Baby food vs Baby food


Baby food vs Baby food

TVNZ | Seven Sharp | 4 July 2018

Earlier this week I was on Seven Sharp answering a few questions about how Future Foody, a new company that delivers organic baby food to your home compares to the current baby food products available on our supermarket shelves.

The main discussion around the interview was based on the perceived gap in the market, nutritional value, production techniques used in the industry, pricing comparisons and convenience. The segment was about 5 mins long and those that know me, know I always have more to say than 2 sounds bites worth of opinions when it comes to topics such as this, so have jotted down a more well rounded explanation of my position below. Happy reading! 

 Image from

Image from


Nutritionally it deserves a gold star. The company has worked with a registered nutritionist to make sure that each age group is catered for when it comes to nutritional balance and provides babies with key vitamins and nutrients required at their particular stage. It is as close to home cooking as possible.

What I really love about the product is that it includes dark leafy greens. This is not common in supermarket varieties. For example the ‘Stage Two’ meals include rainbow chard and kale which provides vitamin C, iron and calcium. It is so important that babies are eating iron! Babies are born with enough iron stores to last through to six months of age, however there is very little iron in breastmilk, so by 6 months of age their stores are starting to drop off.

Complete protein ingredients; quinoa, lamb, chicken, beef and salmon are a great addition to your baby’s meals. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues and complete proteins contain all essential amino acids. Good ole tick.

Future Foody product categories that contain meat consistently feature 20% meat, which is more than double the meat content in the supermarket varieties.
A tip: when looking at supermarket baby food, even if the title of baby food says ‘Spring Lamb & Baby Vegetables’ or ‘Chicken Bolognese’ it may have very little meat in the product. In this case both of the above supermarket titles were only made up of 5% chicken and lamb. Always check the percentages displayed on the ingredients list!

How to ensure a great nutritional outcome from home? If you are cooking at home you are in full control of the composition of the meal. You are able to include dark leafy greens, and able to include a higher quantity of meat than supermarket brands (or conveniently made products).  Also, to sweeten the meal, real fruit can be added as opposed to sugar. Real talk tip: If a baby food product has the word sugar in the ingredients list, consider it a dessert - it is not an item worth buying. Babies do NOT need added sugar in their diets, especially while they are developing their taste profiles. Try to sweeten their meals with real fruit - that way your little one is also getting antioxidants and fibre. It took me awhile to identify Poppy’s sweet spot (she is now 3 yrs old), but I soon learned that if I added pears to ANYTHING, then Poppy would eat it. She was not a fan of apple or kiwi fruit as a sweetener, took a while for me to figure that one out but got there in the end!

When choosing supermarket products look at the ingredients list. Lets keep this simple. We do this for all foods in the supermarket - baby food is no different. Again, (it’s worth repeating!) avoid the product if it has ‘sugar’ (or apple juice concentrate) in the ingredients list. Make sure the ingredients list has recognisable food items listed. No need for cornflour, emulsifiers, vegetable gums, “natural flavours’. Go for a product that has veggies in it. Surprisingly there are a lot options that didn’t contain any veggies at all.

In saying all this, lets not sensationalise the topic, these processed food pouches are not going to harm your baby, but just a few things to look out for, and a good reminder not to rely on supermarket foods for every meal.

 Images from Countdown Online

Images from Countdown Online


Firstly it is great that an NZ company is willing to be so innovative with their efforts to maximise the nutritional value of the food during the food processing. Future foodies says that their main point of difference is by using a process called ‘SoftCare’ which preserves the nutrition by cooking food at a lower temperature (it is well known that nutrients contained in foods are significantly lost during high temperature processing methods). However I think that the production aspect is the least of our worries when comparing their product to a large proportion of baby foods on the shelf.

What matters MOST, is what ingredients are going in. If rubbish ingredients are being used, the level of manufacturing is not going to help it. Future Foodys ingredients list consists of good nutritious whole foods. When choosing supermarket products,  (again), avoid those with added sugar, or look out for entire meals made up predominantly fruit which does not provide any iron or protein. I personally think Future Foodys real value lies is in the quality of their ingredients.


Prices start from $4.50 to $5.50 plus delivery fee of $6.50 inner Auckland and $9.50 outer Auckland. (Auckland only at this stage).
I’ll be honest. If my baby decided that day that she didn’t want to eat that meal or flavour, then I would cry. Thats a lot of money wasted on the floor...(walls, windows, roof).

