Food Impacts Mood Says Chef Making Healthy Changes For All

Healthy snacks and breakfast company heralds better options

Skipped breakfasts, supermarket meal deals and 60+ hour weeks fuelled by energy drinks were plunging chef Ben Cochrane’s health all in the wrong direction, but now he is back with the message food impacts mood and a business to help others make the right dietary choices. 

The business, Benergy, came about after he and his girlfriend, Jessica Thompson, began to re-evaluate how they were living, and then the Covid-19 lockdown scuppered plans to travel to the Himalayas.

While initially disappointed, having to remain at home in Northern Ireland has led to a new life for both Ben and Jessica – personally and professionally.

 “Once the lockdown began, life stood still,” said the 23-year-old Annahilt chef, “but, as with many other people, it gave me the opportunity to reflect on my life and take a good, long hard look at myself.
“One glance in the mirror showed a pale, skinny and unhappy man and I didn’t like what I saw.

 Ben believes that he was making all the wrong choices in his own diet while he was, ironically, serving up healthy meals.

 “Looking back now, I’m not surprised that I looked as bad as I did,” he said. “Prior to lockdown, I’d spent two years in hospitality, working as a chef for some well-known restaurants, including Shu in Belfast. I worked four fourteen-hour shifts, working from 9am to 11pm and then an additional half day. Most weeks I was working between 60 and 70 hours a week. 

 It was what he was eating that now is clear to Ben that was compounding matters.

 “To make matters worse, I wasn’t eating breakfast, which is arguably the most important meal of the day,” he explained. “If I did have something to eat in the morning, it was usually a sandwich meal deal, which lacked the level of nutrition which I needed given the hours that I worked.

 “I also drank a lot of energy drinks on busy shifts. While they would give me an initial boost, they’d also give me sugar crashes, particularly during service. This made me tired and lethargic.”

 Despite the fact that lockdown was a major lifestyle change for everyone, Ben soon found that it was to bring some unexpected benefits to his life.

 He spent lockdown in Annahilt, where his family have some land, and began growing his own vegetables and spending a lot of time in the open air.

 “I realised very quickly that my general appearance and overall health and wellbeing was down to a lack of nutritional food,” he continued. “There’s no doubt that life is all about balance. It’s about what you eat, how much you sleep, how much you exercise, how much caffeine you drink. 

 “Prior to lockdown, I wasn’t paying any attention to any of these. I didn’t understand how my body actually functions and hadn’t realised that my calorie intake was negative. Put simply, my body was burning more calories than I was taking in through food.

“That’s why I was losing weight and feeling exhausted all the time.

 My diet was also lacking in particular micronutrients, such as vitamin C, that I needed to prevent me from becoming ill. No wonder I looked and felt so bad.

 “Once I was in Annahilt, however, I not only started eating three meals a day, but I also began researching about what certain foods do to the body.”

 The changes that Ben made to his lifestyle were to have quick rapid and dramatic results. Not only did he look and feel better – and healthier – but he also found that the change in his diet had a major impact on his mood. 

 “There’s no doubt,” said Ben, “that food impacts mood. My diet had left me with little energy and, as a result, I frequently suffered from both low mood and mood swings. I now understand that our brain is the ‘engine’ of our body and our body is the ‘car’. The car can function on non premium fuel, but it simply won’t work as well or last as long. The same goes for premium food in relation to your body and your brain.” 

 Over a period of time, Ben found that certain health conditions, such as his irritable bowel syndrome, had more or less disappeared – all of which he realised was the result of his switch to a healthier diet and lifestyle. 

 “I knew that the change in my diet was the reason why I looked and felt better, and I wanted everyone to have access to education on this subject, so that they too could benefit as I had.

 As an experienced traveller, I had had access to a wide range of food cultures and I was aware that more and more people were opting for a vegan diet, it was my focus on putting whole foods into my body and no processed that I really saw the changes in myself, mood, motivation and energy wise.

