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Celebrity Health - Alison Canavan

Model of mindfulness

Alison Canavan from Dublin has been an international model since she was 15. She was based in New York until she returned home to Ireland to have her son, James, who is now six. She is a regular on Irish TV shows and gives wellness talks around the country. Alison talks to Rude Health about her healthy life...

So Alison what has changed since you were the very first Rude Health cover star in 2013?

"Essentially I have been taking my wellness up a notch, I have redesigned my life and am genuinely content. I’ve come to realise that happiness and wellness can be fun, not necessarily boring and restrictive. I haven’t consumed alcohol for 19 months and once I got over the conditioning of needing to drink at events such as weddings, I experienced a massive quality of life improvement."

So what led you to make changes in your life?

"Having James fast tracked positive changes for me. I tried to change for him and dealing with post-natal depression made me think about it too. I realised that I needed to make changes to make myself happy. Something shifted in me – my self-esteem went up and I started to watch how I spoke to myself. I used to be anxious, miserable and depressed. I didn’t know how to cope with feelings and fears. I was always frustrated and didn’t know how to improve things in my life. I would go to a weekend retreat then go back to my old ways of partying hard. I became quite stagnant for some periods of my life and didn’t feel I had to try – I was just existing. Now I know you need to change and keep learning. It’s important to constantly peel off old layers and bad habits to make for new, fresher things in your life. Look at yourself every six months and ask what’s working and what’s not. I know that until the day we die we are on a journey of learning."

What's your morning routine?

"I don’t even think about my routine now, I just do it. I write my gratitude journal, do my meditation – all I need is 10 minutes to clear my mind and help me focus, and I drink lemon and hot water. The trick is to be consistent so that things become a habit. If you can it’s good to read something new every day, travel to new places and generally explore life."

Do you take any supplements?

"I started taking omegas when I was recovering from PND after having James, and now both myself and James take Eskimo oils. Like most people we wouldn’t have enough omega-3 in our diet in terms of oily fish, seeds and nuts. Omega oils are crucial for kids when their brains are developing, they really help with cognitive function and concentration levels. And after all our brains are made up of 50% fats. Eskimo make three oils – one for pregnancy, one for brain power which I take and James takes the kids' one. James is now in senior infants and I make a lunchbox for him every morning. I cut up cucumbers, peppers, strawberries, grapes and include a sandwich on brown bread. He gets a hot meal in after school."

Did you go back to college?

"Yes, I have just finished my Raw Food Mastery at the Life Change Health Institute in Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin. It has 10 modules including making a five course raw menu, raw cosmetics, and probiotics such as kefir and kombucha which James loves. I have really enjoyed it. Next I am going to finish my Nutritional Therapy diploma at the Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health in Bray, Co Wicklow. These days I give a lot of wellness talks where I deliver a full 360 degree approach to wellness with emotional, spiritual, physical and nutritional health."

Do you have any health tips for Rude Health readers?

  • It’s crucial not to rush through life, but to start taking time for ourselves.
  • Mindfulness and meditation give you an opportunity to check in with yourself.
  • Don’t eat at your desk – a short walk is enough to reconnect with and nurture yourself.
  • Slow down and listen to your body.
  • We have to take responsibility for our own and our kids’ health and wellness.
  • Convenience food is the biggest lie that has ever been sold to us – it is making us sick.
  • There are no shortcuts – real wellness takes time. If you want to be and feel well you have to change the way you live.
  • Now and today is all you can control.
  • Everybody has the power to make choices and change their life.

Interview by Lucy Taylor. Photographs: Lili Forberg. Make-up: Dearbhla Keenan at Brown Sugar, South William St, Dublin 2. 01 6169967 Hair: Neil Ryan at SugarCubed, Clarenden St, Dublin 2 01 6725750

                                         

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