Food is our fuel, as our Nutritional Therapist Debra Whelehan likes to say, and good nutrition can make the difference between feeling average and feeling fantastic. This month we spoke to Debra to find out how Nutritional Therapy can help us find biochemical balance.

What is Nutritional Therapy?

Nutritional Therapy is a personalised approach to healthcare that uses the application of evidence-based nutritional science to promote optimal health and wellbeing. It is about identifying potential nutritional imbalances and helping individuals understand their food choices may be contributing to unwanted symptoms such as digestive discomfort, low energy, weight issues, or chronic health conditions.

What is a Nutritional Therapy appointment like?

Prior to an appointment I will ask you to complete a questionnaire relating to your health history, diet and lifestyle, which includes a 3-day food diary. During the appointment we will talk through this in more detail, establish what your goals are and discuss possible underlying factors that may be contributing to your health concerns. We will then work together on a tailored nutrition and lifestyle plan, with practical suggestions to help you make changes. I may recommend functional testing or nutritional supplements in some cases.

What are the main benefits of Nutritional Therapy?

There are lots of potential benefits – it very much depends on the person. Increased energy, improved digestion, better skin, hormone balancing and weight management are some of the more common results. Nutritional Therapy recognises that we are all biochemically unique with varying nutritional requirements. Finding and maintaining the right balance for you can help to restore and maintain optimal health, repair the body, and help to protect against ill health in later life.

What attracted you to Nutritional Therapy?

It was really after noticing the impact that different foods had on my health. I used to suffer with IBS symptoms, and through experimenting on myself I worked out which foods helped and which made things worse. I started reading a few books on nutrition and found it all so fascinating that I knew it was what I wanted to do.

What is your favourite thing about Nutritional Therapy?

Having the opportunity to do a job I love and being able help people to feel healthier. It’s so rewarding to hear when someone has made progress or has reached their goals. Sometimes it can be just a simple change that makes a world of difference to a client’s wellbeing. Other times it can take much more time to get things back into balance, but it is always rewarding to be of help. I also love the learning aspect of it – there is constantly new science to read about or new foods to discover. And I’m a qualified Natural Chef, so being able to talk about food all day is great for me!

What is your favourite therapy to use as a patient (besides Nutritional Therapy)?

I’m a fan of acupuncture and I love having a relaxing facial or massage.

And lastly – what’s your personal favourite nutritional snack?

Ooh, that really depends what mood I’m in. I have to say I am a massive houmous fan and I am always trying out different recipes for that. When I need a treat though, I love making chocolate orange protein balls.

It was Debra Whelehan’s passion for food and fascination with how it can affect us that led her to become a Nutritional Therapist. She works with a wide range of health conditions, with a particular interest in digestive health, female health and weight management. We really are what we eat. Debra aims is to help clients understand how what they are eating may be contributing to unwanted symptoms such as digestive discomfort, menstrual & menopausal difficulties or low energy.

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