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Celebrity Health - Clodagh McKenna

Queen of suppers

Clodagh McKenna, who was born in Cork, is a chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and broadcaster who develops wholesome recipes using seasonal produce for entertaining at home with family and friends. Her new book Clodagh's Suppers: Suppers to celebrate the seasons is published by Kyle Books and her new TV show Beat The Chef will be shown in Channel 4 in the spring. She runs Clodagh’s Kitchen at Arnotts in Dublin, has designed the Aer Lingus in-flight menu and presented programmes for RTE. She lives in London.

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

I do spinning at a place Psycle in London where I live. They are intense spinning classes choreographed to music – you ride to the beat. It gives you a whole overall workout and I do it four times per week. Then I walk back about three miles home. Every day I walk for about one to two hours – it is really good for my mental health. I am going to start pilates soon to strengthen my core. As a chef I am on my feet for long hours which means pressure on my back.

I find seaweed baths are amazing for my back – I probably have one every two weeks. I order them online and have been doing them for 24 years. When I interviewed seaweed harvesters for RTE they told me that seaweed baths can also really help with depression. When I am in Ireland I go to have fresh seaweed baths at Collin’s Seaweed Baths in Ballybunion, co Kerry.

What sort of foods do you eat to stay healthy?

For breakfast I would have porridge as it is good for the heart – I add cinnamon, dried fruit, banana, apple and honey. Or I’ll have a bio live yogurt with banana and honey. For lunch I eat a lot of salad. I would enjoy a wholemeal pitta bread with feta, chilli flakes, olive oil, avocado, cucumber and tomatoes. Once a week I make a prawn salad with cucumber and celery. I also like baked sweet potato with cottage cheese and cucumber and like to make soup. I make rosemary bread twice a week.

For dinner or supper I like to cook at home and eat a lot of fish. It’s fast and easy to cook. I like to pan fry sea bass or plaice in oil with tenderstem broccoli, ginger, garlic and chilli flakes. I always buy from the fish counter if I am in a supermarket rather than pre-packed. I ask for the freshest and oiliest fish they have.

I have a glass of wine every night and buy half bottles because this is a great tip to make sure you don’t drink too much. I am not good with denial – if I start to deny myself something I get into problems. If I need a snack I might put a clementine or apple in my bag and I like Nak’d bars and squares of dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids.

A lot of people make unrealistic resolutions during the winter which are all about denial, but I think it’s better to make it something pleasurable like cook more at home and use the spices you love. Think about what you want to do to enrich your life. Cooking at home for others is much cheaper and healthier than takeaways or eating out.

Do you take any natural supplements or drinks?

Yes I do. I take melatonin when I travel to help me sleep and avoid having to take a sleeping pill when I go from New York to London twice a month for work.

A nutritionist recommended I take magnesium for improved sleep, vitamin B12 for heart and energy levels and fish oils to help avoid sore joints, so I take these every day. I also add spirulina to a green juice every morning.

Do you ever worry about your health?

I am aware of my health and more so as I get older. I try to keep myself in check and eat clean foods. I really think that processed foods are the cause of so many modern diseases and just cooking for yourself is a much healthier option.

Do you have any tips for Rude Health readers?

  • Exercising every day clears the mind and is good for stress and your mental health, so get out and do something active.
  • Cooking is good for your soul and I would see it as a joy and as pleasure. People ask me how I stay slim when I am cooking all the time, and I say by being active and by not eating processed foods.

Clodagh’s new book Clodagh's Suppers: Suppers to celebrate the seasons is published by Kyle Books


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