Kadeena Cox: From Paralympian to MasterChef Champ
After shocking the world yet again by winning two golds at Tokyo 2020, Paralympian Kadeena Cox MBE is officially a Prevayl Pro. With some deadlifts as a starter, power cleans as the main course and squats for dessert, Kadeena truly put the Prevayl Performance Lab to good use. We caught up with Kadeena post-workout to discuss her baking journey and plans for 2022.
To say Kadeena has had a love-hate relationship with food is a bit of an understatement. From going without eating for days at a time to indulging in a mere bowl of porridge to keep her from fainting, Kadeena’s disordered eating translated to under-fueling and overtraining.
“I’d starve myself and call it a water fasting because they’re beneficial for you. I’d take laxatives and say it’s because my iron tablets are giving me constipation. I’d do extra training sessions so I can burn more calories but tell myself I need to push harder because I’m doing two sports. I’d look at myself in the mirror and hate what I saw.”
What was potentially most detrimental to Kadeena’s health and mental well-being was that whilst putting her body through this ordeal, her performances were actually improving, which unfortunately begs the question: Why walk away from this lifestyle when the results are palpable?
“I knew it was a bad idea, but I just couldn’t help myself.
“I’d done a 30-hour fast in the week of a race, I was taking laxatives like they were going out of fashion.”
In 2019, Kadeena started blogging as an outlet for herself and to empower others. Sharing tales of personal battles, proving that even elite athletes – who are often seen as superhuman – are in fact human and deal with the same struggles as everyone else.
“I am due to do a new blog post soon because I feel I should get back on it. I’m not sure what it’ll be about yet, something around Kadeena’s life – which is very complex.”
In 2018, Kadeena showcased some of her culinary skills to the world by appearing on The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer.
It wasn’t all delicate patisseries and chinwags with Paul and Prue for Tokyo’s double cycling champion. In fact, Kadeena recalls sitting on the floor staring at the oven, waiting for it to either deliver a show-stopping rainbow dream cake or a nightmarish disaster.
In addition to the stress of competition, baking against the clock and smiling for the cameras, Kadeena suffered a muscle spasm in her right arm which meant she would be at a considerable disadvantage.
“Loads of people came up to me to help. Terri [Hatcher] did all my piping for me, someone else ruined my pie in the process, but they were all trying to help.”
From Kadeena’s mum having a Caribbean restaurant to her nan running a Jamaican take-away, it’s safe to say cooking is very much in the genes and Celebrity MasterChef would be a welcome challenge after Bake Off.
“I feel like on most TV shows, Jamaican food isn’t done justice. I wanted to show that Jamaican food can have great flavours and be refined.”
During the final, whilst sporting her race-day lipstick, Kadeena only had two hours to recreate the dishes which took four hours to prepare at home, messing up her mum’s kitchen in the process.
But like with most competitions, Kadeena dashed over the finish line and delivered a stellar performance. A menu consisting of a myriad of colours and textures residing on a plate, meticulously arranged. Kadeena’s French trimmed rack of lamb and Caribbean curried goat pie had the judges wide-eyed and salivating.
Kadeena was crowned Celebrity MasterChef 2021 champion soon thereafter.
Kadeena’s competitive streak isn’t restricted to sports or cooking. The double gold Tokyo 2020 winner and Celebrity MasterChef queen is competitive in everything she does – even things she’s not good at.
“Anything you challenge me to, I’ll give it my all and try to be the best I can, sometimes that’s to my own detriment!”
Kadeena has no intention of slowing down after a triumphant 2021. In fact, the baking powerhouse is contemplating starting her own business. The idea aims to build on Kadeena’s own journey with food to help people enjoy their meals whilst managing their weight in a healthy and happy way. The menu will have it all, including her favourite ingredient.
“My Biscoff blondies are quite good, my Biscoff white chocolate stuffed cookies are even better. Basically, I love Biscoff.
“When it comes to recipes, I don’t like to conform to the rules, I’ll usually find something on the internet then put a Kadeena spin on it.”