As the CEO of a global fitness brand, and a former athlete, it’s no surprise that Phillip Mills lives a lifestyle fuelled by healthy eating and regular exercise. So what did he do eight years ago that took his good health to a whole new level?

Phillip Mills is a long-time advocate of healthy living who, eight years ago, cut concentrated sugars from his diet and dramatically improved his health.

“I lost ten kilograms of body fat, and was able to build muscle more easily as a result of a better hormonal profile,” says Phillip, who explains that when there is too much insulin, which our body processes in response to sugar spikes, the natural healthy functions of insulin are thrown off. “Without concentrated sugars in my diet I’ve become mentally sharper, more emotionally balanced and suffer less inflammation from old sports injuries.”

For Phillip, the benefits of improved health are personally significant, but minor in the global scheme of things. “Improved human and environmental health are inextricably linked, and we need to all take action and improve our health for the sake of our planet,” says Phillip. “The effects of climate change are something we must all urgently deal with, and much of the solution comes from things that are good for our bodies, like eating sustainably grown foods and getting out of our cars.”

‘‘ Life without refined sugar was tough for the first month, but then I completely lost the taste for very sweet things. ’’

-Phillip Mills

These days Phillip doesn’t follow a specific diet, but rigorously avoids genetically modified foods and eats organic wherever possible. He also makes sure he gets a daily dose of probiotics. “Human biology is a complex and wonderful mix of co-dependent bacteria, and there is increasing research indicating that maintaining healthy gut and other bacteria is a key ingredient for good health,” he explains. Eating fermented foods like kefir, strong yogurt, slow-fermented breads, pickled vegetables and raw dairy products (often hard to source in most industrialised countries) is an important part of this.

Keen on following Phillip’s approach? Here are three key tips:

Start the day well

Phillip has two breakfast favorites:

  1. A smoothie with raw organic eggs, organic nuts, kefir, organic avocado, a teaspoon of raw cacao powder, half a cup of frozen blueberries and water.
  2. A slow fermented probiotic rye bread, thinly sliced and toasted. Topped either with organic avocado and natto miso, organic nut butters and apple slices, or cooked organic eggs.

Snack right

For Phillip, one of the rare benefits of being busy all day is having little time to snack. When he’s at home on weekends or working late, organic nuts are his go-to. “Nuts are an incredibly healthy dietary supplement. I only eat a couple of pieces of fruit per day, as more than that adds too much sugar to my diet. I never eat candy or drink soda, or even fruit juice.”

Shop smart

Organic avocados, nuts, slow-fermented bread, kefir and lots of vegetables… You can guarantee that these five ‘must haves’ are always in the Mills’ family shopping trolley. Phillip encourages everyone to shop for produce that’s been biologically farmed – or, if you’re a keen gardener, grow your own. “Biological farming represents one of the best opportunities to save us from catastrophic climate change,” says Phillip. “I highly recommend The Soil Will Save Us, by Kristin Ohlson to anyone keen on learning more about the importance of biological farming. It’s brilliantly researched, engagingly written and lays down one of the best plans I have seen to save the planet, while improving our health, environment and ability to feed nine billion people.”

If you’re after more nutrition insights and advice you can find it here. More information about Phillip’s dedication to healthy eating can be found in Fighting Globesity: A Practical Guide to Personal Health and Sustainability (Random House, 2007), by Phillip and his wife Dr Jackie Mills.

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