Thanks for being with us today Nic. Your blog, nicsnutrition.com is packed full of healthy, tasty recipes and nutritional information. Tell us about why you started this blog.
And thank you for having me
I qualified as a dietitian in 2009, and my first taste of blogging was actually reading ‘beauty/fashion blogs’ in my free time. I loved the fact that you could get honest advice (for free!) from people who were equally as passionate, and after looking for nutrition blogs I quickly realised that there was a lack of trust-worthy advice out there, and I couldn’t find any UK dietitians who were blogging or vlogging.
In 2012 I finally decided to ‘take the plunge’ and start blogging as I basically wanted to share REAL nutrition advice that works. I’m not about fad diets and I’m not about nutritional claims that have no evidence to back them up. The aim of my blog ‘Nic’s Nutrition’ is to inspire others in to lead a healthier and ultimately happy life, one step at a time through providing nutrition & fitness tips, healthy recipes and product reviews.
You’re a registered dietician, tell us more about your education. Where did you study, and what was your motivation for studying to become a dietician?
I studied a BSc (hons) in Sport & Exercise Science at Loughborough University and in my 2nd year decided that my passion lay in nutrition. I went on to complete the Post Graduate Diploma in Nutrition & Dietetics at Leeds Metropolitan University and then completed my MSc in Health Science whilst working as a dietitian. In total I studied for 5 years full time at university and then part-time for 1-2 years.
My motivation for being a dietitian came from seeing the ‘healing powers’ of food. I originally looked into ‘food as medicine’ when trying to improve the condition of my skin and was so pleased with the results that I wanted to help others to do the same.. i.e. change their diet to benefit their body.
You can read more about my route to becoming a dietitian here: http://www.cv-surgeon.co.uk/advice-and-news-articles/industry-spotlight-dietitian-careers
Do you believe that a person can eat healthy without having to sacrifice taste?
YES! Spices & herbs provide calorie, fat and sugar free flavour and can transform any dish. I can’t eat my porridge in a morning without cinnamon (& banana too) – nature’s natural flavours!
I thought you’d say yes haha! I love Banana’s in my Porridge, and Cinamon in my ground rice! You’re blog is very successful, largely due to the great content you put out. How difficult is it for you to come up with ideas for your blogs?
Thank you! I’m inspired by foods that I see on the internet that look and sound amazing, however aren’t perhaps too healthy- I credit many recipes that offer me ‘inspiration’ and are the base of my recipes – with an added nicsnutrition twist! I’m also inspired by friends and family, and love just experimenting in the kitchen (that’s how many latest recipe of healthy frozen chocolate bites came about!).
My favourite recipes that you produce are the healthy dessert recipes. Being a bodybuilder Im not able to treat myself to a regular dessert. My diet is documented in my NABBA training Journal, and you’ll find a lack of sweet foods unfortunately! How do you find the inspiration for these desserts?
My aim is to create healthy recipes that taste naughty.. so I’m inspired by using healthier ingredients such as oats and oat flour, cocoa, coconut oil & mashed banana/apple puree. I look to re-creating foods which are typically seen as ‘no-go’ and making them ‘go-ahead’!!
Do you treat yourself to these healthy desserts daily, or are they a treat for you?
They’re daily for me (!!). I don’t class my healthy treats as ‘treats’ (!) – they are just a part of my diet. Just because they taste amazing doesn’t mean you should deny yourself (IMO!).
You pump out a lot of great recipe’s in your videos. Do you cook like this every day for yourself?
I have similar breakfasts and lunches week to week e.g. today I had porridge with banana for breakfast and sweet potato with a cottage cheese salad at lunch. My evening meals vary from ‘something for my blog’ to something standard like fajitas (tonight’s dinner!) or a quick stir-fry etc. My simplest dinner is a Moroccan veggie burger (frozen from Asda!) with sweet potato wedges & roasted Mediterranean veg (also frozen!) – frozen vegetables actually contain more nutrients than their fresh equivalents and they are so convenient!
What would your advice be to someone who says they want to lose weight, but can’t give up the tastes of their favourite foods?
Cut down, not out .. work them into your daily calorie needs or simply make sure to balance them out with extra exercise – be warned though, you can’t out-train a bad diet 😉
How important do you consider nutrition to be for someone who trains hard and wants to get into shape?
Diet is 80% of achieving most fitness goals, it’s paramount! I generally say for people to view exercise as a toning/sculpting tool (as well as improving health), and food as a tool for weight loss/gain.
For those reading and want to try one of your recipe’s, but feel as though they belong on can’t cook won’t cook, which recipe would you recommend to them? What is the easiest to follow and not make a mess of? (If you can provide me the link then i’ll embed the video in the post)
My latest blog (Healthy Coconut Frozen Chocolate Bites) seems to be a big hit and is NO BAKE too http://nicsnutrition.com/recipe/healthy-coconut-frozen-chocolate/ & video: http://youtu.be/H0Lyw9IJX8s .. or for a protein twist try my ‘no bake protein balls’: http://nicsnutrition.com/recipe/no-bake-peanut-butter-protein-balls/ & video: http://youtu.be/ebLycOVycrI
What are your thoughts on how companies market products, such as protein powders, towards women, as opposed to the traditional marketing campaigns that are geared towards males?