Supermarket varieties are approx $2 per serve, and can be cheaper when supermarkets offer multi-buys.

Better still, combining seasonal produce (seasonal = cheap), plus meat, and fresh (or tinned) fruit will save you a lot of money...but it does cost you a bit of time.


It saves time - no question about it. If a parent can afford the product and is need of time saving tools, then it’s a no brainer.

This segment created a bit of a storm in a teacup and many comments made on the Seven Sharp facebook page from the general public were a tad accusatory about parents not ‘making’ the time to feed their babies. There are many reasons why modern families feel time poor. Both parents working, limited support around, physically unable to cook, limited transport access, etc.
I experienced PND when Pops was about 12 months old and little daily tasks appeared very overwhelming. I value nutrition (comes as no surprise) so a priority for me was making sure Pops ate well.

If I had the reassurance that she was eating beautifully nutritious food while even temporarily removing the task of cooking, it would have been pretty helpful during that time! Every family/ parent/ baby is different - be kind to each other fellow parents, ditch the urge to judge.

So to conclude - I think this is a useful new service that is an asset to parents that want to feed their kiddies healthy foods, can afford it and require time saving tools while their bubs are little. HOWEVER if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, it is so incredibly cost effective to cook healthy food at home that is just as nutritious. Plus there are plenty of options in your supermarket that do not contain sugar and rubbish fillers that are perfectly fine to supplement with your home cooking.

Do your thing, do what works for your family and enjoy hanging out with those chubby cheek little messy eating rays of sunshine.

Abbie x

Link to video:
Note: Other companies in NZ who offer baby food delivery services are and

 Any excuse to show pictures of my wee fam. Love 'em. 

Any excuse to show pictures of my wee fam. Love 'em. 


What does "healthy" mean to you Brad?


What does "healthy" mean to you Brad?

Healthy means different things to different people. What an be 'healthy' for one person may not be very...healthy for another. Read our interview with our very own Danijela Unkovich to find out what healthy means to her! 

...Click on the title or image to read the article :)


What does "healthy" mean to you?


What does "healthy" mean to you?

Healthy means different things to different people. What an be 'healthy' for one person may not be very...healthy for another. Read our interview with our very own Danijela Unkovich to find out what healthy means to her! 

...Click on the title or image to read the article :)


Emotional Eating


Emotional Eating

When we emotionally eat we're eating for reasons outside of our physiological needs, i.e. our hunger. There's something else going on - maybe we're bored, tired, sad or stressed. Maybe we're procrastinating or seeking pleasure. Ultimately, we're treating food as a refuge within the moment, or a place to escape how we're feeling.


What does "healthy" mean to you?

1 Comment

What does "healthy" mean to you?

Healthy means different things to different people. What an be 'healthy' for one person may not be very...healthy for another. Read our first interview with Jane from The Yoga Connection to find out what healthy means to her! 

...Click on the title or image to read the article :)

1 Comment

Do you look after your nuts?


Do you look after your nuts?

Yes yes, have a laugh at the title, but this is something that we pay special attention on to find out why you should soak your nuts and why they should be stored in the freezer :)

...Click on the title or image to read the article


Harper's Bazaar - Next Breast Thing


Harper's Bazaar - Next Breast Thing

The latest slew of shows (Spring Summer 2017) had the world’s top designers boasting body parts like upper abdomens at Fendi, obliques at Celine and hips at Louis Vuitton. These are more obscure than the traditional décolletage and legs which traditionally were revealed by women.
Abbie was interviewed by Harper’s Bazaar and asked to share her perspective as a nutritionist who works with all shapes and sizes, what her thoughts were on this evolution by the fashion industry. The article is in the March 2017 Australia Harper’s Bazaar Issue. 

Read below for the transcript of the full interview to see where Abbie sits on the topic of fashion, body types and more importantly, how important body confidence is, when working with the women of the world. 

...Click on the title to read the article


Can healthy eating be cheap too?

Can healthy eating be cheap too?

Can healthy eating be cheap too?

Budgeting. That awful thing that is the reality for most of us. When talking with clients here at Feel Fresh Nutrition, one of the biggest stumbling blocks people face is the belief they can’t afford to eat healthily. I certainly agree to an extent. Eating healthily does cost you. Either in terms of finances, time or knowledge.

