Dr. Vanessa Creaven is one half of the sister act behind Irish teeth whitening brand Spotlight Whitening. The company was founded by the Creaven sisters, both practicing dentists, in October 2016 and is going from strength to strength. The first ever Spotlight Whitening pop-up opens at Dundrum Town Centre, Level 1 and runs from 26th March to 22nd April.
Where do you shop?
Everywhere! I am really passionate about food and love to explore different niche food stores as well as regular supermarkets. I try to do a weekly shop to help me stay on track. I prefer to buy my meat from a butcher and fruit and veg from the local Galway Market.
Can you list the contents of your weekly shop?
It is definitely mixed! I always make sure to stock up on lots of fruit. I love berries in particular as I find them great for snacking on. I am getting married in September so my basket has been better recently – lots of quinoa, brown rice and greens.
Describe your typical breakfast
A protein shake and fruit if I am in a rush. I usually try to start the day with eggs in some shape or form. The more filling the breakfast is, the better for me. I see patients from 8am and could be working straight through until 2pm – so I need to make sure I have a good breakfast.
Describe your typical lunch
I try to keep lunch as healthy as possible or else I feel sluggish in the afternoon. Quinoa and turkey are my staples.
I try to have fish a few times a week and am a big lover of sushi. I am always on the go, as is my fiancé, so dinner is typically quite basic – fish and vegetables. I eat out regularly. Wilde’s on the Bay in Salthill is a family business so I’m there on many an evening.
Berries and almonds – when I’m really on track. I have a sweet tooth and love chocolate too. I’m a dentist with a very, very sweet tooth.
Is there anything you won’t eat?
Nope! I love all kind of food! I am not a big fan of processed foods as they just leave me feeling a bit crap.
What would you cook to impress someone?
I would bake! Double chocolate Nutella cookies are my specialty.
What is your guilty food pleasure?
My double chocolate cookies or pizza.
What is your ultimate comfort food?
Fresh white crusty bread and lots and lots of butter.
What is your favourite takeaway?
One hundred percent Indian! I vary my order but it’s always Indian takeaway.
Have you tried any diet fads in the past six months?
I can’t, I love my food too much. I have such a busy lifestyle between Spotlight and the practice that I need to make sure I am healthy. Balance is key and then the gym to burn off all those double chocolate cookies!
What would be your Last Supper?
Easy! White crusty bread, followed by Indian takeaway, finished with my double chocolate Nutella cookies.
It’s great to see that Vanessa is so passionate about food and it really reflects in her approach to shopping for her weekly supplies. She enjoys exploring markets and smaller independent stores to pick up good-quality produce and support local businesses, farmers and food suppliers.
There’s nothing like an upcoming wedding to help you focus on healthier eating, and Vanessa stocks up on plenty of antioxidant-rich berries to snack on. All types of berries contain ample quantities of essential vitamins and protective compounds to help reduce everyday cellular wear and tear from pollution, cigarette smoke, less healthy food choices, alcohol and much more. It’s a good idea to include half a cup of berries in your daily food intake. Vanessa also picks up plenty of energy-boosting green vegetables and healthy staples including brown rice and quinoa. Known as a seed or pseudo-grain, quinoa is particularly nutritious as it contains the full set of essential amino acids, as well as important minerals including magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and iron. Naturally low in fat and high in fibre, it’s quick to cook and absorbs whatever herbs and spices you prepare it with.
For breakfast, Vanessa opts for eggs or else a protein shake with fruit if she’s in a hurry. Eggs make a super option as they’re packed with protein to help stabilise blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full through a busy morning. As eggs lack fibre, it’s always a good idea to eat them with a slice of wholemeal or seeded toast, avocado, grilled tomatoes or sautéed spinach to support your intake. When in a rush, a good-quality protein powder makes a filling alternative and should keep you going until you can get a more substantial meal. Vanessa pairs it with fruit to boost her intake of vitamin C, important for supporting immune system health.
Quinoa and turkey are Vanessa’s lunchtime staple foods, and both are nourishing options to support energy levels for the afternoon. Turkey and quinoa contain plenty of quality protein, essential for muscle maintenance and repair and the production of hormones, enzymes and antibodies amongst many other functions.
Vanessa’s evening meal tends to be fish and vegetables. A healthy balance of fibre, protein and and the numerous benefits from an array of vegetables, choosing an oily fish such as salmon or mackerel a few times a week would hugely boost the omega-3 fatty acid content of this meal. Important for brain health, supple joints, normal eyesight and supple cell membranes, omega-3 fats are found in hemp seeds and oil, walnuts, chia seeds, micro-algae and oily fish. I would encourage everybody to be aware of their intake and omega-3 fats are important for their anti-inflammatory properties too.
While Vanessa’s meals are balanced and based on whole foods, she admits to having a sweet tooth. A bit of dark chocolate as a treat every so often can boost your intake of antioxidants and the higher the cocoa content, the lower the sugar. However, berries and nuts tend to be her usual choice and they’re both naturally low in sugar. With a nutritious diet and healthy approach to unprocessed, fresh whole foods, Vanessa’s occasional indulgence in takeaways and homemade cookies won’t ruin her otherwise healthy eating plan. Well done!