If you’re interested in nutrition and health, then no doubt you’re interested in the health and wellbeing habits of nutritionists. To give you a little insight, I’ll be sharing with you a series of interviews with nutritionists to give you a wee sneak peak into their exercise habits, fridges and pantries, as well as their passions and and philisophies around nutrition and healthy eating.
First up we have the lovely Emily from Hope Nutrition. I first met Emily a few years ago at a conference and we’ve recently connected again via social media. She runs a nutrition practice in Marlborough and also sells delicious healthy treats at the Marlborough Farmers Market. You can find Emily on Facebook and Instagram too.
Here’s her interview:
1. Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what makes you passionate about nutrition?
I live in Marlborough, a stone’s throw from my family’s fig and feijoa orchard with my husband and our beloved black Labrador Hank. I’m passionate about food and nutrition because it’s unbelievably amazing how what you eat affects your health, well-being, your relationships and your entire outlook on life. It still fascinates me how you can plant a teeny tiny seed in some soil, water it and then watch it grow into something edible. Incredible! I just adore food…growing it, gathering it, cooking it and of course eating it!
It was during my time living in a small village in Italy with my husband that I learnt from the locals how food is a way of life and how it can become a passion that shapes your day. The Italians sure know how to celebrate food and to enjoy the bounties that natures provides us with. It is something I’ll never forget.
2. One thing people are always interested in is what nutritionists eat! What would a usual day of eating look like for you?
Breakfast is normally a bowl of homemade muesli topped with natural yoghurt and seasonal fruits or chia rice porridge with yoghurt, fruit and a few toasted nuts or dollop of peanut butter. During Summer, I often enjoy a thick and creamy fruit and vegetable smoothie (always banana based) topped with a little homemade muesli. So delicious!
Lunch is often leftovers such as stir-fries, roast vegetable salads, frittata or simply wholegrain toast with avocado and salmon plus a piece of fruit.
If I’m hungry in between meals, I’ll pick one of the following… fresh fruit, two peanut butter stuffed Medjool dates, 1/3 cup yoghurt with some 1-2 bliss balls or 2 slices of cheese.
Dinner varies A LOT throughout the year. My husband’s a keen fisherman and hunter so in summer we eat plenty of paua, crayfish and fresh fish whereas in winter we eat more wild pork and venison. But, dinner always consist of piles of vegetables, some lean protein and some wholegrain carbohydrates. Our neighbours have an olive grove and produce the most amazing extra virgin olive oil so we tend to use olive oil daily both in cooking and homemade dressings.
I love a small sweet treat after dinner so I’ll often have a chai tea or 2 squares of 80% dark chocolate.
3. What are your fridge and pantry staples?
Fridge: A vegetable draw packed with greens, fruit, avocados as well as yoghurt, cheese, Medjool dates and milk
Pantry: Lemons, olive oil, nuts, peanut butter, eggs, homemade muesli
4. What are your three favourite foods/meals?
Oh gosh, that would change weekly! But at the moment it’s breakfast and a big bowl of homemade muesli with Feijoa compote and natural yoghurt. Also, wholegrain toasted sandwiches with avocado, cheese, tomato and sauerkraut along with slow cooked beef cheeks with roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli topped with toasted almonds and lemon zest. Oh and my daily soy or almond milk flat white. I’m in LOVE with my daily coffee (expect during Junk Free June which I have vowed to give up for 30 days!).
In Summer, my favourite foods would be berries, fresh fish, corn on the cob and salads. When I was little, dad used to cook us the most amazing pan-fried whole flounder for breakfast at the bach. Dusted in a little flour and fried in butter, it was the best meal after coming in off the boat!
5. What is your food philosophy?
Just eat more wholefoods. I think nutrition has become unnecessarily complicated and people are trying to cut out this food group and that food group but if food was paired back to basics and everyone just enjoyed more real food and less packaged foods, they would be doing pretty well nutritionally. Just think plenty of vegetables and fruits, some lean meats and poultry, seafood, wholegrain carbohydrates, legumes, dairy foods and some daily healthy fat such as olive oil, nuts and seeds. Job done.
6. What is your favourite way to keep fit?
Without a doubt walking. Preferably up hills. I also enjoy weights, swimming and spinning classes but I don’t do nearly as much of those as I used too! I now enjoy being outside on the farm with the dog too much to spend time driving somewhere to then exercise indoors.
7. Can you share with us your favourite piece of advice for eating well and staying healthy?
Be as active as you can, eat plenty of nutritious foods each day via three meals and a few healthy snacks and don’t sweat the small stuff. If you eat a myriad of healthy foods each and every day, a few treats here and there isn’t a big deal. Remember, it’s what you do all of the time that’s important, what you eat day-in and day-out, not what you eat sometimes.
Of course, this doesn’t give you a free pass to gorge yourself daily while on holiday, you’ll just come back feeling terrible! Instead enjoy the fresh seasonal food that your destination has to offer and take a keen interest in the way the food is produced and those who have taken the time to prepare it for you. It’s such an amazing way to enjoy a holiday!
8. What’s one topic in nutrition that you see people are most confused with and what is your opinion on this?
Currently, I’m seeing a lot of people who are cutting out whole food groups and using supplements to fast-track weight loss.
Wholefoods and a sustainable rate of weight loss isn’t nearly as exciting or marketable as a quick fix or powerfully marketed shake but it’s a healthy and nutritious way of eating that people can sustain for the rest of their lives. I often encourage my clients to see the bigger picture and the long-term gains of eating delicious and nutritious food each and every day rather than relying on a short-term diet that’s completely unsustainable.