Are you a nutritionist?

The simple answer to this question is no. Though nutritionists, dieticians and nutritional therapists all focus on giving nutritional advice there are some significant differences between them.

Dieticians tend to work within the NHS under the direction of a GP with  patients with diagnosed medical conditions. They create dietary plans for patients basing their advice on reference nutrient intakes (RNIs) which are government guidelines on the amount of nutrients required by the majority of the population to avoid deficiencies and  the ‘Balance of Good Health’  model (www.eatwell.gov.uk). They do not take into account biochemical individuality.

Nutritionists like dieticians are registered with the Nutrition Society and base their recommendations on the same principles. However  they tend to work outside of a clinical setting providing information about food and healthy eating to the public for example via the government or food industry.

Nutritional Therapists are independent complementary therapists who take a holistic and individual approach to their client’s health. They recognise the limitations of transferring population guidelines to individuals and instead create carefully tailored diet and lifestyle programmes. They tend to view RNIs as inadequate and instead work with optimum nutrient intakes to achieve optimum health rather than simply avoiding deficiency.  They look beyond symptoms and aim to identify underlying causes of health problems. Recommendations may include guidance on natural detoxification, methods to support digestion and absorption, the avoidance of toxins or allergens and the appropriate use of supplementary nutrients, including phytonutrients.Though independent, they often work alongside conventional medical practitioners especially with patients with chronic health problems which are hard to treat by conventional medicine.

Adapted from:

British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT), (2011). Briefing notes. Available at www.bant.org.uk Accessed 15/09/2011.

How will I benefit from seeing a nutritional therapist?

Nutrition is fundamentally linked with health. Research is increasingly recognising that foods have nutritive value beyond that related to the energy they provide (i.e. calories) or macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) quantity and quality. Food is packed full of complex, biologically active molecules and hence its impact on health should be of no surprise. This includes the ability of good nutrition to heal; as Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine himself said “let food be your medicine and your medicine be your food”.  What is difficult is the teasing apart all of the complex elements in food and working out their impact on the body.  This is where a qualified nutritional therapist’s expertise can help by working with you to achieve the best food selection for your personal needs.

Importantly nutritional therapy is an individual-centred approach to healthcare. It employs careful assessment and tailored intervention to assist an individual to optimise his or her physiological, emotional, cognitive and physiological function by creating equilibrium or homeostasis in the body. Nutrition and lifestyle approaches to healthcare have been repeatedly shown to support all the major systems of the body, i.e., skeletal, muscular, nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, excretory, endocrine, immune, reproductive and integumentary (skin, hair and nails). Addressing root causes of health problems, rather than just symptoms, also increases the potential for improved health and quality of life as well helping to reduce the risk of many serious conditions.

 


What can I expect from a nutritional therapy consultation?

An initial consultation lasts approximately 75 minutes and is broken into 3 sections. The first section will be a discussion about the comprehensive health questionnaire and food diary you will have completed prior to your appointment. I will have analysed these questionnaires in advance looking for the root causes of your health issues and I may need to ask you further questions face to face to gain a deeper understanding of what is going on – your nutritional intake, dietary habits and health status and history. This maybe complemented by taking measurements (e.g waist circumference or blood pressure) or using diagnostic procedures such as tongue or nail analysis or mineral testing.

In the second section, your individual strategy for health will be created which links your health needs to nutritional imbalances.

In the third section, you will work with me to create a nourishing programme suitable for your individual circumstances which is realistic and easy to follow. The key focus of the programme will be a dietary plan though it will also likely include lifestyle changes and nutrient or botanical supplement recommendations.  You may also be advised to undergo further testing , either via your GP or a private laboratory.  Importantly during this stage you will be provided with all the support and encouragement you require to make the agreed modifications.

Follow-up consultations last for 45 minutes during which time your progress will be discussed and modifications to your programme made to ensure continued improvements in your wellbeing.

 


Why does an initial appointment with some other nutritional therapists cost less than Nourishing by Nature?

This is an important question to understand the answer to as it is vital that you feel you are getting great value for money which I confident you are. The key reason for any price differences you may find are as follows:

1)  I am a registered Nutritional Therapist and a member of BANT and the CNHC.  In order to do this I had to undergo rigorous 3 year training.  Unfortunately some nutritional therapists and advisers have not trained to such a high standard. It is important when you choose a therapist that you check that they are registered with BANT and the CNHC so you can be sure you are getting expert care and you can be assured they meet professional standards.

2) I am a highly experienced practitioner having run a full-time practice for 7 years. In this time I have helped thousands of Clients with a wide range of health issues. To qualify as a registered nutritional therapist the training is rigorous but that is only the beginning of your learning. I have learnt so much more through my practice and working with my clients since graduation than I did throughout my course and the more I practice the more I continue to learn so I can better help and better support.

3) I invest in continued professional development. Over the last 7 years I have spent thousands of pounds and thousands of hours on further training and as I believe it is essential to stay on top of the latest research and trends in nutrition and functional medicine.

