Exercise and healthy eating to combat rainy Irish weather - zumba and seaweed


A pint of the green stuff

The rain has settled in and the view ahead is disturbingly dark grey and wet. Depression was beating at the door, with no sign of work and the prospect of being stuck inside for the next six months...

So attack being the best form of defence I am trying a two pronged approach- exercise and healthy eating. I have joined Zumba, a craze that seems to have overtaken the whole of (see flash Zumba mob video below in the city recently.)

There are three jam packed classes a week scheduled in the village alone. The nice part is that you pay for eight sessions but you can take them as you wish and Arisa, the beautiful, sunny, blond, tanned, Polish Zumba teacher (so skilled at twirling the tassles on her back pockets) punches a hole in your card when you attend so you don’t have the pressure of committing to one time slot each week.

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When I walked into my first Zumba class in Johnston’s hall it was apparent that I was the last person in Kinvara to take it up. All ages were flamencoing, bellydancing, salsaing and cha cha cha-ing. Even senior members of staff from the school had all the moves off for Tina Turners ‘Rolling down the River’. Combining mambo dancing with aerobics is guaranteed to leave you sweating and put a smile on your face. And your muscles won’t let you forget that you did it the next day. One lady had a calorie monitor on and we burned 620 calories last night!

Inspired by Prannie Rhattigan’s cook book ‘The Seaweed Kitchen’ and the benefits of eating seaweed- full of vitamins and minerals (and also free..), we went down at low tide to the Flaggy shore searching for ‘Alaria’ the ingredient in her super green smoothie (see the photo above) that I wanted to try and make. Alaria contains vitamin C and K, all the B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, potassium and iodine. It is meant to grow on stony ledges just past the tide level on wave beaten shores. I peered over the edge of lots of rocky ledges and got soaked by beating waves but didn’t see a frond of Alaria even in the washed up piles on the beach. We did find Duileasc, Egg wrack, Saw wrack and Sugar kelp. Duileasc is also commonly eaten and potently nutritious.

So I made a power packed quinoa salad with roasted carrots and beetroot, sprouting broccoli and feta cheese, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice and topped with shreds of Duileasc. It was delicious, the seaweed tasted nutty with a nice tender, rubbery texture.


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