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Celebrity Health - David & Stephen Flynn

Twin peaks

© Photograph: Sean Cahill

Twins David and Stephen Flynn are best known for their health food shop and cafe The Happy Pear in Greystones, Co Wicklow, with a new café opened this year in Clondalkin, and their range of vegan foods sold in Supervalu. Their third cookbook Recipes for Happiness (Penguin Ireland) is all about living a healthy life the easy way and making the vegan life more accessible. Rude Health editor Lucy Taylor spoke to David Flynn

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

Stephen and I train most mornings. This morning we did half an hour of animal movements, stretching and flexibility. We have a ‘use it or lose it’ philosophy. We might do yoga another day upstairs in the café – we have a coach who comes over and is teaching us to do one-handed handstands at the moment. We do press-ups and pull-ups. We try to mix it up with different movements. We swim at sunrise every morning – a whole crew of us do it. We meet in the Happy Pear café 15 minutes before sunrise then walk down to Greystones beach. We don’t wear wetsuits even in winter because the cold is very good for you. Cold is good for the immune system and health and wellbeing. It’s like morning medicine. Some of us are in and out quickly and others might be in 10 or 20 minutes. We have all ages from teenagers before school to people in their 70s who join us. It’s good to be in nature. After we have tea and snacks.

What sort of foods do you eat to stay healthy?

We have been vegan for the past 17 years. It’s important for everyone to eat more fruit and vegetables and wholefoods – eight out of 10 Irish people are not getting enough fibre from these foods. This morning Stephen baked a 70% sourdough loaf and we had that as toasties with avocado and sundried tomato pesto. We have peppermint and ginger tea and some of our seedy bites. I have some chia seed puddings, and then I had a second late breakfast of more toasties.

We tend to have lunch in the café and would have something with rice or grains or potatoes like dahl, chili or curry. Then some kimchi or sauerkraut, or maybe avocado or humous. I tend to eat less in the evening after a snack in the late afternoon. I eat quite a lot of our bites – we have superfood ones and seedy ones. My daughters each like different ones.

Fruit is a big favourite of mine – right now is the very end of the fig season so I have been eating lots of those. Our brother Darragh runs a sprout farm and we love leek sprouts on our salads or toasties for lunch, and sprouted bean salad. Alfalfa is amazing.

Do you take any natural supplements or drinks?

The only supplement I take is B12 because it is quite hard for everyone to get it from your diet. I take a spray once a day. Stephen takes a supplement pill once a week. We don’t find that our vegan diet leaves us deficient in anything.

Do you ever worry about your health?

Not really, but I don’t take it for granted. Our daily life is centred on our health and I am grateful for it. My parents have been mostly vegan for about 10 years and feel good on it. Our brother Mark is an international DJ and has decided to be vegetarian.

Do you have any tips for Rude Health readers?

I have a few!

  • Eat more fruit and vegetables and nuts and grains and wholefoods – you only get fibre from wholegrains in your diet. Healthier = happier.
  • Movement is incredibly important. We are too sedentary as a nation and live modern day lives of convenience. Sitting down is now known to be a real health risk. You should take at least 10,000 steps a day.
  • Community is crucial. Big causes of diseases are loneliness, depression and isolation. Surround yourself with nurturing people who will encourage you to be healthy.
  • Sleep is fundamental. We get 10% less than our grandparents did and live really busy lives. Keep your bedroom really dark, have a bedtime routine and decrease all light from devices 90 minutes before going to sleep.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time to keep your circadian rhythm in sync.

Thanks to everyone who has bought our book. We wrote it to make it simple to eat better and there are lots of lifestyle tips in it too.

Fresh Resolutions

You can meet David and Stephen Flynn at The Fresh Resolutions conference in Dublin Castle on 5th January in Dublin Castle. It’s an annual coming together of Ireland’s leading experts in the areas of health, wellness, and personal development. The Happy Pear twins will be providing complimentary food throughout the day as well as giving a keynote titled ‘Recipes for Health & Happiness’. For more info check out www.freshresolutions.com


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