Nutrition and vitality: Emma Ellice-Flint
Emma Ellice-Flint, has created an incredible following in Australia and globally for her attitude to nutrition and in particular how to assist hormonal balance naturally.
What made you follow this path? What was your lightbulb moment?
When I was working as a Chef in both the UK and Australia I not only loved food and cooking but also how those foods made me feel. I wanted to have plenty of energy to get through my day, to feel alive and really strong. I found that if I ate certain foods I would feel that way. This led me to think what was in those foods that affected me both positively and negatively, and how I could influence others to feel as alive and well. So I began my Nutrition degree and the passion for my career started and has never waned, I love what I do!
If you could suggest one ingredient to take out of or limit in your diet, what would it be and why?
Processed fats like hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats. This is because every cell in our bodies has a membrane called a phospholipid bilayer, a continuous barrier around cells. They function by moving particles in and out of the cell, helping to keep the cell healthy and functioning at its peek.
When we eat these rubbish fats they end up in our cell membrane causing it to be less flexible and permeable. The result is a sick cell. Now when you consider we are made up of billions of cells then you can understand how this can affect the functioning of every part of your body, both physically and mentally.
Quality of raw materials is obviously an essential part of eating well. What’s the ingredient you are least likely to economise on in your kitchen?
Extra virgin olive oil! I always buy the best quality because it contains monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. The antioxidants help protect the body from damaging free radicals which cause cell damage and monounsaturated fat is linked to a reduction in diseases such as heart disease, as well as improved cholesterol balance and blood sugar control. This makes for a healthy body!
You run bespoke consultations, courses and retreats in the UK and Italy, what can people expect from your approach to food?
At my Nutrition clinic, workshops, cooking demonstrations and retreats people can expect to learn all about what it takes to feel more healthy, balanced and full of life. Understanding their bodies and feeding them the best way they can. Plus when people see food being cooked, taste it and know why it is so good for them, they are inspired to continue and make it for themselves.
What do you consider to be the greatest influences in contemporary Australian cuisine?
The natural environment influences Australian cuisine a great deal. The weather is great for growing produce, which means fruits and vegetables are so fresh, varied and abundant. The other very interesting influence on Australian cuisine are native foods. Australian native foods offer so many interesting flavours and amazing health benefits. Take for example Kakadu Plums, they are the worlds richest food source of vitamin C, you could definitely call them a superfood! There are many others such as finger limes, riberries, wattleseed and the myrtles such as lemon myrtle. All with impressive tastes and health benefits.
From a nutritional perspective, can you tell me why you recommend Extra Virgin Olive Oil as part of a balanced diet?
I’ve touched on this above, but it is such an important part of a healthy way to eat that I think it worth speaking about it again. The most interesting thing about extra virgin olive oil is in big population studies it consistently shows up as being one of the main factors why people are healthy. Referred to as the Mediterranean Diet, of which extra virgin olive oil is a key component, these large population studies show remarkable health benefits. Other research seems to be pointing towards extra virgin olive oil helping to prevent breast and colon cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis and help you to live longer!
Can you recommend a recipe you’ve recently used EVOO for?
I use extra virgin olive oil in so many of my recipes, even desserts! So it’s hard to choose a favourite.
Here’s one I love, Whole Lemon Cake, because it’s lovely and moist as well as zesty and tangy, plus really easy to make: https://emmasnutrition.com.au/sweet-things/lemon_cake/