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A Q&A with Julie Pichler

Julie Pichler is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and Health Coach passionate about supporting mind and body health through the power of food and lifestyle. We talk to Julie about her own personal journey and how this has inspired her to help others.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Nutrition is my second career, having spent over 20 years previously in marine insurance. I was fortunate enough to travel worldwide, and the work was challenging, but I ultimately felt destined for another path after a cancer diagnosis in my thirties.

Looking for answers to deal with chronic pain and worsening physical and mental health, I reconnected with my passion for nutrition.

Deciding to find answers beyond a life of opiates, I found a nutritional therapist. I was blown away by how simple tweaks had transformational effects on my energy, sleep, mood and weight. It was a difficult decision to leave a successful career and start over from scratch, but I think you learn a lot when faced with your own mortality.

2. As a Registered Nutritional Therapist and Health Coach, what does your role entail?

Nutritional therapy is broader than it initially sounds. My 1:1 work uses functional medicine to uncover the root cause of imbalance in the body rather than just dealing with symptoms on the surface.

By understanding a client’s life history, symptoms, medications, and medical diagnoses, I can plot what the body systems need help with, such as immunity, hormones, nerves, energy and digestion. Through face-to-face or online consultations, I can work with the client to map out a plan back to health. We might use functional testing or supplements to support the body initially, but the intention is always to use a food-first approach.

A second part of my business is corporate and community well-being. Through education and awareness, we can take the first steps towards changing our lifestyles and improving health. 60% of chronic disease is lifestyle-related, and I believe the UK is heading in the wrong direction.

3. Who do you help?

I see a lot of chronic health conditions, such as IBS, stress, anxiety and depression, insomnia, fatigue, and those whose quality of life is affected, but it’s unclear why. Seemingly healthy diets may be low in nutrients, and deficiency is rife with us being overfed and undernourished.

I can work with most health conditions alongside current healthcare providers. This isn't an alternative but a holistic and integrated approach to whole-body health. Ultimately we’re all on a continuum between illness and wellness, it’s about starting where you’re at, and we can always make more positive choices to be healthier and live longer.

4. How can you help these clients?

The beauty of personalised nutrition is in targeted interventions rather than a one size fits all approach. There is also power and wisdom accompanying listening to someone’s life story, rather than fragments of symptoms or dealing with one diagnosis at a time. Take depression, for example, there are over 200 combinations of symptoms, but the causes will differ for each individual.

We know that the immune, gut, hormonal, and nervous systems affect brain function, as well as genetic and environmental factors and life events. When you put all of these jigsaw pieces together, we can introduce changes that make a fundamental difference.

5. What is the importance of a personalised approach?

This approach is not a quick fix, but how we maintain changes to diet and lifestyle isn’t easy. By breaking down interventions bespoke to your routines, preferences and needs, the effort is reduced, building resilience and self-efficacy. It completely contrasts the boom and bust approach of January New Year’s resolutions or following the latest craze or fad diets.

6. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

I love those ‘a-ha’ moments when you explain what is going on in the body, and it all makes sense to a client. Bringing clarity to confusion and overwhelm and delivering a roadmap back to health. This isn’t about aiming for perfection or a life of deprivation, but a mindset change. It’s wonderful to hear that a client doesn’t need you anymore.

7. What aspect of your role is often overlooked?

I suggest the safety and efficacy of nutrients. I find people dabble with over-the-counter supplements, which can affect prescribed medications without respecting the impact they can have. Also, dosing and timing of nutrients, just like medicine, is key; too little and you’ll have little effect. Too much, and they can be toxic. There’s an art in dosing nutraceuticals, so you’re not wasting money or doing unintentional harm. Safety is paramount in every aspect of interaction with my clients.

8. What are your long-term goals for Vagus Wellbeing?

I want people to understand that mental and physical health are one and the same. I want to improve health outcomes here in the North-East, where we lag behind the rest of the UK. Collaboration across the medical and holistic profession achieves the best results for the individual. I would love to have a multi-disciplinary clinic so that there is an easy suite of options for a client to optimise their health.

9. Something a little more personal, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

When I’m not talking about food, I enjoy cooking and eating! Prepping a meal helps me achieve that state of flow. I enjoy active relaxation, such as walking in nature or reading rather than sitting in front of screens.

My favourite place is the Isle of Arran in Scotland; there’s something about being disconnected from the mainland and the beauty of the place that provides that sense of peace and balance.

For more information about Vagus Wellbeing contact Julie Pichler on 07717 216715 or email

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