Pretend for a moment that your body is a car, and that you could select the type of car you want to be.
Most of us would go for something upmarket, wouldn’t we? Depending on our style, we might want to be a race car, a classy upmarket luxury vehicle, or perhaps an impeccably restored retro. Whatever our preference, we’d look after that kind of a car, wouldn’t we? We’d keep it in tip-top condition. And when it came to filling up the tank, we’d opt for the very best fuel on the market, right? Because, why treat a Lamborghini like a Ford Fiesta.
According to nutritional therapist Sam Taylor, we should treat our bodies the way we would an expensive, top-model vehicle. Why fill up on trash, or simply the wrong kind of fuel for ourselves, if we want to be our best?
Here, as part of our ‘New You’ series, we explore why appointing a nutritional therapist in 2021 might just be one of the best decisions you could make now, and in the long-term, as a path to a ‘New You’.
What exactly is a nutritional therapist?
If you thought a nutritionist was someone who provided you with a one-off consultation, after which you were put on a strict meal plan and devoid of any epicurean excitement in your day, think again. A one-dimensional and restrictive approach to nutrition is long gone. Professionals like Sam go deep. They don’t want to simply confirm, for example, that a client has a weight gain issue. They want to understand what might be causing this, aside from perhaps eating the wrong types of food, or too much of it. Perhaps there’s a deep-rooted trauma buried in one’s past? Or maybe there is a thyroid problem? Sam has partnered with two other professionals, therapist Jessica Valentine and functional medicine specialist Dr Shania Lee, to offer clients the option of a truly holistic and comprehensive approach to health and well-being. Together, the three provide an opportunity for a total reset-and-revive. It’s a fresh, contemporary and holistic way to look at healthcare and how everything ultimately is connected. But of course, each professional is still available individually.
Sam likens her role to a ‘wellbeing detective’. Understanding a client’s needs and ideal health outcomes must consider their nutrition, absolutely. But it’s so much more than that. The body keeps score in the lifestyle game by sharing with you signs and messages. A good nutritional therapist will teach you how and where to read the signs.
How do you sleep? Badly? Is that because you’re resigned to the fact that you’re a bad sleeper? Or, are you exposing yourself to too many dangerous blue lights once the sun sets?
You’re a healthy cook and you watch what you eat? Terrific. But even so, when you pan fry do you use a small amount of olive oil, thereby removing all its nutrients? Perhaps you don’t even use oil and opt for your old faithful non-stick pans instead? Just how old are they? Is there discoloration, warping or scratches? If so, using them might be undoing all the goodness you’re trying to achieve.
Is one of your eyebrows significantly shorter than the other? This could be a sign of an underactive thyroid.
Do you have a particular toe fungus? There’s a good chance you have candida.
This is the sort of detective work a thorough, professional nutritionist will undertake. They don’t simply know which foods deliver what nutrients and vitamins - they audit your overall lifestyle choices and advise on where you can make the smartest, most effective changes that are going to deliver best results for you.
You’re born with a loaded gun
It’s a dramatic analogy, but a good one. According to Sam, we are each born with a figurative ‘loaded gun’. In that gun are bullets bespoke to our DNA. Perhaps we are predisposed to Alzheimer's disease? Maybe we have a particular cancer marker in our genes? Whatever our set of bullets, nutrition and lifestyle help to pull the trigger. Nutrition is education. Once we begin to learn what can influence, suppress or accelerate certain health pathways, we can empower ourselves and our wellbeing. We can, to a degree, figuratively hold fire on certain diseases and ill health.
What can’t a nutritional therapist do?
No matter how good they are, they’re not magicians. As with anything this significant, don’t expect overnight changes. Anticipate a more slow-burn approach and enjoy the incremental wins as you go. Remember that a nutritionist can only do so much. They might have all the learning and expertise, but they ultimately leave you with the tools to administer. Sure, they’re there to offer encouragement and support along the way, but you have to be willing to take this on yourself. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water…!
What might prompt you to seek a nutritional therapist?
The reasons behind seeing a professional nutritionist are vast and varied. Some of the more common conditions or concerns in clients presenting to Sam include:
- Weight gain issues
- Hair loss - alopecia
- Premature skin ageing
- Skin conditions - eczema, psoriasis, rosacea
- IBS and other gut health problems
- Fertility issues
- Rheumatoid arthritis
What’s stopping you from seeing a nutritional therapist?
One of the biggest barriers to seeing a nutritional therapist can be a fear that they’re the Fun Police. Again, you need not worry. Sam is the first person to confess she’s partial to a cheeky fast food meal. Any good nutritionist knows that long-term, sustainable change can only come gradually and once the client sees for themselves just how amazing the results can be.
Speaking from experience
So, just how amazing can the results be? Well, Sam speaks from experience. She wasn’t always a nutritional therapist, and she wasn’t always the incredible vision of radiant health that she now is. A mother of two, Sam experienced very traumatic child births. Her first child’s birth, 17 years ago, left her with such extensive shock that her immune system plummeted. She developed vitiligo (white patches on the skin) that was so severe, people would approach her and discreetly suggest her spray-on tan hadn’t washed off evenly. The problem not only persisted, it worsened, with Sam losing really large patches of skin. She could no longer wear a t-shirt and was constantly trying to hide her condition. She visited doctors. She went to a Chinese Medicine Professor. Nobody looked at her diet, nobody suggested this was some kind of inflammation of the body. Sam tried everything, including the radical decision to fly to Cuba for pharmaceutical-level human placenta treatment. Nothing worked. Sam resigned herself to the fact that this was going to be life moving forward.
Then she had her second child, and her hair started falling out.
Hair loss and alopecia
Initially it came out in full handfuls and eventually accelerated to full-blown alopecia. Sam was now desperate. As she rightly suggests, once a young woman starts losing her skin and her hair, she’ll do anything she’s told to make it stop. Western tests told her she had an underactive thyroid and to take Thyroxine, a powerful drug with its own set of sizeable side-effects. Sam didn’t care - if this was what she needed to do to keep her hair, then so be it.
College of Naturopathic Medicine
As it turned out, this was happening at about the same time Sam had enrolled at the College of Naturopathic Medicine. It became one of the biggest wake-up calls of her life. It exposed her to the concept of biohacking (about which, coincidentally, she is now “fanatical” and offers this service to her clients). Sam underwent DNA testing and discovered that her detoxing pathways were a mess. She set about unearthing her own suppressed traumas, making changes to her lifestyle and nutrition, and stopping the Thyroxine therapy (which was making her feel awful).
In Sam’s words, she “smashed it”, and has the glowing skin and beautiful locks to prove it. Sam is very much a nutritional therapist who has walked the walk and talked the talk. Her experience and empathy make her an intuitive, personable professional - someone you know will take your hand and walk you down this path and make it as fun as it will be empowering.
The information we have provided herewith, and all linked materials are not intended nor should they be construed as medical advice. Moreover, the information herewith should not be used as a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions and consult your General Practitioner for advice specific for you.