 The Himalayas’ loss was ultimately to prove Northern Ireland’s culinary gain, as Ben and Jessica launched Benergy: with a range of plant-based, gluten and dairy-free range of snacks and breakfast pots. 

 “Benergy isn’t just an ordinary nutrition company,” Ben continued. “We’re all about educating people about food – particularly food that will benefit people both physically and, most importantly, mentally, because that’s where good health really begins. 

 “You don’t have to be an international sports star or be heading out to the gym every day to eat the right things and get the best out of your life. Good nutrition is for everyone and should be a very basic part of everyday life.

 “Our products are all plant-based, gluten and dairy free, which is very unique as vegan is the world’s fastest growing food market in the world today. We don’t just want to cater for one dietary requirement, we want to combine them all. 

 “When I read or hear about vegan food, I hear a lot of negative remarks about the taste and such like. As a chef, I felt it was a challenge to create a selection of tasty fresh treats and a filling and, more importantly, a fulfilling breakfast option. If food tastes good, does it matter if it is vegan friendly?”

 The Benergy range contains a great selection of breakfast pots to start the day off well, and a fabulous mix of treats to keep people going in between meals. 

 “I now realise that breakfast provides you with the necessary fuel to start your day,” Ben said. “That’s why I created these breakfast pots, to give people a ‘grab and go’ pot, which would provide them with a nutritious and delicious start to their day, regardless of time constraints.

 “They’re a macro-friendly breakfast: a mixture of oats, fruits and nuts that’s nutritionally balanced, so they’ll give you all the necessary fuel to get you through the day.”

 Ben believes there is important nutritional advice for people’s overall wellbeing.

 “Food and mental health are directly related,” he said, “One thousand per cent. It’s now my ultimate goal to educate people on the importance of this, particularly since we’re facing the biggest mental health pandemic that this country has ever seen.

 “It saddens me to see people struggling and reaching for medications when there are some simple steps that can be life changing. 

 “Food, as I said, impacts mood. 

 “It’s as simple as that.”

 To find out more about Benergy Nutrition and their delicious range of healthy snacks head to https://benergynutrition.com/

Time For Government To Step Up For Hospitality Sector

By Emma Bricknell, restaurant owner

The welcome re-opening of hospitality after long, depressing months is something everyone in the sector has been longing for but the government needs to back us after such a tough time.I have had to take seriously the impact on my business, and will be changing the brand of all my Made in Belfast restaurants, starting in Hill Street with the rebrand of my steakhouse grill restaurant into Prawnagraphic offering fresh, fun, seafood.

Some of the aid from Stormont is indeed welcomed as financially some of the packages were good. But the fact that it has just been a case of that you can get on a plane in close proximity to others, there’s a tent in Cathedral Quarter with a film crew drinking and eating but yet we still have to socially distance. The rules and regulations are simply not consistent.

I think, unfortunately, hospitality is one of the industries that has been hardest hit by the inconsistencies of regulations.

However, there are some relatively simple steps that the Executive Office can take by way of support and everyone in the hospitality sector would happily work with ministers in partnership.

We need better licensing laws, cheaper licensing, longer hours, better Sunday trading hours, access to outside street spaces, pedestrianisation of streets and much more.

These, collectively, would make a difference right away as we look to the long term recovery from the pandemic.

In addition we need more clarity on Brexit so we have access to goods and items that we need to sell.

We need more people to come into this country and work here because we have such a shortage in staff. We had no choice but to restructure the business. Many staff didn’t tell us they were moving on until the last minute leaving us with three restaurants and not enough staff to open. I had to make a hard decision, which of the restaurants would open and how.

There’s no chefs right now, we are 600,000 short in hospitality across the UK and the government should be taking action on that. We are struggling with chefs. But we also intend to turn it round for our new brands.

Hospitality is a massive part of our tourism industry and if they don’t help us it will have an effect on the whole economy of the country.

With the fantastic job being done by the health and social care teams in delivering the vaccination programme we should be looking at our road map to reviving Northern Ireland.

