I’ve said before how lucky we are in Only Natural to have three fully accredited Nutritional Therapists on staff. This ensures we’ll never stray from the path of recommending a wholesome diet as the solid basis for ongoing health. Supplements are exactly that! They supplement the diet in those situations, regrettably common in modern life, when diet itself just can’t provide all the building blocks of health and vitality. So time and time again we have to stress that a diet based on a balanced selection of wholesome, unrefined foods HAS to be the starting point of any correctional or maintenance health program.
Nichola Forrest, whom you’ve probably heard on South East Radio as well as met in the shop has worked for me for many years now and every day I hear her pass this philosophy on to customers. One of Nichola’s specialist areas is that of gut health and we’ll focus on this in the run up to Ben Brown’s talk on ‘The Digestive Health Solution’ in Whites Hotel on June 26th. Nichola lives the life she advocates and her advice and guidance are understandably in much demand so this month I thought I’d ask Nichola to pass on some of her background and thoughts on what she does. This is Nichola’s story:

I’ve always been interested in food and healthy eating but I think my journey into nutritional therapy started because of digestive problems I’d had since childhood. While working as a secondary school teacher in a pretty high stress environment I frequently suffered from abdominal pain, alternating diarrhoea and constipation and general fatigue – I was only 25 years old! I happened to attend a lecture given by Patrick Holford, saw how diet and health were so inextricably linked and I think my passion was ignited from that time on.

So I took the big step of packing in teaching to study Nutritional Therapy full time. I studied under Richard Burton in the Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health in Bray and, since qualifying in 2007, I’ve been a full member of the Nutritional Therapists of Ireland (NTOI). Shortly after this I started working in Only Natural which has been an ideal situation for me. I get to keep up with the latest advances in Nutritional Science and put my knowledge to practical use for the support of our customers every day.

As a result of my own past I have a strong interest in digestion and digestive complaints. In a consultation I take a full history from a client and highlight areas where improvement can be made in dietary but also general lifestyle choices. There is often much debate over the topic of food intolerance and whether or not it’s a valid science. In my opinion in a world of highly processed foods, overuse of antibiotics, excess stress and inadequate sleep, it comes as no surprise that people’s digestive tracts get confused and reactions to foods can ensue.

Nutritional Therapy is not a ‘Magic Bullet’ but in my experience it can really help to empower people who aren’t ‘sick’ but still suffer from a variety of health complaints. For such people it’s often one of the roads to a better quality of life.

On a greater level, I firmly believe that optimum nutrition, when supplied to the body, can really help to create a very high level of health and wellbeing and, for this reason, I also love working with athletes and sports people to help them reach their full potential in their individual sports. For these people meeting protein needs is vital for growth and recovery as are proper hydration and general quality of food. I try to practice what I preach and here are a few key tips that have helped me boost by energy and wellbeing:

1 I have a vegetable juice every morning e.g. carrot, beetroot and ginger, cucumber, kale, kiwi and lemon.
2 I always eat protein with breakfast e.g. eggs, turkey sausages, nut butters.
3 I eat 4 small meals a day including vegetables or salad with all of them e.g. tuna salad with quinoa, lamb chops with roasted sweet potato and red onion or broccoli.
4 I drink lots of water and avoid tea, coffee and sugar as much as possible (very hard …..).

I’m not saying that what I do is necessary for everyone but I do believe that, if you feel you could improve your diet and lifestyle to live a healthier and happier life, then it’s up to you TO DO IT!
And I’m here to help.

Nichola can be contacted on 087 6196831. An initial consultation which can last up to 90 minutes costs €60 and follow up consultations €40.