The Medicine Cabinet Series was created to give you a unique look at the everyday lives and wellness routines of a diverse group of women from around the country. Dive in for a candid approach to wellness unlike any other.
Meet Locke Hughes, a freelance journalist (and contributor to the Binto blog!). She’s worked for health publications such as Shape, WebMD, and Greatist, but along the way she's dealt with her fair share of health challenges. After overcoming her own issues, she’s continued to deepen understanding of health and wellness by becoming a health coach. Originally from Florida, she lived in New York City and Atlanta before relocated to Park City, UT, where she’s currently based.
BINTO: Tell us a bit about your daily wellness routine.
It’s always a work in progress! But over the past couple years, I’ve worked to discover which habits and routines work best for my body — and mind.
Sleep: I’m SO not a morning person. It’s a daily struggle for me to get up when my alarm goes off at 7:30 a.m. But I have found that maintaining a regular bedtime helps, so I try to get in bed around 10 most nights of the week. And now that I’m 30, those crazy-late night weekend nights are few and far between, which I’m pretty excited about.
Diet: I’m all about balance when it comes to food. I’ve realized that if I try to cut out a certain food completely (i.e. sugar or carbs), it’ll only backfire. For breakfasts during the week, I’ll usually have a smoothie (with frozen fruit, almond milk, and vegan protein powder), toast, or cereal (like Kashi Go Lean). Lunch is usually a salad, soup, small sandwich or wrap, or dinner leftovers.
Since it’s winter in Utah (and freezing already), I’m really into warm, satisfying dinners. One staple for me is a turkey bolognese sauce — just ground turkey, mushrooms, and tomato sauce — over spaghetti squash or whole-wheat pasta (or chickpea pasta!). I also like making chilis, soups, and other meals that make a lot so I have leftovers!
I’ve been trying a modified version of intermittent fasting recently, and it’s been working great for me — I feel less hungry throughout the day, and hardly ever snack. I typically stop eating by 8:30 or 9 p.m. at night, and then I eat breakfast around 10 or 11 a.m., lunch at 1 or 2, and dinner around 7.
Fitness: I love hot yoga — again, with it being winter and all! — so I try to take a yoga class once or twice a week. I also do Pilates once a week, strength training twice a week, as well as some cardio (usually in the form of a hike, bike ride, or short run). I used to be really into running, but it started to take a toll on my body so I've cut back a lot.
BINTO: What product can’t you live without?
I’ve fallen in love with Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee. It’s less acidic than regular coffee, which isn’t as jarring on my stomach or digestive system. (Find out how caffeine affects your hormones.) The mix of mushroom extract and coffee beans provides a more steady source of energy — without the jitters. Plus, the mushrooms provide extra health benefits — chaga mushrooms support immune functions, and rhodiola root can help stimulate creative thinking.
I also can't go to sleep without slathering Aquaphor on my lips!
BINTO: How would you define wellness?
Wellness, to me, is feeling like your best self, in body, mind, and spirit. Wellness means finding balance in life (which includes wine, along with hiking and hot yoga, for me!). Most importantly, wellness looks different for everyone — what works for someone else may not work for you.
BINTO: What was the defining moment when you realized you could take your health into your own hands?
I’ve had lots of ups and downs in terms of my health in 20s. A couple years ago, I simply didn’t feel like myself — I felt exhausted, lethargic, and was gaining weight, even though I had kept a pretty consistent diet and exercise routine.
I think that six years of living in New York, followed by a difficult relocation and toxic job, caused some stress-related health issues. After finding a functional medicine doctor and a therapist who I worked with closely, I realized that I was dealing with pretty serious anxiety, burnout, hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, and digestive problems. (Here, learn more about adrenal fatigue.)
With the help of the health professionals, I worked to create new lifestyle habits, identify (and relieve) stress and anxiety triggers, and develop a new approach to fitness and diet. This has helped me totally change my health for the better over the past year. It also inspired me to become a health coach through Emory University, and also go through Precision Nutrition’s certification program.
Today, I finally feel like myself again — I’m less stressed, have more energy, resolved my digestive distress, and I’ve lost the extra weight.
BINTO: How do you take your routine on the go?
I know how hard it is to travel and stay well! For work, I’ve been on the go a lot. I make sure to get plenty of sleep and watch what I eat when I’m traveling — I know that ice cream would taste amazing, but probably wouldn’t make my stomach feel amazing. I also try to get exercise when I travel, mostly by walking and going on hikes!
BINTO: Do you use BINTO?
Yes, every morning — after my mushroom coffee! It’s become a wonderful part of my morning routine. I’ve felt a major boost in my energy levels since starting Binto. Plus, the probiotics and digestive enzymes help me stay regular!
BINTO: Do you feel like there is something you’re still searching for in your wellness journey?
Absolutely. I don’t think I’ll ever be “finished” with my wellness journey! I’d love to learn more about ayurveda, which fascinates me, and eventually go through yoga teacher training. I’m also planning to write a book about health and wellness, using personal experiences as well as research, in hopes of helping other women who are dealing with similar issues.