ROOTS AND BEGINNINGS
My name is Anita Beardsley and I am a registered Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist. I am often asked what exactly that means and what planted that seed, so here is my story.
I have always loved food. Growing up my parents grew vegetables, herbs, fruit and Dad was forever foraging for wild mushrooms. We kept rabbits, goats, bees and chickens which we loved and gratefully ate their produce and them (much to my young hearts dismay!) Everything was cooked from scratch and takeaways were not something I ever knew. Our cupboards brimmed full of chutneys, honey, jam and home-brew too. We lived next door to a fascinating Naturopath (only now do I realise that’s what she was!), who always had a herbal tincture or natural remedy at hand. That was just how life was and I never questioned its authenticity.
Years later in my adult life things were different and somehow this ‘organic lifestyle’ was replaced by convenience to accommodate a busy life. Sound familiar? I did my best, as we all do, and didn't consider the significance.
During my first career as a sustainability practitioner I worked for a number of prestigious environmental charities. Here I learnt the importance of organic farming for the soil and human health. I started to see first hand the devastating effects our intensive farming practices and use of toxic pesticides were having on our nutritional status and long-term health. I worked with young children in the UK and India connecting them through Skype and food based projects encouraging them to explore health, culture, food, friendships etc. They grew herb gardens, learnt to cook each others native dishes and shared stories. What I began to notice was the impact of food on their physical, emotional and educational health - it was a light bulb moment.
Around the same time myself and family members were struggling with health issues and conventional medicine wasn't offering a complete solution. I started to look elsewhere and fell upon the functional medicine approach. Functional medicine is a systems based approach to health that considers the whole person and not just a set of isolated symptoms or a disease process. Its more holistic, natural and can offer more insights and possibilities for healing. Food and nutrition was at the heart of this for me.
After lots of research and some personal success I was hooked but needed to learn the science. I signed up with the College of Naturopathic Medicine to study Nutritional Therapy where I spent 3 incredibly busy years training in anatomy, biomedicine, pathology, pharmacology, functional medicine, physiology, biochemistry, nutritional science and clinical skills. The course also included 2 years of supervised clinical practice. The whole experience was robust, inspiring and totally life changing.
So, what actually is nutritional therapy? In a nutshell it is the application of nutrition science in the promotion of health, peak performance and individual care. As a nutritional therapist I am uniquely trained to understand how nutrients, food and lifestyle factors influence the function of the body. I use a range of skills and tools to assess and identify potential nutritional imbalances and understand how these may contribute to an individual’s symptoms and overall health (mind and body). I then implement changes (diet and lifestyle) to support health and wellbeing - as humans we are lucky, given the right raw materials (vitamins, minerals, air, water, sleep) the body will always strive to heal and find balance, clever huh?!
Importantly for me underneath the naturopathic approach nutritional therapy is based on science and what we do is always evidence-based.
And thats it really! I am now running private clinics in Bristol and online via Zoom and Telehealth and I have lots of exciting plans for sharing my knowledge and experience to help people feel able to make informed decisions about their health and the food they eat. Food is wonderful and somehow we have become disconnected with its roots. I am passionate about inspiring and educating people to rediscover the healing power of food.
Anita Beardsley is a qualified Nutritional Therapist using a functional medicine approach to support women's health. Anita offers 1:1 nutrition support and coaching online or at her Bristol clinic.