Princess Diana Was A Fan Of This Food Trend Before It Became Popular - Exclusive

Princess Diana was not only fashion-forward, she was food-forward, too — especially when she separated from Prince Charles and began living on her own at Kensington Palace. "She'd gotten her life back on track and was eating healthy," royal chef Darren McGrady recalled in an exclusive interview with Mashed. Chef McGrady, who had spent 11 years working at Buckingham Palace, became personal chef to Diana, William, and Harry when the prince and princess ended their marriage. When he did, McGrady joined an intimate household. Reader's Digest claims that, at that time, Princess Diana lived with a limited staff, including McGrady, a dresser, and a housekeeper. 

"When I joined [the princess], she said, 'You take care of all the fat. I'll take care of the carbs at the gym,'" McGrady told Mashed of her lifestyle changes. "And she did. She was eating healthy. She was working out three days a week." Diana's diet included "a lot of fish" — so much so that the royal chef has a seasoning named after his time working with her called "The Kensington." McGrady remembers Diana as attentive to ingredients and eager to try new things, too. "Of course, she studied juicing as well," McGrady revealed. "She was juicing before, I think, anybody had even heard of it." 

Princess Diana's juicing didn't go so well at first

Which fruits and veggies was Princess Diana juicing? She was continually exploring different combinations, Darren McGrady revealed to Mashed. "A friend would tell her, 'Oh, you need to juice this, because this is this,'" McGrady remembered. "Obviously, we didn't have the internet then or anything where she could Google things ... It would've been crazy!"

Disaster nearly hit when the princess set her heart on one root vegetable in particular. "[Diana] would come in the kitchen and say, 'Beets. I need beets. Let's juice beets, because they're super good for your skin. They're good for digestion and diuretics,'" McGrady recounted. Needless to say, the royal chef didn't think that juicing beets — and only beets — was a great idea. "I'd say, 'Your Royal Highness, you can't just have beets, because you've got to blend it. It's too rich. You've got to [add] apple or celery [or] carrot. Which do you want?'" According to McGrady, Diana was persistent. "No, just [give] me a big glass of beets," he recalled the princess as saying.

McGrady finally gave in to her request the day before Trooping — otherwise known as the queen's annual birthday parade. "[Princess Diana] came in [to the kitchen] an hour later, and her face was all blotchy!" McGrady recalled. "I think it was a reaction to the beets. And she said, 'You poisoned me.' I said, 'It's the beet juice!'" Fortunately, drinking "loads of water" did the trick. "She was fine after that," McGrady said. "But after then, we'd start mixing it with apple juice. So she had the beets and apple juice."

For more royal recipes and culinary inspiration, visit Chef McGrady's website. You can also sample the flavors of Darren McGrady's royal cooking this month with his CrateChef box.