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April 2, 2016

Workplace Wellbeing Day

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Listen back to Oliver discussing Workplace Wellbeing Day on Dave Fanning Show, 2FM, April 3rd 2016. (MP3 – 15mins)


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and needs to be wholesome and filling. Breakfast sets you up for the entire day, so put some time into preparing and eating it in a relaxed way rather than rushing out the door. You will enjoy the experience more this way and breakfast will become a regular meal. This is vital for mental and physical health in times of stress. Taking some calming breaths before eating helps to digest a meal. A nutritious breakfast must be rich in nutrients and devoid of any refined or sugary foods.

Skipping breakfast or just having a coffee or sugary pastry can lead to weight problems and irritability. Refined sugar and caffeine may make you feel better temporarily, but your body soon ‘crashes’ from the high, leaving you exhausted or irritable. Refined Sugars & caffeineThey can also deplete vital nutrients from your system . When serotonin (happy hormones brain cells ) levels are low in the brain, cravings for carbohydrates, such as cakes, sweets, chocolate and alcohol, can result, as the body uses insulin to trigger serotonin release in the brain. Eliminate these sugary substances from your diet if you can over time or you may be faced with brain exhaustion, which will be a complete ‘crash down’. The sudden raised levels of blood sugar you get from eating refined carbohydrates also leads to sudden slumps, which may then lead to fatigue and poor concentration.

Eating breakfast means you are more likely to get your recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals. Skipping breakfast means you are less likely to make up the lost nutrients at other meals of the day, plus you have a greater tendency to fill up on nutrient-poor sweet or savoury snacks, leaving fruit and vegetables out of the picture. Breakfast positively affects cognitive function and academic performance. It not only contributes to physical health, but it also supports emotional stability and mental alertness. Breakfast also helps promote regular meal patterns and consistent energy intake.

Skipping meals rarely helps with weight loss. Most people simply make up for a skipped meal by eating more at other meals. Breakfast is the most frequently skipped meal – usually because people say they’re too busy in the morning or they’re just not hungry. A simple remedy is to have something quick and light but satisfying. If you just can’t face food first thing in the morning, try easing into it. Sip on a homemade green smoothie throughout the morning or have your oat porridge natural yoghurt or egg first, then eat your fruit and hour or so later. A nutritious breakfast is important for everyone, no matter their age, but it is especially critical for children and teenagers. The first two decades of life are ones of remarkable growth and change, and proper nutrition is essential to fuel this transformation from child to adult. The ideal breakfast should have lots of fibre and whole grains, some protein and healthy fat, and as little added sugar as possible – in other words, a good balance of healthy carbohydrates, protein and essential fats.

The Importance of Eggs

Eggs contain important brain fats called phospholipids. Phospholipids enhance your mood, mind and mental performance. There’s no evidence that eating eggs promotes high blood-cholesterol levels or increases the risk of heart disease. Personally, I prefer boiling, poaching or scrambling eggs or making an omelette. When frying eggs you need to heat oils to high temperatures, turning them into trans fats, which are not good for heart health. Eggs can help to build muscles and they are rich in protein, cholesterol and vitamins A, D and E. Eggs also contain vitamin D, but only in their yolks, so eat the whole egg to get the whole nutritional package. Organic and free-range chickens spend more time outdoors than any other chickens on the market, and this outdoor sun exposure boosts the vitamin D content of their eggs, making their eggs the best choice for both nutrition and sustainability.

