Nutrition case studies
Jane had been complaining of being tired for over a year. She couldn't lose weight with the same relative ease as in the past, and although it was only seven pounds of weight gain, Jane felt uncomfortable and her clothes felt tight. And then there was the bloating, which Jane experienced almost every day for no known reason. Finally, her skin was definitely looking less healthy than it had been, and she'd even had a few spots recently.
When Jane came to see us, we recommended a gentle detox to help get her back on track. She followed the dietary recommendations pretty much to the letter. Within three weeks Jane reported back - "I just can't believe that my energy, skin and weight and bloating all improved so quickly on making such simple changes to my diet!"
She previously thought her diet was quite healthy - after all it was similar to how many of her friends and colleagues ate. But when she saw how much better she felt on her new healthy eating programme, she realised that her old way of eating did not suit her at all. Jane continues to eat the same way and remains symptom free.
High cholesterol and blood pressure
Following a regular company health check, Richard found that he had high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Richard was referred to The Nutrition Coach by his GP who was keen for him to change his lifestyle and diet before trying medication. He had recently changed roles at work and was under a lot of stress
As a priority, we got him to eat a better breakfast. Richard began to eat porridge in the morning as oats can help to lower cholesterol levels. We also advised him on how to eat throughout the day to help stabilise his energy levels and cope with high stress.
We tested Richard’s adrenal glands (where stress hormones come from) and also recommended a test for homocysteine (this is a recognised marker for heart disease). These tests revealed that we needed to work on lowering his stress levels and homocysteine.
We put Richard on a variety of supplements to reduce cholesterol, to support his adrenal glands, and to lower homocysteine. We introduced some meditation techniques, looked into why he was stressed in the first place (time management) and made some improvements. Six months on, Richard’s cholesterol levels and blood pressure are back within the doctor's reference ranges for all their tests. He is also feeling much more energised and able to cope much better with his busy job.
Endometriosis and fibroids
Debbie came to The Nutrition Coach because her periods had become unbearably painful. She had been diagnosed with fibroids and endometriosis, and despite having a procedure to reduce the patches of endometriosis she found herself ten months down the line with her periods as painful as ever. Before resorting to surgery again she wanted to see if there was anything she could do herself to reduce the symptoms.
We started by cleaning up Debbie's diet, and getting her to cut down on her nine cups of coffee a day and to take more of an interest in food and cooking generally. She had been so busy in her demanding PR job that healthy eating was very far down the priority list. We gave her some supplements to help balance her hormones, including essential fatty acids, and to help her cope with stress more effectively. We also re-ignited her interest in yoga. Eight months down the line the periods are a lot less painful. The surgeon is really happy with her progress, and has put the surgery on hold.
Amy lived in Italy where she adored the Mediterranean diet of fresh tomatoes, aubergines, and sumptuous plump oranges, and she loved nothing better than rounding off the evening with a huge glass of wine or three. Her weakness was masses of cups of English tea - the only thing she missed about Blighty.
Amy came to see us on a trip to the UK last year as she was suffering from arthritis in her hips and knees. In fact the pain had got so bad that she had booked into have a hip replacement in the late summer.
The first thing we did was to book Amy in for a food intolerance test and remove the foods that typically exacerbate arthritis symptoms. Many of the foods she was intolerant to she ate every day including tomatoes and aubergines. We also gave Amy a vitamin and mineral programme to follow. She took digestive enzymes which can help reduce inflammation, and fish oils together with anti-oxidant vitamins and minerals. The slight changes in Amy’s diet and the nutrient programme had a very positive effect on her arthritis. Amy felt so much better that she cancelled her operation and was able to get out in the garden again much to her delight.
Energy crashes and mood swings
Chris ran his own business and although he loved his job, he worked very long and stressful hours. Although Chris didn’t drink much caffeine and never touched alcohol, he was completely addicted to sugar. A day did not pass without at least two chocolate bars, hot chocolate and plenty of biscuits - sugar was his comfort and helped him to get through the long days.
Chris was a slim build but he was starting to put on weight around his tummy area, however, it wasn’t this that bothered him - it was his mood swings and lack of energy which he felt were getting worse and worse. He also had a tendency to crash at the weekends and hibernate away from the rest of the world.
When Chris first came to see us, it became obvious that his blood sugar levels were all over the place which was likely to be causing the mood swings, energy crashes and weight gain around his midriff. We addressed this by asking Chris to have protein at every meal to help stabilise his energy levels. We also worked on his chocolate habit by introducing some easy snacks, which Chris could pick at throughout the day, plus we introduced some supplements to help reduce cravings.
Chris made great progress - he admitted that he struggled at first but once he got the hang of eating more healthily he felt so much better that he felt very motivated to continue. We also coached Chris on stress management and encouraged him to finish work early once a week to play squash which used to be a regular part of his life. Three months on, Chris is still working very hard, but his mood and energy levels are much more stable, he has lost weight, and now plays squash at the weekends as well as during the week.
