Jess Blair is a nutritionist, naturopath and mother of two young boys as well as wife to Warriors forward Adam Blair. You may have seen her recent appearance on the AM show talking about how to make your home a more healthy place by reducing plastics and chemicals. She writes regular magazine columns packed with useful tips on everything from boosting your immunity, reducing your child's screen time, or the best way to maintain a healthy gut while travelling (apple cider vinegar is your friend here).
What inspired you to study wellness and nutrition?
I love the health and wellness realm and wanted to help people as much as I could. I chose to study nutrition and once I finished that, I studied naturopathy and now health promotion as a postgraduate at AUT.
Have you always had an awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle?
I grew up on a farm, so we ate healthy meals and I was always outdoors, playing sport and didn't have much time to be inside or watch TV. My mum was very strict with our lunches at school, she even took me to a naturopath when I was in my final year of school after I got really sick.
Does your nutritionist background affect your general consumer choices around the house?
I think the more I have learnt along the way, the more conscious I have become. Now we've changed to natural cleaning products, deodorants and skincare we won't ever go back.
Do you think that the public is aware of household chemicals and their effects?
No, I don't, but awareness is growing. There are more children with allergies, eczema and asthma than ever before and people, often mothers, want to know why and what they can do. With the power of social media and the ability to research online, people are becoming more educated but also more curious. They want answers. I'm working at raising that awareness and helping families as much as I can.
What do you do personally to minimise chemicals in your home?
I want my children to live in a safe environment, I am also very aware of chemicals and the effects they can have on hormones. I want my children to be able to play and I don't want to be worried about what I washed the floor with. I have an 18-month-old – he is into everything. As they are! I feel safe that home is a healthy and happy environment and he can play as much as he likes on the floor. About five years ago I looked all my cleaners, washing powders and dishwashing liquid, reading labels and researching – it was staggering, frightening. I've replaced them all with products I feel 100% happy with.
Has having children affected your habits?
Yes absolutely! Especially around skin care, oral care, and bath care. The more I learn the more our habits change at home. Like any parent, I want to protect my children.
Since moving to Auckland this year do you have any favourite spots for healthy, but tasty meals?
Funny you ask that. Catroux (129 West End Road, Westmere) is my absolute fave café in Auckland. I grab a salad from there at least once a week and I grab a coffee there most mornings! Every time I go in there, they basically know what I want to order. The kumara salad will change your life! It's so amazing, as is the breakfast energy bowl.
Do you use any particular brands or products regularly, and if so which ones?
Our house pretty much looks like an advert for ecostore, as did our home in Sydney – ha! I use ecostore for the children in the bath as well as the dishwashing liquid and cleaners around our home. It feels good to be supporting a New Zealand business and I love that their values align with mine and my family's.
I have noticed that ecostore has recently launched a line of Oral Care products, do you have any tips for cleaning small people's teeth?
Yes, the ecostore Oral Care range is now a staple in our house, partly because the mild mint flavour is great for my whole family. Children love to copy, so brushing teeth together so they can watch is a good tactic. My youngest son, 18-month old Taika, thinks it's a novelty, he loves brushing his teeth with his brother. The great thing about the mouthwash is it's really mild, so my kids use it too.
What do you and your husband Adam do to chill out and unwind?
We go to the park with our children or if it's just Adam and me, we go to the movies. It's about getting out of the house and enjoying each other's company. We spend as much time outside as we can with different and fun activities as a family. In summer we will be down by the beach any chance we can.
You can find out more about ecostore's new Oral Care range at www.ecostore.co.nz