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Celebrity Health - Catherine Fulvio

A photo of Catherine Fulvio

'Cooking gives me a healthy lifestyle'

Born and raised in Ireland and married to an Italian, well-known TV chef Catherine Fulvio is the proprietor of Ballyknocken House Cookery School in County Wicklow. Her latest book The Weekend Chef, Easy Food for Lazy Days is in shops now at €22.99.

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

We are lucky because we have farmland which is great for walking. There is a forest behind Ballyknocken so I can hop over the fence with the dog and walk in the outdoors. I try to walk five times a week, but it can be more difficult in the winter. I tend to follow a 30-minute route.

What sort of foods do you eat to stay healthy?

I eat everything I cook – I taste as I go along. I have a really healthy appetite. On an average day I have porridge and blueberries for breakfast. I snack on fruit during the morning and for lunch I would have a bowl of home-made soup or a soda bread sandwich with tuna and salad. In the evening I might roast a chicken, and my children Charlotte 11, and Rowan 10 love pasta so we sometimes eat that. I try to cook healthy food for the children. When I am on the road doing TV or shows I find it more difficult to be healthy.

Do you go to health stores?

I like dropping into my local health store and buy lots of things there such as spelt flour, chia seeds, spirulina, healthy bars for snacking on like ones with sesame seeds. I also like the chocolate in health stores. I buy additive-free vegetable and meat stock cubes for the cookery school.

Do you take any natural supplements?

At the moment I am taking a multivitamin and an omega 3 fish oil – I find that if my skin starts to get dry and lose its shine omega 3 can really help to get it back to normal.

Do you ever worry about your health?

Yes I do. My mum died of cancer at 56 so it’s on my mind. I try to look after myself as best I can. I think my biggest problem is stress – it can really build up. I have to be strict with myself and be careful not to take too much on. I opened the cookery school 10 years ago, then got a cookery slot on Ireland AM on TV3, it built up my confidence. My RTÉ cookery shows are shown around the world and I am often on BBC Saturday Kitchen too – so I can be very busy trying to keep it all going. It can be long hours and there is a lot of planning and advance cooking done. I do cookery demonstrations at all the shows in Dublin – Food & Wine, Taste of Dublin, Bloom and BBC Good Food too.

How do you keep your hair and skin in such great condition?

I chop and change hair and make-up brands. I think this can help liven up dull hair. I like to use a soap that is pH balanced - it seems to suit my skin.

How do you relax when you are not in the public eye?

I like going to the cinema and visiting places with the kids. We are lucky because we have Powerscourt not far away and Glendalough. Brittas Bay is another good place to go. Then we’ll have a meal together before coming home.

Do you have any healthy tips for Rude Health readers?

  • Try to get your five portions of fruit and vegetables in. Think of your plate as a rainbow and try to cover it with oranges, reds, purples, lots of colours. This will give you a well-balanced diet and take the monotony out of eating the same fruit and vegetables all the time.
  • For me, soup ticks all the boxes – it is filling, made from vegetables and can be prepared in batches and frozen, so I always have some to hand.
  • I used to dream of being able to run a 10k, but my plans always fell apart because I never had sufficient time to commit to making the plan a reality! So then I realised that a two-mile walk every Friday is very do-able. Also I can enjoy the surroundings and think.
  • To curb my sweet tooth, I pack lots of fruit into my diet. It keeps me away from the chocolate most of the time and it is so easy to have on standby when the munchies kick in.


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