We all have stories about food. Our personal experiences are important in how we approach eating, both for ourselves and for our children.
I have always loved food. Baking with my granny, watching my mum learn Indian cooking, eating sugar wrapped in lettuce with my dad, and bickering with my sister over whether or not green pasta is edible.
I think I first became interested in nutrition when my mum bought a book about wholefood cooking and I discovered that being vegetarian was a thing.
I had always hated eating fish. (Which is not cool when you're from an island and fishing is in your DNA.)
I studied nutrition for the usual reasons - I was fascinated by the role food can play in health and wanted to do something that would make a difference to people's lives. For the first few years, weight management and sports nutrition were my main areas of focus, thinking that I could somehow help other people (and myself) achieve optimal health. The way that I approached things started to change after experiencing fertility problems (overcome with modern medicine, not nutrition) and eventually becoming a mum.
After having my daughter in 2016, something really clicked. I read one too many "get your body back" articles, heard mums all around me berating their bodies and realised how pervasive diet culture and the thin ideal is. I didn’t want my daughter to grow up around that.
I now approach nutrition from a weight-inclusive and food-neutral perspective. This means that I advocate for approaches to health that respect people's bodies as they are, without trying to change them or making assumptions about people based on their size. I don't do diet plans. I am still a nutrition science geek but I don't think that black and white categorisation of foods as good / bad or healthy / unhealthy is helpful, and I think that all foods can fit, even the ones that are referred to as "junk". Food isn't "real" or "fake" - it's just food. Helping people to have a positive relationship to food and their bodies is my thing.
I’m currently taking a break from my role as public health nutritionist to study for a MSc in Psychology of Mental Health and am focusing most of my study around body image and eating behaviour.
I'm a sleep-deprived mum to two little monkeys who both love food as much as I do. I'm into cooking but I'm not very chef-y and I'm learning as I go along when it comes to finding balance and providing tasty meals that the whole family will enjoy.