I Changed My Diet and Now I See Food as Medicine; Health in the Life

Article excerpt

Byline: by Catherine Condell

CATHERINE CONDELL, 56, is a fashion stylist, coordinating fashion shows and photo shoots for the likes of Louise Kennedy and other designers. She lives in Dublin city centre.

LIKE a lot of women my age, a few extra pounds crept on over the years but about of chronic inflammation in my legs last year finally gave me the push I needed to do something about it. From my hips to my feet, all of my joints were in agony -- not pleasant for anyone, and certainly not ideal when you have a job like mine, spendlighting ing so much time running around the place.

The only solution to curb the pain was to go on a major detox, cut out all foods that were contributing to the inflammation and lose weight so there was less pressure on the lower half of my body.

I love my food, so it was quite a shock to the system when I cut out all dairy, sugar, wheat and alcohol in one fell swoop. I even cut out a lot of fruit for about a month. Apples, oranges, pears, bananas and grapes can all make the flare-ups worse, so I went off all of them and stuck to mangoes and pineapples for my vitamins.

The improvement I saw in myself in a few weeks, as well as the way the pounds fell off, amazed me. It got me thinking about food as medicine and after years of not giving a whole lot of thought to my meals and snacks, I started to get interested in nutrition.

I also saw the value at last of setting aside some time for treatments that I wouldn't have prioritised before. To help my legs, I started going for deep tissue massages and acupuncture. At first I was going every week, but now I just go about once every six weeks for a treat.

When I get off the table after a session, I honestly have some idea how Lazarus must have felt, the relief is that great!

MY CAREER started as a window dresser for Hickey's Fabrics back in the Seventies and creating fabulous displays in that space between the shop and the street remained my job for years as I moved on to Switzers on Henry Street and then to Brown Thomas.

It really was my dream job. There was something about taking a blank canvas and creating something so eye-catching that it draws the customer in that appealed to me. Few people know that some of the greats -- like Giorgio Armani -- started their creative and fashion careers as window dressers too.

When I got to Brown Thomas in 1983, I became their in-house stylist and I stayed there until I decided to go out on my own and set up as a fashion stylist on a freelance basis in 1999.

My clients range from Marks & Spencer to Louise Kennedy to Pamela Scott and many others. I produce fashion shows for them, cast their models, work on the and theme of the show -- every tiny detail down to the music that plays throughout.

Other days, I work on photo shoots for magazines, which involves a different kind of coordination but similar attention to detail, like hair and make-up, and making sure the clothes look outstanding.

Most days I'm up at about 7.30am and I head downstairs with two of my cats trailing after me. I have another three cats, but they sleep outside. They all have their own little personalities and they're the best company you could ask for. …