REVIEW: Frame Learn- Fibre with Karen O’Donoghue

THE BASICS: I’m a huge fan of Frame, as you may know. I was excited to be kindly invited to one of their new Frame Learn events– they’ve taken residence at gorgeous Counter Albion in Shoreditch this April for a series of expert talks and workshops, all followed by healthy, nourishing dinners where you get the chance to socialise with the speaker and fellow fitties. Tickets are £30, and you can find details of other speakers in the series at the end of this post.

This inaugral Frame Learn event was a talk on Fibre from Karen O’Donoghue, fibre expert and founder of The Happy Bread Company.

Frame Learn Event Project HB review

THE EVENT: I am only just getting my head around protein, and so I was interested to see what fibre had to do with all of this digestive stuff. I’l lbe honest. Fibre to me is unassuming, bland Branflakes. Essentially- if it doesn’t help me to recover from DOMS after a workout, or contain 100% sugar or caffeine, then I don’t tend to give the food I shove in my mouth much thought.

I also suffer from incredibly irritating, constant bouts of IBS. I don’t know what sets me off, I just know it’s multiple things. So, yes I see that there’s a huge contradiction in the food I consume and the obvious problems with my digestive system…. and so I was pretty certain this talk was going to be mighty helpful in educating me AND helping to address my current food mindset.

As predicted, it was incredibly informative- Karen was a great host, speaking passionately about her subject. We learned about the importance of fibre in the digestive system (very simply- good bacteria need it to eat, to create enzymes, to break down our food) . We learned about where to get fibre in our diets; about Karen’s journey into fibre consumption and how it had cleared up her IBS, her rosacea and weight fluctuations. And finally- we talked about poo.

You might have cringed when you read that. Well- I’m suggesting you ignore that initial cringe reaction and admit it’s time we got a bit more educated on how to go to the loo healthily! You kinda need to, to stay alive. So without going all Gillian McKeith on you, we should probably pay a bit more attention to it.

Karen was no nonsense about this subject- and it was fascinating to hear how fibre can help reduce a bloated, constipated tummy or boughts of chronic, diet-related diarrhoea. I loved the fact she addressed this so openly, even if the majority of us in the audience were a bit British about it.

The Happy Bread Company founder Karen O'Donoghue

The Happy Bread Company founder Karen O’Donoghue

Anyway- poop aside, what I REALLY liked about this talk was that fibre isn’t necessarily “fashionable” in the media at the moment- and it just showed me how much information about important food groups lazy people like myself are probably missing out on, simply because the Daily Mail isn’t scare-mongering us about it on a weekly basis.Sad, but true.

As far as my knowledge went before this talk: sugar=evil, protein=essential to life, green tea=magic liquid. Yep, that was my layman’s knowledge, inspired entirely by headlines that scream at us from every health and wellbeing website. Now I’ve heard that this fibre thing isn’t just All Bran, I am now on the hunt for more information about fibre and how it might help with my bloating, cramps and general daily tummy soreness.

Soluble fibre, insoluble fibre, high in fibre, low in fibre, how to increase fibre content…. Karen covered it ALL. It upsets me a bit that, because it isn’t fashionable currently, more people will remain blissfully ignorant of importance of this essential nutrient. But for those of us at the event- and hopefully for those of you reading, we’ll do a bit more research and be a bit more savvy about how we get more fibre in our lives!

Buffet at Counter Albion- DROOL!

Buffet at Counter Albion- DROOL!

After the talk, it was into the main area of the restaurant for a mingle and THE MOST amazing buffet I have ever, ever seen. I am not exaggerating. Everything looked delicious, there were some incredible flavours- and quite frankly too many options. Locally sourced and plentiful, I could have gone for thirds. I didn’t, mainly because I didn’t want to be the buffet hog, but I did snaffle some goodies for a make-shift doggie bag. Some of Karen’s amazing gluten-free bread was inside. It made for a very fiberous breakfast :)

THE VERDICT: Karen was an incredibly well-informed, passionate and enthusiastic speaker, and her belief in her expert suject was definitely apparent as she spoke. She interacted with the audience, took questions and was open and honest in her own experiences of her subject which made the whole experience really engaging.

Frame founders Joan and Pip, as well as members of their team such as Rosy were there on the night and available to speak to, which was fantastic too!


Frame Learn runs for the rest of April:

Tues 14th April; Eating for Exercise with Libby Limon & Joan Murphy (click HERE for info tickets)

Tues 21st April; Meditation with Steffy White (click HERE for info & tickets)

Tues 28th April; Eating for Weightloss with Louise OMahony (Click HERE for info and tickets)

THE EXTRAS: I discovered Sibberi water. Pure sap from birch trees and drunk by the Skandis, it was a strange taste at first but quickly grew on me- and it was so smooth. I’ve coined it “velvet water”! Available in Counter Albion, As Nature Intended and Partridges, give it a try and let me know what you think. Coconut water is SO 2014. Now’s the time to DRINK TREES!!!!

Sibberi Water Project HB review Frame Learn event

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