It’s a well known fact that packaging sells.. and marketing companies know this… given that their aim is to make money you can’t blame them for creating different campaigns (!). I’ve seen your video on protein powders for women.. very funny
Do you think women are an easy target for supplement companies to take advantage of?
Yes. It’s a shame that some promote shakes as ‘weight loss shakes’ .. when really adding shakes into someone’s diet could actually cause weight GAIN if nothing else changes (!). Extra calories will be stored as fat, it doesn’t matter that they are from protein!
How often do you use supplements as part of your diet? Would you recommend them as a dietician?
I recommend food first, and supplements to enhance. I personally use whey protein shakes a few times a week as a lighter, high protein snack to keep me feeling satisfied, in my porridge as a protein boost at breakfast as well as in baking to help reduce the over all calorie intake of a product. I recommend whey protein shakes to people who are struggling to meet their daily protein needs through food alone.
What supplements do you use most often?
I use whey protein almost every week and take probiotics if I ever have to take antibiotics (e.g. if I have a wisdom tooth infection!!.. agh!).
Which supplement brands do you find yourself using over and over again?
I’m not really a fan of any brand in particular but quite like Purition given their all natural ingredients list (!). You can read my review here: http://nicsnutrition.com/purition-product-review/
I’ve used many brands over the years, however im always open to trying new brands and new supplements. I’ll definitely be checking your supplement reviews out! How important is healthy eating to your lifestyle?
Very (naturally!), I live by the 80/20 rule.. healthy eating 80% of the time
Do you ever have a day where you eat what you want all day long?
Every day.. I only ever eat what I want, it just happens that most of it tends to be pretty healthy (!). If I want chocolate or a biscuit I’ll have some .. I don’t believe in food deprivation.. a little bit of what you fancy does you good 😉
That’s a great mentality to have. Moderation. What is your favourite ‘cheat meal’?
I don’t really have a fave ‘cheat meal’.. but always order either a seafood linguini or risotto when out!
Do you find your healthy lifestyle interferes with your social life? As a bodybuilder, I find myself missing out on many social gatherings such as parties, meals and the like. Do you find yourself in a similar situation?
Never. I believe that there are always choices, wherever you go – sometimes I may look at a menu online before I go or other times I just order what ever looks the healthiest on the menu. I have to say though that I’m not a big drinker (it just doesn’t agree with me!) but my friends quite like the fact that I offer to drive and can have fun without the need for alcohol!
You’ve been featured in the likes of Women’s Running, Sainbury’s and Women and Home magazines. Tell us about how these collaborations came about.
One word.. twitter! It’s a great medium for journalists to find you.
Often people want to lose weight, but give up before they see results. How would you encourage or motivate someone on the verge of giving up on their training or diet plan?
I’ve written a blog on that http://nicsnutrition.com/motivated/
Outside of your blog, how do you put your nutrition expertise to use?
I work full time for the NHS as a Bariatric & Diabesity Dietitian, so I run clinics, weight loss groups and deliver structured education classes – it’s very rewarding! I also work within maternal obesity, helping to prevent excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
You also have a very successful Youtube channel. Did you find that appearing in front of the camera when you first started out as being an easy, or hard task?
It’s definitely become easier.. I actually have taken down a few of my earlier videos as they made me cringe too much! I think I’ve become more natural with practice and can’t wait to get better.. practice is the only way!
How important do you feel that youtube, and social media is to your blogging success?
Social media is a fantastic way of getting your blog ‘out there’ and read by people. Most of my readers still come from Google searchers, but twitter is the next biggest referrer to my blog!
What projects do you have coming up for 2014?
I have finally taken the plunge and am committing to one video a week on my YouTube Channel, starting in April! *eek*.
What advice would you give to someone reading this who would like to start their own healthy lifestyle blog?
I started blogging using blogspot. It’s super easy to use (and free!) however make sure to blog because you WANT to. Write about what interests YOU, whilst listening to what your readers like and want more of. Thank your readers for their input and acknowledge their presence on social media – interact, interact, interact! Think of blogging as an enjoyable hobby and not a job/chore.. you are your own boss when you write a blog, and you make the rules!
Where can our readers follow you?
Thanks for your time Nic, do you have any final words for our readers?
It’s not about diets, it’s about a way of life!
Thank you Adam :)!
Nichola makes some very good points in this interview about ‘bad’ foods can still be enjoyed when in moderation, and that your diet can benefit from nutritional supplements, but shouldn’t make up the majority of your diet. Always make sure to check out supplement reviews, and do your research before investing into any nutritional supplements to aid with your diet. Most of all be healthy, and be happy! Make sure to check out all of our interviews, and articles about supplements, and don’t forget to subscribe to our Free newsletter!
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