You can eat well on a budget, but you have to know what you are doing and have time to make things from scratch. That isn’t always easy. Some people have the financial luxury of forgoing the time and the knowledge but for everyone else, we’re here to help with some knowledge and some hacks to help you reduce the cost of eating nutrient dense food. on the title to read the post

The superfood for 2017; Collagen

The superfood for 2017; Collagen

Over the last 12 months you’ve probably heard of gelatine. It’s been hailed loudly - and rightly so - for it’s gut-healing properties. Gelatine is found in nutrient-dense foods like bone broth and more excitingly can be used to make healthy lollies - or gummies.

However, have you heard of it’s equally important and vital brother, collagen? on the title to read the post

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

So, here we are again. The start of a new year. The base of a mountain we’ve told ourselves to climb and conquer. For some reason we like to set aside January 1st as the day to start all manner of dedication - and possibly torture - to change our lives for the better.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with self improvement, however the point of this blog is to help you frame your desires and resolutions towards what you actually want, while making these changes realistic and sustainable. on the title to read the article

So what does your body shape say about you?

So what does your body shape say about you?

In her book "Move your DNA",  Katy Bowman has a powerful message. She states that 'your body is never out of shape, it is always in a shape created by how you have moved up to this very moment”. Our guest author Hazel Boot, tells us what this means to her. on the title to read blog entry by Hazel Boot

Your nutrition, your choice

Your nutrition, your choice

There are so many ‘diets’ or ways of eating available to us now it can seem like everybody is following a particular eating style. Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatrian, Clean Eating, Raw… the list goes on. Today I want to talk about an important aspect of nutrition many people don’t understand when they initially come to see us at Feel Fresh Nutrition. on the title to read the article

The Vegan Epic

The Vegan Epic

It’s been said that it can be easier to change a person’s religion than their diet. This says a lot about how strongly people believe in the choices they make relating to food – especially where issues such as ethics and morals come into play.

Movies such as Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, and Food, Inc. have gone a long way in pushing people towards a more plant-based diet – or even an exclusively plant-based diet. These movies simultaneously pull at the heart strings, while appealing to your inner environmentalist – the parts of you that don’t want to ever see another living creature harmed, and that does want to see a thriving, healthy planet for your children.

So what do we mean by plant-based? on the title to read blog post

The bread you have been waiting for!

The bread you have been waiting for!

I was recently gifted some of this bread from a client, and have proceeded to eat my way through my rations in a few days. It’s that good. I emailed her and told her it was the answer to gluten free low carb bread that doesn’t need expensive ingredients. High praise. Then I promptly asked for the recipe.

She obliged, so here it is!

This recipe is adapted from the My New Roots Life Changing Loaf. I love this recipe because you can make any substitutions that you want. The original recipe uses oats and almonds as well as a little sweetener but I omit these to make it completely gluten free and nut free so it can go to school and daycare. 

I also love this recipe because it uses ingredients I almost always have in the cupboard and doesn’t require that I have 8 eggs or 3 cups of ground almonds. 

This bread also freezes really well, but you need to slice it first as it is hard to slice once it has been frozen and thawed. 

Some of my favourite flavour combinations include avocado, lemon juice and sprouts. Ricotta and fresh figs, tahini and tomato, or good old fashioned peanut butter. 


  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup flax seeds
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 ½ cups buckwheat flakes. You could also use oats or quinoa flakes.
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husk
  • 1 tsp. fine grain sea salt 
  • 1 tsp. Kelp powder (optional but great source of iodine)
  • 3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil, olive oil or ghee
  • 1 ½ cups / 350ml water

1. In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). 
Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it.

2. Preheat oven to 175°C.

3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing.

4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. 

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 

What do I eat for Breakfast?

What do I eat for Breakfast?

When starting to make changes to any diet, the biggest stumbling block we see with clients is breakfast time. Often eating the “right” foods at lunch and dinner comes a bit more naturally. Protein and veggies are acceptable at dinner, but they seem a bit out of place at breakfast. 

The fact is, nothing would set you up more for a day with even blood sugar levels, energy and brainpower than some protein or veggies at breakfast. Yet, when I tell clients that I had last night’s leftovers with a poached egg for breakfast that morning, they look at me like I’ve grown four heads.

There’s a couple of reasons why I think people resist meat, veggies and things like soup and curry for breakfast. The first is that they just seem so different from the current sugar-filled muesli and breakfast options pedalled to us. The second is that a cooked breakfast appears as though it will take a lot of time. 

