One year on from the Olympics, as official energy partner to Team Ireland, we are catching some of the team to see what they're up to. After the heartbreak of having to pull out of the Olympics because of injury, David Gillick has been making a name for himself in an entirely different sport altogether, cooking. We've been following him eagerly on Celebrity Masterchef and we were delighted when he won yesterday. We really like the way he promotes healthy eating, proving week on week that food can be healthy and taste great too.
We caught up with him to ask his thoughts on healthy eating and he shared his favourite recipe with us (he cooked it on week one of Celebrity Masterchef).
1. Why is healthy eating so important?
There are so many reasons to eat healthy, for me it was all about recovery and performance for my sport, but as time went on I began to understand the wider health benefits of a well balanced healthy diet. Everything from energy levels to appearance to illness can all be related to diet.
2. What is your top healthy eating tip?
Use coconut oil to fry, stay away from so called ‘low fat’ products, watch the sugar content of foods, eat more fresh fruit and veg, add nuts and seed to your diet. Don’t be afraid of FAT!
Don’t skip meals!! Loosing weight by not eating is seriously unhealthy and can cause health problems!
3. What is your favourite ingredient?
I love adding creamed coconut to my dishes. It adds great taste, very versatile, easy and quick to cook with and is full of good fats.
Another great ingredient is Thai curry paste. The original Thai products are great, no added stuff, just the raw natural ingredients and it adds great taste to dishes.
4. Any advice to people on a budget? Healthy food can be expensive.
Buy fruit and veg that is in season, supplement with frozen produce, nothing wrong with it. Look for the in store offers and then plan dishes. Local farmer markets can be a great source of produce at a very reasonable price. Some supermarkets now stock good health grains such as quinoa, bulgur wheat at very good prices.
5. When it’s raining outside and you just want to veg in front of the TV, what advice would you give to stay motivated?
You do have to be strict on yourself, but treat yourself at the same time. If you try eat clean during the week, then reward yourself at the weekend with that treat, we’re all human and we all like treats. To many rules and regulations will drive you crazy. Have your goal stuck on the fridge, that picture of you years ago! Remind yourself of what you want to achieve and stay focused.
David's Favourite Recipe
Why did you pick this recipe?
As an athlete, one of most common questions I get asked is about what food I eat. What is surprising is that recently it seems to be more males than females. I have always been very enthusiastic about my food as it is a crucial part of my job to get the right nutritional balance, to be able to train and more importantly recover optimally.
However, recently I've become more experimental and adventurous with my food. People don’t usually associate healthy with ‘enjoyable’ but I hope to show food can be both healthy and an exiting indulgence.
There is plenty of ways to cook the Salmon, I went with pan fry followed by oven. Most often I will grill the salmon with skin on and then take skin off, grill the other side of skin in order to get it nice and crispy. You can also use coconut to fry as it is a lot healthier and has a higher smoking point than olive oil.
Some of the foods are staples in my diet, which at times can be boring but this dish puts a bit of life into them. It’s got lots of colour, flavour, depth and is highly nutritious.
Salmon is full of protein, good omega fats and accompanied by quinoa with is a good source carbs and protein along with highly nutritious minerals and vitamins.
• Salmon Fillet 180g x2
• Asparagus 1 bunch
• Radish x 1
• Fennel x 1
• Capers 2 x tablespoon
• Parsley bunch
• Green olives small handful
• 1 whole orange
• Quinoa 100g
• Tomato x1
• Coriander 1 bunch
• Mint 1 bunch
• Capers tablespoon
• A dash of white wine vinegar
• Small pinch of salt and sugar
Equipment you will be using:
- Heat oil in pan, Salt the skin side of salmon and fry Salmon on pan. Skin side down. Push down on salmon softly, fry for 3 min and then transfer the pan into an oven pre heated at 180. Roast 3-4 min for rare/med, 6 min for med, 9-10 min for well done.
- Blanch asparagus and mix with finely sliced radish, fennel, de skinned orange segments, capers, sliced olives and parsley to make salad.
- Boil quinoa for roughly 10min or when all water is absorbed.
To make tabbouleh;
- Finely chop onion, tomato and mix with coriander, mint, capers
- Add a dash of white wine vinegar
- Add a small pinch of salt and sugar.
Assemble the salad on a plate, place salmon on top, dash of salsa and serve alongside the tabbouleh.