Nutritional therapist, author and co-founder of Wild Nutrition reveals her path to success
Twelve years ago, feeling tired and weak, Henrietta visited a nutritionist. The appointment did not just improve her diet and health but also the path of her life. She quit her job and re-trained as a nutritionist, and over a decade later she is now an expert in her field specialising in women and children's nutrition, pregnancy and fertility. A health writer and author of 'Take Control of Your Endometriosis' as well as co-founder of Food-State supplement brand Wild Nutrition , how did she get where she is and how does she balance it all? Read on to find out...
Why did you decide to specialise in nutrition?
I was drawn to this area of nutrition for two reasons. Firstly, it was my own experience of the condition endometriosis that focused my attention to women’s hormonal health. I was told by many medical professionals that it was ‘incurable’ and I was unlikely to be able to conceive naturally. I was determined to change this prognosis and have done so through nutrition - this fuelled my passion to help others. Secondly, I am a mother of three young ankle-biters myself and so I am both professionally and personally interested in nurturing a child’s health from pre-conception right through to their teenage years. The influence of our pre-conceptual and prenatal health on the health of our babies in later life is gathering more interest from researchers at the moment too so it's a very interesting area to specialise in.
When was your big break?
I think this would have to be when I was listed as a ‘top 10 health guru to have on your speed dial’ by ES Magazine about eight years ago. It didn't change the way I worked or how I felt about my work but it made more people aware of me and the work I do.
What does an average day look like for you (if there ever is one)?
Hold on to your seats, it's pretty chaotic! I have recently had our third child Oscar so the day begins quite early. Charlie, my husband and ‘rock’, makes me a cup of redbush tea whilst I feed Oscar and dig deep with creative ways to coax the older two into getting their school uniform on. It is an important ritual in our house to have breakfast together, usually porridge (each with different toppings!), and then walk/bike to school. 9am work begins and that will either be getting the train to London for a day of clinic, meetings or commuting to the bottom of our garden to our office shed to work on Wild Nutrition and my book Your Pregnancy in Nutrition Guide (Oscar comes to the shed too at the moment but that will be have to be re-assessed once crawling starts!). This all stops at 3pm when we collect the boys and restarts at 7.30pm for a last bout of work when they are in bed.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
It is an incredibly rewarding job. I am very often moved by the changes I see in clients and the courage and determination they themselves have shown in achieving them. Nutritional medicine is also a fast growing area of research and there is ALWAYS something new to learn, read and digest. I love that, it's fuel!
Are there any aspects of your job that you find challenging?
Probably the fact that there is always new research to keep abreast of… I find it so interesting I can’t not ‘dig down’ into the nitty gritty. Also the familiar ‘work, life balance’ can be a challenge on a daily basis.
What are the most common questions you get asked by clients?
Why am I so tired? What supplements should I take? How can I make healthy eating practical?
Who's on your team 'me'? Who do you rely on to keep you happy, healthy and sane?
Team ‘me’ is very simple really, it’s my family and friends. My husband is an absolute rock and I couldn't do half of what I do without him. A long lunch or kitchen supper with our friends and plenty of laughter always dispels the stresses of the week. Sunday mornings in bed with the children are loud, chaotic but always funny and remind me of how grateful I am for all I have. I also fit in a bit of yoga and a massage when and if I can.
How is your industry changing?
It is changing significantly. The growth of nutritional medicine has been vast and is a hot bed of research that makes it a fascinating area to be working in right now. However I do have concerns that we are all becoming a little neurotic about our food and nutrition and are in danger of falling into the ‘reductionist’ trap of orthodox medicine. Healthy eating is so much more than simple nutrients. I am also seeing a big shift in the area of supplementation as people are moving away from high dose synthetic nutrients and choosing more natural 'food' form supplements. I was acutely aware of the pitfalls of synthetic nutrients some years ago, and felt passionately enough about this to launch my food-state supplement brand Wild Nutrition with my husband in 2013. The brand provides nutrients in a food-state form, just as you would find them in food. I am so encouraged to see that there is a strong movement towards this and increasing awareness of the seismic difference that foodstate nutrients can have on short and long term health.