Hero of the Month – Naomi Mead
Today I met: Naomi Mead: Nutritional Therapist and Co-founder of Food First.
Naomi resides in Cheltenham and once I heard that she will be visiting London, there was no way I am going to miss a chance to meet with her and have a chat and learn more about her success story, what keeps her awake at night and of course to fish out some tips on how to improve my nutrition! We decided to meet at the cosy South Bank Spanish café for a plateau of tapas and a glass of Horchata.
Naomi, you are well known nutritionist with an interesting background in science, so what’s the story behind Food First? My route to nutrition was not a conventional one, I graduated with a degree in Pharmacology, and although I knew I didn’t want to pursue a career in pharmaceuticals, I left with a strong interest in the anatomy and human physiology side of the course. I then diverged and worked as a Restaurant Manager for a few years, whilst at the same time volunteering for the charity Sustain, working on food sustainability issues. It was during this time that my knowledge and interest in the world of food and nutrition grew! After much consideration, I decided to return to education study Nutritional Therapy, so that my love of food and science could be combined. Food First was founded in 2011 with my now business partner and co-founder Gabrielle Dean. We started off by providing one to one Nutritional Therapy consultations to private clients. Since then it has exponentially exploded and we have gained a solid client base and we have progressed to providing group talks, practical workshops and setting up an online archive (our website), where all the useful material could be stored and shared. Recently, we have also published our first series of eBooks called Give Me Five which is available on itunes and Apple’s iBookstore . Give Me Five is essentially an electronic recipe book with quick and easy recipes using just 5 main ingredients.
What does your usual day look like? Typically no 2 days are ever the same! I’d normally get up early, have a good breakfast and head to the library or coffee shop, where I will spend couple of hours researching and writing up various articles. I would then usually spend a bit of time getting ready for my consultations in the afternoon. Evenings are often spent cooking and developing new healthy recipes. I may also spend some time reading and researching. The world of nutrition is so vast and the research is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay on top of things!
What do nutritionists eat?
Breakfast usual: I would normally have a smoothie made of almond milk, chia seeds, maca powder, a bit of spinach and some fruits. Alternatively, I may have a savoury breakfast such as poached eggs and avocado on toasted rye bread.
Lunch: This really depends where I am and what I’m doing, but usually I would have a big protein-rich salad, sushi, or some soup.
Dinner: I love cooking and so this can really vary! I particularly love fish, and also enjoy coming up with delicious new vegetarian recipes.
How about your guilty pleasures? Oh gosh – too many! The ones that immediately spring to mind would be dark (I’m obsessed with Lindt 85%) and a glass of red wine.
Do you have a favourite type of clothing? I live in dresses and at the moment these are usually teamed with my yellow converse, which I love! I probably have a full closet of them (she laughs).
Do you have a favourite book? My favourite book that I have read recently is ‘The History of Love’ by Nicole Krauss
What about your favourite movie? I like classic movies and the ones that stand out for me are One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Shawshank Redemption.
And where do you find your inspiration? It may sound cliché but I am inspired by my clients who are determined to bring a change in their lifestyles, improve their nutrition and general wellbeing. I absolutely love to see the transformation in my clients, because changing your rooted habits is not an easy task and I give a lot of credit to those who stay determined.
How about your life motto? Not necessarily a life motto, but perhaps more of a belief that everyone of us should find something we really enjoy and are passionate about, because there is nothing worse than to continue doing things that we feel we should be doing, but that do not bring us any satisfaction nor fill our lives with joy.
What does the future hold for you, Naomi? I plan to roll out more of interactive workshops, where people could come and learn new cooking skills, become more educated about nutrition and general wellbeing. Together with my co-founder we plan to expand Food First website and make it more of a health hub, where recipes, tips on nutrition and research materials could be easily accessible to everyone willing to turn healthy.
What tips can you give us on staying fit and healthy? Don’t try to change everything all at once, as you are just setting yourself up for failure. Start off by just making one or two small additions to your daily routine, such as drinking more water and walking for half an hour every day. Once you have implemented these, and start to feel the health benefits, you will be naturally inspired to bring in more changes.
Where is your favourite spot in London? I love South Bank, especially during the summer – it’s so busy and so much is going on here. I just adore walking by the river overlooking the Westminster Bridge. I also like Borough market which is another great place to hang out.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? If you don’t like it – change it. Don’t ever feel that you have to put up with something that does not give you pleasure, motivation and purpose in life.
If you could, what special powers would you have? The ability to stop time! Such powers would give me enough time to deal with all my planned work. I would just never run out of time and would never miss out on anything. A thought of being able to get rid of time pressure, is too appealing!
To find out more about Food First visit http://www.food-first.co.uk/
To obtain the second edition of Give Me Five eBook for just £3.99 visit http://www.food-first.co.uk/new-give-me-five-ebook-coming-soon/