FAQs - About nutritional therapy
What is nutritional therapy?
Nutritional Therapy uses a detailed understanding of human biochemistry, your life history and current lifestyle that contribute to common health complaints and poor quality of life. By nourishing our bodies, and giving it the life giving nutrients it relies on, and by understanding how our daily habits can undermine or underpin your health, you’re on the first step back to a happy, healthy body and mind.
The practice is rooted in Functional Medicine which sees the individual holistically, that body systems such as hormones, immune system, nervous system etc all affect each other, rather than working in isolation. This applies just as much to our mental
health as to our physical health, we now know that food can even reverse depression.
Are you regulated, how can I be sure of safe practice?
Julie is registered with two professional bodies, the British Association of Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (www.bant.org.uk) and the Complementary Natural Healthcare Council (www.cnhc.org.uk) which is recognised by the NHS as matching their standards of care. Safe and ethical practice is paramount, nutrients can have powerful effects in the body, and can interact with medicines, including over the counter pharmacy drugs, which are carefully checked bespoke to your individual needs.
How does it work in practice?
A health questionnaire and 3 day food diary via a secure link is sent out via email for completion, which normally takes 20-30 minutes to complete. We ask for details of medications and supplements, and medical diagnoses to help the first consultation be as precise as possible, as well as symptoms you would like to address. Sometimes, seemingly unconnected health issues from the past help build the picture as to why the body is showing signs of distress. Sometimes something trivial can be the final straw that tips the body into distress.
Whether it’s chronic illness or habits which are hard to break, it’s rare to be able address all the issues in one session. We offer packages of 3 or 6 sessions depending on the nature and complexity of your health needs, which will be discussed with you before we start working together.
We often can try to change too many things at once, that ‘all or nothing’ mentality which sets ourselves up for failure, as inevitably we can’t keep that pace of change up. My working at a sustainable pace, the changes we collaborate over are maintained long term, rather than any quick fix.
Once your questionnaire is returned, we review your information in detail to prepare for the first consultation which is part assessment and part solution. All advice is personalised to your needs, there are no protocols, that’s where the power of precision nutrition lies but your therapist needs time to consider your story... so we ask for a minimum of 48 hours for your questionnaire to be returned before your scheduled appointment.
Consultations last for 1 hour, you are welcome to take your own notes, however afterwards a written health optimisation plan is sent to you within 2 working days.
Can you recommend tests and supplements?
The ethos behind the practice is a ‘food first approach’ and to make gradual lifestyle change that is sustainable long term. However, when the body is in need of support, short term therapeutic use of supplements can help bring the body back into balance. For example, making behaviour change is hard when our energy is on the floor.
There are 100’s of tests with UK labs I have access to, the bespoke nature of therapy means listing them all is difficult and would be discussed with you in your consultation. Often testing isn’t necessary, but can be a useful tool depending on symptoms. If there is a particular test that you have in mind, please discuss this with your therapist.
Can you work with medical conditions?
Yes, with the exception of diagnosed eating disorders, active cancer and chronic kidney disease. With your consent and where appropriate, we liaise with your medical team to ensure best possible continuity of care, and may direct you back to your GP for tests we deem appropriate.
Can I have sessions remotely
Yes, there is no hands on work with nutritional therapy, although it is wonderful to have the face to face connection. There is no geographical restriction to working with Vagus Wellbeing and evening and weekend appointments are available to fit around work and family commitments.
What's the difference between dietitians, nutritionists and nutritional therapists?
Dietitians are qualified to assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public-health level. Generally, they work in the National Health Service (NHS) to treat individuals with diagnosed medical conditions. Other environments in which a dietitian may practice include education, research, media, public relations and sport.
Dietitians can also offer advice and influence government health and food policies.
They are regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the title ‘dietitian’ is protected.
Nutritionists have an understanding of the scientific base of nutrition and provide evidence-based information about the impacts of food and nutrition on the health and well-being of humans and animals. Nutritionists tend to work in community settings or freelance capacity. On occasion, they are based within health service nutrition and dietetics departments, however, they can only work with very ill/hospitalised patients under the supervision of a dietitian.
The title ‘nutritionist’ is not protected by law, however, nutritionists have the option to join voluntary regulatory professional bodies. These bodies check qualifications and experience to ensure the professionalism of their members.
Nutritional therapists apply nutrition science to promote health and well-being. To do this, a nutritional therapist will use a range of tools to evaluate the health of a patient, then subsequently advises on lifestyle and dietary/nutritional practices to maintain good health, reduce the risk of disease and help support chronic conditions. This is all underpinned by the recognition that every person is unique and, therefore, the programmes they devise are personally tailored to the client.
Nutritional therapists follow the Functional Medicine Model which looks at, amongst other things, how diet, lifestyle and genetics can all play an important part in the makeup of an individual.
I am quite a fussy eater, will I be expected to eat things I don’t like?
Your individual tastes will always be taken into account and I will always try to identify foods that you should be able to introduce easily. Working at a pace that suits you, we may introduce new foods as nutritional density is easier to achieve with variety in the diet. You will always leave a consultation confident of what has been mutually agreed to incorporate.
Can I contact you between consultations?
Email communication can be helpful in the initial stages while you still have questions and are getting used to new habits and I am happy for you to contact me in this way within reason. Any clinical queries will normally be addressed within 2 days of being sent.