She’s called the Fairy Godmother of the pantry and she is sprinkling her clean green eating magic through the homes of Brisbane families.
Meet Hayley Oliver, the 34-year-old Brisbane mum who is revolutionising the way we eat, one pantry at a time.
I say revolutionising, but in reality she is going back to food basics. Food without the fooling and fibs. You can’t fib or fool if you are pulled straight from the ground and slapped on a plate.
Taking the food revolution to the next level, she doesn’t preach it from an Instagram page or television show — she comes to your home and physically removes the bad food for you and replaces it with the good.
Don’t be scared. Hayley doesn’t want you to be a crunchy, tree-hugging, granola-eating hippy to follow her tips and tricks. (Disclaimer from Hayley: There is nothing wrong with hugging trees and eating granola. What.So.Ever.)
She just wants you to be conscious of what you are feeding your family on a daily basis, and be there to help those that are simply confused.
I caught up with Hayley to find out how ‘The Clean Pantry’ works.
Hayley, what is your food background?
Most of my life I’ve lived with dairy intolerance, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and gluten intolerance. Not to mention bearing two 10 pound babies (ouch) and managing their eczema, intolerances and reactions to food. As well as cheering on and feeding my partner Liam — he eats a lot! I found I had to go outside the boundaries to find solutions for myself and my kids. The more I studied, the more I found that it starts from the inside. The food we feed ourselves and our gut health causes so many issues and I had to wade my way through with trial and error. Work wise, before having kids, I did a bit of everything from Radio and PR to Pilates, but health has always been my great love.
How did you start your business?
I was helping a lot of mums in my mothers group. They caught onto my passion and knowledge and they helped me after I helped them. They encouraged me to use my knowledge and share it further. I always knew I wanted to do something and I was sitting on it for years, almost too long. My kids became less dependent on me and I got a bit down and out on them not needing me as much, so instead of sitting on the couch feeling sad about it, I decided it was the right time to finally do something.
It’s very unique — it’s almost like having a personal stylist who goes into your home and clears out the wardrobe, but it’s for your pantry.
I guess it is similar, and people can’t get what I’m doing from a picture, I need to get into peoples homes. I don’t know of anyone doing what I do. I googled and didn’t find anything in my area similar to what I wanted to do. Of course there are PT’s, dieticians and naturopaths who guide you but there is no one who offered the service of going into your home, going through the pantry, pointing out the things you don’t know are bad and throwing them out and then re-shopping with them for the right food. So many people are telling me its a niche idea, but I’m sure there are some similar services, however I wanted to make it more available and affordable for homes. Mum’s know when there is something not right and are maybe told what to do, but no one shows them what to do. How can I take it out of my cupboard and what can I swap it with?
So how does it work?
It’s a clean and green lifestyle service. I help families clean out the pantry, fridge and cupboards. We take out the products they don’t want to eat or use and give them a healthy swap. I also do the same with chemicals; sometimes taking out chemicals can be the last little piece of the pie. For my kids, going chemical free without detergents helped heal their eczthma.
How do people react to you going through their pantry?
Opening up your pantry is a little bit personal; people can feel embarrassed and ashamed. But I’m there and that’s what matters-making a difference to you, your family and you home is one of the best commitments you’ll make. No feeling embarrassed or ashamed with me, I’ve probably seen it all before. My big thing is there is so much packaged food out there and we are just being fooled. I want us to stop being fooled and teach our children that food doesn’t come out of a package. To learn that they make food, not big companies. Mum’s and Dad’s do it. Obesity, disease and toxins are big problems in our culture I want families to give themselves a better chance through eating real food that comes from a farm and not a factory.
Where are we being fooled?
A lot of gluten free or dairy free packaging is a trick and the labeling is fooling us. It may not have gluten or dairy but it will have a number of different sugars by different names, or additives and preservatives. We believe its good for us being gluten or dairy free and it’s just not. You may be better off eating the gluten in a pure state rather than putting in a heap of chemicals and sugar from a piece of gluten and sugar free store bought cake.
So what is the process, if I called you up to help me how would it work? Am I going to throw out my Tim Tams?
Only if you want to. There are a few steps.
First I send a questionnaire to the client so I know what their goal is. Is it sugar, preservative, intolerance, allergies or just a healthy change? Where do they shop, what they have tried in the past, what they like to eat and so on, it helps me to be prepared.
I then meet them in their home. We go through and cull the pantry according to their goals. Based on the food we are removing, we go through alternatives of healthy swaps and I do a shopping list for them. I prepare them for cooking and teach them methods to get the absolute most out of their foods and new look pantry.
If they want the next level we will do a shopping tour and work out the best way to shop for them. Avoiding what they need to avoid so they are not tempted to buy poor choices, find what they need and get out of there. For example perhaps I’ll suggest a Flannerys shop once a month and stock up on the health food’s so it’s in the pantry and then I’ll encourage you to do the butcher and fruit shop once a week, or stick to those sections in the supermarkets so you don’t get distracted, unless you need toilet paper.
So toilet paper is ok?
Ha! Unless you want to go right into it, you will be fine.
For more info about Hayley, visit www.thecleanpantry.com.au.