Healthy cereals flourish from Andrea’s green fingers
Larne businesswoman Andrea Bohar decided to take control of her diet and overall health shortly after becoming a first-time mum.
Exhaustion and her determination to be “the best mum she could” led to fears of burnout and illness.
Realising that she had to do something about it, she began growing and producing natural food for herself and the family.
Originally from Hungary and a resident of Co Antrim for 14 years, Andrea’s small food business, Green Fingers Family Granola, was born out of her decision to take charge of her health and wellbeing.
The small enterprise was born in 2020 out of Andrea taking charge of the family’s health and wellbeing. Andrea (33) is now a mum to three young girls: Mia, Maya and Molly; and wife to husband Zsolt, also from Hungary, who runs a catering business.
A garden of over half an acre at their home outside Larne enabled Andrea to start growing her own healthy vegetables.
“Homemade food just tastes so much better, and when you produce all the ingredients as well, something truly magical happens,” she says.
Andrea’s approach was also shaped by an obsession with television programmes about celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage cookery courses and especially the focus on self-sustainability.
“For the last 20 years, I have watched every episode at least a hundred times, and own nearly all Hugh’s books,” Andrea explains.
Troubled by high blood pressure, headaches, an inability to sleep and bouts of depression after the birth of Mia, her first born, Andrea was referred to hospital.
“I couldn’t connect the dots at the time, that the way I was eating, thinking and living was having this effect on me. Help was very limited and the medics wanted to put me on medication for life. But I knew there was another way. I started to research, and watched every documentary about food, listening to all sides of the stories and read countless books,” Andrea adds.
She came to realise that with “the right food, right exercise and the right mentality, my body would do what it’s meant to do itself…. heal. It wasn’t only my body that needed healing, but my thinking and attitude too,” she explains.
The first stage in her journey to better health was a fresh juice diet. It wasn’t entirely a success.
“I’ve managed to do without medication,” she continues. “I practice yoga almost every day, I meditate and I try to stay in tune with nature and all its energies. We grow whatever vegetables we can at home and don’t use any chemicals in the process. We are creating healthy soil, which is the key to producing the right nutrients in veggies,” she adds.
It was Andrea’s sweet tooth that was to lead her to start developing her own range of granolas, the mainstay of her business: “I had to change the way I make and bake sweet snacks in my home. I replaced sugar with natural ingredients. My favourite snack is granola. I was shocked to read that the ingredients in many of the brands available were bulked up in different forms, and full of sugar and artificial flavourings.”
She continues: “I’ve been making my own granola for many years now and gave it as presents to everyone who came my way. The feedback has always been amazing. So, I’ve since created five different granolas - well one is a granola porridge to be fair so I could encourage my kids into eating seeds and nuts too. All contain only natural ingredients, no secret additives, and the granola is sweetened with only a drop of maple syrup.”
Andrea’s concern about sustainability and the environment led her to insist that all the packaging for her granolas is fully compostable: “It was a challenge that has resulted in everything from the bag to the label, from the box filler to the tape being fully compostable, in line alignment with my ethos.”
All the granolas are completely plastic free. They are now on sale in many delis around Northern Ireland and from her own website.
All granolas are homemade by Andrea “to make sure I can add that special pinch of love”. Two of the granolas have also won UK Great Taste Awards. The business, in addition, has won a Silver Level Innovator Award from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for the commitment to eco-friendly packaging.
Andrea’s aim is “to share our granolas and help people to make a small change in their diet whether they eat it for breakfast or as a snack at any time of the day! Our mission is to help people to live a healthier life and show that what works for the body has a positive impact on the environment too!”
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