Yes, there are many priorities such as reducing hospital waiting lists, but what I am suggesting will not have a major economic cost to the government. Indeed, the rates and taxes that it generates when we return to normal trading will benefit the government in the long run.

With my new restaurant Prawnagraphic, the ethos is short, sweet and fun and out quickly. I would like ministers to adopt that approach with the sector, short not lengthy decision-making, sweet rather than confrontational, fun for all involved collaborating, and the results out quickly to make an impact.

No longer should we see apparently arbitrary rules like having food huts that can do coffee but not soup. No longer should we see the ridiculous decision that allows live music in churches but not in pubs and restaurants.

We are willing to do our bit in the recovery of Northern Ireland, the question is, are our politicians willing to work with us?

To book your place at Prawnagraphic go to resdiary.com/restaurant/prawnagraphic or follow the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram

ForM Sculpture Exhibition Opens in Bangor Castle’s Walled Garden

The ForM Sculpture Exhibition opened on Tuesday 1 June in Bangor Castle’s Walled Garden.

Councillor Trevor Cummings (Mayor of Ards and North Down) and Irene McBride (Discovery Glass) at Irenes work ‘Water Wings’ part of the 2021 ForM Sculpture Exhibition at Bangor Castle Walled Garden, 1st June 2021.

For the whole month of June, the garden will showcase over 20 beautiful sculptures, created by artists from across the island of Ireland. This unique event gives visitors the opportunity to experience art outside of the traditional gallery setting.

The pieces inspired by the garden, are dotted around the tranquil setting, enhancing the natural space. The whole family will enjoy seeking out sculptures located in the garden’s walkways, shrubbery and flowerbeds.

Speaking about ForM, The Mayor of Ards and North Down Councillor Trevor Cummings said: “It is great to see this wonderful outdoor event return to Bangor Castle’s Walled Garden. The sculptures really add another dimension to the garden during month of June and I would encourage everyone to come along and view it.”

Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Arts Officer, Patricia Hamilton said,

“We are thrilled that we are able to deliver ForM sculpture exhibition this year, one of our first events since restrictions have eased. There have been few opportunities for artists to exhibit their work since early 2020 and I hope visitors will explore the sculptures in this beautiful outdoor setting. It is well-documented that art boosts well-being and we hope that connecting to art in this tranquil space will benefit people.”

ForM will remain open until 30 June and is free to visit.  Some of the sculptures are available to buy. To access a digital exhibition map, visitors are invited to scan a QR code with their smartphone at the entrance to the garden or alternatively, the map can be downloaded in advance from:

www.andculture.org.uk

Bangor Castle Walled Garden is open from 10am – 8pm Monday to Thursday, and 10am – 6pm Friday – Sunday and Bank Holidays.

MARKET PLACE THEATRE THROWS OPEN ITS DOORS

Armagh’s newly renovated Market Place Theatre has re-opened to the public. The programme for the summer months will include a variety of choices to keep audiences entertained, including the venue’s much-loved interactive workshops, a host of visual art exhibitions, performances live-streamed from the stage of the Main Auditorium, and the magic of The Big Screen returns with an eclectic mix of film screenings for kids and grown-ups alike.

Why not get back to hands-on creativity at our hugely popular workshops. With a programme aimed to encourage you to craft for the outdoors, you can choose from creating a beautiful summer bouquet, crafting your own rustic wooden bench, or hand printing a unique artwork using fresh seasonal foliage. All workshops will be led by experienced and friendly tutors, in a comfortable, socially distanced environment.

Or, if you’d rather sit back, relax and immerse yourself in a world of action, adventure, romance or drama, why not try one of our Big Screen offerings. Film Screenings this season will include superhero action in ‘Wonder Woman 1984’; and one of Hollywood’s most powerful thrillers ‘The Silence Of The Lambs.’ You can also get the kids’ imaginations flowing again with an out-of-this-world adventure with ‘Shaun The Sheep: Farmageddon’; explore the jungle in ‘Dora & The Lost City Of Gold’; or journey to the savanna in the timeless classic ‘The Lion King’. All children attending a kid’s film screening will receive a craft pack to enjoy, and customers are invited to bring their own refreshments to all screenings.

