Who’s The Expert? And Why?
“There are so many great Nutritional Therapists out there who are committed to studying the complex science in order to help people to facilitate their best health. Unfortunately, Nutritional Therapy isn’t a regulated title; this means that the industry becomes tarnished by many poorly qualified people giving out of date and non evidence based advice that does more harm than good. I’m committed, therefore, to sharing as many of the outstanding practitioners that I engage with as I can – each one has demonstrated brilliant training and run active, thriving clinics using a Functional Medicine approach. Kate Garden is one of those people and I am delighted to share more about her work with you here.” Amelia
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Kate Garden BSc(Hons) Dip ION mBANT CHNC mIFM
Kate is a Functional Medicine Practitioner and a Registered Nutritional Therapist. She is a member of The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), the British Association of Nutritional Therapists (BANT) and the Complementary Healthcare Council (CHNC).
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Where you practice?
I have weekly clinics in Bath, a monthly clinic in London, and I Skype internationally.
Where did you train & what are your qualifications?
I trained for 3 years at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION) qualifying in 2003. More recently I have trained with The Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) in America, where I’m currently nearing completion of their Certified Practitioner pathway. I also have a Psychology degree.
What inspired you to work in your area?
I was given anti-depressants and the contraceptive pill in my 20’s by my GP for depression and PCOS but they made me worse! It was only after reading a nutrition book, given to me by my dad (who’s a vet), that I realised it could be my diet and lifestyle driving my depressive symptoms and hormonal imbalance. By making significant changes to what I ate and how I lived, I began to feel better.
This realisation of how my food and lifestyle was affecting my health coincided with my grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. I watched helplessly whilst she struggled with the horrific and toxic side effects of her chemotherapy drugs and instinctively felt that there may be a better way to support her struggling immune system. At that point I didn’t know how to help her. So, my need to understand how the body works, how dysregulation occurs and how to rebalance it was inspired by her illness. This led to my passion for systems’ biology and nutritional therapy.
What do you specialize in?
I specialize in a Functional Medicine approach to health. People very rarely present with a single area of concern so by using the functional approach, assessing subclinical imbalances, I aim to help a variety of people with different conditions improve their health.
What are the key problems that clients come to see you with?
I see many people with fatigue, digestive, skin, autoimmune and neurological concerns. A lot of my patients simply don’t feel right but have been told that ‘everything is fine’ by their doctor. Others come with a medical diagnosis such as MS and want to do everything in their power to support themselves. By digging deep into the roots of their problems, we often find dysfunction such as nutritional deficiencies and food sensitivities. By addressing these and other issues within a functional framework we can support the body’s various ecosystems and hopefully help people get back to good health.
What would you say are the three biggest challenges faced by clients in your area of specialty?
- Lack of support from family members
- Stressors from modern life and constant digital interaction
- Resistance by some medics to the idea that nutritional intervention is instrumental to the healing process.
How do you help clients to tackle those challenges?
- I often suggest that their partner attends the consultation with them so that they can understand and engage in the process more fully.
- Together we work out a practical digital management and sleep hygiene regime. I fully encourage my clients with a relaxation schedule alongside their dietary programme.
- I try to engage with doctors where I can in order to explain what we’re doing and the evidence for it. Unfortunately, there is a lack of awareness in some circles of the level and type of training that some nutritional therapists have.
Please describe an average working day in your life
An average day varies hugely depending on what I’m doing.
My London and Bath clinic days are extremely busy and full on. Other days involve Skype calls, studying new science, creating and adjusting client plans, meetings, and preparing for talks or events. I also run FLOW, a kids’ wellbeing events company that teaches kids about nutrition, mindfulness and movement in a fun, interactive way.
If you could give one piece of advice to everyone reading this interview, what would it be?
Chronic, underlying stressors can play havoc with every system in your body and it’s essential to address these for optimum health. Stress can take a variety of forms from blood sugar imbalances to relationship issues to an imbalance of bacteria in your gut! So take time to actively manage stressors by prioritising fun, nutrition, relaxation, sleep, movement and breathing techniques….and seek qualified help if you need specific support
What is your favourite meal?
I’m such a foodie and love food! But my favourite meal has to be a Sunday roast with lots of seasonal veggies – preferably made by my husband!
How do you manage your work:life balance
With difficulty! I have 3 children and all the challenges of being a working mother and running a business. I am lucky now as I have a lovely assistant, who helps with things and keeps me organised. I try to prioritise sleep and to turn off all technology after 8.30pm….but it’s a constant challenge.
Is there anything else that you think might be interesting for people to know about you or for anyone considering working with you?
Everyone is unique so what may have worked for someone else, may not suit you. I often order advanced functional laboratory tests that can help to assess imbalances that may not show up on standard lab tests. Although I can help people through diet, mindset and lifestyle change alone, I like using a targeted, specific and rigorous approach with each client.
Kate Garden, visit kategarden.co.uk