For the last 20 years my focus has been in the food industry as a product development and technical consultant developing innovative food concepts. I have always had a lifelong interest in nutrition and healthy eating and am currently studying part-time for an MSc in Human Nutrition at the University of Chester.
The current obesity crisis and importance of gut microbiome on health has fuelled my interest in plant based and vegan diets and switching towards less processed and more sustainable food choices. I am particularly interested in children’s diets and impact of dietary food preferences on health. My dissertation is a qualitative study which will investigate how parents of vegan children try to meet the nutritional requirements of current vegan dietary recommendations and the potential challenges and/or dietary benefits. A wide range of non-evidence based resources are encountered by parents on social media channels so how do they ensure their diets meet these recommendations? This study will explore resources used by parents, dietary preferences, fortification and supplementation, social isolation issues and availability/suitability of healthy vegan meals for children in schools and out of home. Thematic analysis will be used to identify specific overarching themes from semi-structured interviews and participant observation. Nutritional benefits identified may be used to support vegan health promotion programmes. Awareness of the challenges parents experience may help support families when adopting vegan diets for their children.
Outside of my research I am interested in the environmental aspects of veganism and the sustainability issues of our current food system. I am an active volunteer for Grow Cardiff, who promote growing and healthy eating in schools through the Edible Playgrounds initiative. I have also delivered nutrition education in schools through the School Holiday Enrichment Programme and regularly help at a local Community Pantry supporting food poverty and healthy eating in deprived communities