Hero of the Month – London Paleo Girl
Today we chatted: to the most wonderful Tessa Seward aka London Paleo Girl. Through her blog and Instagram, she has become an important role model for her thousands of followers – focusing on being fit, healthy and well from the inside out.
Tessa has to be one of the hardest working people in London, squeezing in a phone chat with us between writing her blog, developing Co Fro (her brand of coconut soft serve frozen yogurt), collaborating with like-minded companies, working out with her personal trainer flatmate and (we kid you not) while riding her bike to a meeting with her distributor. Not only are we amazed at her energy and multi-tasking skills – we are also delighted she didn’t come off her bike during the interview!
We are delighted to introduce you to the source of energy, life and love that is Tessa Seward – London Paleo Girl.
How did you get where you are now?
My family is really foody and I think everything has come from that. At uni I did hospitality management and my placement with John Torode (of MasterChef fame) really amplified my love and passion for food. Then, the day of my uni graduation ball, I felt absolutely terrible and had to go home. I was diagnosed with glandular fever and it developed into ME… It absolutely wiped me out. I was put on antidepressants and a high fat diet that included lots of dairy. I had no energy, I couldn’t get out of bed and there wasn’t one week that I didn’t have a cold, flu or a fever. I started reading up on nutrition and then someone suggested I looked into Paleo, which, a couple of years ago, wasn’t such a well-known thing.
I cut out anything that was processed, didn’t eat refined sugar or dairy (and I used to love cheese!) and really cleaned up my diet. I started to notice the differences: my immune system got stronger, I wasn’t getting ill any more, I had way more energy and I came off the antidepressants. I’m now a massive believer in super foods, natural ingredients and natural healing. However, for me, Paleo is a way of living and not just a diet. I’ve stared to meditate and do yoga and pilates and I’ve slowly learned to manage stress better – now I really try to find balance in things.
How did you develop Co Fro?
I launched Co Fro last year – mostly because of my love for frozen yogurt! I was sure I could create something that was free of dairy and refined sugar and tasted as good or even better than normal frozen yogurt. I really wanted something that was light so that when you added bespoke things – like nut butters or cakes – it didn’t become overly rich. It took me about two years of developing and tasting the product for me to be happy with it!
I had everything planned for the launch and then, that week, my dad was rushed to hospital for open-heart surgery. Everything had to stop. Launching a brand you really need to be living and breathing it and obviously I couldn’t do that and didn’t want to do that while my dad was so ill.
So, earlier this year, after he’d recovered, I did a little pop-up at Grill Market in Fulham. People associate ice-cream with being a summer thing and I wanted to prove it’s a sweet treat for all year round – so we did these amazing apple crumbles and chocolate brownie Sundays. From there, Co Fro went into Raw Press in Chelsea – they’re full-time stockists of it now, which is just amazing. The brand is really developing, I’m super pleased with it and I’m excited about where it’s going. I’ve wanted to do everything myself in terms of funding, developing, marketing and promoting it and if people like it and they talk about it then that’s great. It doesn’t have a huge amount of money behind it but that has made it a much more organic process – word of mouth from people who genuinely love it.
What does a normal day look like?
Wow, they’re all so different! Today I got up and did a workout with my housemate (who handily, is a personal trainer!) and then we had breakfast. I spent the morning testing products for a company I’m working with, then I had a meeting to secure my new intern (which I am super excited about), then I went straight to a meeting with a client I do consultancy work for (it’s a really cool start-up café in the city and I was helping with their social media marketing), then lunch at my friend’s café in Chelsea followed by a couple more meetings – and now chatting to Ginger Orange while on my way to meet with a distributor for my new line of superfood Protein Pops! This evening I’m doing a class with a friend at Lomax followed by dinner with my housemate and then… finally… we’re going to Float Works in Vauxhall to float in the Epsom salts and relax.
Do you have a favourite exercise?
I love going to PHIIT as their workouts are incredible, especially their HIIT class. It’s great for toning, fat burning and cardio and you feel so good for it.
Do you have a favourite spot in London?
I’m from the country and now I live in Fulham. I love this area because it has this young, chilled, country vibe and you’ve got healthy cafes and restaurants – it’s a really nice atmosphere!
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?
It really is my sweet tooth! But I’ve found a way of tweaking recipes and making them Paleo so that they taste as good or even better that the original. It means there’s never something I can’t have.
Do you have a personal hero?
I would say – and everyone laughs when I say this – David Attenborough – I love everything about him! His passion for what he does is amazing and how he’s such authority within his industry. I’ve met him and he was just like what you see on the tv – genuine and lovely – but I was so in awe I couldn’t even speak!
Lastly, if you could choose a superpower, what would you pick?
I’d be a natural healer, healing everything in the world and making everyone better…. and giving everyone positive energy, as cheesy as that sounds, I think that that’s what the world needs sometimes.
Written by Martha