Rozanna Purcell is one of our judges for the 2017 edition of the Health Blog Awards. Get your tickets for the ceremony here.

She has successfully launched a stellar media career which includes a winning role on Come Dine with Me Ireland, a guest chef appearance on TV3’s the Restaurant, and a stint as a Celebrity Bainisteor on RTE.

But it’s her passion for healthy food and lifestyle that has earned her thousands of followers on social media in recent years.

Her Natural Born Feeder food blog shows how to create healthy but accessible dishes, and has a legion of dedicated fans, which led to the launch of Roz’ best-selling cookbook this year: ” I have always been a keen cook and lover of food! When I started modelling at 18, I developed a negative relationship with food after working through it and coming full circle and growing my love for cooking and baking I wanted to share recipes and the message that a balanced lifestyle is key to a long-term love affair with food and not to get sucked into fad diets and trends – yuck!”

Roz’ dedication to building innovative social media platforms has also seen her rise to prominence as one of the leading social media stars in Ireland: “Social media has been a key player, particular Instagram as food is such a visual thing- we tend to eat with our eyes and engaging with like-minded people has been so inspiring and refreshing!”

Social media captures audiences from all over the world and allows you to promote yourself in your own words, pictures and way! I’ve been through traditional media before the huge onset of Social and it’s just a far more real way of being you!

What does healthy eating mean to you?

I don’t look at it as healthy eating – I think that can cause a negative attitude toward some foods.
I prefer to think of it as normal eating- like how we should fuel our bodies right and understand what we each need.
My Normal diet helps me feel energised, it suits me, keeps me satisfied and most importantly allows me to still be sociable and train hard. It’s also not complicated, time-consuming or expensive.

How did you create a positive relationship with food?

Realising that this is the same body you’re going to have for the rest of your life- you have to treat it right. Also the years I wasted feeling guilty about eating something deemed “bad or unhealthy” really? I knew it was something I would regret when I was older and I needed to start enjoying my life and enjoying my relationship with food.

What is your best advice to someone struggling to find a healthy balance with food?

You have to realise that this is your life, your priority- it’s small consistent steps that lead to a bigger and lasting change. A balance is hard to find- so first of all don’t beat yourself up for not finding it yet (it takes a long time) but starting the journey don’t go cold turkey and set yourself to fail with a 100% must be good all the time rule- pick a balance like 80/20 and go for whole foods and quality ruling out entire food groups!

You do not advocate a certain type of diet. Why is flexibility important to you?

Everyone is different, therefore, the search for the perfect diet is void- experimenting on yourself is such a valuable thing to do. I just go for whole foods and quality. I think it’s important to see how you feel, your energy levels and mind when eating different foods and find your perfect diet it doesn’t matter if it’s not vegan or paleo or keto etc- or if it is great. I think starting with a whole foods approach is a great way to find your balance and bring back the fun into food!

You are a best-selling cookery author – what was your biggest lesson from launching your own cookbook?

Moving into my second book now I’ve really taken into consideration the recipes people have used the most in the first and the feedback I’ve been given at signings. The second book half hour hero combines quick easy recipes using ingredients you already have in your kitchen press – what I learned don’t go with the trend or try to be fancy – go for the real everyday approach that is no fuss and accessible to everyone.

In your ‘half hour hero’ cookbook, all recipes are designed for busy people. Why was this important to you?

Cause I’m a busy person who likes to stay in a good routine! Also One of the biggest reasons people use of not eating well or training- is the excuse of I don’t have time to meal prep or train- now that’s out of the way.

When working with brands, what criteria do you look for?

In terms of food brands my criteria are that I only work with brands I either already use and love or if they are new I trial their product for 6-8 weeks and then make a decision.
It’s really important for me in an industry that is over saturated to always try to remain loyal to your brand or/yourself and your values- if I recommend something I don’t want people feeling like they’ve wasted their money, you know?

I’d rather do few quality campaigns than just everything- there’s no longevity in that!

What’s your best advice for other food bloggers who dream of publishing their own cookbooks?

Be passionate, you can’t fake it- people recognise it and feed off it! Whatever you’re into and love do it and you will succeed- not worry about trends. I started NBF before health food was everywhere and to be honest, quinoa was like unheard of but I’m glad I stuck to what I truly loved and lived by then jumping onto trends! Also, make your social media a priority!

To meet Roz and our judges at the Health Blog Awards get our tickets below.