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Me and my health: Jane McClenaghan on her lifestyle


Nutrition plan: Jane McClenaghan believes a number of habits can help you stay healthy
Nutrition plan: Jane McClenaghan believes a number of habits can help you stay healthy
Community role: Jane launches the Health Lunch Off — which challenges people to come up with a unique, healthy lunch idea — with Translink’s Conor Sharkey and SuperValu vegetarian ambassador Sarah Patterson

By Staff Reporter

The nutritionist and author (45) is passionate about the powerful effects of good food, and runs well-being workshops and cookery demonstrations for workplaces, community groups and schools. She is the nutrition ambassador for Centra and has developed a 10-week nutrition plan as part of Centra's Live Well campaign. Originally from Eglinton, Jane lives in Belfast with her partner, Nev.

Q: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?

A: Yes, I love exercise and try to train at least three or four times a week. I do a mixture of circuit training, high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes, yoga and run when I can, too. Life is busy, so my exercise classes are time out. I feel so much better for it. For me, exercise is essential to help me de-stress and keep my balance. Over the years, I have made some really good friends through the classes I have gone to, so they help to keep me motivated and give me a shake if I miss a class, too!

Q: What's the worst illness you have had?

A: I am very lucky to have had a lifetime of good health.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: It is healthy! I eat a wide variety of foods and think that nutritious food should taste great. So, for breakfast, I might have my homemade, low-sugar granola (from my book, Vital Nutrition) with some natural yoghurt and berries, then usually a salad for lunch packed with plenty of colourful vegetables like rocket, watercress, tomatoes, peppers, beetroot, some fish or bean salad for protein, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then it could be a roasted Mediterranean veg with salmon or organic chicken. I pack in lots of herbs and spices, so my food tastes good, but I also love the health effects of herbs and spices, too. Snacks could be some nuts, a couple of oatcakes with sugar-free nut butter or houmous with carrot sticks.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: Of course! I like to live by the 80:20 rule, Eat healthy food 80% of the time and make room for a little of what you fancy. I love chocolate and my mum makes the best chocolate cake - how could I resist that?

Q: Do you drink and/or smoke - if so, how much?

A: I definitely do not smoke, but at weekends I enjoy a glass of wine or two and the occasional gin and Fever-Tree light tonic - no artificial sweeteners, please.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: In the summertime, I take a good quality women's multivitamin and mineral, a fish oil and some extra magnesium for adrenal stress balance. I also take extra vitamin D3 in the winter.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: I sleep really well. I go to bed around 10.30pm and get up about 6.45am feeling refreshed and ready for another day.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: No - life's too short to worry about getting old.

Q: What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: I think it is a mixture of things - regular exercise, a healthy diet, but perhaps the most important is making time to hang out with family and friends. When I first moved back to Northern Ireland (in 2001), it took me a long time to settle and find 'my tribe', but now I have a great bunch of good friends and am lucky to live in a street where the neighbours look out for each other. I think a sense of community and belonging is important for our well-being. People are what make the world go round!

Q: How do you take time out?

A: I use the headspace app and I find this helps keep me balanced. When I get a day off, I love to cook - my kitchen is my happy place. I think being outside in nature is the best tonic, too, so if I can get to the Mournes for a hike, or a paddle in Strangford on our kayak, I am a happy bunny.

Jane is the author of Vital Nutrition - How to Eat for Optimum Health, Happiness and Energy and The Vital Nutrition Cookbook. Her free 10-week nutrition plan is available at

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