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.”
“It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.”
I was looking for quotes for a presentation I’m doing in a few weeks and I came across this quote by Hippocrates.
It got me thinking about the clients that come into my clinics and how true this is. How it’s important that each client is the focus of every consultation, not the disease.
So how is this applied exactly?
Any two people can walk through the door with the same condition, but they will be totally different in terms of root cause, personality and therapeutic needs. They will have different issues in their lives, different dietary preferences, different drives, different support networks, different goals. Some people require lots of support outside of the consulting room; others require none.
As a therapist, it’s important for me to recognise these factors and deal with them appropriately – to treat each client, not as a set of symptoms, but as individuals. To see how it is best to serve them, so together we achieve the health goals they wish to reach.
Just like the people who come to see me, the root cause of any symptom is highly individual. One person’s illness may be driven by stress which is undermining their immune or digestive function; another may have a long history of antibiotic use that created a microbiome imbalance; some medications might create nutritional or hormonal imbalances; pain might be exacerbated by previous traumatic events as well as poor diet.
Usually there are a number of factors involved, and it’s up to me to unpick all the information given, and create a plan that, over time, removes all the onion layers of ill health to reveal the heart of better health beneath.
Recognising a person’s individuality is also vital when giving them a plan of action – for some, gentle guidance is better accepted than a long list of changes that can lead to a feeling of overwhelm. Others want a challenge, something they can get their teeth into, where they see instant results.
So my role is to understand what makes each person tick, to be clear about their goals, and to guide them forward in a way that suits them.
It is also up to me to empower them by helping them to understand the reasons behind their symptoms, and give them the information they require to stick to a healthier lifestyle and take back their health in the long term.
Because what really makes a difference to us all when we are adopting changes in our lives is: to be recognised for who we are, to feel understood, and to to be given the chance to regain power over our lives, as we travel on the journey to becoming a healthier version of ourselves.
Have you any thoughts on this? What has affected you the most or made the biggest difference to you when dealing with a health professional?
I’ve just read a blog post by Brene Brown about an Oprah interview with author Toni Morrison which really made me think about my behaviour as a parent.
In the interview with Oprah, Toni speaks about how we can influence a child’s confidence and their self-image in ways that we don’t even realise. Here’s the link to the original post by Brene.
According to Toni, children gather information about their parents’ feeling towards them based on their initial reactions (whether they be positive or negative) on each meeting.
For instance, as a parent, do you immediately pick up on your child’s uncombed hair, food stained clothes, muddy shoes etc?
Or do you smile, happy to see them, first?
When I read this, I thought to my own behaviour, and recognised that I can be quick to criticise, without even intending to.
The problem isn’t with the criticism itself – as parents, we need to be able to tell our children not to get mud on the carpet etc – but what’s important is that the criticism isn’t the first thing they always hear.
What is that criticism (if it’s the first thing out of your mouth) telling them about themselves and what you think about them? Does your body language, or do your words, demonstrate your love, or does it tell them there is something wrong with their appearance, behaviour or choices?
If you don’t think well of them, how can they think well of themselves? And how will these micro-criticisms impact their self-esteem in the long term?
This interests me, not only as a parent, but as a nutritional therapist. A person’s health and wellbeing is all tied up in self-esteem and stress.
If we don’t think well of ourselves we send ourselves negative messages:
You’re such a mess.
Why can’t you do a simple thing like that?
What an idiot!
These self-criticisms – where we can’t be kind to ourselves – become a form of stress.
As I’ve mentioned previously, stress affects cortisol levels which, if not managed, can negatively impacts health – both mental and physical.
So how can we help our kids to develop better attitudes towards themselves and as a result, become healthier adults?
Well, I suppose initially, that lies with us and our behaviour towards them. The way we react to our kids can either enhance of undermine self-image and resilience. If we manage our reactions positively, this ultimately has a beneficial impact on their future health.
As Brene says in her blog post, don’t let the first comment to your child each time you see them be a negative one. By being kind to them, we teach them to be kind to themselves.
Say something nice, or “flash a smile” before you ask them to move their belongings (that have taken up residence on the living room floor for the last three days!)
