It’s a lot easier in some respects to a write post that’s very factual, comical, or full of useful information… and a lot more scary to write something pretty personal. However, given that it’s Halloween and the demons are out anyway, I’m taking this opportunity to go a little deeper.
Yup, I’m a nutritional therapist and yes, I help people to feel great, but unfortunately my own health hasn’t been totally on track lately… And when I say lately… I mean like in the last year or more! In fact, despite my level of knowledge increasing, my health has been going rapidly downhill. From zero energy to nauseating periods that felt like childbirth, it’s been pretty rough. Not to mention the brain fog, hair thinning and erratic moods that make the Hulk seem like an angel. It’s been a bit concerning to say the least.
I guess I always wanted to show the image of perfection so that you could trust me, yet honestly, if I was my own client I would have refused to see me due to a long-term lack of compliance. I have slowly come to realise that a) I am the WORST nutrition client and b) in order for you to trust me, I need to be totally honest.
I see clients that are suffering from major adrenal fatigue and politely inform them that if they want to feel well, they need to also work on their stress levels; I tell clients that if they’re vegan, they need to carefully plan their meals; and I tell clients to listen to their bodies and assess what’s right for them. I give them personalised meal plans, insist on functional testing, and tell them that they really need to go out and have a good time. Specifically, with adrenal fatigue it’s all about carb reduction and eating more protein and fat to nourish your body.
However, when it came to myself, I didn’t pay attention. In a year and a half I studied, moved house, planned a wedding, and launched my own business, which involved getting up at 5am to run a juice truck in the freezing cold for hours on end. I didn’t exercise, I cut off nearly all ties with friends, and I forgot what having a weekend was like.
I also lied to myself about my diet and counted raw chocolate and cakes as health foods… which featured very heavily on my menu alongside far too many carbohydrates. When my health started to deteriorate and I started salivating over salmon, I turned my head and stuffed myself with chia seeds instead. When my body told me it needed to calm down, I ploughed on with work, and when I really just wanted a bowl of mum’s chicken soup, I proudly announced I was vegan, in an attempt to hold onto my new identity, despite dying a little inside.
I can’t say there was really a specific mind- blowing moment where a lightbulb appeared above my head, but I eventually realised that if I really did believe in my nutritional therapy practice, I would have to treat myself like a client case. No more patching things up with supplements whilst sipping on banana cacao smoothies, and no more 10 minute yoga stretches in the morning, spending the rest of the day tied to a computer. There is literally no point in trying to “cleanse my liver” whilst I fret about life, and I cannot exchange My Fitness Pal for a real life friend to share a cuppa tea with.
When I ordered my collagen powder, I’ll admit, my inner vegan was disgusted and ashamed, and the product went in and out of the Amazon cart about 5 times before the purchase. I took a deep breath and honoured my commitment to listen to my body. It needed deep level nutrition and not more pills, no matter how natural the formulations.
So this is my new plan:
- Saying goodbye to my macrobiotic and raw food past and introducing a lower carbohydrate, ketogenic-style diet to balance my blood sugar levels (no more coconut sugar!)
- Eliminating foods I’m intolerant to, so that inflammation is reduced
- Having clean, quality proteins and fats to help repair my body and build hormones
- Seeing friends regularly and getting hugs to increase oxytocin (the happy hormone)
- Exercising to release endorphins
- Deep breathing to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and creating a sense of calm
- Exploring epsom salt baths & flotation tanks (this really excites me), as they are rich in magnesium, which is incredibly healing for burnout and stress.
This is what I would be advising my clients, and this is what I’ve committed to doing to look after myself.
Healing really begins by being honest with yourself and by listening to what your body desperately needs. It involves sharing your pain and reaching out to others for support… we are meant to be a community & look out for each other.
I don’t yet know whether this particular style of eating will be a suitable fit for me long-term , and I don’t yet know if I will turn back to a solely plant- based diet, but one thing is for sure… my body will let me know what makes it happy, and I’m sure as hell going to honour that, nurturing and caring for myself as I would my clients. After all, if we’re not happy and healthy, how can we have the energy to heal others?
Please join me on my journey, exploring this new way of eating, living, loving, and not pretending to be perfect!
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been through a similar experience and / or if you’ve found anything that’s enhanced your life and helped you become stress free… let’s build a community!! xxx