My Health Rules: Dale Pinnock

My Health Rules: Dale Pinnock


Dale Pinnock – aka The Medicinal Chef – is the kind of nutritionist we can get on board with. Taking an evidence-based approach to nutrition, he has fast become one of the leading voices in the wellness world, writing eight books and making regular TV appearances. He believes everyone can use food as medicine to support their health, and that learning to do that starts in the kitchen. From intermittent fasting to strength training, here’s what powers this power player…

My day starts early. I’m always awake by 5am and like to get in a workout first thing. Pre-lockdown, I’d head to the gym for an early session, but now I do this from my garden. I tend to skip breakfast as I practise 16:8 intermittent fasting several days a week, so eat my first meal around noon. However, on non-fasting days, I opt for a protein-based breakfast such as scrambled eggs with spinach and smoked salmon. 16:8 fasting involves eating only during an eight-hour window, and fasting for the remaining 16 hours – science shows it can support weight loss and improve blood sugar, brain function and longevity.


Meditation used to be a huge part of my life. I was a practising Buddhist throughout my 20s and into the early part of my 30s. I meditate less now, but always try to incorporate it into my day when I can. A walk in nature, for example, is a great way to calm the mind and proof that everyday activities can take on a meditative quality. In Buddhist traditions, daily life is often seen as the best opportunity for practising mindfulness and meditation.

I’m a supplement junkie. I have what could only be described as a dispensary at home. If I’ve been burning the candle, I’ll take some additional B vitamins. If I feel like I’m coming down with something, I’ll take an extra dose of zinc and vitamin C. On a daily basis, I take a multivitamin, high-strength omega-3 and vitamin D.

I eat a low-carb diet. When I was in my 20s and 30s, my diet was much more carb heavy and it suited me. Now I am about to turn 43, my metabolism has changed so I try to eat fewer carbs. I don’t feel deprived though. Grenade Carb Killa Bars are the mothership of low-carb snacks and I’ll still allow myself a few roast potatoes on a Sunday. There are huge health benefits to cutting back on excess carbs, especially refined ones.

I’m pretty carnivorous. For dinner, I tend to go for something like salmon, chicken, prawns or squid with a huge array of different vegetables. Some of my favourite dishes include prawn and vegetable curries, pesto-covered salmon with peas and leeks cooked in butter, or chicken with roasted veg and steamed greens. My other half recently went vegan, so I eat some veggie dishes with her during the week – I make a great vegetable and tofu curry.

My guilty pleasure is a Sunday roast. I do it most weeks and all from scratch – stuffing and gravy included. I love cooking for friends too: my ultimate healthy dinner-party dish would be pan-fried sea bass with honey mustard greens and pea purée. I’m also partial to a good-quality pizza – I’m talking the proper Italian base, lots of spinach, red onion and pesto.

I’ve never been on a diet. Post-Christmas, I tend to eat a little more lightly for a week or two, but even then I don’t go mad. I just don’t feel good if I do. Instead, it’s all about packing in the nutrients where you can and eating clean.

I’m not fussed about buying organic food. As long as I can get my hands on decent, fresh food, I’m happy. Every week, without fail, I’ll buy a ton of green leafy vegetables, oily fish, chicken, red onions and garlic – you’ll always find those in my fridge.

I love a glass of red wine. You can’t beat a great glass of red, but I try to stick to weekends only, unless it’s a special occasion.

"There are huge health benefits to cutting back on excess carbs, especially refined ones."

I have a takeaway once a week. I always go for an Indian, and choose either a dry tandoori chicken dish or a vegetable dansak. I forgo the rice and instead order a couple of vegetable side dishes.

I train five days a week. I believe in consistent effort throughout the week, working out for five or six times, although never for longer than 35 minutes. I lift heavy with two or three exercises per body part and, for cardio, I walk to and from the gym and do a lot of LISS, like long walks. While this might sound like a lot, I certainly don’t punish myself and believe overly intensive training can be damaging. When you’re in your 20s, you can get away with it, but keep that intensity up and it’ll start to show once you’re in your 40s. Physical activity is vital, but you need to approach it sensibly.

I’ve always been a good sleeper. My body clock seems to change for no man, which means by 10pm I’m as good as useless. I’m always in bed early.

I’m lucky to live near green spaces. I used to be a north London boy but moved out to Cambridgeshire a few years ago. I admit I would struggle to live in London these days. Life isn’t what it used to be, and I just don’t think I could ever feel relaxed and settled living in such a hectic city.

I treat myself with a deep tissue massage. I don’t have the best posture in the world – being hunched over a desk definitely doesn’t help. Pre-lockdown, I would also book in for a mild facial peel treatment every fortnight too.
Visit and follow him on Instagram @TheMedicinalChef

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