Thank you for visiting Nourishing Networks, I am humbled that you have taken the time to check out my site. I am a student dietitian, experimental cook, novice gardener and enthusiastic explorer. I enjoy sharing stories of other passionate individuals, communities, small organisations and farms. I am however, only an intermittent blogger as I find it is important to step away occasionally from writing and social media. For more frequent content follow me on my Instagram @ellynbicknell
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Where my love for Food & Nutrition Originated
Nutrition has been a big part of my life since before I was even born. Yes, you read that right, BEFORE I was born. My mother, who suffers from Type 1 Diabetes (Insulin dependent) didn’t want her condition to affect my development. As a result she worked very hard to manage her diet and control her blood glucose levels from the moment she started trying to fall pregnant with me.
Now, we don’t have an alternate universe to compare what my health would have been like if she did not manage it as strictly, but we do have a lot of research on the effects poor diet and high glucose levels has had on the development of other children. Furthermore, due to my increased risk of getting Type I Diabetes (which can onset at any age, but usually under the age of 25) I wasn’t given lollies or ‘candy’ until after the age of four. My parents’ reasoning was that they did not want to have to tell a less-than-four-year-old they couldn’t really have lollies (except for emergency situations when diabetics need to rapidly raise their sugar levels). Some people used to say I was being deprived. But how is taking precautions for the health of your child deprivation? And I was given home-made desserts and such as banana and custard and fruit pies, but the contents of that are very different, free from a lot of refined sugar. I never really developed a great sweet tooth for that artificially sweet taste – which always got me intrigued – could it have been this early influence of food that effected my taste development and current health?
I grew up in a household that encouraged me to explore and learn about food.
I had my own cooking set, which from a young age I would use to mimic Mum and Dad cooking, and was allowed to chop up soft things like bananas with plastic knives, or mix a mixing bowl. The interest to ‘be like mum and dad’ helped me to develop life skills.
I was also encouraged to try new foods, I was never fed ‘kids meals’. Although foods high in salt or spice like chilli were avoided, I was generally given a smaller version of whatever Mum and Dad ate. Even when I was only starting on solids I got blended versions, like blended roast vegetables and meat. This was a great platform to develop my palate to food and introduce me to a range of foods. My dad especially was a great role model and influence in the kitchen and always encouraged me to get involved. He is not someone to follow a recipe but used to create amazing masterpieces 95 percent of the time by combining all sorts of flavours. However, five percent of the things we would make wouldn’t really work at all – but that is life. It taught me that in order to create a masterpiece and to find something new, you have to try a few things along the way, and they may not always work out as you expected. It’s all an experiment.
Jamie Oliver has been an idol of mine for a long time. His motivation and commitment to make a difference to the health of individuals around the world is inspiring. Having such an interest in this area, I used to follow a lot of his work on his websites and blogs. The Food Revolution movement aims to educate and inspire communities to find joy in cooking and sharing skills and subsequently promote a way of life that nourishes our health and wellbeing. I also love the Food Revolution motto: Cook it. Share it. Live it. I think this sums up our key messages beautifully.
We require food everyday of our lives and it influences how we feel day to day, how much energy we have and our health long term. Although people need to mindful that food is a composition of chemicals that each interact with your body in different ways, food is not simply fuel for our bodies it is a complex part of our social and cultural environment. The Food Revolution mission and motto really resonated with me and I was lucky enough to be an ACT ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution from 2013-2016.
I am passionate about finding effective ways to educate individuals an communities about medical related issues to empower and encourage self management and health maintenance. I believe the most important underpinnings of nutrition is familiarity with and access to fresh ingredients and the possession of basic cooking skills and equipment. Throughout my career I hope to assist in people achieving this confidence to experiment with growing or cooking food to fuel their bodies.
After attending the Fair Food Screening in 2014 and connecting with many passionate individuals through Southern Harvest Association I have, in the past 3 years, started working with local farmer’s to strengthen the local food networks within this region whilst also increasing my knowledge as an urban vegetable grower.