A NUTRITIONIST from Henley is writing children’s stories designed to help them understand healthy eating.
Kate Taylor launched her business, Eat Drink Think Nutrition, last spring and it is based at TG Gym & Wellness, of Reading Road.
She wrote the first book, Vegetables Galore and the Mystery Behind the Library Door, earlier this year while the follow-up, Vegetables Galore Take a Trip to the Farm, was published this week. She is now working on a third title.
Kate, 39, says: “I have a little vegetable cuddly toy in my study which my nieces gave me and so I thought, ‘I know, I’m going to write a book where the characters are vegetables doing human things’.
“In the first book they’re in a school, solving mysteries and then in the second book, they’re going to a farm and learning about organic farming and cooking real food.
“The first book was published at the end of August and I’ve just persuaded the Bell Bookshop to have one and potentially order more if it’s a success. I do like the ladies in there — they’re very professional.
“The book is also available to buy from TG Gym & Wellness, where I work as the resident nutritionist.” Illustrated by local artist Felicity Neal, the books introduce a rainbow of veggie characters.
Kate says: “The main characters are Coral and Marigold Carrot. They are the Carrot twins — one’s an orange carrot and one’s a yellow carrot. I thought, ‘Why not show children that carrots can come in all different colours?’
“Then there is Tobias Tomato and Sasha Sweetcorn-on-the-Cob and Caspian Celeriac.
“The story follows them as the main friendship group and then there’s a garlic and onion and leek in a slightly competitive friendship group.
“Then there are the teachers, Professor Potato, Boudicca Broccoli and Lavinia Lemonia and the headmaster, Chancellor Cabbage.”
Last month, Kate visited the year 3 children at Valley Road Primary School to give a short reading and have a chat.
She says: “I talked to them about nutrition because they were covering it in science.
“But it’s very difficult talking to eight-year-olds about how the food they eat now is going to affect them when they’re a grown-up.
“You know, they’re thinking about Christmas, they’re not thinking about being aged 30, 40 or 70.
“The children were very gracious — they listened and they asked questions afterwards. They wanted to know what the mystery was.
“Their teacher was doing such a good job, teaching them about the different food groups and what should go on a plate to make it healthy, what you could eat and what you could perhaps swap something for just to make it a little bit more healthy.
“The principles and the grounding were absolutely spot on, so I was quite reassured for the next generation that at least they’re being taught not to live off food that just comes in a box and you put in a microwave.” When she’s not working or writing, Kate likes to explore Henley as she has only lived here since 2020.
“I moved here about two weeks before covid hit and then Henley closed for a year and a bit, so I’m still discovering it really,” she says.
“It’s now at the stage where I’m exploring the nooks and crannies. I’ve got the high street fairly well memorised but then I find the odd side street or the industrial estate on the edge of town, where I’m like, ‘Oh, there’s a handy shop, I really should investigate that’.”
Kate’s second book has come out a month before World Soil Day. She says: “It is very much about farming, organic food and the natural production of picking and eating food from the ground, not from some concealed laboratory cauldron — but I don’t want to spoil the surprise!”
• Vegetables Galore and the Mystery Behind the Library Door by Kate S Taylor (£9.50) is available from the Bell Bookshop in Bell Street, Henley, and from TG Gym and Wellness, off Reading Road, Henley. For more information, visit www.eatdrinkthinknutrition.co.uk