One to one with Debra Stephenson

Ex-Coronation Street and Bad Girls actress, Debra Stephenson, has gained further acclaim in recent years as a comedian and impressionist following her appearances in The Impressions Show. Debra is supporting Homeopathy Awareness Week (June 14-21) to help increase understanding of the benefits of homeopathy and how it can be used alongside conventional medicine. She talks to Health and Homeopathy about her childhood, her experiences with homeopathy and her heroine.

What have you been doing this year?
Last year was really busy with The Impressions Show and other bits and pieces like a few episodes of Waterloo Road, so since I finished panto season (Peter Pan) in January, I’ve been taking it a bit easier. I’ve been at home with the kids and the dog in Poole, but I always stay busy and am working on new voices at the moment for a new series of The Impressions Show which starts filming in the summer.

Who is your favourite voice?
Davina Macall is one of my favourites, as a person and as an impression. She’s likes it too, which is a big compliment! And Lorraine Kelly is such a warm and cosy person and her accent is fun to do.

What are your main passions in life?
Food! I love cooking, especially for the kids, they’re my passion too. Zoe is 4 and Max is 8. I also love the sea. And seafood! I think there’s a theme here. We live in Poole by the sea so we have amazing fresh fish in our household when my hubbie goes fishing (even though he doesn’t eat fish).

What has been your biggest challenge in life?
I think it is motherhood because it challenges me every day. I find it so enjoyable, but I do struggle to find the balance as a working mum. I’m lucky that my husband and parents are really supportive and between us, we make it work. I think the most enjoyable part of motherhood is the cuddles, but I find it so hard to not spoil them.

Have you always been an advocate of homeopathy and complementary health?
My mum was the manageress in a health food store when I was little so I’ve been surrounded by vitamin and mineral supplements, health food and complementary therapies for as long as I can remember. Mum used to bring home vitamins for me when I was a teenager and she gave me birdseed and carob for my lunch instead of crisps, which the other kids used to rib me about. She was also a huge supporter of the Natural Beauty Without Cruelty movement, and I reckon she must have been one of the first women to get behind it.

When was the first time you used homeopathy?
Homeopathy had always been on my radar, but the first time I tried it was when Max was born. He was crying a lot and we were worried as we didn’t know why. A friend recommended we see a homeopath. He asked lots of questions, not just about the crying, but other questions about my medical history, which I thought was a bit odd. I now understand that homeopathy is about the whole picture and what other influences may be contributing. I thought I’d get a remedy, but it wasn’t like that and the homeopath recommended a constitutional remedy specifically for Max – Kali carbonicum – which would treat him as a whole person rather than just the condition.

Have you used homeopathy during pregnancy?*
My second birth with Zoe was at home. I was having such terrible pain so my wonderful midwife used homeopathy, but I was too busy to notice which remedy it was. I also used homeopathy for Zoe, after a consultation with a homeopath, I was told that Pulsatilla was her constitutional type remedy. So when she showed signs of a cold or cough, I would reach for Pulsatilla. 

* If you are pregnant or breast feeding, always consult your doctor or qualified healthcare practitioner before taking any medicines.

What is the most useful homeopathic remedy you use?
Arnica – cream and pillules for shock if the kids fall over and Aconite to nip colds in the bud. Other summer holiday musts are Belladonna for throbbing headaches and Arsen alb for mild food poisoning or an upset stomach. I’d rather have a few remedies with me rather than worry about trying to see a doctor abroad.

Where do you get your remedies from?
Holland & Barrett.

If you were to tell somebody one thing about homeopathy what would it be?
Homeopathy is worth a try!

Describe your diet and fitness regime?
I walk on the beach every day and go for a run on the beach sometimes. I’m quite a healthy eater, I don’t eat red meat but I do eat lots of fish, but I think I probably eat too much butter.

Do you have any vices?
Butter!

What is your hangover cure?
I try not to drink too much! I don’t think there’s any such thing as a hangover cure, nothing works for me. Maybe comfort food?

What do you like doing to relax?
I love food shopping in food halls. Back to the food theme!

What are your plans for the future?
At present I’m concentrating on the next series of The Impressions Show for BBC1, which is scheduled for broadcast in the autumn. 

Who do you admire most?
Marge Simpson is my heroine; she’s a style icon, a good mum and a brilliant wife!

What are your healthy must-haves?
Rescue pastilles in my handbag. Arnicare Cooling Gel – I love arnica! Tea Tree as an antiseptic; plasters for the kids; Echinacea.

What messages do you hope people will take away from your experience with homeopathy?
What I really like about homeopathy is my homeopath’s outlook and attitude, it is so positive and proactive, I really feel like I’m taking charge of my and my children’s health. I really like how homeopathy works as a lifestyle.

To find out more about this natural system of healing and Homeopathy Awareness Week events visit www.healthroughhomeopathy.com