Email to someoneGoogle+Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

Gemma Ireland

In your opinion, what does it mean to be healthy?

To be healthy is to have a good balanced diet; nothing too extreme and everything in moderation. Ensure that you take exercise, breathe deeply and take time for yourself now and again. Oh and remember to smile on the inside as well as the outside.

Remember to smile on the inside as well as the outside.

Do you follow any specific way of eating? For example, are you vegetarian? Or a raw foodist? Do you follow a Paleo diet, etc.? Can you explain a bit about why?

I don’t eat much red meat or any wheat or dairy and I eat everything else in moderation. I always source fresh, local produce as much as I can. I drink plenty of filtered water and eat lots of nuts, seeds, good fats and lean protein.

granola

My son adores Greek yoghurt with home-made granola on top of some berries or seeds.

Why is it important for you to feel (and look) healthy? Is there a backstory to why you eat the way you do?

It makes me happy to feel healthy, alive and ready to start the day with a burst of energy. I was also diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis at a very young age and staying fit, well and in tune with my body gives me great strength and positivity.

What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid? And why? 

I haven’t eaten wheat or dairy for about 20 years as I used to be hypoglycaemic and suffered from terrible energy dips, dizzy spells and a painful gut throughout the day. I just couldn’t focus; the wheat made me have terrible digestion and the dairy didn’t agree with me at all. Cutting those two food groups out has made a wonderful difference to me. I supplement them with a lot of goat and sheep products, avocado, tahini, oats, quinoa and brown rice.

Do you cook every day? If not, how do you fit cooking into your weekly routine?

I cook for my son and myself every day – we always have one hot meal a day with meat or fish, brown rice, quinoa and plenty of fresh seasonal veg where possible.

rude health organic almond milk

Rude Health’s almond milk is made with just water and almonds and has no other added nasties as some other brands do.

What’s your shopping routine? Farmers’ market, grocery store, online? 

I shop in a mixture of places, but I generally do one big shop in a supermarket each week and then the farmers’ market as a treat at the weekend to get some good organic veg and cheese. My son loves to try all the offerings and taste new cheeses!

Do you cook and eat the same types of foods as your son? How do you satisfy his ‘kiddie’ palate and still keep him on a balanced diet?

My son and I eat all the same foods. Some things are ‘a little grown-up for me Mummy, do you mind if I don’t eat that please?’, so I make sure I don’t give that to him again. He loves nuts, seeds, goji berries, oatcakes and hummus, lots of veg and fruit, and dark chocolate rice cakes for treats. Of course he sometimes has naughty stuff but on the whole he doesn’t really like white sugar as it makes him feel bad, so he only has coconut or date syrup.

He adores 70 per cent dark chocolate and Greek yoghurt with home-made granola on top of some berries or seeds. Biscuits are given in extreme moderation and I don’t give him juices, they are packed with far too much fructose, which gives kids an extreme sugar rush and then a very negative drop. It’s best to have something that releases energy slowly. We cook together a lot and he loves to make massive soups and eat them with chunky bread and butter. He is always so proud when he has made his food before eating it!

How much emphasis do you put on your children’s nutrition? What is most important to you about what goes in their little bodies?

I’m very keen that my son eats the right things – all the bad stuff only upsets his little tummy and affects his mood. He loves morning porridge and if he ever eats more processed cereals we try to stick to Weetabix or gluten-free cereals, which are much lighter on the tummy. Poached eggs on sourdough are a favourite at weekends.

ellas kitchen snacks

Ella’s Kitchen has good sugar-free snacks.

What is your optimal breakfast?

Porridge with home-made granola sprinkled on top, some nut butter and, if I need a sweet fix, I pop some sugar-free jam or manuka honey on the side. Or a poached egg with leftover veg, some beetroot and avocado at the weekends.

What are your favourite snacks?

Nuts or seeds, rice or corn cakes, carrots, celery, leftover veg, 70 per cent dark chocolate and liquorice.

clearspring-collection-oatcakes-NEW

Clearspring oatcakes are made with olive oil and are delicious.

What is your food routine? Do you eat three conventional meals per day or do you have smaller portions throughout the day?

Three meals a day, with snacks, but when I’m very busy lunch can turn into snacks in the car in-between clients. It can all be rather rushed, but then I make sure I have a good hot meal in the evening and I take time to enjoy the food.

What is the hardest part of the day for you to avoid temptation?

Depending on how I have eaten at lunch and how busy I am with Bodyflow, I do have a dip around 5pm, when I have one of my delicious snacks in the car or when collecting my son from school. I drink plenty of herbal tea and water throughout the day and I really know at night if I haven’t had enough!

Are there any food brands you love because of what they stand for or just for the food they offer? 

Clearspring oatcakes are made with olive oil and are delicious. Rude Health’s almond milk is made with just water and almonds and has no other added nasties as some other brands do. Sainsbury’s gluten-free pasta is great for kids and Ella’s Kitchen has good sugar-free snacks.

How do you treat yourself in terms of food? 

I eat dark chocolate once or twice a day!

The best diet is everything in moderation with no carbs after lunchtime.

Have you ever tried a diet or detox that worked for you?

Diets have never worked for me and I just can’t stick to them. The best diet is everything in moderation with no carbs after lunchtime.

What’s your exercise routine/schedule? 

If I have time I try to do yoga or Pilates once or twice a week. I walk to my son’s school and back at least three or four times a week and that’s a good 10,000 steps. Life is busy and fast!

I walk to my son’s school and back at least three or four times a week and that’s a good 10,000 steps. Life is busy and fast!

Do you power-up for exercise with specific foods – if so, what are they?

No, a simple delicious breakfast is enough for me and I can’t seem to exercise without something in my tummy.

Do you like trying new exercise classes/trainers/trends? 

I had a terrible accident 15 years ago which injured my back and neck terribly. Because of this I know how much I can push my body. Yoga and Pilates both work for me, as well as power walking; I do suffer after I have run. I sometimes swim at weekends with my son and I adore moving my body in the water, it’s wonderfully easy on the joints.

poached eggs and watercress on rye bread

Poached eggs on sourdough are a favourite at weekends.

How do you fit exercise around your work schedule? Do you have to do it in the early morning, your lunch hour?

I prefer exercising first thing in the morning, but that depends on my son and workload, so it’s generally a lunchtime class of hard yoga and then lots of walking throughout the day (if possible!).

Do you have any tips for fitting exercise into a busy schedule? The perfectly-packed gym bag? Classes that don’t necessitate showering etc.?

Never shower, just jump and run, or have a quick strip wash if needed. When I used to go to the gym about four times a week, I always found the showering and getting dressed such a time-waster and it took so long. Yoga and Pilates are fantastic, as you don’t have to do that; just a spritz afterwards does the job!

I am my own role model. I know when I have pushed things too much because my body tells me and that’s the best role model for everyone.

Is there anyone you look up to as a healthy role model – someone who does it right in your opinion?

I am my own role model. I know when I have pushed things too much because my body tells me and that’s the best role model for everyone. Listen to your own body and don’t push yourself too much. Remember to breathe deeply, stretch regularly and be careful in exercise classes; a teacher can’t watch all 25 of you! Also, everyone’s body is different and copying others, fads, diets, classes etc., can often result in injury, unless of course you are listening to your body!