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Me and my health: Deirdre McCanny on her lifestyle

By Helen Carson

The 46-year-old chocolatier, who lives in Belfast, is managing director and owner at Co Couture speciality chocolate-makers in the city centre.

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

A: I walk everywhere, including to and from work. I don't need to drive and walk at least five miles every day. Making chocolate is actually a very physical activity, especially mixing the ingredients and then working with the product, which I spend 12 hours a day doing.

Q: What's been your worst illness?

A: Apart from the odd cold, nothing - I have the constitution of an ox.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: Pretty healthy, considering tasting chocolate all day long is an important part of my job. Last year, though, I changed my diet according to blood type, as I began to suffer from numbness in my fingers. Since then, I have more energy and sleep better. For breakfast, I have two glasses of water, followed by two eggs and toast. Lunch is a Greek-style yoghurt mixed with a probiotic yoghurt and a bowl of granola - my favourite is Whites, which is made here. My evening meal is usually whatever I have in the house - chicken or fish, with sweet potato mash.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: Probably too much sugar. Of course, I am sampling the chocolate we make here, but it is work, so I am checking it for quality and taste; it is very fine and contains mostly natural sugars. So, at night, I will go home and have a bar of Cadbury's Caramel or a Twirl, but it's not the same experience as I am off duty.

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

A: I don't smoke, but I do enjoy a drink. I love red wine, whiskey and gin. I only developed a taste for whiskey, which I previously disliked, when we started developing whiskey chocolates. Now we have a few with Black Bush in them.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: I take vitamin B and iron, as I get very tired - especially around Christmas. Spatone and Berocca Boost, as well as vitamin C, are great for me around this time of the year.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: Walking in the fresh air with my headphones on listening to music helps me to completely switch off. It is like therapy - there is literally nothing else in my head when I am out walking.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Generally, fine.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: There was a time when I wanted to be young forever, but now I try to look after my body as well as I can before I become totally decrepit. I would love to have the time to do yoga, as it is the best thing for flexibility.

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

A: Drinking water. As I work in a kitchen all day, it is easy to remember to drink water. I will have two pints of water first thing in the morning and another four to six pints over the course of the day. If I don't drink water, I notice my energy levels dropping.

  • Co Couture speciality chocolate-makers is in Chichester Street, Belfast. See

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