In conversation: With Nutritionist Frances Phillips about Immunity and Gut Health

December 22, 2021
In this conversation, we spoke to Frances Phillips  a registered nutritionist, model, writer and founder of ‘The Natural Edit’ about the importance of health and wellness this festive season. 
She shares her tips on how to boost your immunity, gut health and a few of her favourite christmas traditions and recipes. Enjoy!



What are your secrets for healthy living and optimum well-being?

I believe that consistency is so much more important than trying to be “perfect”. Eating a variety of fruits & vegetables, getting enough sleep, moving, drinking plenty of water and prioritising mental wellbeing are the basics that I try to be consistent with. So if I overindulge, have some late nights or don’t exercise for a few weeks, it’s no big deal. I’ve found that many people associate being healthy with restriction and it’s a revelation when they find a more balanced and sustainable approach. In my opinion, the healthiest life you can create for yourself is one that you enjoy and can maintain.


What does a usual day look like for you? Do you follow any routines or rituals?

Work for me can look different every day depending on what I’m working on, so I like to create routine in my home life where I can. I’ll drink a large glass of water as soon as I wake up then I’ll have a hot drink in bed before making breakfast, taking my supplements and having a shower. I prefer to exercise in the morning so I’ll do that before breakfast two or three times a week. I’ve always had a consistent skincare routine morning and evening and it’s something I actually enjoy doing. I like to cook a lot at home so evenings usually revolve around that. I’ll also try to switch my phone off at least an hour before bed and do a guided meditation or read a book.


What playlist, song or album are you currently listening to?

Gold-Diggers Sound by Leon Bridges 


What book are you currently reading?

I just finished My Body by Emily Ratajkowski. I loved how honest it was about the reality of the modelling industry.


What is you favourite way to connect to nature?

I’m definitely happiest at the beach but I live in London so I get nature where I can. Hampstead Heath is my favourite for long walks or I’ll go to Devon, where I spent summers growing up. It’s my favourite place in the UK. 


What does your beauty routine consist of?

I use a cream or gel cleanser in the morning followed by a rose water mist, eye cream, serum, moisturiser and mineral SPF. My evening routine is similar but I double cleanse, using an oil or balm cleanser first. I’ve got quite sensitive skin (I’ve always struggled with eczema) so I have to be really careful with the products I use - I tend to prefer more natural brands. I’ll also do at-home facials once a week using an exfoliator, mask, facial massage and my new favourite thing - an LED mask. I’m quite minimal with make-up and day-to-day just wear a bit of concealer, cream blush and eyebrow gel. 



What is your favourite scent?                                                                                 

I prefer unisex scents - I share a lot of them with my husband. I love smokey or woody notes, things like Vetiver, Cedar or Sandalwood.



What is the best way to obtain optimum health and immunity during the Winter months? Any herbs, vitamins, nutrition tips to follow. 

I regularly take a multi vitamin/mineral and also a separate vitamin D3 and probiotics. I try to focus on adding in lots of seasonal vegetables to my meals. I get an organic fruit & vegetable box delivery which really helps with having lots of variety. I’m not a big drinker but it’s easy to over-do it with alcohol around this time so it’s important to be mindful and take breaks. Finding ways to manage stress is so important for our immune system too. I find guided meditation and journalling really helpful tools. I also like Ashwaganda to help with resilience. Fresh ginger, lemon, turmeric and raw honey in hot water is my go-to drink when I’m feeling run down.


What is the connection between gut health and Immunity? Are fermented foods an important part of gut health? What and how can we introduce these foods into our diet? 

Gut health is linked to many aspects of our overall health, including immunity. Approximately 60% of the immune system and more than 80% of the immunoglobulin-producing cells are located within the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract. This gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) is one of our primary defences against pathogens and the connection between the gut bacteria and the GALT plays an important role in the immunologic response system. Therefore I regularly recommend including fermented foods (these contain probiotics, the beneficial bacteria) such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut. My favourite is adding coconut kefir to smoothies. It’s also important to include foods containing prebiotics too as these provide the fuel for the probiotics. Good sources include onions, garlic, bananas, artichoke, oats & legumes. 



We would love to hear about some of your festive recipes and Christmas traditions;


Do you have any favourite recipes or traditions you would love to share with us for Christmas? 

I love wrapping presents, which I know sounds strange. Every year I’ll put on Christmas music, make myself a cocktail and wrap everything in one evening. I always feel festive after that. I also like to make chocolate orange porridge, which I gift at Christmas too. My sister gave some to me one year and now it’s become a tradition to make it around this time of year.


Christmas scent

I think cinnamon, clove, pine and clementines are the scents that  remind me the most of Christmas. The smell of an open fire is also so nostalgic.


Christmas playlist 

The Rat Pack Christmas album and probably some Mariah Carey and Wham! at some point too.


Christmas traditions 

December is a really special month for me as it’s the time of year I met my husband and also our wedding anniversary, so we have lots of traditions around this time. We always go Christmas shopping in SoHo and visit our favourite wine bar for oysters and champagne. We also go to a pub called The Holly Bush in Hampstead every year. I feel like London is such a magical place in December. I usually do an annual dinner with my two closest friends which is always fun, though Covid got in the way of it this year.


Favourite place to spend Christmas, holiday destinations etc 

With my family at home in the countryside. We’re not all together very often so it always feels special. New York is also so fun at Christmas but one year I’d love to be on a beach somewhere warm.


In five words what does Christmas smell, look, feel, taste and sound like to you?

Nostalgic, traditional, warm, rich & sentimental


Frances' favourite christmas recipes 

Chocolate Orange Porridge

I love to make and give this at Christmas. You can make the dry mix ahead of time and put into nice jars to gift. When ready to make, add the milk & cook on a gentle heat for a few minutes.


  • 45g porridge oats
  • 1tsp cacao powder
  • 1 date, chopped
  • Zest of one orange or clementine
  • 1tbsp chopped hazelnuts
  • Approx 300ml dairy-free milk (I like hazelnut milk for this)


Negroni Sbagliato

A lighter version of a classic Negroni, it’s my favourite to have whilst wrapping presents. Pour the ingredients over ice and garnish with the orange.


  • 25ml Campari
  • 25ml sweet vermouth
  • Prosecco to top up
  • Ice 
  • Orange slice 


Immune Supportive Drink

When I’m feeling run down, I drink this every day. Just add hot water to the ingredients below.


  • Juice of a whole lemon
  • 1tsp turmeric powder (you can also use fresh turmeric if you can get hold of it)
  • Thumb of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1tsp raw honey


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