Tell us about yourself
I am a nutritional therapist, a mother of two young children, a level two reiki pracitioner and I have a decade of experience as a registered nurse. Most of my nursing experience was in Canada, where I’m from, in acute care.
And how did you get into alternative medicine?
During the last couple of years of my nursing career I worked as a practice nurse in a GP surgery. With unknown causes and limited treatment options, my interest in alternative medicine heightened. I was increasingly being asked by patients and mothers of young children about dietary or herbal solutions for ailments.
I attended an open evening at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London and signed up for the diploma option immediately. It felt like ‘a calling’ if you will. Having a background in medicine I was also delighted to see that much of nutritional therapy is deeply rooted in science. I graduated last year and have since set up my own company: White Feather Nutrition.
Can you tell us what one of your consultations involves?
My aim is to get to the root cause of a disease or set of symptoms. In the initial meeting I spend about 45 minutes to an hour getting a detailed history so I can gain a holistic view of the client’s health.
Everything in the body is connected. Sometimes people don’t understand why I am asking about their gut health when they have come to see me about joint pain or migraines. Having a full understanding of all systems helps me gain insight into the root cause and where to begin a healing protocol. I even ask questions about sleep, stress levels, emotions and energy. Sometimes I recommend testing, supplements or herbs.
What are the most common problems you are seeing in patients?
A few patterns I am seeing include autoimmune diseases, hormone imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, unexplained fatigue, gut issues and stress related problems are increasingly common.
The causes of these health issues tend to be multi-faceted. Nutrition, sleep quality, movement, mindfulness techniques, nutritional deficiencies, toxin exposure reduction, all of these may play a beneficial role. We can quite easily support our own innate healing abilities through addressing some of the basics such as nutrition, stress management, sleep and movement, while living our modern lives.
I find that each client is different, there is no one size fits all approach, even if they have similar diagnoses or symptoms. For example, an underactive thyroid could be triggered by nutritional deficiencies, such as selenium or iodine, or by food intolerances, or through too much cortisol. The underlying cause could be a combination of these or none at all.
It’s my job to do the detective work and find the cause and sometimes this requires testing. Once triggers are identified and we know where to make lifestyle changes, it can be very empowering for a client to be able to take their own healing back into their own hands.
Jennifer’s top tips for maintaining optimum health
I believe that every person is unique: mind, body and soul, as is their path to healing. However, there are some key nutritional takeaways everyone can benefit from to help optimise vitality and well-being:
1 Eat a variety of vegetables and fruit. Think of colours. This will provide an array of different vitamin, mineral and antioxidant benefits. The colour that often gets forgotten is purple so beets and red cabbage are great options. Choose organic as much as possible – the Soil Association logo is key to look for.
2 Drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day. Herbal teas count!
3 Try to eat your food within a maximum 12-hour window. For example if you eat breakfast at 8am have your last meal at 8pm at the latest. I eat in a 10-hour window and find it very -beneficial – breakfast around 8am and last meal around 6pm. You can tweak this to suit your needs.
4 Get a quality eight hours of sleep. Put iPhones, laptops and iPads on airplane mode or turn them off two hours before bed. Don’t consume caffeine after noon. Try to fall asleep around 10pm or earlier.
5 Get omega 3 into your diet. This can be done through eating oily fish three times a week such as wild caught salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies or mackerel. Other sources are chia seeds, flaxseeds or hemp oil (a great salad dressing).
6 Chew your food slowly and thoroughly. Simple I know, but simply not chewing your food properly could be the cause of your digestive symptoms.
7 Do not be scared of fat, particularly good sources of fat like olives, olive oil, full fat yogurt, nuts, avocados and eggs.
8 Swap out refined carbohydrates and processed food for complex -carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates are white or beige foods like white bread, pasta, cakes, pastries and biscuits. -Complex carbohydrates are things like sweet potatoes, brown rice, oats and legumes. This will help balance your blood sugar and prevent energy crashes. If you have a sweet tooth Livia’s millionaire squares -(available at Boots) are a good clean alternative, as is a few squares of Green and Black’s organic 85 per cent dark chocolate.
9 Do some form of mindfulness every day. It can be in the form of deep breathing, alternative nasal breathing, yoga, tai chi, practising being present or listing three things you are grateful for at the end of each day.
For more information and top tips visit Wellness HQ’s online directory at www.wellnesshq.co.uk