chronic conditons, nutritional therapy, person centred health, personalised nutrition, Uncategorised, Wellness

Is Nutritional Therapy a Quick Fix?

There isn’t a simple explanation for this, as the answer is both yes and no.

Yes, because many of my clients do see improvements in their health within a few weeks of their first consultations with me, especially those who come with what are classed as more ‘minor’ complaints. Even those with more serious issues find that they quickly feel the benefits of eating more healthily.

For instance, they might come to me about rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis or chronic fatigue, or many other health issues. Alongside these conditions, they may have numerous other symptoms such as insomnia, headaches, bloating, anxiety, mood swings, heavy periods, acne, food sensitivities, allergies, hayfever. The list goes on.

Often, clients will find that that, by supporting their chronic health conditions with specific dietary and lifestyle changes, they will quickly start to see improvements in the other, seemingly unconnected, aggravating symptoms which make their lives difficult.

Often, clients will find that that, upon supporting their chronic health conditions with specific dietary and lifestyle changes, they will quickly start to see improvements in the other aggravating symptoms which make their lives difficult.

The reason for this is that nutritional therapy is a holistic approach. This means that the body is seen as a whole, where each system is not a separate entity, but interlinked with every other. Therefore, if you are supporting one bodily system, you are inadvertently supporting all the rest.

So when isn’t nutritional therapy a quick fix?:

  1. Our bodies needs constant nourishment. Most foods in the standard Western diet have had their nutrients stripped away and contain ingredients that promote inflammation in the body (and this is alongside the high stress lifestyles we lead; the toxins we are exposed to in the air, our food, in our homes, in medications, at work etc). We need to feed our bodies the right foods to provide adequate nutrients to function properly, but also to reduce inflammation. We often start to see improvements in our health when we provide all the nutrients our body requires, but if we stop and go back to our old eating habits, our bodily systems start to malfunction again, and we might see the return of our symptoms. Eating well is a long-term commitment. You may have heard the expression “a lifestyle, not a diet” and this is what nutritional therapy is all about. It’s not simply about losing weight only to gain it all again. It’s not about eating well for two weeks for therapeutic reasons, only to go back to square one, once you’ve achieved your goal. Nutritional therapy provides you with an education where you learn about how foods work synergistically and biochemically in your body to help you function at your best; it also empowers you so you can finally start to take control of your health, rather than your health taking control of you. Though it may sound frightening to make long term changes at first, a good health practitioner will support their clients into a new way of eating over many weeks and months. Once those same individuals start to feel better, and they see they can eat freely as long as they choose foods wisely, they find eating a healthy diet is not so restrictive or difficult after all, which makes it easier for them to commit in the long term.
  2. For every year you’ve been unwell, give yourself at least a month to recover your health. Many conditions bubble under the surface and take years to become fully symptomatic. A return to health, for some, may take as long. Our bodies are amazing structures whose primary purpose it is to keep everything in balance (known as “homeostasis”). This means that, although we might be lacking vital nutrients or be under a great amount of stress (which puts extra pressures on us by depleting nutrients and raising inflammation), our bodies continue to try to function normally and keep everything running smoothly. Initially, we might simply notice that we are fatigued, suffer headaches, or that we get colds more easily. However (here comes my favourite analogy) like a car with little oil, eventually, your internal engine will stall, especially if you hit the fast lane for any length of time. The longer you have been running on low oil, and at a high speed, the more damage you are likely to have inflicted on your engine. Greater damage may equate to more complex health issues. This doesn’t mean there is no point in trying to improve your health, however (eating better will always have positive effects on your body, even if you don’t notice them at first). What it does mean, is that it may take longer to start to see real benefits.
  3. It all depends on what your ultimate goal is. If you want to simply feel a little better than you feel right now, then you will likely see quick improvements. However, for those suffering with complex issues who want a return to a state of previous good health, this may take many months, and in some cases, even years. My daughter is a case in hand. Through a specific diet, we quickly controlled her Hidradenitis Suppurativa (chronic, multiple abscesses). However, reducing her body’s reactivity to other foods has taken much longer and involved functional testing (eg. food intolerance test, stool test, organic acid test and genetics tests) as well as personalised lifestyle changes and supplementation. Her gut health took a beating through years of antibiotics and other medications, and I know it will take time to address these imbalances. I have to also consider that she may never fully regain complete health, but even as she is now, her quality of life is a hundred per cent better than it was a few years ago when her future seemed to be one of constant infections, medications and surgeries.

