When did you first become interested in nutrition & health?
I had bad acne as a teenager and I also suffered from hay fever. I went to see Joan Hanrahan Nutritional Therapist (who taught with IINH) in my hometown of Dalkey. I then drank cow’s milk by the bucketload and she advised me to cut out dairy and drink fresh water instead, and I also began to eat zinc rich foods, pumpkin seeds plus green veggies & fibre rich foods, pinhead oats etc. It changed my life within 3 months and that is when I started an interest in nutrition and health because it was solid proof to me, nutrition worked and supported me in my everyday health. As my acne healed plus the scars and haven’t had hay fever since. So thankful to Joan for changing my life.
You have had a very broad ranging career, tell us a bit about where your passion for nutrition has taken you.
I have been blessed to work in the wonderful caring independent health store community for over 20 years from transforming the family business ‘Select Stores’ in Dalkey from a greengrocer into an independent health store, whole food café and fresh produce juice bar where I was GM for 16 years.
I graduated from IINH in 2006 and my studies & accreditation really supported me with day-to-day customer queries on their individual nutritional requirements. I also trained with Carmel Somers of ‘Good Things’ West Cork in 2011 to become a wholefood chef cooking meals every day at the ‘Fuel Food’ kitchen in Dalkey.
In 2014, Brown Thomas Dublin added my wholefood recipes to their restaurant menu which led to a book publishing deal to write a cookbook which was released in 2016. ‘The Fuel Food Cookbook’ became a bestseller highlighting the importance of the independent health store within the community as an essential food store with the best of healthy ingredients to create nutritious allergen friendly recipes & dishes.
I was invited to become an ambassador for Health Stores Ireland association which I proudly accepted and have worked closely with ever since with marketing and events. Ethical Viridian Nutrition distributed the ‘Fuel Food’ cookbook in the UK and we collaborated, co-creating the successful Viridian Nutrition 7 Day Sugar Detox Kit/App which led me to tour independent health stores throughout the UK and Ireland with healthy ‘refined sugar free’ food talk demos.
In 2017 I established my own sales, marketing & event consultancy company ‘Hubble Health’ creating and activating successful campaigns with natural health brands globally and wonderful independent health stores & independent food retailers.
In 2023 Viridian Nutrition published my second cookbook ‘Kids Kitchen Takeover’ with kids cooking as a life skill in the UK and Ireland launching a 33-date family food talk demo tour within independent health stores and their ‘next generation’ communities. In 2024 ‘Kids Kitchen Takeover’ the food nutrition demo events are confirmed for TY secondary schools nationwide.
You have recently released your ‘Kids’ Kitchen Takeover Cookbook’. Can you tell us a bit about what made you write this book?
Imagine if everyone learned cookery skills and healthy eating habits as a child – what impact might that have on our lifetime health and happiness? Kids Kitchen Takeover is a cookbook created especially for kids! It features easy-to-follow, step-by-step recipes that will soon become your family favourites. Good wholesome delicious food, bursting with flavour and essential nutrients to help you and your family live the healthiest and happiest lives possible.
Kids Kitchen Takeover is a must for all families who want their kids to grow into super-healthy adults. Simply put, the foundations of good long-term health can be found in the kitchen! Let your kids take over the kitchen for a day or two each week, have some fun and gift them a lifetime of good health.
This cookbook uses ‘real food’ ingredients with simple nourishing recipes featuring fresh fruit and vegetables plus wholefoods such as grains, beans and cereals etc. which can be sourced at your local independent health store and independent food retailer. It’s full of nutritious and easy recipes for you to make in your kitchen with your family, whether it be for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks – eat them for whatever meal suits you best and don’t be scared to make them your own by swapping ingredients and trying new flavours. It’s all about sharing the experience and making these recipes together in the heart of the home, the kitchen.
The book is suited to kids aged 5-15. What kinds of skills will they learn from the cookbook?
- Nutritional knowledge, eating well and keeping healthy.
- Meal planning and food shopping at independent health stores.
- Eating together, sharing recipes, food for sports activities and lunchbox ideas.
- Kitchen health and safety, food storage and cleaning up after you.
Can you tell us a bit about some of the recipes included in the cookbook?
35 plus plant-based recipes tried and tested by kids nationwide, each with step-by-step picture instructions.
Great for kids 5-15, there is a recipe in there for everyone in the family.
Includes nourishing breakfast, lunch, dinner and healthy homemade snack easy recipes.
Helpful tips, nutritional information and suggestions of how to adapt the recipes.
Recipe ingredients cost average €5 per recipe, with the same whole food ingredients used throughout the recipes regards sustainability.
Some recipe favourites – Sweet & Spiced Granola, Oatylicious Bread, Rockin Ratatouille Quinoa, Choco Apple Banana Bites and Easy Breezy Pancakes.
What is your top tip for getting the kids interested in healthy eating?
Much praise, encouragement and appreciation when prepping simple meals from food shop to food knowledge, it’s important that kids can ask questions about food ingredients and independent health stores have caring trained professional staff answering customer queries every day. Knowledge is key!
What advice would you give to people embarking on a career in the area of health and nutrition?
I’ve got 2 –
Contact IINH to speak with one of the team to review and discuss which Nutrition course may suit you the best with the individual journey you’re on and where you would like to see yourself in 5 years-time in the health and wellbeing universe.
Also, work at an independent health store to care and serve empathically within a local community understanding and gaining knowledge on individual customers nutritional needs and requirements. It will definitely lead you on the right path to which area you would like to work in within the ‘health and nutrition’ universe.
What would be your top health and nutrition tip?
Give The Gift of Cooking to Kids from the age of 6 years old inspiring a child to assist with day-to-day food prep, cooking and shopping following an easy nourishing recipe from a cherished kids’ cookbook.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of Oliver’s fantastic new book, you can purchase it at www.olivermccabe.com