The first thing I always tell clients is that reframing the way they think about their meals really helps. Try not to think of it as breakfast, lunch and dinner. There really are no rules that say you should eat x at breakfast and y at lunch, but they can’t be interchanged. Think of your meals as meal one, meal two and meal three. Once you take the association of conventional foods away from the particular time of day, you can make an objective choice about what might be the most nutritious choice in that moment. 

The next problem is one of convenience and time. Let’s face it. Mornings can be hard. Regardless of whether or not you love your job, have slept a solid 8 hours, snuck in a quick morning walk and have enjoyable things planned for your day, they can still be hard. 

Here at Feel Fresh Nutrition we think the reason muesli and sugar-laden cereals have resisted the raft of scientific evidence against them is because they represent palatable convenience. So, how can we implement a few life hacks to help us out at the start of our day? 

Finding your solution

When figuring out a meal that will fit into your lifestyle, it can be helpful to identify what you struggle with in the morning. We have a couple of scenarios with solutions to help. 

1. You have no time in the mornings. 
We could tell you to set your alarm ten minutes earlier to make a smoothie. But that's not always easy because... sleep. Right?!

So the best solution in this scenario is to prepare something the night before. 

Chia puddings are a great idea as they require the overnight time for the chia seeds to soak.
The internet is also filled with soaked oats recipes with veggies grated into them. Google Zoats (zucchini oats) for an example. This is another great option if you tolerate oats. Instead of cooking them as per the instructions, combine all the ingredients into a bowl the night before. Simply stir in the morning, adding more liquid if necessary. Heat and eat. Or eat them cold. Up to you. 

Another great tip is to prepare all your smoothie ingredients in the blender the night before and chuck it in the fridge. Leave out any ice or liquid. Add these just before blending. 

2. You want to eat the same meal as your kids.
I totally get this. As a mother, you want to set a good example for your children while ensuring that they are getting a good start to their day. Even if your child loves eggs, they might not want them everyday at 7am. 

One solution is this epic No grain bircher. It's delicious. Every child I’ve come across has demolished it. If you require a bit more protein, eat a boiled egg on the side. 

3. You're not hungry as soon as you wake up.
There is no reason you have to eat just because it is conventionally "breakfast time". In fact, numerous studies have shown that an extended overnight fast can help with weight management and insulin sensitivity. One option is to eat your breakfast once you've gotten to work or after you've dropped the kids to kindy/school/daycare. This way you can eat sitting down and you’re not in a rush. Ham and egg muffins or Frittata are great for taking with you and reheating (or eating cold) once you've gotten to work. 

Lastly, if you're kitchen at work has a stovetop and a fridge you could consider buying a small amount of veggies and some eggs and storing them at work. This way you don't have to pack anything the night before and can cook up an omelette or fried eggs once you get to work. 

Leftovers are also great for breakfast. Who says dinner is only for dinner? 

The key thing to remember is there is no right way or time to eat breakfast. Find a solution that works for you and give it a try. Eating breakfast is important, but there is no one way to do it. What we do know is that consuming refined grains or sugar in the form of toast, muesli or breakfast cereal will set you up for an energy crash later in the day. 

A Feel Fresh Nutritionist can help you find some breakfast solutions to fit into your lifestyle. Book an appointment with us here.

Thanks, from Team Feel Fresh Nutrition.

  • Use this link if you want to know more about our other services.
  • Read our testimonials page to see what our clients say about Feel Fresh Nutrition!
  • Want to read another blog post - click here to head back to the start :)

Image: Henrique Felix

Before your After

Before your After

How often do we set goals for ourselves? "In five weeks I'll be x weight..." "I'm going to buy this dress in a size 10 because I'll fit it next month."

Often we are so fixated on the result that we forget to think about the process. What the journey to reaching your goals might actually look like. Here at Feel Fresh Nutrition, we like to call this the “before your after”. 

Media hasn't helped this phenomenon. Before pictures are juxtaposed against svelte, joyous after photos. Often with better lighting, more flattering clothes, smiling faces and hashtags designed to motivate others. #thiscouldbeyou. Except it couldn’t be, because that’s them and not you. 

This may seem pretty harmless, but the thing we see time and time again working with clients is that weight loss is less about what you eat, and how much you exercise and more about your MINDSET. Our most successful clients are those with the right mindset and those who make consistent changes over a period of time. When we focus solely on the end results we can’t appreciate the positive changes we are making regardless of the outcome. I.e we create the wrong mindset.

