We are chatting with our new friend Amy Moring from Hunter & Gather Foods. Amy is a lifelong Coeliac and Co-Founder of Hunter & Gather along with her partner Jeff Webster. Hunter & Gather are well-known for their sharing of lots of tips and inspiration in blogs on their website and social media. Their principles are Real Food, free from sugars, grains and harmful fats, quality, transparency and sustainability. Their principles mean that their products are low in carbs, Keto and Paleo friendly too. Plus their Hunter & Gather name is a nod to hunter and gatherer times as well as "Hunt" being Amy's grandparents surname and "Gathergood" being the surname of Jeff's paternal side. They say some things are just meant to be!
Hi Amy! Q. Can you tell us a bit about your health journey and how you came to start Hunter and Gather Foods?
A. I was diagnosed with coeliac at 18 months old, after 6 months of testing via the hospital. At the time this required food diaries, eating as much gluten laden food as possible, scopes pre and post the food trials and lots of hospital visits. When the diagnosis came in, my parents where horrified and back then gluten free products just didn't really exist in supermarkets. I spent my life always checking ingredients, looking at the back of pack, cooking food from scratch and also seeing the landscape of the food industry in the UK change. Jeff and I met as teenagers and Jeff was eating a "conventional" western diet but was suffering with acne, bad stomach pains, hunger and fluctuating moods. It was only when Jeff started reflecting on his own diet after learning about coeliac that he started researching Paleo & Keto lifestyles. This lead to a journey of discovery for Jeff and over the next 7 years we began understanding the impact that not only gluten had on our wellbeing but also sugars, all grains and harmful fats. Linking what we eat with other factors such as movement, play, rest away from screens and good quality sleep - we felt incredible and we wanted to share our principles to help others. We were making our own mayonnaise, condiments etc from home and thought this could be the perfect way to encourage people to learn more about this space. Mayonnaise in the UK is a category lacking in healthier innovation and many consumers are buying grass fed meats, organic veggies but then slathering their plates with chemical and sugar laden mayo (as there was no other choice than homemade). We wanted to provide others with superior choices with no compromise and that's where our first idea for our mayo range came from. Q. You have won a whole raft of new product awards for your food but which award are you most proud of and for which product?
A. Oo this is a tough one, we are so proud of all the awards we have won and the response to our range has been amazing. When we launched at Food Matters Live, we had no idea how far Hunter & Gather would go in a short space of time. We won our first and I have to say most beautiful award trophy at this event for the "Innovative Better For You Product Of the Year". Our family came along to watch and we even captured the moment live on social media - so it was definitely something to remember and we felt on cloud 9! Q. Which is your favourite product from your range?
A. Oh gosh another tough question, it is like trying to choose between children haha! Our range is so versatile and each product has it's rightful place in the range. I think the classic Avocado Oil Mayonnaise will always be special as it was the product that started this whole journey - plus it was pure innovation at it's finest. It totally embodies the principles that we aim to live by and it is also blooming delicious and a great taste gold star winner too.
Q. Who are your role models and what do you most admire about them?
A. I am not really a role model kind of person, there are so many people that do amazing things every day and you can take inspiration and learning from everyone. For me, every single person that makes the decisions to go against convention and take learning into their own hands is inspirational. It is very easy to be wrapped up in the day to day but those that stick their heads above the parapet for a cause, reason or just because they want to seek ways to be the best versions of themselves - that is a role model. Q. If you could go back in time ten years, what piece of advice would you tell yourself?
A. Well, Jeff and I are still well within our 20's so going back 10 years brings us into our teen years. I don't think I would have changed anything - I have always gone with my intuition even if it meant not following a crowd or my peers. I have also always been the "special" one when it comes to eating out or speaking with others and it has lead to me developing my skills around talking about Coeliac and Real Food with credibility and experience. I think the only advice I would give my teen self, is that the corporate world and getting a job in the city is not the be all and end all - relax. I also had a very fixed mindset as a young teenager and it has taken me a long time to turn this into a growth mindset. I therefore would have pushed myself more out of my comfort zone as a teenager and had a go at things I new I wouldn't be good for the learning experience. Q. What would be your #1 piece of advice for anyone looking to follow a Paleo or LCHF diet?
A. My one piece of advice would be, do not rush. We class Paleo and low carb as lifestyles rather than diets. Diets to us has negative connotations and is linked to loosing weight. While yes for many Paleo, Low Carb and Keto are great ways to loose weight but then what happens after you have reached your goal and what happens if you don't hit your goal weight in the time you want? Jeff and I are still learning and it has been a process over many years but we utilise Paleo and Real Food principles in our overall lifestyle. Q. Where can we find out more about Hunter Gather Food?
Photocredits: Tara Liondaris