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It all started in 1997, after graduating with a degree in Optometry, when I left South Africa and took off to London. Soon my lifestyle and eating habits changed, along with my energy levels, motivation & dress size! After a while, I knew I had to change my ways, and decided to do a 30-day detox. This experience opened my eyes to a whole new world, because it was the first time I learnt about using alternative ingredients in recipes to yield a healthier outcome. I wanted to learn more and through this experience, my passion for nutrition was born!
After two years of enduring English weather, I relocated to sunny Australia, where my quest into nutrition continued. I enrolled at the Nature Care College, in Sydney to study an Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine. I learnt that we each have a unique biochemistry and naturally, I wanted to understand my own. I discovered that I have Insulin Resistance, which actually came as no surprise. We have a strong genetic component of Type 1 Diabetes in the family, plus, I always experienced an energy slump and brain-fog, after eating sweet treats, which happens to be my weakness. My sweet tooth was my driving force in revamping my favourite dessert recipes, with low-glycemic ingredients, without losing the taste. This was easily achieved at home when I baked for myself, but when I dined at cafes and restaurants, low-glycemic dessert options were not available. I knew that other people would be in the same situation as me and due to this realisation, saw a business opportunity.
In 2011, I moved to the USA where my dream became a reality. Nettie’s Naturally LLC was launched in November 2012, in Richmond, Virginia. All products at Nettie's Naturally were 100% Low Glycemic, Organic and Gluten-Free. We also catered to diets free of Nuts, Grains, Dairy and animal products. Plus we used biodegradable packaging where possible. Without prior knowledge of the food industry or how to run a small business, Nettie's Naturally grew from an idea, to supplying many local Cafes, Restaurants, Organic Supermarkets, Corporate Offices and an University. Nettie’s Naturally was a wholesale business, until July, 2015, when the Nettie's Naturally Café opened, in the Historic neighbourhood of Jackson Ward.
Nettie's Naturally grew stronger year after year and we were on our way to do many great things, but due to a devastating event that occurred in September of 2017, Nettie’s Naturally
abruptly closed. I was denied re-entry into the United States after a holiday with my sister in Switzerland, regardless of the fact that I held a valid US Visa and Work Permit. There was no explanation for this situation and no one could help me. My story made Local News on CBS News and Richmond BizSense. We don’t always know at the time why terrible things happen in life, but from what I know now, it was simply just meant to be, because of what lay ahead.
After not being allowed back into the US at all, I was forced to go directly from Switzerland, back to South Africa and arrived at my parent's house, with only my holiday suitcase. With a wealth of experience gained over the years, plus much love and support from my family, I had to start all over again. Nettie's Naturally re-opened on 19 April 2018, in South Africa, as an Online Bakery, selling directly to the consumer, by offering delivery and shipping options of baked goods and desserts. Little did I know back then, that running an Online Food Business, was going to be something of the near future, when COVID-19 hit in 2020.
In June 2019, I moved back to Australia, to pursuit my career in Optometry again. Nettie’s Naturally will always remain in my heart and I still make sweet treats, but this time just for me and my husband. The first Nettie’s Naturally Recipe Book (yes, there will be more to come), was published in August 2021 and is a memoir of my dream that became a reality and is dedicated to everyone, who played a part in the journey of Nettie's Naturally. I will forever remain grateful to you all, for your support!
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