Celebrity Health - Gareth Gates

Singer Gareth Gates talks to Liz Parry about his healthy diet and exercise regime as well as his new foray into the world of natural products

© Image of Gareth Gates courtesy of Garry Lake

Q: Are you interested in natural health and living a healthy lifestyle?

Gareth: Yes, absolutely. I struggled in the past but for the last couple of years now I have been really healthy. Just over two years ago I had a vocal injury and as a result I have really had to lead a super-healthy lifestyle. I hardly drink alcohol any more, I’m always in the gym now and diet for me is really important as well.

Q: What is your diet like at the moment?

Gareth: I’m currently performing in a musical theatre show, Footloose, and the show requires me to take my top off, and so I have to be very conscious of how I look. I’ve tried to cut out all bad carbohydrates, so I don’t eat bread any more. I’ve cut out chips and all those kinds of bad things. I have replaced them with a high-protein diet. I still get my carbs but I try to get them from vegetables and the like.

Q: How about sugar?

Gareth: Yes, I’m very conscious that all sugar turns to fat so I try to get sugars from natural sources as opposed to eating chocolate and things. Chocolate and dairy are not really great for my voice either. I’m very lucky that my job dictates the way I eat.

Q: Do you enjoy cooking?

Gareth: Yes. It’s quite difficult at times because I am always on the road. Thank God there are health food stores in most towns. When you’re living out of a hotel room you are limited to what you can eat. However, when I am at home, I absolutely love to cook. I cook really healthily as well.

Q: Do you have a favourite dish you like to cook?

Gareth: I tend to go for presentation over anything else! I really love to make Asian influenced dishes – things that use a lot of coconut and spices.

Q: You have recently launched a new health product. Tell us about this.

Gareth: I’m launching a new range of caffeine-free teas called Cuppanut, where coconut is the main ingredient. I first had the idea for it last November. I’d just had an operation on my vocal cords and I had to take about eight weeks off from what I usually do – performing around the country. During that time, I was on a very clean, very healthy lifestyle and I was sat at home on complete voice rest for three weeks out of the eight weeks. I noticed that coconut is huge at the minute, hailed as one of the new superfoods, and I noticed lots of coconut waters and coconut oils. However, there wasn’t a hot coconut beverage. I’ve always been a businessman – I own a lot of property and invest my money well – and so I saw a space in the market. I went down to the local supermarket, bought a bag of desiccated coconut, emptied out all of the existing tea bags that I had and literally spooned coconut into bags on my very own kitchen table. The idea and concept was from there.

Q: What were the main challenges when it came to developing the product and bringing it to market?

Gareth: I got in touch with a proper food development company and we worked on flavours and how to make it popular. I really enjoyed that process. In terms of difficulties, it’s just the whole world of business, which I was very new to. I remained in control of this business – I’ve definitely not palmed it off to anybody else. I have a good strong team around me, however I deal with the day-to-day things on my own. Having to juggle the manufacture of the actual product, the orders and the general day-to-day stuff proved at the start to be a bit of a challenge.

Q: You have some interesting flavour combinations like coconut, ginger and turmeric. Did you enjoy the process of coming up with these?

Gareth: Yes. We did a lot of research to find out about on-trend ingredients. For instance, turmeric is the most searched food on Google of 2016. We experimented with lots of different flavours but we went with what would be the most popular. Ultimately it is a very healthy drink and so we were looking at health benefits as well.

Q: Have you discovered any other new healthy foods or superfoods?

Gareth: I eat a lot of eggs and I constantly sprinkle my eggs with turmeric. It’s an anti-inflammatory. I’m a big, big fan of turmeric. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to make a flavour with it in.

Q: Do you take any vitamins or supplements?

Gareth: Yes. I take a multivitamin every day. I’ve also started to take hyaluronic acid which is very good for skin. After my operation on my vocal cords I was actually researching into things that help with the recovery of scar tissue as I had a lot of it around my vocal cords. I read that hyaluronic acid really helps with that. I’m constantly in the gym as well so I take a lot of protein supplements to help recovery when I stretch my muscles.

Q: Is your exercise mostly gym-based?

Gareth: I go to the gym almost every day. I am currently on tour, but I constantly go for a run around whatever town I am in. I try to run almost every day and I go to the gym almost every day as well.

Q: So you are performing in Footloose at the moment. Are you enjoying it?

Gareth: Oh yes! It’s a great show, based upon the 1984 movie. I’ve always been a fan of the movie. It’s a very highly energetic show, so that keeps me fit. I play a cowboy who can’t dance which is pretty much life imitating art! At the end though he has to learn how to dance, so that’s a workout in itself.

Q: You have trained as a speech therapy instructor. Is that something that you still do?

Gareth: Yes. I am part of the speech therapy programme called The McGuire Programme. Speech for me is a constant battle. I have days that I am great and I have days that are not so good. I constantly have to put the work in. If I put the work in, I am absolutely fine. I can handle any speaking situation. However, if I become too complacent or I don’t put the work in on my speech because I’m busy being a businessman or not making my speech a priority then it can fall by the wayside. I continue to help people, however I have got to keep the work up myself as well.

Q: Do you have any other ideas bubbling away? Do you think you might launch more healthy products?

Gareth: Yes. The plan is to bring out another five flavours of Cuppanut and we’re in the development of that, so watch out for that. We are going to try to venture into other coconut-based products. Coconut is so huge at the moment and we have some ideas on other areas that haven’t been explored much. I can’t really say any more than that now, but there is lots in the pipeline.

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