When did you first become interested in food and nutrition?

When I was in first year in college I started going to the gym and that’s when I started researching food. I’ve always had a sensitive tummy and I suffered from bloating and skin issues so I wondered if changing my diet would make a difference.

I started taking note of what I ate and how each food made me feel. When I ate some foods these problems cleared up, while others made them worse. I also noticed that different foods affected my mood and energy levels and that I could adjust things and feel better. Feeling good is addictive and the better you feel, the more you want to keep feeling this way.

Feeling good is addictive and the better you feel, the more you want to keep feeling this way.

What is your educational background?

I started out studying business in Trinity but my real passion was food. I graduated with a business degree but I wished I had studied something in the food area so I decided to do a diploma in nutrition and health coaching in the Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health (IINH).

Everything I knew about nutrition up until that point, I had taught myself, so it was great to be able to start from the beginning and get a proper foundation, with a real curriculum and order to it.

The great thing about it is that I was able to do it online and fit it in around my schedule. I would love to go back to the IINH for another 2 years to do the Nutritional Therapy course, when I can find the time.

You’ve got a lot of strings to your bow – cooking, blog writing, journalism, TV presenting and food photography. How would you describe what you do?

I’m first and foremost a food writer and food blogger and the other things like TV presenting, cooking and photography all stem from that. 

Your hugely popular food blog and website, thelittlegreenspoon.com, is packed with healthy and delicious recipes. How did that come about?

I started keeping a food diary and taking note of how different foods made me feel. My family thought that other people might find this interesting and suggested that I share it online so I started my blog when I was in third year in college and it all began from there.

What kind of recipes do you have on your site?

Some of them put a healthy spin on some classic dishes and some are totally original. Having some recipes for things that people are already familiar with helps to get them interested and then they are more open to trying new things.

You have lots of healthy versions of indulgent recipes.

It’s all about balance. I want to show people that you can still treat yourself but there’s a better way to do it. If you are going to treat yourself, do it right. People are pleasantly surprised and genuinely delighted by how good the food tastes.

When you change your diet your palate actually changes too and you stop craving that type of sugar. For example, when you try dark chocolate with a high coco content of 70-85% for the first time, it tastes quite bitter. The more you eat it, the more your palate gets used to the flavour and it starts to taste sweeter.

If you are going to treat yourself, do it right.

You use social media very effectively to interact with people and to let them know what you’re up to. You have a hugely popular Instagram account with a massive 45,700 followers. How did that come about?

I started using Instagram alongside the website and it sort of grew organically. I love Instagram, it’s my favourite social media site so I devoted a lot of time to it.

You also have a loyal Facebook following and you try to respond to all comments. How do you manage to keep up with them all?

Facebook is great for driving traffic to my website and my favourite part is how people use it to interact with you. It’s always great to get feedback from people and I do try to get back to them as quickly as I can in case I forget.

Your website includes a “pantry” which lists the ingredients you use most, like coconut oil, almonds, almond milk, cashews, quinoa, coconut milk and cacao powder. What are your favourite ingredients and why?

I don’t use any processed or refined ingredients. There are so many good ingredients to choose from that there’s really no need. I use natural whole foods with no additives or chemicals instead.

All the ingredients listed in the pantry are personal favourites of mine. I especially like cooking with coconut oil and coconut cream, as they are so versatile. I use a lot of almonds in my cooking. I also love avocado and salmon, as they are full of good fats.

I don’t use any processed or refined ingredients. There are so many good ingredients to choose from that there’s really no need.

You also have a whole section of your pantry devoted to natural sweeteners. Are they really as good as the alternative?

I like to look at what you’re gaining from the food you eat. I use natural sweeteners that not only add sweetness to a dish but also provide you with some nutrients. Coconut sugar is full of Vitamin C and antioxidants and dates give you fibre and vitamins. This way you’re not just getting empty calories, you’re also nourishing your body at the same time. Natural sweeteners should still be eaten in moderation though.

It’s easy to see why the recipes on your website and Instagram are so popular – they look absolutely delicious! You actually do all your own photography. Is photography also a passion of yours?

I took all my photos with my iPhone at the start. I look back at some of them now and cringe but I’m self-taught and I’m learning as I go along. I have a Cannon camera now so that helps and I use a photo-editing app. I read a book on photography, but that’s about it. I used a photographer and a food stylist for my book and I learned a lot from them. I’d love to do a photography course but it’s a matter of finding the time.

Your fist cookbook is coming out in September. What kind of recipes does it include?

In the book I have recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as sections on treats and bread. I’ve included 15-20 favourite recipes from my blog but they’re mostly new. I’ve got 85 brand new recipes in the book. It’s been really hard to keep them under wraps, as I’ve been dying to share them.

Where do you get the inspiration for your recipes?

My best recipe ideas come to me at night in bed. I have a massive list on my iPhone, with hundreds of ideas on it. Travel is a huge source of inspiration for me. My mum’s a great cook. She’s half-Japanese and half-American and I spent lots of summers in France. I try to get away whenever I can.

It’s all about balance and finding what works for you. Do things that are sustainable, not crash diets. Everyone’s different and it’s not one size fits all. Experiment and see how you react to different foods. It’s not about denying yourself things but finding the right foods for you.

What is your food and nutrition philosophy?

It’s all about balance and finding what works for you. Do things that are sustainable, not crash diets. Everyone’s different and it’s not one size fits all. Experiment and see how you react to different foods. It’s not about denying yourself things but finding the right foods for you.

You teamed up with Neven Maguire on his RTE 1 show “Healthy Home Chef”. Was it fun working with a cooking legend?

Working with Neven was really good fun. It was the first time I’d done something like that and he really put me at ease so it was a great way to get into it.

Who, in the area of food and nutrition, inspires you?

Jamie Oliver is probably my biggest inspiration. I like his down to earth attitude and approach. I also like his food initiatives and his Food Revolution series. 

You’ve done an amazing job of building a career and carving out a niche for yourself in the food industry and have managed to make an incredible impact in a relatively short space of time. What do you think is the secret to your success?

I didn’t start out with a career in mind and I wasn’t looking at the bigger picture to begin with. I was just doing something that I loved and was passionate about so maybe that’s the secret – having real passion, rather than an agenda. It’s all about creating good content that people will want to come back to.

What advice would you give to someone embarking on a career in the area of health and nutrition?

It’s great to have inspiration but don’t try to copy what anyone else is doing or fit into what you think people expect you to be. Keep your own personality because that’s what makes you unique and interesting.

If you could sum up your approach to health and nutrition in just one sentence, what would it be?

Eat to suit your lifestyle – it’s all about balance and ease and making sure you enjoy every meal and still feel great.

So, what’s next on the horizon for Indy Power?

Well my first cookbook is out on September 1st so I’m really excited about that. I’m looking forward to doing all the promotional events and media that go with it. I’d like to write more books and do some more TV. I have another very exciting project coming up before Christmas but unfortunately I’m not allowed to talk about it so watch this space.

Eat to suit your lifestyle – it’s all about balance and ease and making sure you enjoy every meal and still feel great.


IINH INTERVIEW – INDY POWER

The Little Green Spoon

The healthy Irish kitchen

Web: www.thelittlegreenspoon.com