Healthy Balance


Abode2 caught up with Amelia Freer to find out how the power of food can help inleading a more balanced life

Tell us about your journey into nutritional therapy

Like so many of my peers, my personal experiences were pivotal as to why I became a Nutritional Therapist. I was working in a busy and demanding job and I felt constantly exhausted, suffered with painful IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), acne, recurrent infections and generally felt low. When I made the connection between the food I was choosing and how I felt, I changed my diet, and rapidly felt better. That experience inspired me to change career path, and I went on to train at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition for the next four years.

How do you work with clients to achieve their goals?

Every client has been on a different journey with their health when they come to me. So, we start by having an in-depth discussion, which really helps me to understand how they have got to where they are today. We then collaboratively make a realistic plan of action, and refine this as time goes on.

You have described your passion as the power of food. Tell us about this

We don’t have our feet planted into the soil, nor can we photosynthesize energy like plants. Therefore, the substance of our body, and its ability to function, is dependent on the food and drinks we consume. That is the power of food.

But beyond this, food is integral to our cultural identity, relationships and emotional and social health. It’s a source of joy and demonstration of love. My passion is to help people combine these two aspects of food into a harmonious balance– the joy and the nutrition.

In a world of fast and convenient food, how can people change their diet to live longer, healthier lives?

It’s easy to believe that healthy eating equates to complicated cooking or joyless, boring tastes and textures. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Little shifts add up to big changes over time. The little shifts make the biggest difference include having some sort of protein at every meal, enough colourful vegetables, and a reasonable amount of healthy fats (avocados, nuts, olive oil, oily fish). Whether cooking from scratch, buying a take-out meal, or eating in a restaurant, aiming for these three components in each meal is a good place to start.

Are there any well-known diets you think work particularly well?

I tend to base most of my recommendations on a modified Mediterranean diet, as this has been consistently well researched and has a broad evidence base in the scientific press. I think it’s a sensible choice for someone who isn’t sure how to get started. The Mediterranean diet can also be adapted to suit many dietary requirements, preferences and budgets.

Some diets can be quite faddy. Where do you think their logic falls down?

There have been hundreds of fad diets over the years. I’m not going to name any specifically, because I don’t think that’s helpful. It’s just as important to remember that if a company or person is selling a supposedly magic ingredient, diet or pill that promises instant results, or over-sell the benefits, then that’s a big warning sign to be very sceptical. It’s the unsexy truth that consistency, small shifts and sensible adjustments make the biggest difference in the long term.

Everyone deserves a cheat meal once in a while – what’s yours?

I love French fries. But I don’t see them as a cheat meal or feel guilty eating them – I enjoy them wholeheartedly when I have them. I think it’s a huge mistake that we’ve decided to give any food a moral label. Who, or indeed what, are we cheating?

What’s new in the new year for you?

I am very excited to have recently launched my totally revamped new website. In the course of writing my new book The Organised Cook (which is, at its heart, all about the liberating power of simple organisational strategies to help support our life, health and eating), I realised that my website really wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. It felt increasingly hard to navigate, and particularly tricky to browse all the recipes and articles we’ve created over the years. That seemed such a shame given how much effort we’ve put into writing them all. Plus on a very personal level, I was finding it increasingly frustrating as I really do love a good filing system. So alongside giving my own home and kitchen a great big sort-out and tidy-up since moving last July, my team and I have done the same to the website. I’m delighted to say that it’s now shipshape and ready for action, over at www.ameliafreer.com

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