Bianca Luykx talks to fabU founder, The Fabulous Pharmacist, Laura Dowling!
Laura, help! We’re bombarded with information on how to live a healthy life, on what supplements to take, on what diet to go on, or go off. Who do you listen to?
As someone who has grown up in a family where health was always considered to be important, we never talked about weight or diets, it was always about healthy eating. My mum exercised and I think it’s monkey-see-monkey-do and I keep that in mind when it comes to my own family too. I listen to loads of different people, and different podcasts, and I also do a lot of reading, I read a lot of newspapers, health issues, pharmaceutical journals and anything that’s released by the WHO, NHS and HSE to keep up to date with good, proper, unbiased information. I think the crucial thing is to listen to our
bodies and to what our bodies need.
Listening to your body and to what it needs can be hard if we are disconnected from our body. What should we do, if we are?
For those of us who are disconnected from our bodies, we need to try and understand why. I think that we need to love and be kind to ourselves because our body is the vessel with which we move, think, speak and do everything in our lives, and yet so many of us dislike our bodies. We’re all made up differently and I think if women began to love themselves and their uniqueness then they would be more connected to their bodies. Movement is very important when it comes to finding practical ways to tune into ourselves too. Any form of exercise that brings you joy is ideal. It doesn’t have to be running a 10k, it could be doing yoga, swimming, dancing, whatever makes you happy. I practice Ashtanga yoga which is a powerful combination of movement, yoga, and breath. I feel it calms my nervous system whenever I do it.
What are your thoughts on weight loss drug, Ozempic?
It is a good drug to help someone trying to manage the chronic disease of obesity. I feel that it is, particularly on social media, being pitched as this miraculous weight loss product though and this is dangerous because people are taking it, who don’t necessarily need it. It’s being sourced on the black market without prescriptions, and we need to see it for what it is, a medication that helps to curb the appetite. At the end of the day, it’s a drug, and it needs to be given under the supervision of a physician and managed appropriately. It is not the answer to obesity or weight loss, it is one of the cogs in the wheel.
We know we need to be having more sex, but we’re wrecked. What should we take/do?
I don’t think we put enough focus on sleep. The Western world is all about running around and getting as much done as you can in a day, without emphasising the importance of rest. The reality is if women slept more and got a more restful sleep, they would have much more energy and would be more interested in having sex. Sharing the load is also key in terms of organising, cooking, cleaning and so on. If that load was shared, there would be much more time to think about and initiate sex. In my opinion, there’s pressure on women to have great sex, raise perfect kids, prepare organic food, and have great bodies. It’s just not feasible to be doing everything if your cup isn’t full so it’s about starting to work on yourself with diet, sleep, and exercise. If you’re doing all of that your libido will naturally increase.
What anti-ageing products do you use, Laura, aside from Botox, which we know you’re a fan of?
I love Botox and I’m not afraid to admit that. I would never say “I’m using this cream, and this is what’s making me have no wrinkles” as that’s not the reality. Anti-wrinkle injections are what work for me and I’ve been getting it done since I was about 36. The thing that made me start Botox, was after a 12-hour shift, I took one look at myself in the mirror and I looked so tired. I get it done, so I don’t look as wrecked. I’m 43, a mother of 3 very busy boys, and running a business, so the fact that I look fresher with it means I love it!
Speaking of business, with so many supplements on the market, why did you, as a pharmacist, decide to launch your own range, fabU?
I had worked in a pharmacy for over 20 years, and I used to see people coming in and out confused about what to take because there’s
such a variety of products on the market. Also, people don’t know what they’re taking – often there are multivitamins and supplements with 20-30 ingredients that people just don’t need. I wanted to go back to basics and make tailored supplements for specific needs with high-quality ingredients. I was always very interested in pharmacognosy (the study of plants and herbs for medicinal purposes) in college. I am pedantic about ingredients and formulations and I spent 10 years researching and developing these products before launching the fabÜ range. I knew that if I got my formulations to market that I could stand over them.
From your own range, what do you take? I take fabÜ Meno & Peri in
the morning, fabÜ Skin Glow in the afternoon and then fabÜ R&R at night to help me sleep.
What else do you do to keep your mind and body healthy?
Exercise has always been key to me from a health perspective and in particular for my mind. I find if I don’t exercise for a couple of days in a row, I get low and irritable. I also exercise to keep strong for when I’m older to be able to lift my groceries, to be able to paint my toenails, play with my future grandchildren, to be able to wipe my bum and not have anyone else need to do that for me. I also try to eat as healthy as I can without being overly cautious, but I also love having a glass of wine or going for a night out, eating out and getting takeaways too.
Discipline seems to be the backbone of a healthy lifestyle, would you agree?
Discipline sounds authoritarian, for me consistency and factoring healthy habits into my life in an achievable way is what works. If I have a half hour in the day I will go for a run, leaving the kitchen in a mess and either the boys will clean it or I’ll come back and do it. It’s about scheduling it into your day and taking that time for yourself. It’s not selfish to put yourself first and I find that I’m a much better mum/partner/daughter/sister when I do.
Do you batch cook?
I used to be good at batch cooking when the kids were small because I would double up on everything and put extra in the freezer. Now I have 3 big boys, they’re nearly 15, 12 and 10, so they tend to eat everything that I prepare. I do make a lot of healthy dinners like spaghetti bolognese, curries and stir fries and any leftovers are put in the fridge and will be demolished the next day.
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What area of your life have you yet to do work on?
Definitely time-management! I will often write a list of what I have to do in one day, it will be about 20 things and I might get 3 of them done. I can feel guilty about what I have achieved so I’ve learned now to prioritise the important things and not feel bad about the rest.
Kids are back to school; happy or sad?
I find the back to school time of year stressful because everything comes back at once, so school, training, matches etc. I find that parents can feel like they’re on autopilot all of the time going from one thing to the next. The WhatsApp groups start back up too with all the queries that go on in them and I find it tough to keep up with everything. I like the summer, I like the slow days that you can have, the kids can have lie-ins, you don’t have to get up and get the lunches out, you’re not running from one training session to the next, but obviously it’s important this time of year, to get back to school, so I have mixed emotions about it.
With autumn now here, how should we switch up our supplements?
I think we should be taking something to support the immune system like fabÜ Shrooms Immune, it has vitamin C, D, copper andzinc, which all support the immune system and energy levels. Cordyceps and Chaga mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years for overall immune support. People have sent in reviews saying they haven’t had the usual cough, colds and sniffles that they get when the kids go back to school when taking Shrooms Immune.