Kevin Helton is a member of Gymbox Holborn and is a story architect and creative director at the Hello Love Art & Design Studio. His team of artists explore the idea of collaboration and how the public and private sectors can work together to achieve a cancer free society. We meet him.
Hi Kevin, you don’t look in full workout gear in the photos, is this a new training look?
Funny you should ask. This is actually my standard issue gym kit! I always work out in Team Six sweats. The "Square Standard" you see across the front of the shirt is a part of a cancer awareness campaign and from an artistic perspective represents honour and integrity in all things things that you do - your fitness program included.
You were picked as a ‘winner’ for this week due to your work in sustainability and living on the non-toxic path, tell us about that.
I became immersed in the world of non-toxic living when Jane, a good friend of mine and the co-founder of the Hello Love Art & Design Studio was diagnosed with breast cancer. Upon the completion of her cancer treatment, we decided to set up the Hello Beautiful Foundation as a vessel for instigating positive social change. Through art, Hello Beautiful explores the issues that arise when we, or our loved ones, are faced with cancer and the importance that emotional awareness and positivity have in this reality. We actively bring artists, brands and other activists into this conversation in hopes that together we can achieve a better understanding of cancer and in the process uncover sustainable ways of preventing this illness. As a community, our aim is to not only provide a support network for the people and families that have been affected by cancer, but also to provide a central location for traditional and alternative therapies to collide.
What is non-toxic living, exactly? Can we all do it?
Living by the non-toxic code is a lot easier than it sounds! As the phrase suggests, the focus is to rid yourself of any and all things toxic. This can loosely be broken down into three categories: Mind, Body & Soul.
A Non Toxic Mind is one that applies to your attitude and maintaining a positive state of thought when presented with challenging times.
Negative thoughts = toxic thought
Positive thoughts = non-toxic thought
It's important to remember that emotional awareness is paramount to regulating stress levels and should be used as a basic survival tool in your day to day activity!
A Non Toxic Body is one that applies to your food source (nutrition) and things that can be done to physically prepare your body for the hardships of daily life. To the extent possible you should aim to to eat organic foods that avoid the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilisers and other industrial solvents. You should also avoid regular consumption of processed meats that have been preserved with salts and other chemicals - these foods have been proven to increase the chances of illnesses such as cancer. Furthermore, you must take note of the chemicals found in many cosmetic products such as shampoo, toothpaste and make-up. The 'parabens' in these products get absorbed into the body, and cause a number of health complications and internal issues that could have otherwise been avoided. Studies highlight that 8 out of 10 breast cancer tumours show traces of parabens.
Finally, A Non Toxic Soul is one that is at harmony with the the world around you. Being in touch with your soul is not an esoteric concept that should get lumped into the topic of religion. Your soul is simply your spiritual being that instructs your physical presence on how to 'be'. Meditation will help you engage with your inner self and begin to understand the implications of what it means to be at peace. Spiritual development through Qi Gong practice and some forms of Yoga will also help guide you in this regard
How can we get more people to get involved in social issues?
The main thing that you can do to get people more involved in social issues is to lead by example! One can observe first hand the impact that before/after selfies are having in the health and fitness space. And even though it's now becoming more en vogue to be healthy, people still lose sight of social issues unless those issues directly affect them. Unfortunately this means that subjects such as cancer treatment (rather than cancer prevention) are often an afterthought (rather than an ongoing dialogue) for most people despite the fact that this is all part of the same topic as general fitness and model mayhem. As a society, we must apply the same amount of enthusiasm to social responsibility as we do to other aspects of our lives. When this happens, I suspect that we will see a systematic increase in living standards and global output.
What inspired you to get involved?
Sharing the resources that I have, and connecting the people that I know, has always been something that has come second nature to me. But Jane's life or death experience with cancer was the moment that forced me to become more vocal about my ideas on all things non-toxic.
What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t go to the gym as they ‘can’t be bothered'?
When I have encountered this conversation, I typically suggest that it's OK not to go to the gym, but that the caveat is that they must do something! Your mind and body are alive, so "doing nothing" means that you are subconsciously telling yourself to turn those things off. Turning off various components of your mind and body will force them to deteriorate much more quickly than those of us that work hard daily to extend our vibrancy. You must find someway to be active, be that inwardly or outwardly, but preferably both.
Being a winner comes in many forms, what qualities do you think a real winner possesses?
Being a winner (or being a champion) is not a title that is bestowed upon you. Being a winner is an understanding that you have with yourself about your purpose here on earth, and your commitment to uplifting the community around you. The first step to a healthy, more positive lifestyle, is first admitting that to yourself that in order for you to truly win, everybody around you must also win! This is hard to understand in today's mindset of competition and survival of the fittest, but it's something that we must all come to terms with. If your friends 'can't be bothered' to go to the gym, what words of encouragement are you giving them, how can you help them to become better, and what can you do to instigate change!
If you would like to know more about the Non Toxic Path or are currently going through cancer treatment, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]
To donate via JustGiving, please text 'HBUK10' and your donation amount to 70070.