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Celebrity Health – Roz Purcell

Photo by Luke Ebron

Former winner of Miss Universe Ireland, model Roz Purcell has won Celebrity Come Dine With Me and has made TV appearances on Virgin Media's Xposé and The Restaurant, and a stint as a Celebrity Bainisteor on RTE. She began blogging at in 2013 to document her love of cooking and to share her recipes. Natural Born Feeder (Whole Foods Whole Life) was published by Gill Books. Her next book No Fuss Vegan was published by Penguin Ireland.

Originally from a farming family in Co. Tipperary, she now lives in Dublin. In 2018 she recently set up a hiking organisation Hike Life Community and her new book The Hike Life won the Bookstation Lifestyle Book of the Year at the An Post Irish Book Awards 2024. She has a weekend radio show on 2FM Saturdays and Sundays 12-3pm with Emma Power called Roz and Emma.

Tell us what you have been up to Roz?

I started Hike Life before Covid-19 and lockdown, but it really took off when people could only go for a walk in 2020.The idea was for people who might be uncomfortable with going outdoors for hikes on their own. I put everything I have learned over the years into my new book The Hike Life from what to pack, how to layer for the outdoors, hiking with your dog, the best outdoors apps and then of course the best hikes and places to eat and swim after.

I like to think that it is a multi-use book that showcases Ireland beautifully – it's a visually stunning book that also has practical advice, hike descriptions, recommendations for pitstops like food post-hike, photo opportunities and a wealth of tips.

I ran a poll on the socials to see what hikers thought of different hikes, in order to whittle it down to 50 best.

It took two and a half years to put the book together – it is pretty weather-dependent, while there is a mix of sunny, some rainy and moody photos, we could only shoot the bigger peaks when the weather was decent as I didn't want to promote hiking in poor visibility or bad weather.

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

I do a bit of everything because variety keeps it interesting. I try to do some exercise four to five days a week, but obviously I can't always hike due to being busy or inclement weather. So I run and go to the gym for strength training and take Pilates classes which counteract the running and is great for your core and working your small muscles. When the days are longer and the weather is good I hike as much as work allows me!

What sort of foods do you eat to stay healthy?

I have a 100 per cent plant-based diet at home. I would say though that I am practical and I won't go hungry – if there is nothing else when I am on a hike and I'm hungry I might have something not plant based like chocolate, or if I go to a café some cake – I'm not too strict when out. For breakfast I go for something high protein like scrambled tofu with hot sauce and sourdough toast. I am a savoury breakfast person. For lunch and often dinner I like a warm hearty bowl with brown rice, beans and chickpeas, toasted seeds, roasted vegetables and a dressing.

I love to walk into a health store and see what's new. I buy bulgar, lentils, buckwheat groats, lentils, beans, quinoa and spirulina.

I do need snacks if I am hiking and my favourite is mejdool dates with the stone taken out, filled with peanut butter and dipped in dark chocolate – I keep them in the fridge and they give me a sugar and energy boost.

Do you take any natural supplements?

I run and train quite a lot so I take Zest Active every morning for energy. I take Seamoss, an Irish seaweed supplement, and I take iron. I get my bloods checked regularly to make sure I cover what I might be missing with my diet, but only take what I need.

Do you ever worry about your health?

I admit I used to be a hypochondriac. But now I am a bit older I am a bit more chilled about it. I get all the usual tests done – bloods, smear tests, mole mapping, and I focus on being in touch with my body. I am a big believer in getting used to your own body and checking it regularly. You're the first person who should notice any changes.

Do you have any tips for Rude Health readers?

If you want to make a good lifestyle choice – spend more time offline and less time on your phone or computer. Try to put as much effort into your offline life as your online life.

In fact, let the battery die on your phone and just live your life, instead of living through a screen.

Be present in the moment – when you visit family leave the phone alone. They won't be around forever and you won't get that time back.

Being bored is a good thing, and leads to creativity.

The Hike Life by Roz Purcell is published by Black & White Publishing.

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