If we buy into the before/after picture scenario, it implies that the person - or you - is less in their before. Less healthy, less happy, less worthy. Some of these things may be true, but your outward appearance actually isn’t the best judge of this. What actually matters is your health behaviours.

If you change your mindset towards health, with weight loss as a byproduct, you will undoubtedly be healthier and you will still be as worthy as a person at every stage of your journey. 

The other reason thinking about weight loss as a before and after process is flawed is because it implies that we MUST have our own after picture in order for our life's work to have been a success. It also suggests - not too implicitly - that the process was easy, linear and sudden. Logically we know the person did not simply exercise for a week, eat some salad and wake up with washboard abs. 

In all likelihood, their journey had more downs than ups and it was only consistency over time that led to good results. But before's and after's don't show this. What we think is most helpful is to think about what YOUR life is going to look like BEFORE your AFTER.

  • Is it going to be a straightforward process? 
  • Are you never going to eat cake again?
  • Are you going to avoid every single social setting until you can wear that size 10 outfit or 34" jeans.
  • Are you going to avoid a glass of wine or beer on a Friday night with your colleagues or friends?
  • Or are you going to develop habits that are enjoyable and sustainable but will still get you there?

I hope you can tell from this list that at Feel Fresh Nutrition we strongly support the last statement.

We do not have to hate the process or even what our picture or context looks like 'before'. When you set goals you are working towards achieving something that is important to you. It isn't necessarily about making yourself better. You as a person, right now, are perfectly imperfect as you are. 

You are not less worthy of love, especially self-love, than the person who 'appears' to have it all because they are tall and slim. You don't suddenly earn the right to be happy and love yourself when you finally get to publish the 'after' picture. 

To some people this may seem like common logic. Some people know that small but consistent changes will lead to the results they want. But, because of our current culture and the dieting industries claims that we can lose “10kg in 2 weeks” some people get discouraged and proceed to indulge in self-destructive behaviours. 

So it’s important to tell this message. Even if we were to give people the best nutrition plan in the world, geared towards aggressive weight loss, it’s not going to be a simple equation of "do this" to convert your before to your after. 

Goals are good. They provide context and remind us of what's important. But they shouldn't come at the expense of sanity, rational thought and uplifting practises of self-respect and enjoyment. The thing about goals is that they aren't always a destination. Between where you stand now and those goals is this thing called life, and it's for living. 

So what does this all mean? How do we learn to enjoy the time before the after?

  • If your goal is weight loss, don't weigh yourself every day. Weigh no more than once a week.
  • If your happiness is pinned on a number decreasing solely based on your personal relationship with gravity, don't weigh yourself at all.
  • When working with clients in the clinic we use weight as a reference point, but we also check body composition, energy and other factors such as improvements in hormones, acne, fertility or digestive issues. You’re not necessarily going to lose weight every single time you jump on the scales. And that’s ok. We can adjust and change your plan based on the new information we have gathered. Because really, that’s all that weight is. Information about your body. 
  • Set yourself some non-scale barometers. We call these non scale victories. Do I have more energy? Is my skin better? Are my IBS symptoms improving? How many compliments have I received? Are my clothes looser? Is my relationship with food or myself better?
  • Set yourself micro goals. You aren't going to get there overnight so break up the journey. At the one month mark, regardless of your results, take yourself out for a nice lunch, massage or pampering session. Buy yourself tickets to a show or game you've been wanting to see.

Do not compare yourself to others. This is the biggest part of putting your journey into perspective. You don't know what stage someone is at on their own journey. You don't even know what their journey is. For you it might be weight loss and you resent their apparent ease with weight management. They may be grappling with anxiety or confidence or any number of things that have nothing to do with weight. Again, their worth as a person isn't less because they haven't reached their own after. 

They are awesome as they are, just like you.

Thanks, from Team Feel Fresh Nutrition.

  • Use this link if you want to know more about our other services.
  • Use this link to book your consultation today.
  • Read our testimonials page to see what our clients say about Feel Fresh Nutrition!
  • Want to read another blog post - click here to head back to the start :)

Image: Julia Caesar

Is your workplace making you unhealthy?

Is your workplace making you unhealthy?

Monday morning. Your alarm goes off! You bound out of bed, barely able to contain your excitement that it’s the start of another working week.

Sound familiar?

Didn’t think so.

For the vast majority of us, our alarms go off a couple of hours ahead of our brains, which were probably just settling into weekend life before they were jolted back to reality. We drag ourselves out of bed, barely even registering the motions we go through as we arrive at our places of work -  honestly, do you even remember your trip to work? - and don’t even get us started on work. 

