Irish Mezzo Soprano Raphaela is performing with other soloists at the Handel’s Messiah concert evening at Castletown House, Castletown, Co. Kildare on 7th April next in what’s surely be a wonderful and magical music must see.
You can learn more about Raphaela here: www.raphaelamangan.com
Where do you shop?
Mainly in supermarkets, however when I get the chance I love to stroll through food markets in different places and discover new produce.
Can you list the contents of your weekly shop?
Lots of fruit, meats, dairy, healthy snacks….(exciting eh?!)
Describe your typical breakfast:
I have never been a breakfast person, so I just have a coffee (or 2, or 3)….
Describe your typical lunch:
I am usually too busy to sit down and actually have lunch but when I get the chance I adore sushi or something simple like smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and caviar.
I love roasts and mixed grills or if I am stuck for time a nice fillet steak hits the spot!
I tend to snack on fruit, nuts, cheeses or yoghurt. I love protein bars and energy balls also.
Is there anything you won’t eat?
Actually no, I live by ‘try everything once’. I love to explore foods, one of the best things about travel is that you get to try other cuisines!
What would you cook to impress someone?
Probably fillet steak! I see a pattern forming….. But in fairness I do cook a mean steak!
What is your guilty food pleasure?
That would have to be a McDonalds McFlurry! But I can’t remember the last time I had one!
What is your ultimate comfort food?
I never allow myself to have it, but, bread and butter pudding or rice pudding. They are the ultimate comfort foods!
What is your favourite takeaway?
I love Chinese, Japanese or Indian. Nothing beats a nice Korma!
Have you tried any diet fads in the past six months?
I don’t do fad diets but I tend not to eat foods containing sugar or heavy carbohydrates.
What would be your Death Row dinner or Last Supper?
Only one of many options but I would probably go with: Mussels in a white wine sauce for starter followed by a medium-rare fillet steak with all the trimmings. Then for dessert I would have creme brûlée & Tiramisu (yes, two desserts!) followed by coffee and a plate of cheeses with grapes.
Raphaela’s shopping basket contains plenty of fresh whole foods, including fruit and healthy foods to snack on throughout a busy day. There don’t seem to to be vegetables in there, or perhaps she just hasn’t mentioned them, but it’s important to eat at least five servings of colourful fruits and veggies each day. This helps to ensure that your body has the raw materials it needs in the form of vitamins, minerals and fibre, to support normal health and immune system function. Having a properly supported immune system means you have less chance of picking up colds, flus and infections, and your body recovers more quickly if you do. Although other nutrients are important too, Vitamin C is most often associated with your immune system, and is found in rich quantities in citrus fruits, leafy greens, bell peppers, strawberries and kiwi fruit.
Raphaela mentions healthy snacks in her shopping list, and some of the best ones include fresh whole fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butter, hummus, oatcakes and chopped fresh veggie sticks. What they all have in common is that they’re low in processed ingredients, free from refined sugar and full of fibre to help keep you feeling full. A handful of raw unsalted nuts make a great snack as they’re a good source of complete protein and really filling. I always encourage people to keep a small bag of almonds or walnuts in your handbag or car in case of a hunger emergency. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which is an antioxidant vitamin important for skin health, while walnuts are a useful source of essential fatty acids, needed of normal brain, eye, joint and heart health.
Breakfast for Raphaela tends to be a few cups of coffee, and while I appreciate that not everybody feels hungry in the morning, it’s still a good idea to break the overnight fast and kickstart your metabolism, even if it’s just a small amount to eat. Research shows that those that eat breakfast tend to struggle less with their weight and face less temptation to indulge in fatty or sugary mid-morning snacks. I would advise that Raphaela eats something small if she can, such as half a banana with some almond butter to boost her energy and provide her body with some protein and fibre. As coffee is a diuretic, it’s a good idea to drink plenty of water alongside it to ensure your system is well hydrated.
Raphaela sometimes skips lunch, but when she has time, she enjoys sushi or smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, Again, not everybody has the time or interest in sitting down to a lunchtime meal, but going for hours on end without eating may slow down your metabolism and encourage binge eating later in the day when you feel extremely hungry and blood sugar levels are low. While eggs and salmon are good sources of both protein and essential omega-3 fats, adding a green salad or steamed spinach would boost the vitamin and antioxidant content of the meal, helping to balance it more. Greens also provide energy-boosting iron and plenty of fibre for digestive health.
Raphaela’s typical dinner is a fillet steak, which contains plenty of iron and protein. Again, adding some steamed broccoli and carrots or roast or stir-fried vegetables would really help to boost the nutrient content of the meal and create a more nutritionally balanced dish.
Although Raphaela’s diet is low in processed foods and refined sugar, and her favourite snacks include healthy fruit, nuts and energy balls, I would really like to see her eating even a light snack or meal for breakfast and adding more green and colourful vegetables to her meals. That would really help to increase her intake of vitamins and protective antioxidants.