Even if they don’t show it, your smile or kind words will mean so much, and it’s another way of telling them you love them.
Plus, it also takes the sting out of the fact they’ve got to clear up after themselves!
So tomorrow I’m going to be at the first Milnrow Yoga & Wellbeing Festival. I’m very excited about this.
The Rochdale area where I live isn’t renowned for being at the forefront of health and wellness – in fact, I think it’s one of the top unhealthy places in the country – but recently there has been an surge of interest, and this is the second festival I will attend this year (the third will be at Hollingworth Lake in September – watch this space!)
The festival will take place in Milnrow Park, and fortunately, the weather is forecast to be sunny, which is GREAT! Sunny weather means more people are likely to come to learn about all the good things that can be done to help both your physical and mental wellbeing.
There are going to be lots of tasters and sessions for people to join in with. Bring your trainers and look at the schedule when you get there if you’d like to participate in the Zumba or Yoga! No need to bring your mats though as these are being provided by a local company.
I can’t wait to meet like-minded people from the local area. On my stall I’ll have information about ways to improve your diet and relieve stress (a huge factor in poor health), plus some recipes for healthy snacks and desserts. I’ll be handing out some sweet treats too that are actually good for you, and offering a chance for someone to win an initial consultation worth over £100. If you’re interested in improving a health condition, please take part. There’s no greater investment than looking after yourself.
So, that’s all for now, but if you are attending the festival tomorrow, please come over and say hello. It would be a real pleasure to meet you.
Getting more green leafy vegetables into your diet needn’t be difficult. Personally, I find it’s all in the planning, so that I’m not having to overthink it, or spend all my free time preparing and cooking. (Please see my previous post if you want more information about what exactly a green leafy vegetable is, and what benefits they offer).
Chop up a salad and store it in the fridge for a few days. Use rocket, spinach, watercress, romaine and, if you’re feeling adventurous, even kale! Herbs such as parsley and coriander (if you are a fan) also offer a new flavour dimension. Add salad portions as a side to your meals, or even better, eat it before your meal to kickstart your digestion.
Stir-fry spring greens, broccoli, pak choi, sliced Brussels sprouts or savoy cabbage with onions, garlic and your favourite spices to make a delicious side. It’s also great with added soy sauce or tamari. If you make a large batch you can store it in the fridge and add it to your meals. I really like greens stir-fried this way with added cashews or as a bed for a home-made fat spicy bean burger to sit on.
I find a really quick way to get in the greens is to add them, finely chopped, at the end of cooking. They add texture and colour to soups, stews and casseroles. I particularly like adding a big bunch of spinach to a sweet potato and chickpea curry. Or kale or spring greens are great in a chilli.
Make a green smoothie. Fill up the blender beaker with at least half leafy greens (I like kale and spinach the best for this purpose), then top up the rest with other vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds or anything else you enjoy or will satisfy you.
Finely chopping parsley and/or coriander is a highly effective way to add nutrients, colour and flavour to a pilaf made of brown rice or quinoa. You could also boil up some wholewheat or red lentil pasta, or buckwheat noodles for a change, stir-fry some onions and garlic, then add in a chopped bunch of gorgeous herbs (or other greens, such as spring greens, savoy cabbage, or pak choi) for a really nutritious but simple meal.
Next time I’ll be giving you some more tips on how to up your green leafy intake. See you then.
If you found the information here useful or if you have any requests for future blog-posts, please post in the comments below.
My name is Sally and I’m a registered nutritional therapist based in the Todmorden and Rochdale area.
Lots of people say they’d love to take more care of their health, but they don’t have the time, or don’t know where to start. I totally get that. I’m the mum of a young person with complex learning and health needs, so I fully understand how tough altering the way you eat or drink, or making adjustments to your lifestyle, can seem when you are time-limited. By setting up this website, I want to make people who could benefit from dietary and lifestyle support aware of my services. However, I’m also hoping that by sharing my experiences and tips, it will be easier for you to juggle all that life has to offer and look after yourself too.
Get in touch for a 15 minute free consultation about your health needs.