"We all have varied and complicated relationships with food"
My personal journey to becoming a nutritional therapist and now a writer (I still can’t believe it!) started like many others: in my twenties I was suffering from exhaustion, terrible skin and a total lack of joie de vivre. A friend suggested I take a look at my diet. I thought I ate perfectly healthily and I wasn’t overweight, so I was resistant at first, but after a trip to a nutritionist and some simple modifications to what I ate, the changes in my overall wellbeing were so positive that I became a committed convert to clean, healthy eating. So much so that in my late twenties I quit my job and went off to learn all I could about nutrition. I also went back into the kitchen to master my skills at cooking.
Once qualified, I set up a small private practice from my home in London and also a service where I taught people simple cooking skills and gave their kitchen cupboards an ingredients ‘make-over’. This is when my education really started.
As learned as I was, and with all the nutritional knowledge I had studied hard to accumulate, it was my clients who really taught me. From sharing their feelings, watching their behaviours, supporting the changes they made and seeing the astonishing results they achieved, I became aware of the deep psychology behind eating. We all have varied and complicated relationships with food, whether we know it or not. I found that it was not just a question of telling my clients what was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for them, but also a matter of helping them to identify their feelings and beliefs about their deeply rooted habits, whether that was just a shallow change like swapping their table salt for sea salt, or a deeper change like helping them to fully respect themselves through their food choices.
I, too, began a whole new love affair with food, embracing cooking at home and coming up with new recipes so that I could continue to eat healthier versions of the foods I loved. I shared my recipes with my friends, family and clients, discovering what worked, what ‘wowed’ and, really importantly, what didn’t work.
From practice, from making mistakes and from continued study I formulated my 10 principles of healthy eating, which have all come together in my recently published book, Eat. Nourish. Glow. This isn’t a recipe book, although it includes some of my favourite meals; nor is it a crash diet book, although it may help you lose weight. I hope it’s a gentle, supportive guide to treating our bodies well with food, so that readers can achieve full health and vibrancy and be the best they can be.
The most important of all my principles, and the one I hope will become the main thing my readers do this year, is to go back to the kitchen, back to cooking with real ingredients, to reconnect with food, become more conscious about where it comes from and allow new habits to form. Last year for me was so exciting, but also so hectic – writing, researching and still seeing my clients – that this year I’m hoping to be more home-bound, more nurturing to myself, so I can continue to give and to guide. I’ll be spending much more time back in my kitchen, cooking and creating new recipes (maybe for my next book!).