Whilst unable to welcome audiences back to live performances at present, the venue will be bringing you some live-streamed performances to enjoy at home. On Saturday 12 June, folk band TRÚ will bring music back to The Market Place stage with a mesmerising live show exposing their performance skills, the craft of their arrangements and the sheer power of their storytelling. Then, on Friday 25 June, one of Ireland’s leading pianists, Ruth McGinley, will demonstrate her powerfully stylistic flair with a concert programme featuring works by Arvo Part, Satie and reimagined folk songs by Neil Martin.

Art is also back at The Market Place, kicking off with a humorous and nostalgic photographic exhibition of works by Jolly Bearded Promotions, which tackles the intriguing question of what toys get up to when we turn our heads. ‘Outskirts Of The Toy Box’ uses multiple well-known characters from the world of movies, cartoons and comics and skilfully brings them to life.

With full safety measures in place and limited numbers, you can sit back and relax as you escape from it all this Summer. Tickets for these, and many more experiences, can be purchased by contacting the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at www.visitarmagh.com/marketplacetheatre

Fresh, Fun Seafood For Belfast City At Prawnagraphic

New brand for Hill Street dining as Grill gives way to Cali-styled seafood eaterie

A new seafood restaurant is set to open its doors in Belfast’s iconic Hill Street later this week.

Prawnagraphic will open its doors in the historic Cathedral Quarter on May 27, as the new brand from Made In Belfast owner, Emma Bricknell, offering a fun, fresh, sexy seafood menu, all within a California-styled restaurant.

Like many in the hospitality sector Emma took the opportunity to re-think what direction she was going to take and Prawnagraphic is setting a new standard with the new brand.

“Think po boys, prawn toast to lobster rolls, with dirty sides and light vegan based desserts,” she explained. 

“We are doing for a Californian vibe in the colours, but like many restaurants and designs right now it’s on a budget and we are trying to keep it light and bright.

“Gerald McQuillan is the Head Chef and John Smyth the Senior Sous Chef and together then have come up with a menu that is fast, fun and fabulous from freedom farming and fresh sustainable seafood.”

Changing the name in Hill Street is not the only thing that will be getting a refresh as the Made in Belfast brand is set to disappear from the City Hall and Talbot Street restaurants with new concepts being developed and plans for a burger bar and a Mexican themed restaurant.

“I’m really excited about some of our new concepts”, said Emma. 

“Being able to creatively input into the business again has helped me mentally cope with the stresses and strains Covid has put this industry under. 

“I really want to bring a cool, funky burger bar to the city and maybe a hip Mexican. Those new brands are currently in development, but it won’t be long before we’ll be able to reveal them.”

The decision to stagger the new restaurants was forced upon Emma as the strain of the closures as a result of Covid-19.

“We had no choice but to restructure the business,” she explained, adding: “Many staff didn’t tell us they were moving on until the last minute leaving us with three restaurants and not enough staff to open. I had to make a hard decision, which of the restaurants would open and how.

“I’m confident our current plan for reopening the three restaurants in stages is the best economic decision for the company.”

Emma reassured customers that all vouchers will be honoured for any of the new brands, and someone will contact all customers who have made bookings for any of the restaurants about to change. The planned development south Belfast restaurant has been temporarily put on hold.

However, she believes that with the reopening of hospitality there is hope.

“It may have been an incredibly tough year both for me personally and the business but we’re fighting back.”

To book your place at Prawnagraphic go to resdiary.com/restaurant/prawnagraphic or follow the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram

Queen and Adam Lambert – Belfast to open the UK & Europe 2022 Rhapsody Tour!

Saturday 28 May – The SSE Arena, Belfast

Ticket on sale tomorrow at 9am: www.ticketmaster.ie

Video & Images – tinyurl.com/QAL2022

Queen + Adam Lambert have today announced an extra UK show is being added to the band’s twice-postponed Rhapsody UK & European tour, now set for 2022, as well as additional dates in mainland Europe.

