‘Five years after cancer treatment, I feel fitter and luckier than ever’

How I eat

During the chemo, I often had an upset tummy. But my body was also screaming for vegetables and healthy food so I would eat piles of kale and cabbage. I had strange cravings too, such as for lamb and calf’s liver. I had a Magnum daily as my treat. Now, I still eat a lot of vegetables and not much red meat, apart from the odd burger at the weekend. I cook everything from scratch for myself and the boys at home. But, while my diet is pretty healthy, it’s not terribly lively or inspirational from a foodie point of view.

What I eat in a typical day

Breakfast two pieces of sourdough toast with butter and Marmite 

Lunch Either a salad or gazpacho with bread and a yoghurt

Dinner Chicken and vegetables or tofu stir fry or a burger at the weekend

Pudding I’ve evolved from Magnums to Cornettos so I have one every night

Lifestyle asides 

Carb count: I’m not mad on carbs. I have a weakness for sourdough and eat some pasta but that’s it.

Sleep: 7-8 hours, I like a nap in the afternoon too.

Alcohol: Maybe six times a year I have a couple of pints of Guinness. As a single dad, having a hangover with kids is not great. 

Guilty pleasure: Cornetto. I don’t buy biscuits because I would eat the whole box.

Avoids: High-fat food. I was a chubby kid and it’s stuck with me to watch my weight. If I put on a pound or two I’ll reduce my eating to lose it again.

Lesson of lockdown: The importance of human contact.

Mental health fix: Inspirational sports movies— they’re my comfort food. They’re all the same story and you know what you’re getting, but they always make me feel better. I have so many favourites — Coach Carter, Remember the Titans, Invictus to name a few… 

Getting through a crisis: After my diagnosis someone said to me, ‘the only way out is through.’ Rather than deny what’s going on, even when it’s the worst thing, I said to myself, ‘This is crap, I might die, but I am facing it and I can go up from here.’ For me, that’s the answer to cancer or any of the problems we face.

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