Twelve questions with Art Green: 'It wasn't the ideal way to enter into a relationship'

By Jennifer Dann

Reality TV star and Clean Paleo co-owner Art Green talks about his new book Eat Clean, Live Lean, wanting children with his girlfriend Matilda and the second season of The Bachelor.

1. You recently published your first book Eat Clean, Live Lean. Was it hard to write?

I've wanted to write a book for years so it was really exciting to be approached by the publishers. The hardest thing was finding time to write. Since The Bachelor my life's been on fast-forward. I wrote the book over three months with help from a transcriber and editor. The fact I've kept a diary every day for four years helped a lot.

Most of it's based on my own experience. There are so many different schools of thought on nutrition it's confusing, so I basically experimented on my own body to find out what works.

2. How safe is the paleo diet?

I don't believe it's unsafe for anyone. Essentially it's just eating natural, unprocessed foods.

It's actually the way Kiwis were brought up to eat with the classic meat and three veg. Potatoes aren't strictly paleo because they have a high glycaemic index - that means the sugar in the carbs is released faster so your blood glucose levels spike, which is not healthy.

But I don't believe the paleo lifestyle needs to be really strict because eating is so emotional and social. If your diet restricts your lifestyle that can really impede your mental wellbeing. My book doesn't preach, it just tells you why this is the best way of eating and how you can incorporate bits of it in a sustainable way.

3. Did your sports science degree at Otago University include nutrition?

We did a couple of nutrition papers. Back then we were taught that saturated fat, like butter, is really bad for you. In the past five years that's been turned on its head and now it's refined sugar that's bad.

Processed grains like bread, pasta and cereal contain proteins like gluten that can cause inflammation of the gut and make it hard to absorb nutrients properly. Legumes like beans and peas have a similar effect but not as bad. We should replace them with fresh produce like meat, veges, fruit, nuts, seeds and eggs.

4. Why did you agree to be the first Bachelor?

I had to think long and hard about it. I talked with my business partners because if the show made me look like a dickhead then it could negatively impact our company. The main positive was that I could actually meet someone because I'd been looking for a while.

If I'd known how it would end up impacting my life I would've done it at the drop of a hat. I'm now in a position to make a real difference for charities like Cure Kids, which I'm passionate about.

5. Do you think that the TV show represented everyone fairly?

Yes. Before we started filming people told me they make you say things and you don't get to choose who stays on and I thought, "God, what am I getting myself into?" But it was actually pretty much exactly the way it came out on TV.

6. What do you think of the new season of The Bachelor?

My initial thoughts are that Jordan makes a great Bachelor and seems like a nice guy. There seem to be some great girls on the show this season and I'm sure he'll have some tough choices coming up.

7. Do you think the secrecy you and Matilda had to maintain in the two months between when you shot The Bachelor and when it went to air worked for or against your relationship?

We probably learnt things about each other a lot faster during those two months. It wasn't the ideal way to enter into a relationship. Normally you can be around each other in a social situation, which I think tells you a lot about a person. Luckily when I introduced her to my friends after the show they thought she was really cool. She's got a great sense of humour which is a key factor and she's just so happy and bubbly and cool.

8. Do you and Matilda attend all the events you're invited to?

In the past we went to everything because we thought we had to. We found ourselves thrust into this weird world where people go to five different launches a week just to be seen and photographed for the weekend papers. They're not bad people but they like to pretend they're your long-lost friends. It's like, "Hiiiiiii!" and I'm thinking, "I don't know you very well at all." These days we just go to the events we want to. Nigella Lawson was really cool. She's all about creating the yummiest food that you can and I think there's a place for that. The other day I made some cookies just because I felt like it. They were gluten-free because Matilda's giving that a go and we always eat together.

9. Do you want to have children one day?

Absolutely, I can't wait to be a dad. We're still pretty young - I'm 27 and Matilda's 25. I'd like to be in my early 30s and I'd want to have three kids.

10. What will you do differently to your own parents?

Make sure they're aware they can be anything they want to be. I was never that academic. I didn't think I was smart enough to be a doctor but in hindsight if I'd had the belief, I might have applied myself.

11. Have you ever felt down and how did you get back up?

The only time in my life when I think I've been depressed was when I'd graduated from Otago University and didn't know what I wanted to do. I was working in a job I hated, selling advertising space for bathrooms in malls, stuck in Auckland traffic for two hours a day and it was doing my head in.

This was at a time when I wasn't exercising or eating well. So I went overseas and coached tennis at a summer camp and realised life should be about doing things you enjoy. Once I started exercising frequently I realised how much of an impact it has on my mental wellbeing.

12. When are you happiest?

I really get a kick out of making other people feel happy. It's funny that in essence doing something for someone else is a selfish act because you're going to make yourself feel better too. If I have negative thoughts I put them in perspective with the wider world. I've also realised that when I'm feeling negative I'm generally tired.

A good night's sleep works most times. Lots of people seem to be working long hours towards an end goal of happiness once they've got the house, the boat, the family. I think it's about trying to create as much fun and happiness for as many people as you can.

- NZ Herald

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