In the UK, where the band is already set to play a pair of shows each in Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow and a 10-day run at London’s O2 Arena, the band will now open their 10-week tour with a newly added show at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 28 May 2022.

Extending the mainland Europe leg of its highly anticipated tour, the band will also play newly set shows in Italy, Sweden, Norway, and winding the tour up with a new final show in Finland on 24 July 2022.

Extra Europe dates are:

Italy:                             Bologna, Unipol Arena               Sunday 10 July

Sweden:                       Stockholm, Avicii Arena            Wednesday 20 July

Norway:                        Oslo,Telenor Arena                   Thursday 21 July

Finland:                        Helsinki, Hartwall Arena                        Sunday 24 July  

In all, Queen + Adam Lambert will now perform 34 shows across their Rhapsody UK & Europe 2022 tour.

Tickets for the newly added The SSE Arena, Belfast show on Saturday 28 May 2022 will be available from Wednesday 26 May 2021 at 9am from: https://www.ticketmaster.ie/venueartist/460013/1971833

BILLIE EILISH ANNOUNCES HAPPIER THAN EVER, THE WORLD TOUR.

2022 ARENA DATES ANNOUNCED FOR NORTH AMERICA, UNITED KINGDOM AND EUROPE.

Following the release of her latest single ‘Your Power,’ and ahead of the July 30 release of her forthcoming album ‘Happier Than Ever,’ Darkroom/Interscope Records artist Billie Eilish has announced the first leg of her Happier Than Ever, The World Tour, set to commence in February 2022.

Starting February 3 in New Orleans, the 32-date North American arena run will be making stops across North America, before heading across the Atlantic for an 18-date arena tour across Europe and the United Kingdom, starting June 3. Remaining tickets will on-sale Friday, May 28, 12pm local in the U.S and Canada, and 10am local in the United Kingdom and Europe. To ensure tickets get in to the hands of fans, the tour has partnered with Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan platform in North America. Fans can register now through Sunday, May 23 at 11:59pm PT HERE for the Verified Fan presale. Registered fans who receive a code will have access to purchase tickets before the general public on Wednesday, May 26 at 12pm local time through 10pm local time.

The seven-time GRAMMY Award winning artist and songwriter has also confirmed she will be continuing her work with sustainability partner REVERB for her Happier Than Ever, The World Tour, with the fan-facing Billie Eilish Action Village at each show which will focus on climate action and climate justice, hosting and supporting BIPOC and women-led environmental organizations as well as a comprehensive program via REVERB’s forthcoming Music Climate Revolution campaign. In addition to reducing the tour’s environmental footprint, the initiative will support projects that directly and measurably eliminate greenhouse gases. These collective efforts will make the tour Climate Positive; eliminating significantly more emissions than the tour creates.

2021 has already been quite the year for 19-year-old Eilish whose latest single ‘Your Power’ debuted at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100, logging more than 150 Million streams in the first two weeks of release. Earlier this year, she took home two additional GRAMMY Awards; Record of the Year for “everything i wanted,” and Best Song Written For Visual Media for her James Bond song “No Time To Die.” In February, her groundbreaking documentary film, ‘The World’s A Little Blurry’ — directed by R.J. Cutler — saw its Apple TV+ global release and received critical praise worldwide. Earlier this month, Billie Eilish made her book debut with BILLIE EILISH, a stunning visual narrative journey through her life. Published by Grand Central Publishing (GCP), the book features hundreds of never-before-seen photos, and captures the essence of Billie inside and out, offering readers personal glimpses into her childhood, her life on tour, and more. Get your copy HERE.

‘Happier Than Ever’ is out worldwide on July 30.