As I tell my clients, there are no guarantees with nutritional therapy, but you should find that your body thanks you for improving your diet in many glorious ways. Your body may thank you by increasing your energy, reducing aches and pains, improving mobility, improving mood, reducing anxiety, sleeping better, and not reacting to every food you eat.

Nutritional therapy isn’t a quick fix in most cases, but like many things in life, if you are willing to put in the hard work, you’ll reap the rewards.

In many cases, nutritional therapy may not necessarily be a quick fix, but like most things in life, if you are willing to put in the hard work (especially with the support of a health practitioner) you’ll reap the rewards.

To wake up every day after a good night’s sleep, without aches and pains, and feeling ready for anything… personally, I think it’s a goal worth working towards. Don’t you?

microbiome

Microbial Diversity and The Sun

We all know the benefits of being out in the sun. It gives us a high dose of (crucial-to-our-health) vitamin D, which is important for our mood, energy, sleep, bone health, immunity, etc, etc. It’s such a vital vitamin that if we don’t get enough of it, we really feel the consequences. Sadly, these days, it’s known that just about everyone in the UK is vitamin D deficient (or has suboptimal levels), probably a consequence of the amount of time we spend indoors, but also our diet and lifetstyles.

What I didn’t know is, vitamin D status is also related to the balance of the microbiome. Three exposures to outdoor light per week significantly increased serum vitamin D levels, but additionally, microbiome diversity. And in the winter, vitamin D supplementation worked as a good alternative to outdoor exposure.

This is great news, because microbiome diversity, like good vitamin D status, is connected with better health outcomes.

You can learn more about the study here:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2019.02410/full

It’s important, however, to check your vitamin D status before supplementing. Vitamin D at too high levels can be toxic.

Get in touch with your GP, or a health practitioner qualified in nutrition, who will be able to help advise you on testing and correct dosing.

cancer, fundraiser, Nutrition, nutritional therapy, personalised nutrition

MacMillan Christmas Health & Wellbeing Event

I’m excited to have been asked by Mel Jones from HMR Community Cancer Service (Living With and Beyond Cancer) to come and do a talk at this MacMillan Fundraiser on Saturday 30th November at Butterworth Hall in Milnrow.

Fundraiser for MacMillan Cancer Support on 30th November

I’ll be talking about how standard Western diet has become a factor in increasing poor health in Western society, and what steps we can take to improve our wellbeing and quality of life. I’ll also be sharing some quick and easy, yet tasty, health-promoting recipes, which are even more vital at Christmas. It’s a time of fun, family, but also increased pressure.

I’ll also have a stall there if you’d like to come and chat with me about your health, dietary habits, or how nutritional therapy could help you.

I really hope to see you there, though I’ll share more on the event nearer the time.

Come along and support a worthy cause!

walking

Walk for Life!

It was fantastic to see that Tandle Hill was one of the shortlisted hotspots for the best autumn walks in Greater Manchester. Although we’ve made it to many of the places on the list, Tandle Hill is one of our family’s favourite places to head out on a crisp Sunday afternoon. If you haven’t been, make sure you do. The forests trails are beautiful, and perfect at this time of year for wearing your wellies or walking boots and kicking up the leaves.

Tandle Hill in Oldham is a great place for walking.

For other popular walking areas in the region, please check out the Manchester Evening News’ article here: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/family-kids-news/autumn-leaves-greater-manchester-parks-7923468

Many of us these days have little time for exercise because of busy working and family lives, but the benefits of walking are becoming increasingly well-known. It’s even being recommended now by GPs to aid patients with mental health issues.

Half an hour of daily walking has been shown to:

  1. Reduce risk of heart attack and other chronic disease.
  2. Increase serotonin (your feel-good neurotransmitter)
  3. Spark creativity
  4. Help reduce weight
  5. Improve digestion
  6. Strengthen bones
  7. Improve mobility
  8. Boost immunity
  9. Improve sleep
  10. Increase stamina
Walking to Studley Pike from Blackstone Edge May 2015

So, to improve your overall health and wellbeing, add in a half hour walk every day, whether it be in the countryside, a forest, or even if it’s simply between your train station and work.

There’s no doubt about it, it WILL do you the world of GOOD!

