The subject of nutrition has been a major love of mine for over twenty years, and my obsession with human biology was sparked way back in secondary school science lessons when I became enthralled by the workings of the digestive system!
Throughout my teenage years I suffered from crippling stomach pains, which were duly given the title of IBS by my doctor. By my early twenties I was plagued by a host of digestive issues, intense abdominal pain and bloating. I was extremely fatigued, and spent Saturday afternoons sleeping. Years later I was diagnosed with endometriosis, which had been lurking that whole time and playing a major role in my state of chronic ill health.
By my mid twenties I’d had enough of feeling ill all the time. I was already fascinated with food and nutrition so began working with a nutritional therapist to see if she could help me. The impact of her recommendations were amazing, and I became hooked. It was at that point I decided to train to become a nutritional therapist myself and embarked on 4 years of study at The Institute for Optimum Nutrition. In 2004 I was finally ready to start working with my own clients, and I haven’t looked back.
In 2007 I returned to The Institute for Optimum Nutrition to work as a clinic and seminar tutor. I loved the balance between seeing my own clients and assisting student nutritional therapists with their clinical training. Over the years my responsibilities on the academic team developed and my role expanded, chiefly to lecturer in modules such as physiology, disordered physiology, clinical analysis using functional medicine, clinical practice and food & nutrition.
In 2010 I was invited to practice from the Institute’s Professional Clinic as their senior nutritional therapist, and in 2013 became Head of Clinics, overseeing all clinical delivery from student and graduate led clinics through to senior practitioners. Most of my clinical work is now carried out from my private online clinic and practice in Twickenham, London.
Over the years my specialisms have grown and developed as my knowledge has deepened. I am especially interested in nutrition to support the immune system. The immune system is amazing, but so many things can impact its functioning; from digestive health through to hormones, and especially nutrient status. The immune system also impacts on things like mood and weight, so it’s all interlinked. I work with clients who have an immune related illness or something they can’t get to the bottom of – like frequent infections. And many of my clients want to support their immune system following a health scare, or wish to look after their immune system from a preventative health point of view
I frequently work with clients who have autoimmune conditions including Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease, coeliac disease, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
My lecture subjects include female health conditions, adrenal & thyroid dysfunction, the gut, detoxification, diabetes & blood sugar management, allergies, intolerances & sensitivities. The research I do for my lectures, my clients who are all unique, and my general desire to keep learning new things helps me to continually develop as a professional and assists me in getting the root cause of my client’s immunity issues. I regularly attend conferences and complete online post-graduate modules in functional medicine to support my learning. I am looking forward to starting a masters degree in advanced nutrition research and practice later on this year.
At the heart of everything I do is a real love of food and a desire that everyone should have a positive experience with dietary change. Once we work out the strategy for fixing the underlying issues that cause illness we then begin the work of putting sensible, achievable and practical nutrition recommendations in place. I’m a big believer in adding things in rather than taking things out of the diet. I’m also a passionate foodie. When a client finishes an appointment saying they feel inspired and hungry I’m very, very happy!
As a final word, in my early days of clinical practice I thought nutrition was the answer to everything! But over the years I have come to understand that it is just one piece of the optimum health puzzle. I now spend a lot more time coaching my clients through lifestyle change, and this works brilliantly alongside improved nutrition to support the immune system. I’m fascinated by the impact that both stress and sleep have on immunity, not to mention movement and even posture! There is so much to consider when it comes to total and complete health for the mind, body and soul. I enjoy researching other disciplines that support wellbeing and think we all have a totally unique path to follow when in comes to finding complete, personalised health. I feel so fortunate to have a job that continues to inspire and challenge me.
You can learn more about me in Amelia Freer’s Who’s The Expert? series, which features on her website and accessed here. I’m thrilled to have Amelia’s endorsement and to work as her associate in clinic.