PRE-ORDER/ADD/SAVE HERE

1. Getting Older

2. I Didn’t Change My Number

3. Billie Bossa Nova

4. my future

5. Oxytocin

6. GOLDWING

7. Lost Cause

8. Halley’s Comet

9. Not My Responsibility

10. OverHeated

11. Everybody Dies

12. Your Power

13. NDA

14. Therefore I Am

15. Happier Than Ever

16. Male Fantasy

2022 EU/UK TOUR DATES

June 3 – SSE Arena – Belfast, UK

June 4 – 3Arena – Dublin, IE

June 5 – 3Arena – Dublin, IE

June 7 – AO Arena – Manchester, UK

June 8 –  AO Arena – Manchester, UK

June 10 – The O2 – London, UK

June 11 – The O2 – London, UK

June 12 – The O2 – London, UK

June 14 – The SSE Hydro – Glasgow, UK

June 15 – Utilita Arena – Birmingham, UK

June 16 – The O2 – London, UK

June 18 – Ziggo Dome – Amsterdam, NL

June 19 – Festhalle – Frankfurt, DE

June 21 – Lanxess Arena – Cologne, DE

June 22 – Accor Arena – Paris, FR

June 28 – Sportpaleis – Antwerp, BE

June 30 – Mercedes-Benz Arena – Berlin, DE

July 2 – Hallenstadion – Zurich, CH

North Down Museum and Ards Arts Centre To Reopen

After prolonged closures due to Coronavirus restrictions, North Down Museum in Bangor and Ards Arts Centre in Newtownards will reopen their doors to the public on Tuesday 25 May.

The Mayor of  Ards and North Down Councillor Trevor Cummings with North Down Museum Manager, Heather McGuicken pictured with the ‘NI100: Our Borough, Our People’ Exhibition which will be open to visitors when the museum reopens on Tuesday 25 May.

North Down Museum staff have been working hard behind the scenes to produce two new exhibitions for visitors to enjoy. Both exhibitions mark Northern Ireland’s Centenary year and are part of Ards and North Down Borough Council’s NI100 programme of activities.

‘NI100: Our Borough, Our People’ which can be viewed in the museum’s Community Gallery  until Monday 30 August, explores local people who have made a national or international impact in their field over the past 100 years. Ards and North Down is home to a wealth of talent and this exhibition celebrates the achievements of individuals across eight different categories: – Arts, Entertainment, Leaders, Literature, Music, Science & Industry, Sports and Wartime.

‘NI Centenary: Local Leadership, National Impact’ which is open in the museum’s Long Gallery, examines the history of how Northern Ireland was established and puts it into the local context of the time.

The exhibition highlights many local people who were at the forefront of the unionist movement at the  time, including Comber native, John Miller Andrews, who played a pivotal role in the opposition of Home Rule, establishing Northern Ireland and sitting in its first Government cabinet. This exhibition will run until Sunday 1 August.

Another welcome addition to the museum is the installation of a Laird’s Boat in the museum’s coffee shop. The beautifully restored boat which has been acquired by the Council now hangs from the ceiling of Coffee Cure where it will remain a permanent fixture for visitors to view.  

Ards Arts Centre will host; ‘Fragments of Memory’ by Millie Moore in its Sunburst Gallery. The exhibition of paintings and charcoal drawings were made in response to reflections and memories of the artist’s daily walks. Last year, Millie visited and walked some ancient bogs in central Ireland and was reminded of Seamus Heaney’s observations and descriptive words on found bog bodies. In particular, she is interested in investigating what is hidden or sometimes revealed within the depths of a bogland.

Speaking about the re-openings, The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, said: “I am delighted to see North Down Museum and Ards Arts Centre reopening to visitors. I would encourage everyone to come and visit these venues and explore the arts and heritage experiences that they have on offer. The Museum’s NI100 exhibitions are fascinating and are a fantastic addition to our Centenary programme, well done to the staff who have worked on curating them.”

Ards and North Down Borough Council’s  Arts and Heritage Manager, Emily Crawford also commented: “Arts, culture and heritage are so important for our creativity and sense of wellbeing and we cannot wait to welcome visitors back to North Down Museum and Ards Arts Centre. A series of one-off creative workshops will be taking place at Ards Arts Centre from early June to give visitors an opportunity to try their hand at a number of art and craft activities. Participants can try lessons in illustration, guitar playing, drawing and painting amongst others. With lots to see and do this summer, there’s plenty of opportunity to engage in arts and heritage.”

