Irish author Clare Daly’s debut novel, gothic vampire tale Our Destiny Is Blood is will be on sale in Easons O’Connell Street, Easons.com and Dubray Books from Friday 24th November and is also available on Amazon.co.uk in paperback and Kindle.
Where do you shop?
We’re lucky to have Tesco, Aldi and Lidl on our doorstep. I keep an eye out for brand offers in Tesco, get the staples in Aldi and get some fruit, vegetables and coffee capsules in Lidl.
Can you list the contents of your weekly shop?
Cheerios & Shreddies for the kids
Vegetables – Aubergine, Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
Fruit – Blueberries, Strawberries, Apples, Avocados
Meat – Beef mince, Chicken Breasts, Chorizo, Salmon
Dilutable Apple & Blackcurrant
Orange Juice (not from concentrate)
Describe your typical breakfast
A bowl of porridge made with skimmed milk with honey, strawberries, blueberries and cinnamon. It’s the only thing that keeps me going until lunch.
Describe your typical lunch
Usually a salad wrap– generally spinach or rocket. If I’ve shopped, I’ll add some avocado, couscous or beetroot and carrot salad too. If not, its ham and cheese.
I’ve been on a chorizo kick lately. It’s gorgeous with fresh mackerel or in a pasta sauce, baked with chicken in the oven, or in paella. Though I limit it to once a week. Otherwise I’ll start turning amber.
Snacks I’m being good at the moment and trying not to snack but if I have to then a cereal bar or yogurt rice cake. If I have a good breakfast, I tend not to need them.
Is there anything you won’t eat?
Nope, I pretty much like everything. If I haven’t eaten it before I’ll give it a try.
What would you cook to impress someone?
A bowl of homemade pasta. My husband bought me a pasta machine for Christmas a few years ago. It takes time, but I really enjoy making it. It’s therapeutic. I keep the sauce fairly simple – maybe some chorizo, chilli, tinned tomatoes and rosemary.
What is your guilty food pleasure?
Pizza. I love it. Simple and gorgeous.
What is your ultimate comfort food?
A beef and Guinness pie with puff pastry on a cold winter’s day or a seafood chowder. Heaven.
What is your favourite takeaway?
Indian. It always feels rich and decadent – everything a yummy treat should be.
Have you tried any diet fads in the past six months?
I’m not a dieter but I do go through stages of more healthy eating. I have tried recently more long-term changes like cutting back on sugar. I’ve cut it from coffee, which I thought would be hard, but I found it easy enough once I tried. I’m also practicing the mantra when it comes to cakes and biscuits of ‘I don’t like you anymore.’ It works most times and I’m feeling the benefits. I’m a few pounds lighter.
What would be your Death Row dinner or Last Supper?
A big pie with a key hidden inside.
It’s great to see that Clare shops around for the best value she can find and takes care to source quality, reasonably priced produce. There can be quite a surprising difference in Irish supermarkets between quality and price, so taking the time to discover what suits you and your budget best is definitely advised.
Clare’s shopping basket features lots of colourful, antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables to help support good health and normal immune function over the winter months when commons colds are especially rampant. Carrots and sweet potatoes are both good sources of beta-carotene to encourage healthy skin and eyesight, while apples are a super source of the flavonoid antioxidant quercetin. Blueberries and strawberries are two of the mostly highly concentrated fruit sources of antioxidants, yet they’re also two of the lowest sugar fruits, making them suitable for anyone keeping an eye on their sugar or carbohydrate intake.
Porridge oats make a great staple food as they’re inexpensive and nutritious, rich in beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that research shows may help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Apart from porridge, oats help to make smoothies thicker and more satiating, they form the basis for biscuit, cereal bar and flapjack recipes, and can be used to make a healthy homemade granola.
Chickpeas, eggs and meat also feature in Clare’s shop. As sources of complete protein, they’re a really important part of a balanced eating plan and I would encourage everybody to include a source of protein with each meal and snack. This could be anything from nuts, seed and nut butter to eggs, poultry, meat, fish, beans, lentils or tofu. Eating protein throughout the day just help to give your body all of the essential amino acids it needs to carry out important tasks, including muscle repair and the production of hormones, enzymes and antibodies.
Clare’s breakfast is a nourishing bowl of porridge topped with berries, honey and cinnamon. This makes a great start to the day, helping to give her the energy needed to power through a busy morning. Porridge oats are a slow-release carb to sustain energy levels, while honey makes a much better sweetener option than refined sugar and choosing local honey may have additional immune system benefits. Cinnamon makes a tasty natural sweetener and is also considered to be anti-inflammatory.
Clare’s lunch is usually a salad wrap with some form of protein. Wraps tend to be a healthier choice than bread for those keeping an eye on their carbohydrate intake, and particularly when you choose a wholemeal brand. Packing them with plenty of fresh, colourful veggies is a great way to ensure you reach your recommended intake of five or more servings a day.
For dinner, Clare tends to opt for chicken, fish, chorizo or a pasta dish. All can make wholesome and balanced meals when served with plenty of fresh veggies. Processed and cured meats are thought to be best enjoyed in moderation.
Clare’s snacks include yoghurt rice cakes and cereal bars. While better than chocolate and crisps, both may contain considerable quantities of refined sugar and are best enjoyed as treat foods. A moderate handful of raw unsalted almonds, carrot sticks with hummus or oatcakes with nut butter would be more beneficial options.
Overall, Clare eats a balanced diet and keeps processed foods to a minimum as much as possible. Making a few simple swaps and ensuring that she eats vegetables with each meal would further boost her diet. Well done Clare.