A Conversation with Hannah from @kinderkitchen.co
In a world filled with culinary trends and nutritional advice, it's a breath of fresh air to connect with people who not only possess profound expertise but also radiate a genuine passion for their craft. Our latest blog brings you an exclusive conversation with the brilliant mind behind @kinderkitchen.co, none other than Hannah herself. An accredited Clinical Nutritionist and a fervent food enthusiast, Hannah's expertise extends to women's health, mental well-being, and gut health – making her a go-to authority for a holistic approach to nourishment.
MYOVA: Hey Hannah! It's so great to chat with you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the work that you do?
HANNAH: Hey! I am an accredited Clinical Nutritionist (BHSc) and passionate foodie, with a special interest in women's health, mental health and gut health.
MYOVA: We'd love to know what tips you'd give someone looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into their diet.
HANNAH: Base your meals on whole foods rather than processed and packaged foods. When people switch to more plant-based eating, they often head straight to these types of foods, which are OK from time to time but are generally lacking in nutrients and higher in more inflammatory ingredients.
MYOVA: Great advice! What about getting enough protein?
HANNAH: Definitely ensure you include quality protein (from a variety of sources) and plenty of healthy fats with each meal. This is really important to help keep blood sugar balanced and support healthy hormone production and function.
MYOVA: Which we know supports those of us with PCOS, right?
HANNAH: Exactly! And keep it simple - find a few balanced meals that you love and have them on rotation (Pinterest and Insta are great for inspiration). Switch up the ingredients to keep things varied - for example, use black beans instead of chickpeas, rocket instead of spinach, and vary your seeds, dressings etc.
MYOVA: Speaking of ingredients, how is best to approach a weekly food shop?
HANNAH: Your weekly shop is your opportunity to stock up on the building blocks of healthy meals and snacks for the week ahead. Keep coming back to whole foods, so plenty of varied protein sources, healthy fats, whole grains, colourful vegetables and fruit.
MYOVA: The amount of products and offers can be overwhelming and tempting. Any advice?
HANNAH: Be realistic about the amount of time you have through the week to cook meals from scratch - this is where things like tinned fish, pre-made hummus and other dips, and microwavable pouches of grains etc, can actually be useful.
And it can be tempting to fill your baskets with superfood powders. As a general rule of thumb, invest in better quality whole food ingredients over superfood powders. They can be supportive but are not essential to a healthy diet.
MYOVA: Such amazing advice, Hannah! Aside from eating nutritious food, what 3 things would you recommend everyone does daily to help keep their mental and physical health in check?
HANNAH: It's going to be hard to stop at 3!
1) Breathwork - Do a more energising practice in the morning and something more calming in the evening to support better quality sleep.
2) Movement - Find something that works for you and be mindful of overdoing it with higher-intensity exercise, as this can put the body under stress and impact hormones. I'm a big advocate of Pilates, yoga and weight training.
3) Do more of what you love - Make time for the things, people, places and activities that bring us joy. What makes us feel good improves our health (and life is too short not to prioritise the things that make you happy and fulfilled).
MYOVA: Love that last one - well said! Can you recommend some foods that those of us with PCOS should regularly incorporate into our diet?
HANNAH: Zinc-rich foods to support healthy hormone production, reduce inflammation, support healthy testosterone detoxification and more (zinc has so many health benefits for women's reproductive health, especially when it comes to PCOS management). Zinc-rich foods include nuts and seeds, tofu and tempeh, mushrooms and whole grains, as well as seafood, shellfish and lean meats if you eat animal products.
Healthy fats to support progesterone production and regular ovulation such as oily fish nuts and seeds (especially walnuts and pumpkin, flax, chia and hemp seeds), nut and seed butters and avocado, and full-fat butter, oily fish and moderate amounts of good quality meats (especially organ meats) if you eat animal products.
Plant-based proteins to provide protein, fibre and other nutrients that are vital for hormone health. Adequate fibre is needed to support gut health, regulate blood sugar and more. A good tip is to use quinoa instead of oats in your morning porridge (you can start with half and half until you get used to the taste/texture!), and add a sprinkle of seeds to literally everything!
MYOVA: Can you share a quick, delicious recipe with us that incorporates some of those foods?
HANNAH: Quinoa porridge with seeds, tahini and roasted seasonal fruit - porridge is a really popular breakfast choice, but it's so important to have a high protein, high-fat breakfast, especially if you have PCOS.
MYOVA: Finally, where can the MyOva community go to find you?