Celebrity SecretsEat & Drink

Rosemary Shrager on ‘healthy eating’, visiting India and her childhood dreams of becoming an actress

Best known for teaching ‘ladettes’ how to cook on Ladette To Lady, and her appearances on The Real Marigold Hotel series, Rosemary Shrager has cemented herself as one our our most loveable celebrity chefs. Now, the television personality is focussing her attention on healthy eating habits for children, as part of her work as an ambassador for California Prunes. Rosemary talks to Celebrity Secrets about her new food regime, travelling India and a love of performing.

It’s a new year, many people will have tried to eat healthier in January. What does eating healthy mean to you?
“Certainly for me, if you start counting calories you’re not going to get there. What I would suggest is to eat three meals a day and get yourself into a regular pattern. If I need something to tide me over in between, I just eat a few prunes. With my new way of eating, I am feeling so well. My skin has improved too! The other thing is, exercise. I’ve found by playing ball games including tennis, table tennis and netball, I feel a different person.”

How can someone find the right balance between indulging in the foods they enjoy, but also ensuring they are following a nutritious diet?
“Everything in moderation. You can have chocolate, although I only ever eat 80 per cent or higher as it contains much less sugar. A little of something does you good – it’s all in the mind. I used to eat a lot more but now I have halved everything quantity wise. You also need to find out what foods suit you because we all have trigger foods that makes us want to eat more. For some people it’s cheese and for others it’s crisps. If you can avoid those and eat plenty of protein to keep you fuller for longer, you are on the right track.”

If you need to watch quantities, how do you do that without counting calories?
“You need to look at the type of foods you’re eating and understand how different foods break down in the body. For example, protein isn’t stored in the same way as carbohydrates or fats. Focus on bulking out your portion of meat with high fibre vegetables and complex grains such as rice and quinoa.”

January was the month that many people tried going vegan for the first time. What is your opinion on the plant-based diet?
“I’m not into veganism, it’s not for me. I don’t think we were made to be vegetarian, we are built to eat protein. I understand it all from the ethical point of view, but our digestive system means we aren’t cut out to avoid meat and other animal products. I won’t criticise anyone else’s choices, but veganism is not for me.”

Rosemary Shrager cooking at The Good Housekeeping Institute

It was a while back now, but what was it like living in the I’m a Celebrity jungle with all the rationing of food?

“Do you know what, I was never hungry – I just got used to it. I never told anyone about that, I just enjoyed myself! Is that weird? When I came out I was starving though!”

As part of the Real Marigold Hotel series you went to India. How did you find the whole experience? What did you learn?
“I loved it. I’ve always been a pretty humble person anyway, but I learnt about people. It was life-changing for me because I realised that people I saw in the streets and those I met were happy with what they had, even if it wasn’t very much. The food was delicious too, obviously. I just love India – I want to go back. I love the colours, the people, the generosity.”

Did you get ill when you were in India?
“No, I wasn’t ill at all. I’ve got a stomach like an ox you see! I just drank lots of water. Everyone else got ill except for me!”

Can you tell Celebrity Secrets something that our readers don’t already know about you?
“I would have loved to have been an actress, oh my god I love performing! All I wanted to do when I was younger was to be an actress. I do stand-up from time to time as part of my one woman show. I love an audience – you can see I do!”

To find out more about the work that Rosemary does with California Prunes, visit californiaprunes.co.uk

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