According to the Southern Cross’s Wellness in the Workplace survey that hit the news in August 2015, New Zealand’s workforce lost an estimated 6.7 MILLION days to absence in 2014. This is a number that is increasing, with absenteeism up on average from 4.5 days per person in 2012 to 4.7 days in 2014. 

That’s a heck of a lot of food poisoning excuses!

Significant factors affecting kiwi absenteeism or presenteeism are:

  • Personal illness or injury 
  • The injury or illness of a person in the employee’s care
  • Stress - with a whopping 28.6% of businesses surveyed reporting an increase, with reasons given including increased workloads, financial pressures, and long hours.

So that’s a lot of people away from their workplace. The ironic thing though is that it is frequently the workplace that is the key contributor to absenteeism. The key is to acknowledge that we all have a certain workplace culture, which needs to be accepted and cultivated in a positive way. We have found that small tweaks here and there to behaviour and understanding of our approach to the day can see massive improvements that are mutually beneficial for both employees, and employers.

Things to consider:

  • Does your work place have a bar in it? 
  • Would you describe your workplace as ‘fast paced’? 
  • Is there a coffee machine in the kitchen and chocolate that is so accessible you groan every afternoon that you indulge? 
  • Do you have a mini celebration in your head when you hear the tinkering of the drinks trolley being pushed around? 

WELL, we can talk to you about how to incorporate sugar, alcohol and coffee in the most effective way so it does not wreak havoc on your concentration, digestion, weight or blood sugar levels. Let’s be honest, in certain workplaces, alcohol, coffee and sugar are cemented in the company culture so we need to work WITH it, not against it and have an achievable plan for the day. 

Just a few considerations: 

  • Are you fitness focussed, have a busy job and intend on eating healthily to compliment both but not sure where to start due to the barrage of conflicting nutritional information? 
  • How do you apply healthy eating to work AND home? 
  • Do you have a family you need to consider? 
  • What should you be eating after you have trained at the company gym at lunchtime? 

There’s a huge difference between showing up to work, and actually being present. 

If you are an employee or employer and know that focusing on health and wellness is absolutely paramount to workplace success, then give us a call on 0221537890 to discuss how our range of services can help your workplace. Also, check out the Corporate Wellness section of our website to see what our clients say about us. 

Thanks, from Team Feel Fresh Nutrition.

  • Use this link if you want to know more about our other services.
  • Use this link to book your consultation today.
  • Read our testimonials page to see what our clients say about Feel Fresh Nutrition!
  • Want to read another blog post - click here to head back to the start :)




Okay, so this may not be a post on nutrition – or anything remotely food related. But, we feel that the topic of this post is equally as important in fostering an over-all sense of well-being.


How often do you stop just to say, “thanks?” You may not be thanking anyone – or anything – in particular, but the simple act of pausing to take a moment to give thanks for all the ‘blessings’ that your life contains can be powerful. 

We don’t mean the sort of ‘thanks’ you give to a check-out operator or a salesperson who was particularly helpful. Often these words of thanks are given without thought, and are a matter of habit – they’re just words you say when you’re leaving or saying goodbye. We’re talking about taking a matter of seconds, minutes – or even hours – to be still. To recognise the richness and fullness of your life, of your surroundings, and of the things that connect you to all of them.

Many of us are so focussed on the acquisition of ‘things’ or ‘wealth’ that we actually don’t realise just how much we already have in our lives. It’s not entirely our fault – we’re a consumer nation driven by the media and our overseas neighbours to simply want MORE – we never, ever can have enough. We’re constantly upgrading phones that work perfectly well, working longer hours (read: sacrificing time with friends and family) in order to earn a bigger salary, so that we can afford the latest and greatest gadgets.

It seems like research would even suggest that the more gratitude we feel, the happier, healthier, and more well-adjusted we are. This study suggests that participants who focused on things they were grateful for as opposed to hassles in their daily life had a higher over-all sense of well-being than those who were instructed to journal about the low points in their day (the ‘hassles’). The same study also suggested that the people who felt the most gratitude had the lowest levels of illness, and were more inclined to exercise. Win-win!

Yet another study suggests that people who experience more gratitude sleep better. This study suggest participants who experienced the most gratitude also reported the best sleep quality, and longer sleep duration. We know without a shadow of a doubt how important sleep is to your overall health and well-being – everything from immunity, to recovery, and repair. The researchers noted ‘pre-sleep cognitions.’ Seems like a win for writing in a gratitude journal each night before going to sleep!

