Nutrition Station Customer Experience

Joanna Limpic

About a year ago I walked into my first NU Cafe in Penrith and decided to sit in and have a coffee.  As a discerning coffee drinker.. ok a downright fussy coffee drinker, I am shamelessly swayed by the quality of the brew so, when I discovered the coffee was good, I was suitably impressed to return.

Let me say at this point, I love the feeling of being healthy, of having lots of energy to get through my day and the feeling of vitality that comes when you fuel your body with healthy and nutritionally balanced foods.  When I first started frequenting NU, I felt the complete opposite that.  I was juggling two jobs and had just started a post-graduate course in Wellness – yes, that’s correct, I was studying Wellness, the irony is not lost on me either.  Nonetheless, there I was with a heavily committed schedule in addition to being a single mum to my 10yr old daughter, to say I was running on empty is an understatement and every day was a battle to find the energy to get through it. About five days a week I fronted up to NU with my laptop and an armful of journal articles and textbooks and endless lists in my head.  I’d set up at my table by the window and get to work, typing furiously or highlighting blocks of text like I was finding the answer to the meaning of life. I was running on adrenaline, fuelled by coffee after coffee (and banana bread), not giving a second’s thought to all the delicious brain fuel just a quick order away. I know you’re probably thinking that this is the part of the story where I tell you that NU inspired me to change all of that, which it did, but not in the way you might expect.

Making Wrong Choices

See, the great irony of some people, especially myself because I also work in Health & Wellness, is that we KNOW when something is not working and we KNOW what we need to do to change it but, quite unbelievably, we stubbornly continue stumbling down the wrong path convincing ourselves it’s not that bad.  I did this for an entire year by overloading my life with too many commitments, too much stress, too little exercise and a terrible diet, all of which resulted in weight gain and a constant state of general malaise.  I was miserable but, instead of making changes I reached for my familiar comforts and stress-busting remedies in the shape of stodgy comfort foods, all of which made me feel even worse after eating them but, well, see my earlier point about KNOWING when something doesn’t work!
However, one day whilst sat at my usual spot at my local NU Café I decided to order the corn fritters.  I’ll openly admit I was expecting something bland served with sprouts or activated almonds (because you can’t be healthy unless you activate your almonds, right?) masquerading as tasty, in the name of healthy.  However my tastebuds rejoiced when my corn fritters turned up with avocado, drizzled with a balsamic glaze and accompanied by a complimentary glass of sparkling water, and, just like in the cartoons where the guy opens his head like a flip top lid and pours in the contents of his plate, I hoovered down that meal in mere minutes.  I was not only surprised by the flavour explosion but also, later on, I realised that the energy crash I was so used to having after eating my usual comfort food didn’t arrive.  No nap necessary nor the emergency coffee to re-boot and get me through the next few hours.  In fact, I felt satiated and energised and this was enough for me to sit up and pay attention.

My NU café became my oasis, a place where I could fuel my poor body with delicious and nutritious food whilst I straggled through that year of madness.  I got to know the NU CRU who I found to be genuine, down to earth people who ‘walk the talk’ and who are committed to providing their clientele with a relaxed environment to meet for coffee, grab breakfast on the run, a post-workout shake or a belly-satiating meal for lunch as well as an open ear or some friendly advice for those of us who want back into the healthy lifestyle.  I’ve set some pretty big goals for myself for 2016, starting with my health and, after talking with the NU CRU, I’ve got a great plan.  Last Monday I went into my local store to collect my first week of NU Meals, lunch and dinner for six days, all prepared fresh in store.  With my work vs uni schedule still as tight as ever, NU Meals were the perfect solution to get nutritious, balanced food into my body every day and, as I come in each morning for breakfast anyway, it turns out that currently all my meals are taken care of by the NU kitchen.  Happy days!

NU is for everyone!

Even better still, the team asked me if I would be interested in becoming an ambassador.  My first thought was that I didn’t fit the bill – I’m very unfit and carrying too much weight for my frame, and I’m only just beginning my journey back to the strong, healthy and energetic body of my past but, as it turns out, that’s the point.  NU is not just for the super-fit and über healthy, it’s for everyone, including people like me who need help and support to get back to optimum health.  So, with much excitement, I can tell you that each month on this blog you’ll find my reflections on my learnings in the area of wellness, gleaned from my work, my studies and from my own wellness journey.  Also, I’ve got something HUGE in the works, MOUNTAINOUS even, but more about that next time.
Until then always remember, true wealth is your own health!

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