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Health store help

Independent health store advice on getting set for a healthy New Year

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Bernadette Cass of the Fruit ‘N Nut Health Store in Portlaoise.

For the New Year we all want to aim to make some improvements in our bodies and minds. Out with the old habits, and increase some of the better ones. The word detox may have fallen out of favour in recent years, but making small changes to your diet and lifestyle can really help you to feel better.

Morning habits

Hydration is the simplest thing we can do. Get up in the morning, have some warm water with a slice of lemon. It's an ideal way to start your morning. Some people do not eat a breakfast, but I would suggest having even a spoonful of porridge with some nuts and seeds.

Cut down

Cook from scratch as much as you can. Meal planning saves time and money. When you cook in batches you waste less food and you are more inclined to stick to your healthy eating.

Cut out fizzy drinks and caffeinated drinks, processed foods and alcohol.

Take note of what you know you should eliminate. Make a plan and consciously stick to it.

Look at your diet

Write out what you eat on a usual day so that you are more aware of it. Try to add some colour to your diet, adding in fruit and vegetables as much as possible. Increasing your fibre intake will keep you feeling fuller for longer as well as improve your bowel movements.

When you're eating fruit, add in a small handful of nuts. Your blood sugar won't spike as much and you will have a prolonged source of energy. If you have fruit like a banana on its own, your sugar level will spike and you will be hungry shortly after. But have the banana with some protein like almond or peanut butter, and you will have a prolonged energy release and no sugar slump.

When you eat better you will have more energy and you will feel better too.

Who's who and what's what at the Fruit ‘N Nut Health Store in Portlaoise

Bernadette Cass has worked at the Fruit ‘N Nut Health Store since 2006, and took it over in 2014. "We are quite a small shop," she says, "but there is a homely feel to it that makes shopping with us very relaxing.

"We are the only independent health store in Portlaoise, located in a square off the main street, which is beside the banks and post office and always busy. We have a lot of long standing regular customers who we try to help as much as we can - we will order in anything they ask for. At this point I see teenagers coming into the shop that I can remember when they were brought in a buggy or in their mothers' arms. Time flies by. We are so lucky to have such loyal and wonderful customers.

"Around 60% of our shop is food related, and we stock organic as much as possible. We have good quality ingredients such as dried foods, herbal teas, herbs and spices, organic coffee, organic cooking oils, and a wide range of gluten-free products. We like to support local suppliers and would sell their seasonal produce when possible such as organic raw milk from March to December, local honey and gluten-free oats. We would cover most of what you might consider to be specialist foods.

"Our chilled and frozen sections include kefir, sauerkraut, kimchee, kombucha, dairy-free yogurts and cheese, frozen vegan dairy-free ice cream, and meat free sausages and burgers.

"We have a wide range of supplements as well as skin and haircare products. Our refill station allows customers to buy olive oil and save on packaging as well as a wide range of homecare products such as laundry liquid and softener, washing up liquid, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. We also try to buy products with less packaging such as loose natural soaps."

VISIT: 1 Lyster House, Portlaoise, Co.Laois
SPEAK TO: Bernadette Cass, Mary Jo Rafferty, Bernie Poole, Sinead Murphy, Hannah Heffernan, Alison Duck and Pauline Coughlan
PHONE: 057 862 2239
OPEN: Monday to Saturday 9am-6pm

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