‘I’ve been vegetarian for years, not vegan as I’m way too much of a cheese fiend’

My Daily Diet: Ellen Cranitch, trained flautist, director of the Galway Jazz Festival, and presenter of Vespertine on RTÉ Lyric FM

RTÉ Lyric FM presenter Ellen Cranitch

RTÉ Lyric FM presenter Ellen Cranitch

 

8.30am First it’s coffee. I can’t face the day without a decent cup or two. No milk. I’ll take my two dogs out – a border collie and a spaniel – for an enthusiastic walk up the hills to clear my head. I never eat breakfast – I can’t face food too early.

11am I make a smoothie with apple, grapes, beetroot, cucumber and ground almonds. We keep honey bees in our garden so I’ll add a dollop of that – I swear it fends off sickness as I haven’t had a cold in 10 years.

For the morning I’ll be researching and writing programme notes and checking emails. I also write music for theatre. I try to prepare as much as possible for the show but I have to keep it flexible as things can pop up or someone might have died and I’ll want to focus on their life’s work.

3pm If I have a meeting in town I’ll cycle in. I never arrange business lunches as I find the food too much of a distraction so I’ll suggest a coffee. I actually work better if I’m a little on the edgy, hungry side. A big lunch makes me sleepy. I listen to my body and If I do feel hungry I’ll have some crackers and cheese while I work. I’ve been vegetarian for years, not vegan as I’m way too much of a cheese fiend!

6pm I head into the studio to prep for the show which starts at 10pm. I’ll bring a big flask of either very cold or hot water and sip as I work.

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8.30pm I’ll have a vegetable stir fry with noodles and tofu that I have brought in from home in a tupperware. I mainly get my protein from beans, nuts and legumes. I slice up a cucumber and nibble on that in the studio.

1.30am I’ll be keyed up after the show so I’ll relax at home with a glass of wine. Sometimes two. But never more than that. I’ve never been a chocolate person but wine is my daily treat.

The Verdict 


By Dr Conor Kerley, dietetics consultant, researcher and lecturer at University College Dublin and Technological University Dublin.

Breakfast – Black coffee is fine and may have some health benefits. Although traditionally we are advised not to skip breakfast, newer thinking suggests the overall daily pattern is most important. Ellen’s mid-morning smoothie gets a boost with the veg for extra nutrients and the nuts which provide fats and protein. I would usually recommend whole fruits over smoothies as juice lacks fibre and raises blood sugars.

Snacks – Ellen says she works better on an empty stomach – we are surrounded by food and many of us rarely feel hunger but working up a good appetite is okay. Cucumber is a refreshing low-calorie snack providing some potassium and vitamin K. The cheese will provide calcium and protein though is high in saturated fat.

Dinner – A veg and tofu stir fry with noodles provides a good mix of carbohydrates, protein and fats as well as vitamins and minerals.

Tips 
A few nights a week Ellen could have a herbal tea instead of wine as recommendations call for some alcohol-free days each week. A small glass of wine is one unit and since ladies are advised to consume 11 units a week or less, even just two small glasses of wine each evening is above the guidelines.

Ellen should be careful to include legumes, such as peas, lentils or chickpeas, daily as they provide protein but also iron and very little fat or salt. The cheese and crackers could be alternated with oat cakes and nut butter for maintaining energy levels and healthy fats.

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

Ellen Cranitch
Ian Marber

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