Scarborough to Whitby with friends January 2018

allergies

More Microbiome Amazingness!

The human gut, or digestive tract, is home to trillions of microorganisms, including more than 1,000 species of bacteria. These microbes play crucial roles in health and disease.

Medical News Today

Although, as you can probably tell by the title, I never cease to be amazed by the role of the microbiome on our health and wellbeing, I was particularly excited to read that new research has shown there may be a way to temper immune reactions in those with food allergies by replenishing specific missing bacteria in the gut.

Although currently only tested in mice, this study follows on from other similar studies, and shows there may be a way forward for those suffering with food allergies. As the microbiome and the immune system work together in a close partnership, when these these particular microbes are missing, the immune system lacks a specific component required in order to work effectively. When these microbes are introduced, it has been found to lead to a rewiring of the immune system, which then has a protective effect on the host.

Rather than targeting any particular food allergen, this method could potentially treat all food allergies in one go.

MEDICAL NEWS TODAY

Although science isn’t fully there yet in treating people with food allergies, it does give hope to those who suffer with serious food reactions. It also gives us more reason to look at what we eat, as the delicate balance of the microbiome is so easily disturbed and can have far reaching consequences.

To read the whole article about the reasoning behind the study and results, please click the link here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325560.php

Health and Wellbeing, person centred health

Good Nutrition is Your Superpower

I’ll be at Hollingworth Lake Visitors Centre on Sunday 15th September for the Mind Body Spirit festival doing a free talk on Good Nutrition is Your Superpower. Details of the talk are in the video below. If you can make it, it would be lovely to meet you and answer any questions. The talk starts at 10am, but I’ll be there all day at my stall, and there will be some special offers.

“We all start off in life as superheroes, but the Standard Western Diet is our human Kryptonite. Over time, poor dietary habits are making us sick, tired and weak. Sadly, many of us feel old before our time. Just about every health condition and symptom, at its core, is linked with the inflammatory foods we’re putting into our bodies. This talk is about why this happens, and how you can take control to help get your superpowers back.”

Children, Health and Wellbeing, teenagers, Uncategorised, wellbeing, Wellness

Do Something for Someone Else…

I never thought I’d ever say this, but on Sunday I went to Morgzfest in Sheffield.

Morgz is Morgan Hudson, an 18 year old Youtuber, who’s made his name by publicly pranking his Mum, Gill, and by the two of them challenging each other with ridiculous tasks such as:

  • drinking disgusting mystery cocktails (Sunday’s vomit-worthy concoction was mealworms, mustard, honey and diet coke. Bleurgh)
  • seeing how long can you sit in a bath of ice
  • eating a food of one colour for 24 hours.

The whole of the family get involved in his videos, with his brother Jensen, Dad (Darren) and Stepdad (Bald Martin) all playing a part in the high-energy, high-jinx shenanigans.

Though I’ve seen quite a few Morgz vlogs (by force), and I can see his appeal for his fans, a day at Morgzfest is my idea of hell.

The event involved 7 hours of waiting around in Sheffield Don Valley Bowl with only junk food on offer (you couldn’t take in your own food, and it seems quite ironic with me being a health practitioner!) and the only entertainment between 12-3.30pm being a huge field of inflatables, which included the World’s Largest Inflatable Obstacle Course.

I wasn’t impressed. Especially as the rain came down in a torrential burst as soon as we got there. I was cold for the rest of the day. At first my head was constantly filled with what I could be doing at home instead.

Despite this, I had a fantastic time. My daughter absolutely loved it, and when Morgz, his mum, dad, brother and stepdad came on stage for the challenges during the last couple of hours, she was in absolute bliss. It was like watching pantomime, and not only did she have a massive smile on her face, I did too. The fact that the whole day had an aura of good-natured energy also played a massive part in the thawing of my cynicism.

Going on the obstacle course with her (I believe it really is the World’s Largest Inflatable Obstacle Course…!!!) was one of the most hysterical experiences of my life.

The whole encounter made me realise that, although you see a lot written about learning to say no and putting yourself first for health and wellbeing reasons, sometimes by putting other people first, you actually do the greatest service to yourself.

Watching my daughter happy made me happy.

Knowing she’s made memories that will last her a lifetime, will stay with me forever.

Sometimes, even though you want to say no, say yes instead.

It’s the best thing you’ll ever do.