‘Eggcado’ Organic Chopped Boiled Eggs with Avocado and Chives Serves 1


  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 medium, ripe avocado, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 slice of spelt bread
  • Pinch of minced fresh chives

Boil water in a medium saucepan until hot. Bring plenty of water to boil in a medium saucepan . Put the eggs into the hot water and cookb simmer for about 8 minutes, until the eggs are hardboiled. Place the boiled eggs in a sieve and rinse under cold running water, then peel the eggs quickly. Mash the peeled, boiled egg with the olive oil and some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add the avocado and mash until it’s roughly smooth but still has a slightly chunky texture. Toast the spelt bread and slice into soldiers. Serve the mashed egg in a small cup and sprinkle the chopped chives on top. Set the cup on a plate and serve the toast soldiers alongside. Sugar and nut free Vegetarian

The Importance of Oats

Oats are an economical, versatile and nutritious food. They stabilise blood sugar levels and prevent sugar crashes, as they are full of slow-releasing carbohydrates to give you plenty of energy until lunchtime. They contain a lot of soluble fibre that is rich in beta-glucans. This particular type of fibre has been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels and help prevent high blood pressure. Oats are also rich in the minerals calcium and magnesium, which as well as strengthening bones are very important for nerve function, and contain a reasonable amount of B vitamins, which again are very good for your nerves and emotional well-being. Oats improve circulation and prevent inflammation through an abundance of antioxidants. They boost the immune system to eliminate bad bacteria and fight disease. Oats are also a good source of selenium, manganese and zinc – three minerals that support your body’s antioxidant and immune defenses. These minerals also help absorb and process omega-3 fats in the body properly.

Fresh Bircher Muesli with Mixed Berries and Flaxseed Serves 5


  • 450g rolled oats (use brown rice, quinoa or millet flakes if you prefer gluten-free grains)
  • 590ml freshly juiced apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 260g grated pear
  • 260g grated apple
  • 260g natural yoghurt
  • Juice of 1½ lemons
  • 300g mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 6 tablespoons ground flaxseed

Place the oats in a large bowl or airtight container. Mix in the apple juice and cinnamon. Add the grated pears, apples, yoghurt and lemon juice and mix well, until all the oats are saturated and there is no dryness left. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or seal the airtight container. Soak overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning, spoon into serving bowls. Top with mixed berries, drizzle with honey and add a scattering of ground flaxseed on top. This will keep for three days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Sugar free Vegetarian

Sugar-Free Chia Granola Serves 6


  • 160ml maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon Himalayan fine rock salt
  • 250g brown rice flakes
  • 125g quinoa flakes
  • 65g pumpkin seeds
  • 65g chia seeds
  • 65g hemp seeds
  • 60g dried cranberries
  • 50g walnuts, chopped
  • 30g dried goji berries 4 dried figs, chopped

Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3. Combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Mix the brown rice flakes, quinoa flakes and all the seeds in a large bowl. Pour the oil mixture into the bowl and mix until uniform (you can use clean hands). Spread the granola onto a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, until goldenxxx. Remove and allow to cool before mixing in the remaining ingredients. Granola should be kept in an airtight container and can be kept in the fridge for you up to 10 days. Sugar, gluten and dairy free Vegan

FuelFood Energy Bites Makes 15


  • 20 large Medjool dates, pitted  
  • 240g almonds
  • 240g almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, plus extra for rolling
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of Himalayan fine rock salt
  • 40g desiccated coconut

Soak the dates in a small bowl of hot water for 15 minutes, then drain and reserve the soaking liquid.Grind the almonds in a food processor until they form coarse crumbs. Add the strained dates, almond butter, cocoa powder, orange zest and juice, cinnamon and salt. Process until the mixture forms a ball. If the mixture is too wet, you can add some more ground almonds or some coconut. If it’s too dry, add some of the date soaking liquid. Form into 15 small balls. Roll or dust in some extra cocoa and desiccated coconut and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Keep the energy bites stored in an airtight container in the fridge, where they will last for up to 10 days. Sugar, gluten and dairy free Vegan

Get Up and Go Green  Smoothie Serves 1


  • 4 small apples
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 lime, peeled
  • 1/5 pineapple, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled and stoned

Juice the apples, cucumber and lime. Add the juice to a blender with the avocado and pineapple and blend for 10 seconds. Pour into a glass and serve.

Sugar, gluten, nut and dairy free Vegan