemary Ferguson

The former catwalk star, who came into the fashion spotlight as one of a generation of fun-loving super-waifs, retrained in functional medicine 15 years ago and is now a proud nutrition nerd. We ask Rosemary Ferguson about optimal health in 2023


Rosemary Ferguson's Liver Loving Plan

@rosemaryferguson_ // Instagram

What's the health zeitgeist?

There’s always a lot of talk about wellness at the start of any New Year but the word wellness is overused and in my mind has represents little. I prefer to talk about reaching optimal health and gaining a balance through habits and practices that are sustainable.

One of the big goals is longevity – living well for longer. Age 65 years and over is when many people experience ill health and start taking prescription medicine. There is a lot of conflicting information out there and we want to understand what longevity means. For example, genetic testing can be a wild west as everyone is unique in their genetic make-up. What we do know is that you have a loaded gun but it is one’s environment that pulls the trigger.  

The steps in your diagnosis?

I am trained in Functional Medicine but I am not a doctor. My work is to investigate and find the drivers that impact on lack of optimal health and I try to get to the root cause. I firmly believe in treating the whole person – not just the symptoms that are showing - as chronic problems in health can take years to develop into a symptom, therefore it can take the same amount of time to undo that. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the complex healthcare needs of today.

During a consultation, I will go through past to present medical history, family medical history, and every body system in detail; nervous, urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, endocrine, reproductive, allergies/immunity, respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and skin included. I will also delve into the client’s food intake, relationship with nutrition, and current lifestyle.

Thoughts on hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

The treatment is fantastic for inflammation which is one of the biggest umbrella terms. The intense amount of oxygen may help with the healing of joints and with asthma which is also an inflammatory condition. The good news is that hyperbaric oxygen tanks, cryotherapy and Infra-Red saunas that were once very expensive are much more affordable and accessible.

Rosemary Ferguson

@rosemaryferguson_ // Instagram

Green Detox Soup

@rosemaryferguson_ // Instagram

How about cryotherapy and other forms of hormetic stress therapy?

Cryotherapy, cold water therapy, intermittent fasting are all ways of inducing hormetic stress. They kickstart the body into a response making it more resilient which is important as we live in a relatively cosy, modern world. However, if you are already super stressed, adding to the load is going to be counterproductive. Try meditation instead. 

Think of it this way: our bodies are like a fine watch mechanism and if you spike one cog, the others become out of sync. All the cofactors work beautifully together, so I believe in working to gain balance in all aspects rather than pushing one cog to an unsustainable extreme. 

For example, there’s no reason to white knuckle it on prolonged 16/8 periods of intermittent fasting. The likelihood is that you are going to break that pattern with a few olives or a late-night snack. 12/12 is much better for the system and ‘doable’.

Talk us through the Rose Ferguson plans.

I run a series of plans throughout the year from the 21-Day Plan to support liver function, aid detoxification, manage weight loss, increase energy, and support the gut to programmes to reduce inflammation. Eggs, dairy, sugar, wheat, caffeine, alcohol and nightshades are off the menu! Love your liver!

Your own year-round rituals?

For me personally, I do like to take a 1x liquid day per week consuming soups and smoothies. I eat a lot of veg, but allow myself treats like ice cream or crisps. I am careful where I source protein and also do weights and that has made me feel so much stronger. I’m 47, and for women it’s a great way to help maintain muscle mass as you grow older.

And beauty regimes?

On a treatment level, I like micro-needling four times a year combined with a medical facial. Day to day, I use the Japanese brand Decorté and Augustinus Bader plus skin oils from Orchid.

Decorté Liposome Advanced Repair Serum

@pamcocoen // Instagram

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Cavalry Twill Suit

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Your forever wardrobe pieces?

I have beautiful pieces from the 90s including McQueen, Marc Jacobs, Raf Simons, and a Versace bias cut dress from Gianni’s days. I have a man’s Vivienne Westwood military coat which I adore and a pair of Raf Simons dinner trousers with one pleated leg and one straight. I very rarely wear dresses, to the point friends tease me, but I like to wear suits. Bella Freud tailors great ones. 

Who is in your expert circle?

I listen to the brilliant Huberman Lab podcast that discusses all aspects of neuroscience and also tap into the IFM (Institute of Functional Medicine) for lectures. I love my garden and the birds and follow a chap called @arthurparkinson_ who is like a young Monty Don. Both Jake Chapman (my husband) and I have bird feeders on different sides of the house so it’s a competition on both sides!

Staples in the fridge and supplements on the shelf.

Always a cauliflower, as you can do so many things with it. I like to test formulas and I always recommend using a pill box for daily intake, as you have to be consistent. For achy joints, I take a glucosamine formula; Lyma is a great all-rounder product; Omega 3 and turmeric for inflammation and Ancient + Brave collagen.

Where do you escape?

I love travelling and feeling free so any kind of road trip. Now that our children are older, we can embark on epic adventures.

Wild Grass and Herbs in the Garden

@pietoudolf // Instagram


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