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Celebrity Health - Aileen Cox Blundell

Photos: Conor Blundell

Aileen Cox Blundell is the author of The Baby-Led Feeding Cookbook and The Baby-Friendly Family Cookbook. Her food blog shares natural and wholesome recipes for babies that the entire family will love. It has been the winner of both Best Irish Parenting Blog and Best Irish Food & Drink Blog. She has made numerous TV appearances including a regular cooking slot on Virgin Media’s Ireland AM. Aileen grew up in Westmeath and lives with her husband Conor, daughter Jade and sons Dylan and Oscar in Swords, Co Dublin.

Tell me about baby-led feeding

My book The Baby-Led Feeding Cookbook was published by Gill a few years ago and has been really successful. The whole thing came about as a project for myself to keep a record of the foods I was giving my youngest son about five years ago. I wanted to make healthy food and decided to concentrate on making meals from scratch. I thought I could make it into a book to give to him when he reached 21, and really embarrass him! I took the photos myself. Then I set up a Facebook page and started putting things up on Instagram. In a short time I had lots of followers and a publisher. My second book was The Baby-Friendly Family Cookbook. Now I am a nutritional coach and I am taking a diploma to become a nutritional therapist.

What exercise do you do to keep in shape?

I like to go for a walk and I regularly go to the gym. I am training to be a yoga teacher and would do it three or four times per week. I love sea swimming and do it all year round about five times a week in Portmarnock, and I’m pretty hardcore – I don’t wear a wetsuit.

What sort of foods do you eat to stay healthy?

It started about six years ago when my now 15-year-old son decided that he wanted to be a vegetarian. About a year after that the whole family became pescatarian, and about 18 months ago we all went vegetarian. I am mindful about getting enough plant-based protein. We get ours from chickpeas, lentils, tofu, beans, tempeh and zeitan. We would mix them up for variety, so that we don’t eat the same things every night.

For breakfast I like to eat oats with berries, nuts and seeds with a dollop of peanut butter for protein. For lunch I might have a salad with lentils or chickpeas or cheese. For dinner we like to have a vegetable and lentil curry or vegetable stew. We might have eggs for dinner twice a week, tofu once and zeitan once. In the summer I like salads with leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, olives, nuts, seeds and berries. I also make healthy ice pops with fruit and vegetables. If we make smoothies we go for about 75% vegetables with coconut water and a small amount of fruit for sweetness.

Do you take any supplements?

I take magnesium and omega-3s from Coyne Healthcare, biotin for my hair which can get damaged from all my sea swimming and the whole family takes vitamin D. I like to visit The Health Store in Swords where I also buy all my cleaning products and shampoos etc made by Dr Bronners.

I love health stores and regularly pick up black beans, miso paste and healthier treats for the kids.

Do you have any tips for Rude Health readers?

  • Make sure to get your omega-3s, and take a supplement if you are a vegetarian.
  • Eat a balanced diet – include lots of colours on your plate. Try to avoid eating bland foods with little colour.
  • Ensure you are getting enough vegetables every day – try to include them in every meal. It’s not as hard as you think if you start off with porridge and berries.
  • Take vitamin D – it’s good for everyone and hard to source just from the sun in Ireland.


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