Roz Purcell On Balancing Eating Habits, Cravings & The Dark Side Of Wellness

As she releases her latest cookbook, Roz Purcell talks to about the balancing act of healthy eating, indulging your cravings (at least once in a while!) and the darker side of the wellness industry.? ?

Tell us how the idea for the book came about?

Well, firstly I wanted to create a book that people would use every day and secondly one that wipes away any of the traditional excuses of why someone feels they can't lead a healthy lifestyle, i.e, time, cost and accessibility.?After modelling I got a lot busier - I don't think I appreciate how much time I had as a model! So the challenge of meal prep and making sure I was?fuelling'my body right became tougher - but that challenge helped me in?creating?this book - I was in the same position as all my followers in that time was an issue.

And what about the recipe-selection process, how did you go about deciding to use each one?

For this book, it was very different from my last in that I really relied on what people wanted rather than what I wanted to put into a book. I did multiple surveys online asking followers what were their top 10 foods they always have in the kitchen press & their eg. favourite dessert or traditional meal. It gave me a direction and an idea of what ingredients people use the most and I just made sure when I was creating recipes to ensure they were not only quick & easy but dishes people rely on every day.


I do think in the past year people have started to shift away from the extremes and have begun promoting balance as the key, rather than the latest diet

There's a massive emphasis on healthy eating and wellness at the moment, what your advice be to people who want to start eating better but are finding themselves oversaturated by too much or very mixed messaging?

Firstly healthy eating is actually normal eating! It's not an inaccessible niche that only includes quinoa and kale salads; it's just non-processed food - like the?kind we were brought up on! Going back to basics and trying where you can to make and prep things from scratch. My main advice is to start listening to your body more - we have become far too reliant on the media and even - bloggers (like me) to tell us what to eat and when. Have you ever just gone, "What do I want to eat and what makes me feel great when I eat it?" Experimenting with your food is so important - not one diet suits everyone, so get to know your own and just get in touch with what suits you more!

The darker sides of the wellness industry are becoming apparent - a rise in Orthorexia has been reported for example - what are your thoughts on this?

I was one of those who overthought food and wouldn't eat anything unless I knew exactly where it was from, how it was cooked or if it was raw etc; that's all a part of finding balance - I've been at both ends of the scale and I definitely needed to go through both to realise a healthy balance is the only thing that has longevity. I do think in the past year people have started to shift away from the extremes and have begun promoting balance as the key, rather than the latest diet which is fantastic for young?people to be reading - I wish there?had been far more help like that while I was going through my teens - we were bombarded with low-carb diets and told that all fat was the devil!

How do you maintain balance in your eating habits on the days that you feel like giving into those not-so-healthy cravings?

I'm 80/20 so I'm realistic about the fact that not every day is going to be a perfect balance. A huge issue with people starting their food journey is they aim to be 100% all the time. We are human and more than likely you are setting yourself up to fail. Once you slip up, you become overwhelmed with the guilt and spiral out of control. When you allow yourself that time off, to have your treat or indulgence, you can then move on and return to eating a balanced diet without the binge - i.e, I ate a brownie (full of butter sugar etc) and you know what, I bloody enjoyed it! Then, I got up the next morning went boxing as usual and ate my usual breakfast and carried on.


And finally, what is your go-to ultimate cheer-myself-up-meal to make in the winter?

I'm going to sound a bit lame, but I find nothing more comforting than a big bowl of porridge with tonnes of toppings! Like Berry chia jam, roasted nuts and yoghurt! Oh and maybe of my hazelnut sauce from the new book!


Half Hour Hero: Real Food, Real Fast?by Roz Purcell (Penguin Ireland, €23) is out now. Photography by Joanne Murphy.


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