"Healthy" means different things to different people. What an be 'healthy' for one person may not be very...healthy for another.
We love that there is no one size fits all.
We love that you all have opinions, views, ethical and sustainable considerations. We love that some of you don't have any.
We love that being 'healthy' no longer is just related to food.
We love that nutrition has become so much MORE than just food, but also how we care for our minds and how we move our bodies. And in the cases when healthy becomes 'unhealthy' we are happy to be here to to simplify it for so many people.
We asked our Feel Fresh Nutrition dietitian Brad Brosnan to tell us what 'healthy' means to him!
Brad grew up in Arrowtown. His friends think he's ridiculous with all of his Arrowtown pictures in his house. However, for him its a reminder of what’s important - being in the mountains and the beauty of the outdoors which brings freedom and comfort. From adventures with friends and fishing with his family and growing veggies with his Mum, Brad says he owes a lot to his upbringing in Central Otago.
Brad is a NZ registered dietitian with an academic and clinical background in exercise and mental health.
Why do you DO what you do?
I didn’t realise until recently how many of my childhood values and experiences have shaped me and have naturally led me to have a holistic sense and exploration of health. I’ve always loved connecting with people who are exercising or having adventures, or cooking with people and trying new foods. Working as a health professional has directly allowed me to do what I love while helping others achieve their own health goals.
I studied health, in particular exercise and science. However, I knew exercise is not enough and I was inspired to understand and learn more. I invested in eight years of study at the University of Otago, completing my masters, then becoming a dietitian, and working in some of Australasia’s top health retreats. I then developed the first clinical mental health dietitian role at New Zealand’s largest psychiatric long-term hospital in Porirua. Within this role in mental health, I learned in two years what felt like ten years of understanding people, building relationships, playing to people’s strengths and practically supporting individuals to improve their mental and physical health through nutrition and lifestyle interventions.
A few years ago, I didn't understand my personal strengths, and my self-confidence was lacking. It took me a long time to believe in myself, but I now know that I have made and am making a positive difference to people’s lives. Its feels humbling to know and believe that I am making a positive difference in this world and am working towards making our society a better place to live. My drive to stay on the ball and continue learning and improving myself in this ever-changing world has helped me get to where I am today. I understand that listening and building relationships are important, and I try to guide others to utilise their strengths and motivation in order for them reach their own health goals. Feel Fresh Nutrition supports me and lets me do just that – great!
What does healthy mean to you?
In regard to nutrition, I believe healthy eating is not about making one or two changes or avoiding entire food groups. It’s not about specific kinds of foods; it’s about an overall diet pattern in terms of food quality (including using whole foods foods and foods that are recognisable in their natural state in every meal), meal pattern, portion sizes, and attitudes towards foods.
Much of my work is based around a mind-body connection – similar to Te Whare Tapa Whā, the holistic Māori model of well-being based around the four corner stones of health: physical, mental, spiritual and family. I enjoy incorporating this approach into my practice to improve clients overall well-being, as I understand the system and person as a whole being.
The road to good health for YOU is a journey, and it will take time to develop a deeper understanding of what that is for you. However, this way of thinking about health will be a 1000x more beneficial for your success down the line.
What do you do for yourself, that makes you feel good?
I value feeling fresh every day. Cooking, eating well and at adequate times, exercising, meditating, hanging out with friends or family, having a daily routine, and working on business projects. I have a soft spot for good films and love a good Central Otago pinot noir too! For me, feeling good comes back that whole-being approach and working on different aspects of your wellbeing.
What are 5 things that you do in a day that you would consider ‘healthy habits’?
I enjoy building on my existing healthy habits. Stacking habits are fun and not that hard. The key is building and stacking on your existing daily habits rather than create entirely new ones. For example, when I go to the gym now, I train, stretch, cold shower, sauna & mediate, plunge pool. However, I started by just going to the gym.
- Transcendental Meditation has allowed me to meditate with ease two times a day for 20 minutes, wherever I am, I can just sit down and do it. For me, It helps with creativity and alertness and helps me be more my true self.
- Every day I spend 30min a day moving projects that matter to me along. One of them is @arrowtownstonework. Scrolling or posting on social media can wait and I only go on it when necessary.
- Preparing my work environment/clothes/gear the night before.
- Eating slower and enjoying my food. I’m usually the last to finish eating.
- Writing in a journal each day.
What are your 5 favourite foods at the moment?
90% dark chocolate, sparkling water, bunnace burgers, olives and always fresh garden herbs.
Movement...how do you do it, how important is it to you?
I used to be really dedicated going to the gym or CrossFit. These days I exercise with much less pressure on myself – I go with what feels right. I practice yoga in the back yard, or I might flip a tyre, go for a walk or a run, go to the gym, play tennis, or the best is to go for weekend adventures with friends. However, I do aim to do resistance style training around three times a week.
Best place to eat out in Auckland (cafes, restaurants etc)
In the three weeks I’ve been here, these are what have taken my fancy so far:
Burger Burger Newmarket @burgerburger – for me it's fresh and different than a classic burger joint. I’ve never found cos lettuce burgers done so well and fresh! Chargrilled broccoli with almonds on the side or kumara fries to share – that's me. Maybe a kombucha too!
At HeadQuarters @hqviaduct on the viaduct, the bohemian vibe was unreal while I was eating a salad on a wooden bowl with market fish.
Orphans Kitchen @orphanskitchen café stood out so far. Try the halloumi, broccoli, hazelnut salad.
How do you contribute to your community?
I haven’t been here long, but, with others, I’m creating the nutrition program for a gym called Southern Latitude in New Market – who take a holistic and wellbeing approach to the realm of CrossFit. I’m also now getting involved within the Transcendental Meditation community in Auckland.
My inspiration comes from my community, my environment, the beauty of nature, people who make a difference and my friends. We’ll just have to see what comes up next for me.