4) I take a Functional Medicine approach which is incredibly involved aiming to find the core root causes of any health issue. This is a true 360 degree approach to healing looking at imbalances in the emotional, biochemical, genetic and structural. Nutrition is just a part of the recommendations offered. Yes I will give you dietary advice but in addition to this we will look at improving lifestyle factors such as your social connections, emotional health, sleep, exercise, sources of joy, mindfulness.  Functional testing may also be recommended and analysed looking for any biochemical imbalances in the body plus we will consider the use of nutritional supplements, herbs, Bach Flower remedies (in which I am trained), essential oils all to speed you on your way to optimum health.  You can find out more about Functional Medicine here

4) The way I structure the therapeutic process can differ to other therapists. Firstly I do not ask clients to commit to more than one appointment at a time and to pay in advance for appointments unless they decide to buy a value programme. The reason for this is because to work together it is important you feel comfortable. I don’t believe it is fair to ask you to commit to a number of appointments until we have sat down together and you can experience my approach and my personality first hand.  Before your initial appointment I spend time (approximately between 30-60 minutes) analysing your completed health questionnaire and food diary. I do this so that I have done lots of the detective work and thinking before we even meet and we do not waste your first appointment simply fact finding. We can instead  spend our time together working on a preparing and negotiating a plan to help you and with me giving you tailored advice straight away. Some therapists use the initial appointment as a fact finding mission and only give general advice with more tailored advice at your second appointment.   I want you to get started on improving your health immediately so within 24 hours of your first appointment you will receive a fully typed, personalised report outlining our agreed clinical objectives and dietary, lifestyle recommendations as well as recommendations for any nutritional supplements and herbs and further testing. You will also receive helpful handouts and recipes and everything you need to get started.   This personalised report again takes me approximately 45-60 minutes or in complex cases even longer to prepare.  Your first appointment fee therefore not only includes our 75 minutes face to face but the analysis work prior to meeting and the time preparing your report post consultation.   Follow up appointments are then used to discuss progress and make amends to your programme to ensure you continue to improve.


 Where Are Nutritional Therapy Consultations Held?

Cheltenham Clinic :
  
Leckhampton, GL53
 
Or in the comfort of your own home (within 30 miles of  Leckhampton)

London Clinic:
 
 The Nutrition Coach at The Birth Company
137 Harley Street, London
W1G 6BG
 
For your convenience, follow-up consultations can  also be held via telephone or Skype.
 

How long will it take me to feel better using nutritional therapy?

This is a difficult question to answer as it will depend on the individual reasons you have decided to see a nutritional therapist.  What is important to remember is that, because nutritional therapy focusses on addressing the root cause of health issues and achieving optimum health rather than just the avoidance of ill-health, it is not a ‘quick fix’ solution.  Whereas you may be able to get enough information to make dietary and lifestyle changes which can improve your wellbeing from one or two consultations, nutritional therapy works best when you work with your therapist over time to achieve optimium health in the short -term and prevent health problems in the long-term. Whatever you decide to do however is your choice and you will never be pressured to make appointments if you are not happy to.  Whether you see your therapist once or many times, a general rule of thumb is that any changes you make including taking supplements should be followed for a minimum of 3 months for major benefits to be seen.

 


Nourishing NutritionWill I need to take supplements?

Again, the answer to this question completely depends on your circumstances.  Supplements should never be used as a substitute for a healthy diet and the primary focus of your nourishing plan will always be dietary modifications. However, there are often distinct benefits in using specific food supplements and nutritional substrates in combination with a well balanced diet and lifestyle programme.

For example, though severe vitamin and mineral deficiency is relatively uncommon in the Western world, research is confirming that modest deficiency is very common1 . Reviewing this research, Gerald Weissman, M.D., Editor-in Chief of the Journal of American Societies for Experimental Biology concludes  that ‘this paper should settle  any debate about the importance of taking a good, complete multivitamin everyday’ and that ‘taking a multivitamin that contains selenium is a good way to prevent deficiencies that, over time can cause harm in ways that we are just beginning to understand’.

So why can’t we get optimum levels of nutrients from the diet alone? There are 3 key reasons. Firstly, many of us still do not eat a well-balanced diet. For example ,  many of the UK population are still not eating the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Secondly, the foods we are eating are depleted of nutrients. This is because foods are grown in nutrient depleted soils, picked before they are ripened, stored for long periods, transported for long distances and processed. Thirdly, our bodies require higher levels of certain nutrients than they used to. This is because we are exposed to more environmental pollutants such as pesticides, fertilisers and plastics as well as stress, alcohol, tobacco and medications all of which deplete nutrients in the body or inhibit their absorption.

Having said all this, do not worry if you don’t feel comfortable with taking supplements, your choice will always be respected and here is a lot that can be done through diet and lifestyle changes alone.

  1. Mcann JC, Ames, BN (2011). Adaptive dysfunction of selenoproteins from the perspective of the triage theory: why modest selenium deficiency may increase the risk of ageing. FASEB J. Jun 25 (6): 1793-814. Epub. Accessed 15/8/11. http://tinyurl.com/64h5sx2

 


How can I optimise my nutrient intake and health?

In order to maximise you nutrient intake and your potential to achieve optimum health it is always best to see a nutritional therapist on an individual basis so your health status, diet and lifestyle can be carefully assessed.  However there 10 simple dietary guidelines you can follow to get you started on your journey to optimum health and vitality:

1. Choose locally grown, fresh, organic produce where possible

2. Eat in season

3. Eat wholefoods and avoid highly processed foods

4. Eat a wide variety of foods

5. Include brightly coloured foods in your diet daily

6. Avoid foods your great grandparents would’t recognise

8. Drink at least 8 glasses of good quality water daily

9. Chose brown foods over white

10. Eat slowly and mindfully