Edel Owens is a qualified Nutrition & Health Coach. She has gone on to launch a corporate gifting service Optimum Health Hampers. Personally approved and carefully curated by Edel, she uses her knowledge and experience as a health coach to bring you superior quality, organic, and sustainably sourced artisan products from Irish producers.
We chatted to Edel to to see what sparked her interest in nutrition, discuss her nutrition philosophies and find out what she has been up to since studying with IINH.
When did you first become interested in nutrition and health?
The interest has always been there. I remember my first ever cooking class in secondary school and then coming home and trying out the dishes on my brothers and sisters. It’s funny as my sister said to me recently that she loved the days when I was making dinner. Back then spaghetti bolognese was exotic! So I guess it was a break from the norm of meat and veg. I always loved experimenting with foods, especially making things like salads and healthier options for my parents too. I’ve always loved going shopping for food as well and to be honest, I enjoy shopping for food more than anything else really. I’m a food nerd!
So what made you decide to study with IINH?
After my first child was born, I came to a crossroads and just knew that my passion for teaching wasn’t there anymore so I sat down and asked myself what I was good at and what I really wanted to do. The one thing that kept coming up was food and health so I decided to follow my intuition and look for courses along these lines.
After doing a considerable amount of postgraduate study for my teaching, I wasn’t prepared to commit to a long period of study so the length of the course was a huge factor to begin with. The IINH course really appealed to me as well because the modules were broad but in-depth enough to give you a good grounding in nutritional coaching.
I also loved the cookery element with Maggie and even though it meant travelling from Co. Down to Dublin every time, I never missed a weekend.
I began coaching full time in March 2020 just before the pandemic hit and I always had the idea that I would love to give a little gift to my clients to say thank you for working with me. Then in March of this year, I rebranded under the umbrella name Optimum Health and I decided to run with my idea of creating a health hamper and see where it would lead. By June the business was launched and we had our first Nourish and Rejuvenate Hamper ranges off the ground.
I identified a real need and an appetite for gifting in a healthier way from speaking to clients and friends and I also got this feedback from the corporates that I work with. The bonus as well is that this is an area very close to my heart as I would much rather receive and give a Gift of Health that is going to help me live a healthier, happier life than something I’ll never eat or use or potentially throw away.
In case you’re wondering what’s inside our hampers, our Nourish range is food and accessories and our Rejuvenate range is body/skin care and accessories. We also offer seasonal hampers and we are just putting the finishing touches to our Winter Wellness and Christmas hamper range now.
The products in our hampers have real health benefits and are very high grade, artisan products made here in Ireland. The products are organic, 100% natural, vegan origin, free from, and are most often made in small batches which adds an extra special meaningful layer. I have the hard job of testing and approving all these wonderful products but someones gotta do it!!
You also offer corporate nutrition programs, from your experience working with corporate clients, do you feel that nutrition and health is well understood? What simple advice would you give people?
I feel that corporates get a good deal of nutritional guidance now and yes employee understanding of health and wellness is definitely improving. What I would say is that whilst the awareness is there, this doesn’t necessarily mean that people are closing the gap between what they know and what they should do.
For example, there is an endemic culture of snacking in the corporate world and whilst I know corporates are trying to provide healthier snacking alternatives for their workforces, employees are still over snacking.
If employees are sitting and hence sedentary for most of their day, they may be consuming more calories than they can burn off due to lack of activity. In addition to this, snacking habits have changed drastically with working from home and employees having easier access again to unhealthy snacks so this has exacerbated the issue.
I have three simple tips to help you avoid over snacking:
Ask yourself are you really hungry or dehydrated? See if a glass of water will satisfy you instead.
Keep a healthy snack pack full of healthy options when you really are peckish. Add things like healthy trail mix, tinned fish, homemade energy balls.
Get outdoors and move to help you push past that notorious morning crash and 3pm slump.
What is your personal nutrition philosophy?
I believe that everyone can make great health a habit. In fact when I first started coaching this was my tag line. I also believe that micro changes lead to the most transformational changes and that it is very important to be realistic if you want health and wellbeing that is sustainable.
Also I think it is important to add that whilst I know that a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle is crucial to long term wellness, I also know that it is vital to work on your mindset at the same time so you can shift your self image to accept the higher version of yourself you want to become.
And what advice would you give to someone who is considering studying Nutrition and Health Coaching?
At a professional level, the best advice I can give is that if your desire and passion is unwavering, then go for it! There is always space for new and innovative coaches and there will always be someone who needs your help.
To anyone who is simply interested in the course at a personal level, I would say the course is invaluable for the knowledge and awareness it gives you with regards to simple things like best food brands, meal ideas, medicine meals and of course you can use this learning into practice to keep other people in your life healthy – children, friends and so on.
In a practical sense I would say that you need to be prepared to navigate the online world and enhance your marketing and social media skills to the best of your ability so you can get noticed and stand out from the crowd. It is a competitive space.
At IINH, our graduates are very important to us and we wish to create a space where they can continue on their journey with us and know they have our full support and guidance in reaching their end goals.