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Celebrity Health - Alison Curtis

Radio star

Originally from Ontario in Canada, radio presenter Alison Curtis has been living in Dublin for two decades and is now an Irish citizen. She started out as a researcher and later a producer on The Ian Dempsey Show and now presents her own three-hour show Saturday Breakfast with Alison Curtis on Today FM and has also presented Sunday Breakfast with Alison Curtis. She is married to Anton Hegarty, the former bassist for Future Kings of Spain and they have a daughter called Joan. They live in Dublin.

What sort of exercise do you do to keep in shape?

I had a gym membership for many years, but ultimately I got bored with it. The last few years I have trained for the women’s mini marathon from January to June. I have found my comfortable running distance is about 7.5K.

My daughter is getting into swimming so I love to take her once a week if we can. I enjoy exercising outdoors in places like the Phoenix Park and I am better solo than in a class. I don’t really have a problem getting out and doing it.

I like The Food Medic Dr Hazel Wallace – she has an exercise at home blog and I like the stuff on using your own body as resistance to build core muscles - you can do it in 20 minutes at home. I try to do it three times a week or so. See thefoodmedic.co.uk. My lazy exercise months are September with going back to school and December with Christmas coming.

What sort of foods do you eat to stay healthy?

I have been a vegetarian since I was 12. For breakfast I make my own granola because I want to eat one that is low in sodium. I mix it with yogurt and at least two pieces of fruit. I love coffee at breakfast too.

I am often at home for lunch so I might have home-made humous with rice cakes and rocket, cucumber and tomato on top or pasta and vegetables. I have to stay away from cheese because my cholesterol is slightly up – this is a genetic thing but I need to mind it. So I tend to go for goat’s cheese and avoid hard cheeses.

Dinner can be tricky because my daughter would normally eat at around 5/5.30pm, but my husband is not home until 6.30/7pm. I might make Joan fish and vegetables, her favourite at the moment is mash, chicken and gravy. My husband eats meat, so I might have a one-pot veggie chilli he can add meat to. I like bean- and tomato-based one-pot dishes. My veggie bolognaise is popular. I am lucky that my daughter eats a lot of vegetables.

I try not to eat after a certain time at night, but being a vegetarian I tend to fill up quickly then get hungry later. So I might eat a bowl of cereal with seeds in it to keep me going.

If I have to travel for work at weekends for outside broadcasts I find it hard to find snacks in petrol stations that don’t have too much sugar or salt, so I might take some grapes, a banana or rice cakes. I have a savoury tooth.

I like Indy Power’s recipes at Little Green Spoon – see littlegreenspoon.ie. I make her bars when I have the time.

Do you take any natural supplements or drinks?

I take a B complex every day – my doctor recommended a time release one and said it is very important because I am vegetarian. I also take an oral vitamin D spray. I like health stores because you get such great advice. People who work there are so generous with their time, passionate and informed, whether you are buying shampoo or a bag of nuts. I buy quite a lot of soya products. My daughter loves strawberry soya milk and my husband and I like kombucha.

Do you ever worry about your health?

Actually yes I do. I think it is where I keep my anxiety. I lost both my parents when I was a teenager and was in hospitals a lot, and I think it has made me nervous about my health. I am really good at having yearly health checks as well as regular blood tests, smear tests and have a great GP. My twin sister Karen does not share my health anxiety at all!

Do you have any tips for Rude Health readers?

  • If you want to be healthier and have been letting things slide, commit each month to do only one, two or three things. Otherwise you won’t stick with it.
  • This month I committed to doing 10,000 steps three or more times per week, eating more fibre in my diet and cutting down on coffee in the morning – so far so good.
  • The trick is to take steps that are do-able, otherwise you will just give up.

                                         

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