To ensure the safety of visitors and staff, a one-way system will be in operation at both venues and visitors will be encouraged to sanitise their hands at the provided sanitisation stations. Group sizes should be kept to a minimum and everyone will be encouraged to respect social distancing and wear a face covering when inside the buildings.

Both North Down Museum and Ards Arts Centre have been awarded the ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark, the UK-wide industry standard, managed locally by Tourism Northern Ireland, which signifies that tourism and hospitality businesses have implemented the appropriate procedures and health and safety measures, in line with government and industry guidelines, to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.

North Down Museum’s opening hours are: Tuesday – Saturday; 10am – 4pm and Sunday; 12noon – 4pm. Coffee Cure, the museum’s coffee shop will also open on the same date and will operate under the following opening hours: Monday – Saturday: 9am – 4pm and Sunday: 10m – 4pm.

Ards Arts Centre will be open: Tuesday -Friday; 10am – 4pm, Saturday: 10am – 1pm and late night Wednesday and Thursday 6.30 – 9.30pm.

Admission to both venues is free. For more information visit: https://andculture.org.uk/

Presenting on Zoom: 10 Ways It’s Different From Speaking On Stage

One year ago as we went into lockdown, it was hard to imagine that, a full year later, video calling would continue to be one of the only ways to get ‘face to face’ with our audiences. 

However, here we are, and although we long for the days when we can meet in person again, mingle before an event kicks off and enjoy a few refreshments together, we will be waving at our webcams for just a little while longer. 

Here are my 10 key ways that presenting on Zoom is different to speaking on stage, and a little on how you can master this ‘new normal’:

1. Set-up 

Although the commute to your ‘stage’ is undoubtedly shorter for a Zoom presentation, paying close attention to how you set up is key. 

It is essential to ensure you have a great wifi connection, your space is quiet and without disruption and you have adequate lighting available.

2. Body Language 

Or rather, your facial expression, as that’s really all you have to work with on Zoom. 

When you are on stage, you can make use of your body language to engage your audience and support your message, however, in the Zoom room, you only have a small rectangle on the screen, and most people are focused on your slides anyway. This means it’s important to be intentional with your facial expression. 

3. No Stage

Perhaps the most obvious thing missing from a Zoom presentation is the stage itself, and what this means for your presence in the room. You won’t have space to move around and  you can’t invite guests to join you on stage. 

In fact, it’s best if you can find a way to stay as still as possible, as moving or swaying too much may distract your audience. 

4. Pausing

Whether you are on Zoom or on a real stage, pausing for effect or to pace your content is equally impactful. 

Although you may be worried that your audience think you have lost connection, it’s more important that you give meaning to your content through strategic pauses, and that you stop for a breath here and there.

5. Appearance 

On Zoom, less of you is visible however that doesn’t mean that appearance isn’t important. 

You should ensure that you are wearing plain clothes without patterns as these could interfere with your camera, and that your backdrop is tidy and professional. 

6. Tonality 

When you take to the stage, you can use your body language and movement to establish gravitas. 

However, when you are on Zoom, it’s important to project your voice and use a tone which enthuses your audience and connects them with your message. 

7. Posture 

Once again, pay attention to what your audience can see. Sit up straight in your chair with your shoulders back. Focusing on your posture won’t only impact your audience, but it will allow you to feel confident about your presentation as well. 

8. Excitement, Enthusiasm & Passion

If you are excited about your message, passionate about your cause and enthusiastic about sharing with your audience, your presentation will be infectious. 

This is just as important on Zoom as it allows your audience to gain a real insight into the importance of what you are saying. 

9. Preparation 

Presenting on Zoom is much more accessible than presenting on stage. However, this doesn’t mean that preparation isn’t vital. 

Take time to prepare and practice your key messages and call to action before your presentation and make sure to time yourself. 

10. Content  

Finally, perhaps the most important difference between presenting on stage and presenting on Zoom is the content. 

