My interest in optimising health and well-being with multiple sclerosis comes from personal experience. I was diagnosed with MS in 2011 (initially RRMS, then revised to PPMS). Despite looking healthy, eating what I thought was healthy and being a yoga and meditation teacher, it was a very different picture on the inside. I was dealing with a huge amount of stress, more than my yoga training and practice at that point could deal with, as well as hormonal issues, fatigue, and crippling anxiety. I was completely unaware that I had an underlying autoimmune condition and the diagnosis came as a huge shock to both me and my family.
My world had flipped and I was struggling to find any meaningful answers as to why I was ill. Primary care offered me drugs in an attempt to suppress the over-active immune response but also a feeling of passivity that I wasn't comfortable with. The underlying immune system imbalance and the multi-factorial nature of autoimmunity wasn't being addressed. Dr Google offered lots of multi-factorial approaches but left me feeling even more confused and scared. My daughters were only 18 months and 4 years old at the time and I was determined to explore every way I could to be healthy for as long as possible.
I read a book about nutrition and MS and although it didn't provide me with all the answers I was looking for, it did offer me a convincing link between what I was eating and how I felt. For the first time, I understood that food was information and that, whatever we included or eliminated from our diets, had either a positive or negative biochemical bearing on our health. This felt like a lifeline which I knew I had to explore further.
So, in 2013, I enrolled onto a 4 year Nutrition Diploma at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition in London, a leading school of science and evidence-based Nutritional Therapy in the UK. Here, I was taught how to separate the media driven nutritional dogma from the actual scientific evidence as well as the importance of personalised nutrition alongside factors such as the role of our microbiome, viral load, the perils of environmental toxins, the importance of the right kind of exercise, restorative sleep and strategies to reduce stress. I learnt about the huge impact that our repeated behaviours and food choices have on our health and that our physical and emotional wellbeing is something that we have a large degree of control over.
The more I learnt, the more I needed to know and this desire has driven me to continue studying and researching long after graduating as a Nutritional Therapist. I have since qualified as a Nutrigenomics practitioner with Lifecode GX offering a range of specialist nutrigenomics DNA test panels that inform how inherited health risks can be mitigated through personalised nutrition and lifestyle change. I am also completing the Functional Medicine Practitioner Programme with The Institute of Functional Medicine as well as an MSc in Applied Neuroscience at King's College London. I regularly attend CPD events with industry experts in the field of nutrition, autoimmunity and MS.
My own experience has definitely shaped my practice and driven my focus to support other women with MS. Now with over 11 years of personal experience and 5 years of clinical practice, my passion is to be the clinician I wish I had met 11 years ago. To empower women with the tools they need to maximise their health and well-being with MS by unravelling their health stories and understanding their unique biochemistry.
I have seen remarkable transformations in my own health as well as the health of my clients and I'd love to be able to do the same for you.
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