You are the expert — A common-sense approach to the holistic management of your clients’ nutritional needs.

30th June 2019 | Dr Gill Barham | Complementary & Holistic Therapies

You are the expert — A common-sense approach to the holistic management of your clients’ nutritional needs.

A nudge to health practitioners, fitness professionals and complimentary specialists.

Do you often get asked “What should I be eating and are there any supplements you would recommend for me?”

Does you feel that gaining some sound skills in offering basic nutritional and dietary advice would be of benefit to your client, your practice and your approach?

There is no question that your effectiveness as a practitioner will be enhanced to a large degree by the lifestyle choices that your clients make when they leave your consulting room.

You may feel under-qualified to make nutritional recommendations and consider referring your clients onto functional nutritionists, herbalists or naturopaths. As a former nurse, when I trained with the NHS many years ago, we had very little study around the subject of nutrition. Even today, I am aware that this hasn’t really improved.

First of all though, I would question your self-doubt.

I am sure that you already know the basic principles of eating well.

Don’t you?

“cold pressed is best”

Let us agree on some basics here. We are a nation that is overfed and undernourished.

The clean eating model of consuming food from fresh, organic where possible and cutting down or out processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar and the like, are no surprise to you.

Using food as medicine, otherwise known as functional nutrition, is the key to combatting the effects of our 21st century lives.

I would love to be able to promote that eating good wholesome food is enough, this is just one study that highlights this as a faulty model:

“According to the report, Still No Free Lunch, food scientists have compared the nutritional levels of modern crops with historic, and generally lower-yielding, ones. Today’s food produces 10 to 25 percent less iron, zinc, protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other nutrients, the studies show. Researchers from Washington State University who analyzed 63 spring wheat cultivars grown between 1842 and 2003 found an 11 percent decline in iron content, a 16 percent decline in copper, a 25 percent decline in zinc, and a 50 percent decline in selenium.” 1

The facts surrounding the depletion of nutrients in our foods are clear and so any approach to prevent or reverse disease will involve adding in supplementation.

However, the most important factors with adding in nutritional supplements are:

Quality is key

They need to be:

· From food

· Tried and tested, for purity, potency and efficacy

· Quality controlled from picking to distribution

· Clinically trialled

· FDA approved

· Designed and manufactured “in-house” (most are “white-label”)

· Are from a respected global manufacturer with plenty of recognition (preferably as a top Forbes 100 company) and ideally

· Provide not just products but programmes based around making healthy lifestyle choices.

“The neutraceutical industry is like the wild west without a sherrif.” Lynda Hammonds Quality expert

It is likely that the supplements that you and your patients are already taking are being produced by big pharma and manufacturing plants which are often unregulated, are synthetically made and therefore not bio-available. This means they are a waste of money and hope to your patients.

Here are 2 short examples of how best to get better results for your clients.

Case study: 1. Sally, an acupuncturist.

· Sally had the complex experience of trying to align eastern & western approaches, trying to explain, for example, the energetic properties of food according to TCM.

· She was not trained to dispense Chinese herbs and this held her back in her practice.

· She knew that her treatments would be enhanced if her clients went home to good nutrition through healthy food and supplementation.

· Her clients weren’t willing to visit another clinic or practitioner due to lack of time or money.

· Her relationship and effectiveness of her treatment meant that her clients felt held in a space where they were trusting someone other than a conventional medic for the very first time.

2. Dr. V, a full partner in a GP medical practice in the north of England

· Felt under-qualified to offer the kind of advice his clients wanted about eating healthily and so like his colleagues, just referred patients on to dieticians or recommended they look online, putting the responsibility back onto the patient.

· Knew that a good proportion of his patients did not want to take medications of any kind and were looking for natural ways to reverse disease.

· Understood that the tendency for his more chronically ill patients to be subject to the “poly-pharmacy” model was less than ideal

· Was aware of the research around the science and impact of dysfunction in the microbiome on health and wellbeing but felt powerless to offer any advice or practical interventions to address this.

· Became uncomfortable with providing basic consultations to his patients knowing that listening and providing a more holistic approach would be of benefit.

Both Sally and Dr. V decided that they would widen their offer to her clients by increasing their knowledge around nutrition. As a mum of a small child, the option of undertaking an expensive and time consuming study course was not on the table for Sally and as a GP, Dr. V was very time poor. Eventually they both found a team of practitioners with a similar passion for providing a more holistic approach to their clients that provided not only clinically trailed patented products, but also lifestyle advice, programmes and free and flexible training.

“This is holistic health care at its best — a one stop shop where I can empower my clients with knowledge and products that enhance and prolong their treatments long after the needles have been removed.” Sally

The future of health and wellbeing is in Lifestyle Medicine. A team of British entrepreneurs set up their company Medic Footprints, in response to the high drop-out and rising suicide rates of dissatisfied medical professionals. Their national survey identified that health professionals looking for a change to their working life identified the most popular career to be in “Lifestyle Medicine”. 2

“ I have reduced my hours to run a natural clinic on Thursdays for all the patients who want to try alternate solutions. I have learned an incredible amount about building health rather than treating symptoms and am very happy to be able to make such a difference in my patients lives. We are lowering blood pressure and seeing amazing transformations with people with common inflammatory diseases that are very hard to treat conventionally.” De V

In my opinion, “self care is essential health care” and it is very satisfying to see a growing trend towards a preventative and holistic approach to wellbeing. This is my favorite quote from my first book.

“I have saved the lives of 150 people from heart transplantations. If I had focused on preventive medicine earlier, I would have saved 150 million”

 -Christiaan Barnard, heart transplant surgeon

So, to live a life of health and vitality, like my friends and colleagues, I seek out the best quality food, supplements, practitioners, research and treatments for myself so that I able and confident in making recommendations to my family, friends and clients.


2. Medic Footprints is the largest organisation in the world that focuses on Diverse Careers and Wellbeing for Doctors. They are a social impact for-profit enterprise which leverages the talent of doctors and other medical professionals by connecting them with opportunities beyond boundaries.

Gill is an international award winning speaker, author, broadcast presenter, Pilates teacher, nutritional expert and advocate for self–care.

Combining her experience in the conventional healthcare field with lifestyle and functional medicine, Gill is an expert in providing holistic solutions for the prevention and reversal of disease. Her interventions align with her ideal of building health rather than treating symptoms. She specializes in addressing the major health trends of the 21st century and is passionate about supporting others to spread this message worldwide; creating global transformation

Gill studied music as her first degree before qualifying as a Registered General Nurse (RGN) in the UK. She has been studying functional medicine for the past 7 years and her transformational work has been recognised with a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the AUGP (Academy of Universal Global Peace) A Peace Award from the UPF (Universal Peace Federation) and she is a member of the ATL (Association of Transformational Leaders) Europe and the WAoFP (Worldwide Association of Female Professionals)

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