As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” Our food choices impact our health, and not just physically. Many studies confirm that a healthy, well-balanced diet can also help prevent anxiety and depression.
Healthy food is what helped 60-year-old Natsuda Srisawat from Chon Buri brave the unexpected storms in her life, and in the lives of her family members.
Children with Chronic Health Issues
Her journey began with her three children, who all happened to suffer from chronic health challenges. At the age of one, her eldest child developed respiratory disorders. Her second child began suffering from asthma since he was eight months old. And her youngest child has had the biggest problems of all. He is allergic to many food types since birth, so much so that it made it challenging to get key nutrients. For example, he cannot consume cow’s milk, eggs, or vegetables. As a result, he had to rely heavily on breast milk, rice, and soy sauce.
What’s more, overwork, little rest, and the responsibilities of caring for her children also caused Ms. Natsuda’s health to deteriorate, to the point that she even developed septicemia. And as luck would have it, by the time she started regaining her health, her father was diagnosed with a potentially fatal coronary artery disease. The recommended diet for such a condition, which includes boiled rice with fish or tofu, was not particularly appealing to her father.
“In the beginning, my father could not finish his meals. It was bad enough that he was struggling with poor physical health, but he didn’t even enjoy eating anymore. Then, one day I took him to a Japanese restaurant and noticed that he could finish all the dishes. That was when I felt inspired to develop new recipes that suited his health condition. My kids taught me how to use the internet to search for recipes such as veggie soup and baked rice with cereals,” she recalls.
Children as First Teachers
The health issues faced by her family, combined with her own interest in healthy food, led Ms. Natsuda to discover various recipes on the internet and even develop her own. She eventually founded the food brand GoodMood, which specializes in healthy food with comforting, home-style recipes. GoodMood products became available at convenience stores throughout Pattaya.
In 2019, Ms. Natsuda’s children advised her to create a Facebook fan page for her brand and start posting. It was easier said than done. In the beginning, it took her one to two days just to create one post.
Even though Ms. Natsuda had some basic digital skills from her old job as an accountant and was comfortable using the internet to search for information and watch various Korean series, she was anxious about using social media, like many people of her generation.
“My first posts did not get any response. My kids then recommended that I should add #sandwich to my post. After I acted on their recommendation, I got my first online order. I was so excited that I did not know how to respond, but my kids trained me. Over time, I got more skills and applied my knowledge to the point that I could build a customer base online,” she explains.
GoodMood began offering a subscription-based service model, and less than a year later, GoodMood started getting monthly orders from a customer. Struggling with weight issues, this customer ordered two meals of healthy food a day at a daily rate of 500 Baht. Thanks to happy customers such this one, and the power of word of mouth, GoodMood began to expand. The business acquired many more regular subscribers around Pattaya, who began ordering food on a weekly and monthly basis.
Subscribers appreciate GoodMood for its nutritious, healthy meals and pleasant, professional presentation. Targeting premium customers, individual sandwiches start at 80 Baht, while food boxes start from 100 Baht.
Ms. Natsuda admits that even though GoodMood had several customers, the COVID-19 crisis hit the business hard. In the wake of the pandemic, her home-cooking business struggled with zero revenue for months as most of her customers worked in tourism business. This forced her to go fully online.
During the pandemic, Ms. Natsuda spent her free time taking online courses in hopes of enhancing her digital marketing skills. She finally registered for Young Happy and familiarized herself with dtac Net for Living. She admits that she was hesitant at first because this program would have 250 participants and would be conducted online. She was afraid that her learning efficiency might drop in an online setting.
“I was very surprised with how well the training was conducted. The coaches closely supervised and guided us step by step. We were trained on techniques like how to create attractive headlines for social media to smartphone photography. With this training, my confidence grew, and I was able to reach more people online,” Ms. Natsuda says. “The dtac Net for Living team opened the door to a new world for me and helped me make my dream come true. Not only am I able to support myself financially, but I also enjoy life and help pass the happiness forward via GoodMood.”