Chronic period pain
Kirsten had always been fairly healthy but each month she suffered from terrible period pain. Kirsten worked as a massage therapist, and every month had to rely on strong painkillers so that she could continue to see her clients. However, some months the pain was so bad, Kirsten had no choice but to clear her diary and go to bed for a day with a hot water bottle and pain killers. Kirsten was self-employed so this wasn’t just affecting her quality of life but also her income.
We put Kirsten on a hormone balancing diet which included a greater intake of fresh vegetables, more protein and less caffeine (Kirsten was a coffee addict). Kirsten’s plan also included some essential fatty acid supplements, B vitamins and magnesium which can be very helpful at reducing period pain.
It took Kirsten a while to get used to the new way of eating but she was vigilant with her supplements. After a couple of months she began to see a real difference in her period pain. She now rarely gets bad pains and manages to get through the month without resorting to painkillers. Kirsten admits her diet is far from perfect but it is much better than it used to be. She continues to take the supplements as she is convinced they have ‘cured’ her of her monthly pains and so she will not be without them.
Low energy and poor hair quality
When Ayesha came to see us, she was suffering from low energy and her hair had become very dry and was starting to fall out. Ayesha was only in her late twenties so the hair loss was understandably worrying her.
When we looked at Ayesha’s diet we discovered that it was very low in protein. Ayesha was vegetarian but wasn’t consuming much vegetarian protein (e.g. pulses, tofu, eggs, diary products) apart from a bit of cheese and yoghurt. She mainly lived off carbohydrates such as bread, rice and breakfast cereal, however she was eating plenty of vegetables.
We explained to Ayesha that protein is vital for good energy levels and for healthy hair. We recommended some protein at each meal and got her to have protein based snacks.
We also suspected that Ayesha was low in iron so sent her off to her GP for a blood test which confirmed that she was anaemic for which she was prescribed iron tablets. We also gave Ayesha a vegetarian multivitamin and mineral and an essential fatty acid supplement.
Ayesha loved her new way of eating. She admitted that she had got stuck in a carbs and cheese rut but didn’t realise the impact her diet was having on her health. The additional protein in her diet has made a huge difference - Ayesha has regained her energy and her hair is back to its beautiful glossy self. As an added bonus, Ayesha has discovered a passion for cooking and loves experimenting with new foods.
Andy firmly believed in working hard and playing hard. He worked in the city and long hours and high stress levels meant that he needed to go out and party as a form of release. Andy had always been very resilient and could cope with his hectic lifestyle. However, he had always been prone to psoriasis which flared up every now and then, particularly when he was run down or stressed. He kept it under control using cream from the GP but recently it had got a lot worse and had spread to his hands and face. Now it was visible to other people it was really beginning to affect his confidence and was getting him down.
When Andy came to see The Nutrition Coach, we advised him that we needed to work on his liver health - high alcohol levels and stress can take its toll on liver function, which is often shown in the skin. The first step was to cut down Andy’s alcohol intake but once he understood the effect of alcohol on his skin, Andy decided that he wanted to go one step further and cut it out for a whole month.
We also introduced healthier lunch and snack options, boosted Andy’s fibre intake, lowered his caffeine consumption and increased his water intake. We recommended a strong essential fatty acid supplement to help support his skin health along with some nutrients for his liver. We discussed stress management with Andy and he agreed to take up some exercise at the weekends.
After a month of no alcohol, better diet and taking the supplements, Andy’s skin began to really improve. He also felt much better in himself - he felt calmer and more energised. A few months on Andy’s skin continues to improve, and he continues to eat well. He has radically cut down on his alcohol consumption but still manages to have a great time when he goes out!
Victoria had suffered from migraines for as long as she could remember. She used to get a migraine every few weeks - this generally meant at least one day in bed while she rode out the pain and nausea with painkillers. Victoria had tried many different approaches to try and get some relief but nothing really worked, and she resigned herself to a life of painkillers.
When Victoria came to see us we recommended a food intolerance test as food intolerances have been linked to migraines. Victoria’s results showed an intolerance to oranges, wheat, diary and chocolate - these foods often come up in migraine sufferers. We got to work straight away and took these foods out of Victoria’s diet. We recommended plenty of alternatives to wheat and diary so that Victoria didn’t feel like she was missing out.
We also worked on Victoria’s blood sugar - migraines can be triggered when blood sugar levels fall too low. On top of this we introduced a supplement programme which included magnesium and vitamin B6, both of which have been shown to be helpful for reducing the severity of migraines. We also recommended that Victoria see an osteopath as we suspected that a bad back and neck problem, which she had had for several years, could be making things worse.
Although Victoria does still get the odd migraine, they are much less frequent and less severe than they used to be. Victoria has considerably reduced her reliance on painkillers and for the first time in years, her life is no longer governed by migraines.