‘A lot of men don’t realise eating properly will make you feel happier’

My Daily Diet: Ian Marber (55), nutrition therapist and health writer

 

5.30am I always wake earlier than I’d like. I have black coffee and full-fat Greek yogurt with berries. On the days I exercise I’ll be in the gym first thing, at a 7am spin class, otherwise different priorities seep in.

8am I’ll have boiled eggs and black pepper mashed with crumbled oatcake and I’ll add cherry tomatoes if I have them. I’m always aware of what’s in my fridge and I use everything up.

9am If not working from home I’ll be in London seeing clients. I learn something from every consultation, and my favourite part of what I do is figuring out how I can help them tweak their diet to ensure they feel good. I was diagnosed with coeliac disease when I was 29 so I know how much what you eat affects wellbeing.

11am I’ll sip green tea and snack on an apple and Brazil nuts.

1pm I never skip lunch. I cook double dinner portions the night before – perhaps a chicken leg with cannellini beans and some tomatoes. I live alone so there is always leftovers. Or if writing at home I’ll happily grab this chance for distraction and roast cauliflower with cumin and pumpkin seeds. I’ll add smoked salmon and leftover brown rice.

4pm I'll have almonds, and at meetings will have green tea and sometimes decaf coffee or Diet Coke. Never caffeine after 4pm as I find it hard to nod off anyway.

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6pm Tonight I’m eating before the theatre. I’ll opt for two starters – a mozzarella, avocado and tomato salad and some halibut with veg and potatoes. I gave up alcohol 10 years ago. It’s not a puritanical thing – I have no problem with my clients drinking sensibly, it’s just I went through a difficult period and coped better without it. I was emotionally stronger and my sleeping improved, so I never reintroduced it. When the bill comes I’ll nab the chocolate truffles, even if not dark. I don’t particularly like cakes but I do love a chunk of marzipan. It’s what you eat most of the time that counts. My new book is aimed at men, as a lot of us don’t realise eating properly can be so enjoyable and simple and you’ll feel happier.

In conversation with Mary McCarthy. Ian Marber’s new book is ManFood

THE VERDICT

Dr Conor Kerley, dietetics consultant, researcher and lecturer

Breakfast Black coffee and berries provide vitamins and a morning boost, while yogurt gives protein and calcium. Ian does an exercise class, which is smart, as it can really increase our motivation to attend and work hard! Eggs are a hugely controversial food and I would not recommend every day as they contain a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol. Also, the link between eggs and heart disease is not disproven, while links to cancer and other issues persist.

Lunch Very nicely balanced. I am always surprised more people don’t bring in leftovers. Buying lunch is expensive and often not as healthy, never mind the queue. It’s great that Ian notes what in his fridge. Statistics vary but about 30 per cent of food is chucked out.

Snacks Apples, nuts and green tea are good choices: lots of antioxidants and long-lasting energy.

Dinner Well ordered, with plenty of vegetables – the majority in Ireland don’t get enough. Ian feels better without alcohol, which can be high in calories with excess potentially causing health issues. Ian wisely mentions that it’s what you eat most of the time that’s important. If people aimed to get five to seven portions of fresh veg every day and wholegrain as opposed to white carbohydrates, health would improve – no need for fads. Ian mentions that men don’t realise eating properly will really enhance how you feel. I echo these comments and hope that men can aim for a fruit- and veg-rich diet like Ian and myself.

Tips Alternatives to the eggs could include peanut butter on gluten-free oatcakes (Ian is coeliac) with a banana, or a fruit smoothie with added nuts or seeds. Diet Coke, while preferable to regular, is not a healthy drink so I don’t advise regular consumption.

My Daily Diet series
- Bryan Dobson
- Helen Steele
- Jonathan Forbes
- Mike Ross
Sean Rainbird
Hanif Kureishi
Nuala McGovern

Ellen Cranitch
Ian Marber

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