What does it mean to be healthy?
To be free of disease and to look after your body by eating well, exercising and resting (which we don’t do enough of!).
“Healthy means to be free of disease and to look after your body by eating well, exercising and resting (which we don’t do enough of!).”
Do you follow any specific way of eating?
Since having breast cancer I have cut several things out of my diet as well as adding in things, but I don’t follow a known diet.
Why is it important for you to feel (and look) healthy?
The scare of cancer has made me strive to feel as good and as strong as I can. Also signs of ageing are a big incentive!
“The scare of cancer has made me strive to feel as good and as strong as I can.”
What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid?
I avoid the following: Red meat (due to hormones); Dairy (due to hormones); Sugar (due to high glycemic levels); White flour, white rice, white pasta and white potatoes (converts to sugar and has no goodness in it); Tuna (mercury); Anything with anything artificial in it!
Do you cook every day?
I used to cook every day but now have some help during the week. It is hard when you can’t just grab something quickly from the fridge. I do have to manage the food shopping to make sure I always have masses of fresh vegetables at any time. I make a fresh juice every other day (enough to keep for the next day). Preparation for supper mostly has to be done before the kids are home from school.
What’s your shopping routine?
I usually do two Ocado shops and one Riverford Organic delivery a week. This is supplemented with trips to Planet Organic and a local fish shop. Sometimes I make it to the local farmers’ market (time permitting).
How do you fit nutritious foods in to your diet and life?
Juicing has become very important to me and makes a difference to how I feel. I make sure that for every meal, two-thirds of my plate is loaded with vegetables or salad. I also think it is important to have protein and good carbs. I eat many more beans/lentils than I used to.
I eat brown carbs (brown rice, buckwheat, spelt barley instead of risotto, quinoa, etc). I eat lots of nuts and seeds, too – adding them to muesli, porridge and salads.
“I eat organic wherever possible. I buy meat that is grass-fed and fish that is wild (not farmed). When baking I use wholegrain flours and substitute butter for coconut oil.”
I eat organic wherever possible. I buy meat that is grass-fed and fish that is wild (not farmed). When baking I use wholegrain flours and substitute butter for coconut oil. I have now started cooking much more with coconut oil (The Higher Nature make is tasteless, so good for savoury things).
Do you cook and eat the same types of foods as your children?
This is not easy but my kids are a bit older now so they are doing well with mostly eating as I do (we all eat together in the evenings). I have found quite a few treats that are not bursting with sugar and colourings/flavourings – there seem to be so many more options available now. However, at the weekends they do have some more kid-friendly foods, like pizza.
How much emphasis do you put on your children’s nutrition?
I would love to be able to control what they eat all the time but it just isn’t possible and I don’t want to create a situation where as soon as my back is turned they are stuffing their faces with crisps and Mars bars! I make sure that at home they have a good balance.
During the week we will eat fish one night, chicken one night, beans one night, lentils one night, eggs one night, and tofu (I sneak silken tofu into things so they don’t notice!). Always served with veg and salad. They love a homemade pesto made with spinach, basil, cashew nuts and pecorino cheese.
“I make sure that at home my children have a good balance.”
Occasionally we eat organic lamb (the only red meat I eat). I am trying to convert them to sheep’s cheese rather than cow’s (sheep only eat grass so are not pumped with hormones or fed any rubbish). I make them healthy pancakes with good flours, egg and rice milk (with added calcium). They eat Xylitol or coconut brown sugar as a sugar substitute. They only have wholegrain brown bread at home.
What is your optimal breakfast?
Avocado, egg, rye toast and roasted seeds on top.
How do you try and stay on track when you travel?
This is very hard! I take lots of healthy snacks with me and just try to stick to fish, rice and veg when eating out. If I can take a juicer with me, I do!
Your favourite snacks?
Clearspring rice crackers, tamari-roasted almonds, nut butter on oat cakes, and Nakd fruit/nut bars.
Are there any cookbooks you couldn’t live without?
When you go out to dinner, how do you navigate the menu?
I tend to ask if things have sugar or dairy in (many Asian fusion places have sugar in their dishes, which is annoying). I don’t eat meat and never have pudding (which is so hard as I have a very sweet tooth!). I have yet to find some restaurants that make it easy and a pleasure to eat out.
What is the hardest part of the day for you to avoid temptation?
I always need something sweet after lunch and supper so have a supply of raw, dairy, sugar-free chocolate in the cupboard. I have also found some great recipes for lovely healthy puddings so try to make one at the weekends. I love CoYo (coconut yoghurt), and pile this on fruit.
Have you ever tried a diet or detox that worked for you?
I’ve never tried one. I feel like I am on a permanent detox anyway!
What’s your exercise routine/schedule?
I aim for yoga, a Pilates session and tennis once a week.
Do you power up for exercise with specific foods?
No, but I can’t do exercise feeling hungry so eat a Nakd bar or some nuts beforehand.