Recently I was lucky enough to meet the man that started me off on my health and fitness transformation journey, through his first book, which had such a major impact on me. Wellness guru James Duigan is the man behind the ‘Bodyism’ philosophy and the author of his latest book ‘Clean and Lean for Life – The Cookbook’.

His approach to health, fitness and overall wellbeing is refreshing and holistic – with a strong emphasis on taking a much gentler pragmatic approach to health and fitness. With each of his books, he has fine tuned the messaging and finally brought people what they want – healthy, quick and easy user-friendly recipes.

Once I had his undivided attention over a breakfast hosted by the Hyde Park Corner – I made sure to gain as much knowledge and insights that I could share with all of you.


1. How have your books evolved from the first one to your latest “Clean and Lean for Life – The CookBook”?
James Duigan: “They’ve become more complete and holistic in the messaging, probably kinder to people and the planet in terms of it being less meat based and more plant based but without being dogmatic, there’s no veganism, there’s vegan and vegetarian options. It’s been nearly five years and we’ve sold nearly a million books, we get a lot of feedback. So we’ve fine tuned the messaging, so it’s become really powerful.”

2. How did you develop the recipes for this book?
JD: “We’d (James and his wife) speak to people. We’d travel a lot so we’d speak to chefs around the world and we’d get their input and feedback and a lot from our own lives, our business partners own restaurants around the world so we’ve got a lot of expertise, genius and brilliance to draw on.”

3. What is the Bodyism movement all about?
JD: “ ‘Bodyism’ is an ‘ism’ because it’s so much more than just exercise and/or food, it’s a real way of life, clean and lean was a very easy way to make it relatable to people and make it accessible, because ‘Bodyism’ takes some thinking to get, but it’s been such a powerful word, people have really taken to it, it’s become a very valuable brand, and that’s because it’s so holistic with every aspect of health and mindset, your thoughts to nutrition and movement.”

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4. What is your take on diets?
JD: “We know that diets don’t work, 12-week bikini guides don’t work and they injure people. They tap into their deepest insecurities and they hijack wonderful messages of empowerment, by showing pictures of ‘strong not skinny’ but then the girl is emaciated, and it’s tragic and vicious. I don’t care what they call it (diets), it just needs to be safe and sane and to actually work, and these things don’t work, they just don’t. Cause by work, I mean, delivering a lasting profound change and transformation and these things don’t. We’ve seen people wreck their bodies, become emaciated but then go back because it’s unsustainable.”

5. For vegetarians – how would they be able to get a balanced eating plan?
JD: “It’s easier now, with things like chia seeds, quinoa, these are great sources of protein that are plant based and they are much more readily available. But being vegetarian isn’t simply giving up meat, you have to do it intelligently, if you’re removing a source of protein you have to replace that intelligently with some other sources of protein.”

6. What would you say is the best kind of training for women?
JD: “I would say, finding that balance and variety between yoga and also a very intelligent lifting program that’s not just lifting heavy weights, if you don’t want to look like a bodybuilder, don’t train like a bodybuilder, but it’s also very important to lift, you just want to do it intelligently. Also, like walking, all those incidental exercises are where people lose weight. It’s actually the incidental exercise throughout the day that has shown now, through research that that’s where people really lose weight.”


7. What are the top three changes you would recommend to someone that wanted to make small changes they can implement virtually immediately?
JD: “The number one thing is understand that any change that happens in your body, happens in your mind first, with that in mind, what’s important is to understand that you deserve a happy, healthy life. Once you’ve got that understanding and belief, all of your other choices are much easier and it’s not a battle then. In terms of your nutrition, tune into your body, look at what is working for you and let go of what is not working for you. And letting go of shame and guilt with regards to your relationship with your body and your food and your movement and then, move your body everyday in some form, just move, whether it’s a walk, then do that, everyday. Just getting started is the first step, don’t worry about ‘where do I start’.”

Book signing

“Clean and Lean For Life – The CookBook” is available at ‘Exclusive Books’ stores.
It retails for R393.00.

Photography : Hemisha Bhana


Happy, Healthy, Fabulous