Derry woman launches new seed mix business after career switch to become nutritional therapist

Jade Bradley is a nutritional therapist who has launched her business called Balance: Food to Go.

Through her own development she has created a snack that offers an alternative promoting good diet, lifestyle and well-being.

“I began studying to change my career whenever I was 28 years old,” Jade, now 35, said.

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“I went to London and studied to become a nutritional therapist. I did that for three years, and whenever I qualified, I came back to Derry, and you know, I saw the need for support. There are a lot of services with mental health, but most of them weren’t supporting nutritional changes, and holistic lifestyle change to a great extent.

Jade Bradley.

“That was until I was lucky enough to cross paths with Caroline McMenamin, CBT Therapist and Founder of Replenish, a local mental health service. Since then myself and Caroline have worked closely to combine nutritional therapy, and CBT to support health and wellbeing.

“We have seen amazing results and most recently in our Smart Cookie programme (@smartcookie_newfoodhabit) that supports healthier relationships with food for health and wellbeing whilst moving away from toxic diet culture that is so common nowadays.”

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Jade’s new business incentive was launched in the New Year. Customers have the option to choose from savoury, salty, smokey or spicy mixes of seeds. The ingredients in each jar includes a mix of seeds, local Broighter Gold flavoured rapeseed oil, tamari soy sauce, coconut oil and dried spices, with no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives.

Jade believes there is a need for “food education” in Derry, “I came back to Derry and went self-employed,” she said. “My initial business is Restore Nutrition. Over time I began working with private clients, charity groups, community groups and educating them on nutrition and how it supports health and well being.

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Balance: Food To Go.

“Here in Derry there is a need for merging the nutrition side along with the education side. Food is a passion of mine. I love cooking and making food tasty which is also healthy and nutritious.

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“I don’t really like to use the word ‘healthy’ because I think it’s kind of in the eye of the beholder if you know what I mean.”

Jade has been using the Foodovation Centre, which is a commercial kitchen in the North West Regional College (NWRC). She says that the Foodovation Centre was key in the development of this product.

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“We’ve been working on different products, not just the seeds, mostly plant based products, well they are all plant based actually,” said Jade.

“The seed mix evolves with different flavours, so it has gone from being one seed mix to a range of four. The Foodovation Centre helped with all the red tape and the loopholes with environmental health, and making sure you are doing everything right.

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“The big thing for me, because I am gluten and dairy intolerant, I wanted to make sure allergens are well managed. The seeds are vegan and they’re made using gluten free ingredients.

“I’ve been literally labelling them here at home and packing them up.

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“I haven’t been making massive amounts, but I actually sold the first batch off the back of one Instagram post. I’ve got five confirmed stockists over Derry and Donegal; so it’s small steps in the right direction, and I don’t want to run before I can walk.”

Rita O’Kane is the Product Development Technical Consultant at NWRC. With Rita’s expertise and help, Jade has successfully received a grant from the NI Economy programme: Innovate Us.

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“This is just the beginning of Balance,” said Jade. “If you notice online, the social media handle is Balance: Food to Go. I want this to grow into a bigger concept.It’s not just a snack range.

“The seed mixes add flavour, texture and bring nutritious benefits to meals. In the future I would see there being a premises and, you know, in time, there could be Balanced chains around Ireland and the UK.

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“I am continuing to grow the business, but I don’t really see that there’s any kind of limit to where it can go really.”

If you would like to make an order for a seed mix please visit theBalance: Food to Go pages at Instagram: @balancefoodtogo or on Facebook @balancefoodtogo.