Finding truth in a sea of misinformation about women's health
Unexpected surprises and delightful meetings happen when you least expect it. Recently, at a local Queensland market, Kym had an fun chat with a clinical nutritionist called Meg. Lucky for us, she is coming on board for a series of blogs about her passion and area of study, women's health. As a women led business and mothers, we understand the challenges of those first few years of motherhood and well, we think tea is great support during this time. Maybe we are a bit bias, so Kym asked Meg some introductory questions.
EF: We would love to learn more about Meg The Nutritionist. You are a clinical nutritionist with a focus on women's health, please share a little bit more about your journey, what was the catalyst to pursue this profession and what impact / outcomes continue to motivate you in your work for women?
Meg: My journey into nutrition started with my huge love for food. I have always loved cooking and experimenting with recipes. The more I utilised different ingredients, the more I wanted to know what benefits they could offer for the body! So I enrolled in a Bachelor of Nutritional Medicine and here I am about to complete my Masters and kick start an exciting research project next year (hopefully)! My interest in women's health definitely developed when I was pregnant with Opal- I wanted to know how best I could nourish myself throughout pregnancy all the way through to breastfeeding and beyond. I also believe there's so much mis-information about health and nutrition which is targeted at women, often making them so confused and not sure where to start. I hope to provide women with accurate, achievable & maintainable health and nutrition advice to support them, no matter what stage of their life they are in.
EF: You are a home cooking ninja and I spotted one of my all time favourites - dumplings, on your IG feed. I understand you have spent some time in Shanghai, China where you learnt how to make dumplings. Our overseas experiences always shape and influence us, what was one of your most memorable things that you took away from this experience in your life.
Meg: Food & cooking is one of my biggest passions which 100% sparked from me living in both Shanghai & Hong Kong. I was so lucky to grow up overseas and experience different cultures from a young age. I still remember the day I first learnt to fold dumplings (I still use that recipe today)- I was in year 4 and had to stand on a foot stool to reach the bench! I think one of the most memorable things I took away from growing up overseas is how different cultures utilise different foods to support and nourish health. To this day, whenever I feel sick I add goji berries, ginger and red dates into soup & I always like to drink warm water, to support my digestion and keep my “qi” warm. In particular, when I am working with women during their postpartum period I use a-lot of basic traditional Chinese medicine principles, like keeping warm, resting and focusing on foods that nourish and support recovery & milk production.
EF: I did see that you don't mind sprinkling a little bit of matcha over your food! We would love to know, what is one of your favourite pure leaf tea (camellia sinensis) and how do you like to enjoy it?
Meg: It is so hard to choose my favourite variety of Camellia sinensis, however I think green tea will always win hands down. For me, there is so much opportunity to do things with green tea. Most times I will brew green tea with jasmine, I think largely because that taste combination reminds me of Hong Kong! I also cook with green tea by flavouring rice, noodles or even steaming salmon with it (it takes a meal to a whole other level!) Green tea in particular has a huge number of health promoting properties from blood sugar control, reducing stress & anxiety, supporting metabolism, improving microbiome composition and even reducing blood pressure!
EF: As a working mum to the gorgeous Opal (whom Kym was fortunate to meet at a twilight market at which we were neighbours) you appreciate how noisy the health and nutrition arena is with 'advice' for mums. Often being tired, changes to hormones and adjusting to life with children this 'advice' makes us feel like we are doing a bad job or guilty. With your Meg the Nutritionist hat on what approach to health and nutrition could serve Mums well?
Meg: Opal is nearly 10 months, and in that 10 months I can say I have never heard so much conflicting health and nutrition advice! It can get so overwhelming and confusing, I can completely understand why mums don’t know where to start to improve their health! I think one of my biggest tips is to do what works for your body- just because it worked for your neighbour or your friend, doesn’t mean it will work for you! Don’t put that extra pressure on yourself, you don’t need to be working out 5 times per week, intermittent fasting, only juice cleansing on weekends and not eating chocolate. Health and food is all about balance, find what works for you and listen to how your body responds when you try new things. For me, I need to eat breakfast otherwise I feel exhausted, so intermittent fasting doesn’t work for me. Also, don’t do a juice cleanse please, no matter how good they sound (you’ll be super tired, exhausted and most likely feel worse afterwards). If you want a super tasty fresh juice, have it- but with a super tasty meal!
EF: We have 3 tea pets over here at East Forged HQ. If you could invite one over as a guest on your tea table which of East Forged crew would you ask (Mico🐵 Stay Wondrous | Notsu🐷 Live Connected | Saka😼 Forge an independent life)?
Meg: Hmm I think I would have to go with Notsu. I definitely think in this day and age staying connected is so important, not only to your family and friends, but also to yourself and what you stand for! Any way you can stay connected, like having an East Forged Tea with a friend out in the sunshine sounds like a great idea to me.