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Celebrity Health - Imelda May

A photo of Imelda May

'Being healthy is common sense'

Imelda May is a musical phenomenon. Born and raised in The Liberties area of Dublin, the rockabilly musician performed on stage from the tender age of 16 and formed her own band in 2002. She writes songs, produces her own albums and sings and plays guitar and bodhrán. Her third album Mayhem was a massive hit and her new album Tribal was released this year followed by a tour.

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

"I walk the dog and baby for an hour every day round a big field. When I’m touring I do a two hour gig every night which means jumping around in high heels, which is hot and sweaty and keeps you fit."

What sort of foods do you eat to stay healthy?

"I have been a vegetarian for 25 years but I am not a mad lentil freak or religious health fanatic. I love trying new things from different countries. I like Italian, I had a goat’s cheese ravioli recently that was delicious; Chinese is good for veggies - a chilli tofu, noodles and veg was good the other day; and Indian is good for vegetarians too. But I would also eat chips, beans and eggs. I eat lots of salad and fruit and enjoy nice bread and cakes. When we went to Spain I really enjoyed the cheese, bread and salad, asparagus and tortilla."

"I might be a vegetarian but I cook meat for my husband (Darrel Higham the guitarist in her band) and daughter (Violet, who is two). I like to have a nice balance and sometimes enjoy a glass of wine."

"For breakfast I eat muesli and nuts, I love a big omelette, toast, fruit, freshly squeezed orange juice and a giant cup of tea. For lunch I’ll have a big bowl of soup and a salad. For dinner I might have pasta or a curry and rice. I end the night with a cup of tea and a biscuit."

Do you take any natural supplements?

"I don’t generally take any supplements but I did take a multivitamin when I was pregnant. I think that if you eat well you can get most vitamins from food. If I’m feeling run down I might take an iron supplement or B vitamins for a while, but I would up my intake of iron by eating more eggs and nuts or B vitamins by eating spinach and dark green leafy vegetables and vitamin C by eating oranges and lemons."

Do you ever worry about your health?

"I am ‘normal fit’ and in great health so I don’t generally worry about my health, but I have a collapsed disk in my back so I have to have injections under anaesthetic every 6-12 months to take away the pain. I didn’t get any back pain at all during pregnancy or breastfeeding because everything moved, but then it went bad again later which was disappointing."

How has becoming a mother changed your health?

"I breastfed Violet, who is now two, for 18 months and I loved it. It was really hard to begin with and it felt like going over a hill. If you can get through the beginning when it is painful and sore then it is great. It was really handy for touring – I could feed Violet on a plane and then she would fall asleep. I didn’t have to deal with bottles or sterilisers. When she was 18 months I knew she was doing well so I weaned her."

How do you relax when you're not in the public eye?

"I walk the dog and play with the baby, watch the telly. I like gardening at home and Violet potters around with me watering the plants. I cook real food for Violet – salmon, cod, homemade burgers, breaded chicken, that sort of thing. She loves avocados and other vegetables but I just can’t get her to eat peas."

Do you have any tips for Rude Health readers?

It’s common sense really:

  • Everything in moderation
  • A little of what you fancy does you good
  • I eat three big meals a day then I don’t need anything else because I’m not hungry
  • I never starve myself
  • I enjoy food and I think this makes you better company if eating is a pleasure


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