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?

health, Health and Wellbeing, Nutrition, nutritional therapy, person centred health, personalised nutrition, Wellness

Individuality: The Key to Regaining Power Over Your Health

A major factor in regaining your health is to understand what led you there in the first place 

“It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.” 

Hippocrates

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?

Health and Wellbeing, Interview, Nutrition, nutritional therapy, Wellness

Interview with Three Valley Vegans

Interview between Three Valley Vegans and myself.

When I took part in the Milnrow Yoga & Wellbeing Festival last weekend, I was approached by Elizabeth King from Three Valley Vegans to do an interview for their blog and newsletter, and also, to arrange a talk in Hebden Bridge for next year. I’m always extremely happy to do these events because I love getting out there to encourage the general population to eat more healthily and help everyone understand how easy it can actually be.

Although the majority of my client’s aren’t vegan, I’ve been vegan for over 5 years, and I love to share the health benefits of eating a diet higher in plant based foods. Just adding a few more fruits and vegetables into your diet can make a huge difference to wellbeing.

Here in the interview I talk about why I became vegan, why I became a nutritional therapist, why we become ill, why chronic disease is on the rise, how we can help our bodies to fight disease, and why we sometimes find it difficult to stick to a healthy eating regime. I’ve also added a link to the popular Chickpea Blondie recipe I take as a taster to events. It’s simple to make and healthy too.

This film available on Netflix is my initial motivation for becoming vegan – health, animals and environment.

Hope you enjoy both the recipe and the interview! Let me know what you think.

Here’s the link to the interview:

food, Health and Wellbeing, nutritional therapy, Wellness

Kitchenzest & True To Your Health – same ethos approached from two different angles.

The logo of Kitchenzest is written with 'kitchen' in green  and 'zest' in yellow, with an image of half a lemon slice suspended slightly above it.  It represents health and vitality.
Kitchenzest is the brainchild of Rochdalian ex-community nurse, Alison Maughan. She co-founded the healthy ready-meal company with her son one year ago, after giving up 20 years of nursing. Her view was to start something she believed in – to provide good value and uncompromisingly nutritious meals to the people of the local area.

Yesterday afternoon I had a meeting with Alison Maughan from Kitchenzest. Like me, she has a passion for health, eating foods for vitality, and improving people’s lives. We’re just approaching it from different angles, that’s all.

Alison makes uncompromisingly healthy ready meals (for individual requirements if necessary) which she decided to do after recognising a gap in the market, and her business has taken off locally. This tells me that people want to eat healthy food – they just don’t always have the time or energy to prepare and cook it.

From communications by text prior to our meet-up, I already knew Alison was a lovely person. In real life, however, she exceeded my expectations. She’s completely sincere and passionate about what she does, which always works for me.

We chatted like we’d known each other for years, and came up with some great ideas about how we can potentially work together.

I can’t wait for the next step.

The future’s exciting… so watch this space!!! 🤩 #kitchenzest#collaborate#healthyeating#innovate#youarewhatyoueat#eatwellfeelgreat#rochdale#localbusiness#inspire#nutrition#nutritionaltherapy#nutritionaltherapypractitioner

If you would like to learn more about Alison and her company, please click the hyperlink on her name/company name above.

Health and Wellbeing, Nutrition, nutritional therapy, Uncategorised, Wellness

Littleborough Wellness Festival

Yesterday was a fantastic day. It was the first Littleborough Wellness Festival at Littleborough Cricket Club, organised by Littleborough and Area Ladies Circle, with all proceeds going to Rochdale & District Mind. I met some great people, both the stallholders and people who came to visit.

I was blown away by how many people were looking for more natural ways to deal with their ill health or improve their health. There’s a lot of interest out there for changes to the way we eat and live our lives. What I was hearing, however, was that there is so much conflicting information out there that people often get confused and don’t know where to start.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated. A good starting point is with the BANT Wellness Plate and their 7-a-day Eat a Rainbow handouts. I was explaining to the people who came to chat with me that half their daily intake of food should be focused on fruits and vegetables, but also, that it’s important to eat a wide range of colours and types of plant-based foods. Our gut bacteria thrives on different varieties of fibres and polyphenols within plant-based foods, so diversity is key. The spectrum of colours available in fruits and vegetables offer different benefits – helping immunity, mood, energy, hormones, digestion, cardiovascular and skeletal health etc.

The healthy snacks tasters I made – energy balls and chickpea & cashew blondies – went down a treat

Although eating like this is beneficial to everyone, sometimes it doesn’t improve the symptoms we may be experiencing. Depending on what’s going on in our bodies, it may even make things worse. At this point it’s advisable to see a professional who, during their consultation, will try to identify the potential root cause of your issues. We are all individuals, so a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. The triggers and drivers for our illnesses differ from person-to-person, even if they are suffering with the same condition.

Just before the doors open. Everyone’s just finishing setting up!

One of my favourite parts of the day was talking to representatives from MIND and the University of the Third Age who expressed interest in me participating in workshops and talks with the general public. This is very exciting, as it means I can spread the word about the benefits of dietary and lifestyle interventions to a greater audience. Nutrition has an important role in mental health and healthy ageing, but it’s not always so easy to be able to implement dietary advice when you might be living alone or struggling with mental health issues. It would be great to offer support and strategies to these groups in ways that suit their individual needs.

Finally, I’d like to thank my friends Natasha Sophia Sarak (of Prestwich Health Heroes) and Pauline Holt, who turned up yesterday to support me. Cheerleaders help us move forward, and feel positive and focused! I really appreciate them taking precious time out of their day and I certainly felt the love. Thanks guys!

Really appreciate the support I got from my fellow nutritional therapy buddy