Cheshire's Diet Coke Man launches health juice book
PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 March 2016
His healthy concoctions have earned him the tag of the Juiceman, but you are more likely to associate the face, and the body, of Cheshire's own Andrew Cooper with another drink...Diet Coke, writes Paul Taylor
There is a certain irony, Andrew Cooper concedes, that his burgeoning healthy juice business was funded in part by earnings from the mighty Coca-Cola corporation.
Yes, that was Andrew playing the sexy shirtless gardener, his finely-chiselled torso ogled by a group of young women in the famous 2013 TV advertisement for Diet Coke.
‘It’s an honour to be part of the brand’s history,’ says Andrew. ‘It’s such an iconic advertising piece.’
But that was then. Three years on, Andrew would rather we knew him as the Juiceman, producer of healthy juices, smoothies, shots and tonics whose fans include the likes of Simon Cowell, Liz Hurley and Jerry Hall. He has produced a book, Juiceman, so we can all make his favourite recipes, featuring ingredients which run from everyday fruit and veg to the likes of bee pollen, slippery elm and colloidal silver.
Many of these recipes were refined in the four years that Andrew, aged 34, spent toiling on the land in rural Cheshire.
‘I semi-retired when I was 28 and bought a fruit farm up in Aston by Budworth,’ says Andrew. ‘It was traditionally an apple farm, and damsons, and that’s where I started coming up with the idea to make the juice and turn the waste into pet food. In between that I was digging out lakes and trees. I became a real rural farmer guy. I was juicing produce for ourselves and making stuff for family and friends. I ended up being the milkman...but with juice.’
Andrew was born in Wythenshawe but his family moved to Lower Peover and he attended The Ryleys School in Alderley Edge. By the age of 16, he had been spotted by a modelling agency, making the inevitable move to London and spending the next few years in a whirl of activity which took him all over the world.
‘I was quite driven and focussed on trying to make the best of any situation, ‘ says Andrew. ‘I love to travel and meet new people.’
He also managed, while jetting off on assignments, to maintain a healthy eating regime inspired by his mum Heather, who still lives in Knutsford.
‘She was always trying to force green soups and green juices down us,’ he adds.
One of his grandfathers was a baker, the other a butcher. ‘So I was surrounded by enthusiastic food lovers from an early age,’ Andrew writes in Juiceman.
He bought his first juicer at the age of 19 and, as his body was his livelihood, Andrew became increasingly conscious of what he put into it.
Asked whether that physique is God-given, Andrew replies: ‘It’s a lot of work, mate. But it’s also a passion for me - boxing, Thai boxing and I play sports. It’s become part of my life.’
After that four-year ‘semi-retirement’ back in Cheshire, Andrew and wife Jane moved to Buckinghamshire, where they live with daughter Taylor, aged seven, and son Jackson, aged five. The family - who have three American bulldogs - own Mutz Nutz Pet Boutique in Notting Hill. Having studied drama, Andrew is also among the regular cast of the American TV drama the Royals, which stars Liz Hurley and Joan Collins.
Today, he is modelling only three or four days a month for the likes of Armani and Dunhill, with more and more of his time taken up by the juice business.
‘All I’m talking about is fruit and vegetables and trying to consume them in such a way that you get good nutrition and fit them into your life instead of snacking on things that are poor for you,’ says Andrew.
Having been ‘very strict’ about his eating habits when he was modelling full time, Andrew now allows himself just the odd ‘cheat’ - a pizza with the kids or a steak with dad Derek, who lives in Pickmere.
His book is not advocating that we routinely substitute a juice or smoothie for a solid meal, although it does preach the virtues of occasional fasting with juice to rid the body of toxins.
‘My rules I live by include the 12-hour break,’ says Andrew. ‘I try to have a 12-hour break from food every night. So if you have a late meal, that finishes at 10.30pm, I try not to eat until 10.30am. So you can have a liquid breakfast.
‘Hugh Jackman does this 16-hour break: he’ll do 16 hours with no food, and then he’ll pile it in for eight hours.’
The evidence that Andrew’s healthy eating regime works is not just his own obvious fitness; he says his own children are brimming with health, Jackson having been weaned onto smoothies from the age of six months.
‘We eat really healthily and they will join in and eat with us,’ he says.