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Food For Thought – The Critical Role of Nutrition in Mental Health


During Mental Health Awareness Week, we're bringing together a team of experts for an evening of education and inspiration on how nutrition impacts our mental health. Speakers include Sarah Wilson, Ben Warren, Professor Julia Rucklidge, and hosted by Art Green.

Many organisations are already doing excellent work throughout New Zealand to get people talking more about their mental health, and encouraging the use of meditation, mindfulness and physical activity. However, one area that is largely being overlooked, is the critical role of nutrition in improving and maintaining mental health.

This is going to be a powerful evening that will arm you with practical information on how you can take charge of your mental wellness with what you eat.

Net proceeds from the event will go to the Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group at the University of Canterbury.


Sarah Wilson - New York Times bestselling and #1 Amazon bestselling author and founder of IQuitSugar.com. Most recently she published First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, A New Story of Anxiety.

Professor Julia Rucklidge - Director of the Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group and finalist for NEXT Woman of the Year. Her TEDx talk has close to one million views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dqXHHCc5lA

Ben Warren - Leading Clinical Nutritionist, founder of BePure and PhD candidate with the Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group.


Art Green - will be our host for the evening. With a background in exercise physiology and a passion for health and nutrition that has steered him into the health food industry, Art is passionate about improving the state and understanding of mental health in New Zealand.

Thank you so much to all of our amazing speakers for donating their time to this event!

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Me whakawhanaunga 

Maramataka: Mutuwhenua

Monday 8 October

The moon phase today is called Mutuwhenua – it’s the last day of the lunar cycle. We suggest focusing on connecting with your whānau, friends and community in nature.

Focus on connecting with nature to uplift your wairua/spirit and those around you.


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Keep learning

Me ako tonu

Maramataka: Whiro

Tuesday 9 October

The moon phase today is called Whiro, the new moon, the beginning of the new moon cycle. A day where activity was minimal, a day for wananga/learning. This makes Tuesday a great day to Keep Learning.


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Take notice

 Me aro tonu

Maramataka: Tirea

Wednesday 10 October



The new moon is beginning to expand ever so slightly and can just be seen. See nature through a different lens and take some time to Take Notice and be inspired by what’s happening around you.


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Be active

Me kori tonu

Maramataka: Ohoata

Thursday 11 October

Today is a very good day for fishing, eeling and crayfishing, and a good day for planting which means it’s a great day to Be Active! Getting outside and exercising is good for your overall health and wellbeing and strengthens your connection with nature.

Remember to encourage people to be as physically active as their fitness and mobility allow. You don’t have to run a marathon to be active!


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Maramataka: Ouenuku

Friday 12 October

This is the fourth night of the lunar month. Today is a good day to rekindle your connections with nature, re-tell stories with whānau and give back.

Nature provides for us – it gives us everything we need to not only survive but thrive. We, in turn, have a kaitiaki/guardianship role to give back to nature for future generations.

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