Rather than talking at length about your topic, it’s important to focus on giving your audience smaller, bite-size chunks as they will have more distractions at home, so this will be more actionable for them. 

If you would like to find out more about what you can do as a business leader or owner to keep on top of your game and not let challenges or situations change your direction contact Bernie Allen at bernieallen.com or by emailing Berniespowerhouseacademy@gmail.com  Bernie Allen’s book How To Succeed In Business & Life is out now published by Excalibur Press and available from excaliburpress.co.uk and bernieallen.com

Better Food, Better Mood From New Healthy Snack Company Benergy

Benergy’s founders Ben Cochrane and Jessica Thompson For more information, please contact Tina Calder or Hannah Chambers, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk, hannah@excaliburpress.co.uk.

New healthy snack company, Benergy, has a mission statement Food Impacts Mood, as they deliver a range of healthy snack options including breakfast pots that are all plant-based.

Available online, in selected gyms and shops, Benergy’s founders Ben Cochrane and Jessica Thompson, looked at their own lifestyles for two years and realised they needed to change their diet as the first step to become healthier.

For Ben, his work as a chef, 60 plus hour working weeks and his eating habits was leading him on a downward health spiral, when lockdown intervened.

“I wasn’t eating breakfast, which is arguably the most important meal of the day,” he explained. 

“If I did have something to eat in the morning, it was usually a sandwich meal deal, which lacked the level of nutrition which I needed given the hours that I worked.

“I also drank a lot of energy drinks on busy shifts. While they would give me an initial boost, they’d also give me sugar crashes, particularly during service. This made me tired and lethargic.”

With the change in his diet helping with health, the decision to launch Benergy was a logical step.

The Benergy range contains a great selection of breakfast pots to start the day off well, and a fabulous mix of treats to keep people going in between meals.

“I now realise that breakfast provides you with the necessary fuel to start your day,” Ben said. 

“That’s why I created these breakfast pots, to give people a ‘grab and go’ pot, which would provide them with a nutritious and delicious start to their day, regardless of time constraints.

“They’re a macro-friendly breakfast: a mixture of oats, fruits and nuts that’s nutritionally balanced, so they’ll give you all the necessary fuel to get you through the day.”

Breakfast pots by Benergy For more information, please contact Tina Calder or Hannah Chambers, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk, hannah@excaliburpress.co.uk.

For co-founder Jessica the link between good, healthy food and mental health is clear, after struggling with it.

“Your mental health is not something to be taken lightly,” said Jessica. 

“Neglecting your mind can have a disastrous impact on every aspect of your life and on those of others in your life as well.

“I realised that my mind and body were in a really bad place. I couldn’t understand why one day I’d feel great, and the next I’d feel terrible.”

Jessica is clear that Benergy is more than good food.

“We’re not simply a nutrition company,” Jessica added. “We’re all about educating people about food that will benefit people both physically and, most importantly, mentally, because that’s where good health really begins.”

“Our products are all plant-based, gluten and dairy free, which is very unique as vegan is the world’s fastest growing food market in the world today. We don’t just want to cater for one dietary requirement, we want to combine them all.

Benergy’s range includes protein balls, healthy doppelgangers of the favourite blondies, brownies and truffles, and our new breakfast pots that have proved to be our biggest hit yet
Jessica explained that the link between healthy eating and mental wellbeing is being backed up by science.

Truffles by Benergy For more information, please contact Tina Calder or Hannah Chambers, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk, hannah@excaliburpress.co.uk.

“Research undertaken by MIND in people suffering from depression showed that after they ate a banana they felt better,” she said. 

“This is because bananas contain tryptophan: a type of protein that the body turns into serotonin, which makes you relax and generally feel happier through an elevated mood.” 

Benergy currently offers customers a range of healthy high protein snacks including coconut protein ballsraspberry chocolate protein ballsprotein biteschocolate protein balls and chocolate protein brownies.

To learn more and shop the full range visit benergynutrition.com 

ENDS