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Celebrity Health - Domini Kemp

Super Chef

Domini Kemp is an award-winning chef, food writer and entrepreneur. In 2013 she became ill and since then she has shifted her focus towards healthier eating. She changed her column in The Irish Times to healthier recipes and opened a juice bar and wholefoods café Alchemy Juice Co in BT2, Grafton St, Dublin. With experienced nutritional therapist and author Patricia Daly she has written The Ketogenic Kitchen, a book about the low-carb and high-fat diet believed to help people suffering from chronic illnesses when used in conjunction with their recommended medical treatment.

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

"I have read research that 30 minutes of exercise a day can really help to prevent serious illnesses recurring, so I jog even though I absolutely hate it. I go to the gym and do weights even though I find that boring. I love boxing though and occasionally ride horses – I used to show jump professionally. I try to do 30 minutes exercise per day or an hour three days a week. I do yoga as well."

What sort of foods do you eat to stay healthy?

"For years I followed a high-carb, low-fat diet following the food pyramid as we are all advised to do. But after cancer the second time I looked at my diet and turned it upon its head. I did research and met nutritionist Patricia Daly, and switched to a low-carb, higher-fat and added exercise."

"For breakfast I would eat full fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with chia or flax seeds and raspberries and blueberries. I might add apple sauce from the health store. I no longer have honey. If I have more time I would cook eggs for breakfast."

"For lunch I go for soup or a salad. I try to eat light during the day. I cook dinner four to five nights per week and often go for something vegetarian, eggs, fish or chicken. We don’t eat huge amounts of meat. For my daughters, aged 18 and 6, I cook potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa or lentils and I might have a really small bit of these but nothing like the amount I used to eat. I now have more vegetables, a little protein and more fat. I like butter and it is filling and makes food taste great. This way of eating suits me – I have more energy and it is easier to keep my weight in check. I found it easy to change. Fat is very satisfying and filling. Eating carbohydrates made me hungry all the time – I used to get terrible sugar lows and feel cranky. It just didn’t suit me. Ketogenic porridge (which has coconut oil, coconut flakes, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, chia seeds and spices) can keep me going all day. At home for dessert I eat 85% chocolate – so I don’t eat too much of it."

Is it hard to be healthy when you have to travel for work?

"I try to be good. When I order in restaurants I don’t dig into chips. I might have a spoonful of dessert. In France on holiday last year I had croissants for breakfast and really put on weight!"

Do you take any natural supplements?

"I take vitamin D because we don’t get enough sun in Ireland. I have B12 shots every month because I have anaemia. I use a magnesium spray too. I like health stores and would buy lots of things such as bee pollen, herbal teas, Super Life sprinkles, flax and chia seeds, coconut yogurt, spices, Epsom salts, beauty and cleaning products."

Do you ever worry about your health?

"I don’t obsess about it. I have checkups every six months. I am aware that five years is the magic number. The older I get I am more conscious of wanting to be healthy and feel good. When you are in your 40s you can’t treat your body the same way as you did in your 20s; you have to work harder at it and be less self-destructive."

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

"I am a big bookworm and love reading. I don’t watch much TV, but I like watching good films. In the evening I enjoy cooking dinner. I like to sit down with friends and catch up. I definitely drink a lot less than I used to."

Do you have any health tips for Rude Health readers?

  • Stress less – it is crucial to keep a check on your stress levels. When I have thought I wasn’t stressed I have been tested and found that my cortisol levels have been sky high, so I obviously get more stressed than I realise.
  • Exercise regularly – that feeling of being physically worn out is good for me and I know it is doing me good.
  • Just get on with life – I no longer sweat the small stuff and get as wound up about things.

The Ketogenic Kitchen is published by Gill Books


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