Gratitude is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Look at practicing gratitude as a form of self-care. Just stopping to feel grateful for the blessings you have can enhance your mood, give you greater job satisfaction, greater satisfaction in relationships, and – best of all – it seems to be contagious. When you practice gratitude, it influences other people’s thoughts, feelings, and moods, and they’re more likely to perform ‘random acts of kindness.’ Sounds pretty amazing, right? Imagine what the world would be like if we all just stopped and said, ‘thanks.’

If you’re struggling to think of ways to feel gratitude, or to practice gratitude, here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Keep a gratitude journal.
    This doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated. Simply write down anything from one, to as many things as you can think of, that you are grateful for every day. Try doing it before bed for that added effect on sleep.
  • Get out in nature.
    It’s almost impossible to be in a beautiful space outdoors and not feel a sense of awe and connection. As human-beings, we’re hard-wired to connect with nature. Find a beautiful park, go for a hike, to the beach, or to a space with a beautiful view. Sit in silence with no noise (I’m looking at you, Facebook), and spend a few minutes just ‘being.’
  • Get the kids involved.
    If you have flatmates or children (or even just a spouse or significant other), ask them at the end of each day what the best part of their day was. They may have to think about it, but that’s okay! 

The more you take the time to pause, and simply recognise the things in your life you DO have (children, a spouse, your health, the ability to call the country you live in home), rather than the ones you DON’T have (the latest iPhone, the fanciest car, the ‘perfect’ thighs), the easier it becomes to recognise just how rich and full your life really is.

I don’t know about you, but when I feel that my life is rich - and I feel gratitude for my friends and family – I want to be better for them. I want to be even happier, healthier, and more enthusiastic. I’m more likely to stick to healthy practices, and do things that nourish me, create excitement and make me feel alive, rather than that withdraw from my energy bank. Feeling and expressing gratitude just makes me a better human being to be around, and this feeds into all areas of my life. I believe it can do the same for you, too.

It can:

  • Make you a better mother/daughter/sister/father/son/brother/friend, etc.
  • It can make you a more engaged employee, and a better worker
  • It helps you to be a more caring and compassionate member of society

Gratitude is a matter of attitude.

Thanks, from Team Feel Fresh Nutrition

Image: @jeremycai


Food for your mood

Food for your mood

Did you know that the foods you choose to eat (or not eat), have a powerful influence on your mood? 

It’s no secret that foods like chocolate and lollies offer a quick reward when we’re feeling tired or down. There’s a reason these foods are used as comfort foods for a lot of people. Unfortunately, these foods can result in feelings of irritation, tiredness and leave you feeling unmotivated with a gut ache to boot. 

We are - quite literally - what we eat. We eat to provide both energy in the form of calories, and micronutrients, in the forms of vitamins and minerals. Without an adequate supply of both energy and nutrients, our bodies cannot maintain homeostasis - the scientific term for a biological state of balance and well-being. 

You may have heard of our gut been referred to as our “second brain”. The bacteria found inside our guts is responsible for producing an amazing 95 percent of serotonin in our bodies. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps the body in regulating appetite, sleep patterns, and mood. The food we put in our bodies can influence the pathways by which it is produced. It cannot be stressed enough that this connection requires a nutrient dense nourishing diet for optimal mental health.

So, if you want to get the most out of your mood, what should you be eating?

1. Make sure you get enough B Vitamins (Particularly B12)

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is essential for proper neurological function, and so you need to make sure you get enough of it. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the low end of the ‘normal’ range is quite simply too low, and that many people will suffer symptoms of deficiency at these levels.

B12 is only present in its true form in animal foods, so if you do not eat these - or don’t eat many of them - be sure to get a good vitamin B12 supplement that is easily absorbed by the body.

Brightly coloured plant foods, and good quality animal foods, are a great source of all of the B vitamins which are so essential to your health. Always build your meals around large amounts of veggies, a good serving of protein, and you’ll be well on your way to building a better mood through food!

2. Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that serves as a precursor for serotonin when combined with the essentials, vitamin B9, B6 and zinc. To increase your intake of foods rich in tryptophan for a greater overall mindset try increasing your intake of salmon, chicken, nuts and seeds.

