INTERVIEW WITH NUTRITIONAL THERAPIST GRACE KINGSWELL

Last month we invited Nutritional Therapist Grace Kingswell to our Islington studio to give a talk on 'Mood Boosting Health Hacks', so we wanted to find out more about the benefits of holistic nutrition to share with you.

Nutritional Therapy is more than giving dietary recommendations, it’s a totally holistic approach to health and lifestyle. Supplements and diet play just one part of the overall healing journey, incorporating elements of Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy and Lifestyle Medicine. There is now so much research on natural therapies from incredible practitioners which demonstrate that holistic healthcare can be beneficial to so many people in various aspects of life.

We asked Grace 10 quick-fire questions to find out more about what inspires her, what keeps her feeling balanced and even share her guilty pleasure!

What was your journey to becoming a nutritional therapist?

I have always been obsessed with food and the healing properties it contains, and also incredibly influenced by alternative medicine. So, I began studying Nutritional Therapy, which for me includes a lot of Naturopathy, Biology and Physiology as well as Nutrition. I am fascinated by how the body works and passionate about finding ways of natural healing. It took me a lifetime of being ill myself to realise that I needed to help people heal in the same way that I had.

Talk us through your typical day?

I start my day with either some yoga or go for a gentle jog around the park. I love being outside in order to get natural light into my eyes to help regulate my melatonin production for the rest of the day and help with my sleep pattern. I then hit my laptop and start work, but I like to move around a lot during the day so I’ll work for a few hours and then nip to the shops at lunchtime. Sometimes I see patients in the evenings which can really extend my working day, but if not not, I have supper with my husband, put on my blue blocking glasses and we watch an episode of something together before reading in bed.

What is your life mantra?

I’ve been unwell lately so right now it’s believing that my body has the power to heal. One of the main issues I have with traditional Western medicine is that it places so little emphasis on the mind and body as one, and the mind’s ability to positively impact the status of the body. I do have a mantra that I say every morning on my run or walk in the park: I am happy, I am calm, I am stress free.

What do you do to feel strong in your body?

There was a time in my life where I was hitting the gym hard but it was fuelled by caffeine and a desire to be in the best shape possible before my wedding. Looking back, I may have been able to lift a heavy weight but my body was completely broken on the inside and I was suffering with sever fatigue. Eventually my body gave up on me and I stopped such high intensity exercise and focused on rebalancing myself with good nutrition and natural therapies.

Can you tell us about another woman who has inspired you?

My Mum continues to inspire me, and we are so alike, it’s scary! I’ve learnt so much from her over the years about food, how to cook and how to nourish yourself from the inside out. I owe all my culinary skills to her and also my passion for a more natural way of living.

What achievement are you most proud of?

I actually graduated from Cambridge with a degree in Spanish and Modern Greek. It was the toughest 4 years of my life but I still look back at it and pinch myself and I feel so incredibly proud to have been educated to that level.

What do you do in order to relax?

I love to get outside amongst nature. There’s a very primitive part of our brains called the Lymbic system which is basically always trying to work out where we are in time and space. It takes its data from 3 main points: eyes, ankles and ears. If any of these 3 are off then we can feel stressed and anxious. Nature is amazing because trees provide a visual anchor to the horizon which can help you to anchor and ground yourself, and this sends calming messages to your brain.

What is your guilty pleasure?

At the moment though I’m trying hard to get out of that "reward” mindset as happiness needs to come from balance and from health, not directly from food. However, I also love a good piece of sourdough toast with butter and apricot jam.

How did you find your first Barrecore class?

I loved it... seriously, what a burn! Something I talk a LOT about on my podcast is the culture of HIIT workouts, bootcamps and explosive lifting for women. It puts a lot of stress on our bodies and can be incredibly unhelpful if you’re dealing with any underlying health concerns, gut health issues, allergies, stress management or fatigue. I strongly believe that we need lower impact, calmer forms of exercise which still work our muscles, and I found Barrecore to be perfect in that respect.

And finally, any tips for a budding nutritional therapist?

You’ve got to be really obsessed with it. It’s all very well studying, but when you actually get out there into the field and you’re working with clients who are putting their trust in you it can be a totally overwhelming experience. There needs to be a solid reason that you’re doing it. For me it’s trying to change the conversation around health, and getting people to understand their own bodies.

You can find Grace at www.gracekingswell.com or on Instagram at @gracekingswell.

"Nutritional Therapy is more than giving dietary recommendations, it’s a totally holistic approach to health and lifestyle."