I LOVE healthy food, what more can I say? It’s a passion of mine that has grown immensely over the last ten years, a passion from which I have improved my own health, the health of my family and have formed a successful career. I now run a private nutrition clinic, write a nutrition column in a magazine and have recently launched my own nutrition retreat in Berkshire. It hasn’t always been that way though, it’s been a long journey. Somewhat ironically, as a child, I loved everything and anything sweet, as I don’t doubt most children do (and undoubtedly some adults). I loved rice pudding, apple crumble and sticky toffee pudding. My intention was never to have a career within the field of nutrition. I’d always envisaged taking a more creative route, but a situation over ten years ago changed that vision. My mother was diagnosed with Diverticular Disease, a disease characterised by pockets (diverticula) that form in the lining of the colon, causing severe inflammation.
I recall the weeks following my mother’s diagnosis, seeing her doubled up with severe abdominal pain, pre-empting a worse-case scenario. We always fear the worst, don’t we? My mother’s symptoms did not improve under medical guidance and they began to impair the life of an individual who was otherwise very sociable and outgoing. At that point, I was already reading a lot of literature about nutrition and its influences on disease, but my mother’s diagnosis prompted me to embark on a three-year study programme in naturopathic nutrition and to re-think our relationship with food. I have since become fascinated by nutrition for pathology and how nutrition influences demographic variation across the globe. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Okinawa, a blue zone region of Japan, has been of great interest to me. With one of the highest proportions of centenarians in the world and some of the lowest rates of chronic diseases