I was so inspired by Emma's knowledge of food and what makes you well, I decided I wanted to work with her and bring her knowledge and expertise into a more public arena. Hence the birth of The Vital You. I have interviewed Emma for this blog so that you can meet her in advance of our Vital You Weekend on 13-15 March.
What inspired you to become a nutritionist after being a chef?
When I was a chef I was always trying to experiment with healthy practices in the kitchen, specifically by creating new solutions to traditional recipes. I enjoyed it a lot. Also, at the time I was running a catering company, and loved seeing how much of a difference delivering a healthier service made to my clients’ working day. So it just seemed like a natural progression to explore my passion for nutrition further.
The opportunity to really get hands-on with healthy food in a professional, welcoming environment is unique. My focus is all about creativity, confidence and knowledge in eating. We’re going to be experimenting with a range of wholesome, locally sourced and fresh foods in order to gain greater confidence in the kitchen. There will also be a key focus on living an all-rounded, healthy lifestyle during the weekend - with lots of exciting activities planned!
What are the key messages you give to clients about nutrition?
As Michael Pollan so perfectly said, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Really, it’s as simple as that. Eating wholesome, clean food is the key to good nutrition and a stepping stone to a healthy lifestyle. It’s surprising how few people eat the recommended five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit each day. By doing just that, people are well ahead in their nutrition and health.
What do you consider the main health concerns are today and what do you think we need to do to avoid them?
Even today in Australia, the majority of the population are eating far too many simple carbohydrates. It’s only when people sit down and really have a good look at their diet that they realise this. Eating too many simple carbohydrates is often a factor of an unbalanced diet, which leads to many health problems our society faces; for example, type ii diabetes. We need to change our attitude towards healthy food. People don’t realise how much food can impact their health, both physically and mentally. Often the smallest changes to the diet can make an enormous difference.
Sharing my knowledge and experience of good, healthy food is a passion of mine. The chance to not only talk to people about health, but also to show them and guide them, is an opportunity I look forward to. It’s one thing to read about health; it’s a whole different experience immersing yourself in practical demonstrations and a community of similarly minded people. The weekend will be a really unique experience, and I’m not sure that it’s even being offered anywhere else in Australia.
What’s your nutrition approach for yourself and your family?
Mostly plant based eating, and using quality protein from a range of sources, not just the traditional ones. Plenty of complex carbohydrates, full of fibre, favourites in my household are puy lentils, chickpeas and quinoa. When veggies get a bit boring, I like to spice them up by tossing them with ingredients such as plenty of fresh herbs, capers, freshly roasted nuts, legumes, natural juices and zest, and wholesome oils. When a particular fruit comes into season, there’s always a bowl on my kitchen bench. Seasonal fruit and nuts are a favourite snack. The kids love my chocolate bliss balls and fresh smoothies.