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Healthy Balance

13.11.19

Tell us about your journey into nutritional therapy.

Like so many other nutrition professionals, 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 4 years.

How do you work with your 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 a long discussion, which really helps me to understand how they have got to where they are today. The client’s story is a central and critical part of my practice. We then collaboratively make a realistic plan of action, which is tailored to each individual client and refined as time goes on.

You have described your passion as the power of food. Tell us a little about it.

We do not have our feet planted into the soil, nor can we photosynthesis 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 I think 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 that you think work particularly well?

While there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ diet, 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 place to begin 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 – what are some that you can think of, and where do you think their logic falls down?

There have been hundreds of fad diets over the years. I am not going to name any specifically because I don’t think that’s helpful. It is just 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.

You launched your new book in December, tell us a little about it.

My latest book is called Simply Good For You. It strips healthy eating back to the fundamental basics, and then builds it up again in the kitchen. Fast, simple, everyday recipes that don’t compromise on taste or nutritional value. It’s the real-life food that my family and I have been enjoying for the past couple of years.  Becoming a mother inevitably meant that I had much less time to shop and cook elaborate meals, but despite this lack of time and energy, I still wanted to put nourishing, delicious food on the table.

What’s next for you?

I have some very exciting collaborations running at the moment, including one with Lime Wood Hotel – where I am hosting a series of truly wonderful workshops and retreats. They are so nourishing and very intimate - I get lots of time to meet and chat with the guests and the hotel itself is an incredibly inspiring space.

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 is a huge mistake that we have decided to give any food a moral label. Who, or indeed what, are we cheating?

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