3. Selenium, magnesium and zinc

Selenium, magnesium and zinc are also easily depleted from the body when consuming a poor nutrient dense diet and when the body is under a great deal of stress. These minerals are often found deficient in people suffering from depression and anxiety. They are essential for a wide range of roles in the body including improving behavioural and emotional disorders. Just three Brazil nuts a day can give you your required amount of selenium. Dark leafy greens are a great dietary source to get your daily magnesium boost essential for a healthy nervous system. A diet rich in seafood, especially shellfish contains high levels of zinc to ensure a healthy production of neurotransmitters.

4. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is used to enhance the synthesis of norepinephrine from dopamine, a neurotransmitter, also known as the stress hormone It is also easily depleted from the body through stress, illness and low dietary intake. Vitamin C can be increased in the diet through foods such as berries, kiwifruit and citrus fruits.

5. Eat your protein

Neurotransmitters are built from amino acids - the same molecules that form proteins. Therefore it is essential to ensure that you are eating enough quality protein to meet your needs. 

The Ministry of Health recommends just 46 grams of protein per day for a female aged between 19 and 30. While this quantity may prevent out-right protein deficiency, it’s unlikely to be enough to support all of the critical biological functions that rely on amino acids - such as the production of neurotransmitters. Your body is clever - when it detects a shortage of something, it increases your desire for it (think of calories when you’re trying to eat a very low calorie diet). If it doesn’t get what it wants, it’ll reduce something else. Feeling happy isn’t critical compared to other biological functions!

Remember that not all protein is created equal. It is an ‘essential’ nutrient, meaning you have to get it through your diet. There are 20 amino acids, eight of which are essential (they can’t be created by the body from other amino acids). Foods that contain all eight essential amino acids are called complete proteins, and are more readily utilised by the human body as it doesn’t have to do extra work creating amino acids that weren’t found in the meal. Animal foods are a great source of complete proteins.

Plant foods do contain some protein, though in small amounts compared to animal foods. Soy and quinoa are the only two plants foods to contain all eight essential amino acids - but in small quantities. 

6. Avoid Processed Foods

Sure they may taste good - amazing even - but processed foods do your health no favours. 

Generally speaking, they’re loaded with refined flours and sugars which shoot your blood-sugar sky-high, leading to the inevitable crash. They contain highly processed vegetable oils, which are highly inflammatory (your brain is particularly sensitive to inflammation) and may even contain trans fats - a known carcinogen. They’re also likely to contain the perfect combination of fatty, salty, and sweet - a combination which doesn’t exist in nature. Food scientists have found the perfect combination of these three tastes, called the ‘bliss point.’ It’s no coincidence that foods like Pringles have the catch-phrase, “Once you pop you can’t stop!” They’re designed to be that way!

Not only are processed foods problematic because of the things they contain, they’re also troublesome because of what they don’t contain. Processed foods are generally calorically-dense without being nutrient-dense. This is not ideal! If we’re eating a large number of calories in one sitting, we want to make them count. We want them to provide our bodies with the nutrients they need to thrive. If we become deficient in any given nutrient, our appetite increases. We are driven to eat until we eat enough of that nutrient. If you’re always hungry, you may not be getting the nutrition you need.

7. Increase your Nutrient-Density

What does that even mean?! Choose foods as close to how they’re found in nature as possible. Bright colours are a sign of antioxidants and powerful phytonutrients. Frozen fruits and veggies are great too! Choose whole food sources of carbohydrates over refined ones, such as kumara, potato, and pumpkin, over bread, pasta, and rice. 

Try to eat fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week. The omega-3 fats found in fish and shellfish is anti-inflammatory, and is known to have a positive effect on the brain. Choose sustainable fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and kippers. Mackerel, sardines, and kippers are very cheap, too! Mussels are also a fantastic source of omega-3, are cheap, and are New Zealand’s single most sustainable seafood. You’ll also get a large portion of your RDI of iron and zinc.

Our advice to you.

Minimise energy bandaids as much as possible. Try not to rely on sugar, alcohol, and caffeine to get you through the day. Your energy and mood should be such that most days are great without them! You don’t NEED these substances to keep your head up, or to de-stress at the end of it.
Take a moment each day to breath and avoid the stress that can come from our chaotic lifestyles. Notice how different foods make you feel. Choose nutrient dense foods that are nourishing, vitalizing, and energising for a healthier happier you. 

Thanks for reading! From the Feel Fresh Nutrition Team

Images: @Tranmautritam, @caseylee, @adriensala, @badyqb, @yorikoo, @leoniewise, @brookelark