Laura de la Harpe is a qualified, registered nutritional therapist and member of the Institute for Functional Medicine, based in Berkshire, England. Laura regularly appear on local and national radio programmes to discuss the latest in Nutrition science.
Tell us how you came to be in the role you are today…
I started my career in the IT corporate world and it wasn’t until I had my own children with allergies to dairy that I realised my true calling was Nutritional Therapy. I studied with the Institute for Optimum Nutrition for four years and started my own practice when my youngest went to school in 2006.
Over the years, I have become very interested in digestion, hormones, weight loss and adrenal fatigue. When you look at all of these areas, sugar has a part to play in the symptoms people are experiencing. My first job with most clients is to teach them how to balance their blood sugar and to get insulin under control. They start to feel so much better even with this one change.
I have a busy client base in Berkshire now and also see people in London when time permits.
What would be your best advice to someone starting out on the same career path as you?
Always treat this as a business. Your clients will benefit greatly from you being a professional. Focus on continual professional development to keep up to date with latest research as things are moving so fast. Keep your client at the centre of what you do and go at their speed – some people can cope with more change than others.
How do you relax when you’re not busy answering questions at I Quit Sugar?
I love cooking so creating a new meal for my family and friends either from a new recipe book or just making it up as I go along is very relaxing. I am always looking for new foods and ingredients to try. I also enjoy going for long walks locally as I am very near to some beautiful countryside. Daylight and fresh air are great for the body and soul.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Sometimes you want to help people more than they want to help themselves. The motivation for change has to come from them. My job is to find that motivation in them as they are the ones that have to make those changes in their life. When you find it though, it is the most rewarding part of my job.
In five words, tell us the most important qualities for someone in your particular role…
Intelligence, understanding, intuition, listening and belief. This is how one of my clients recently described me!
What do you enjoy most about working in your field?
When the client starts to understand the impact food is having on their health and they choose to eat healthily because they have discovered they don’t have to be living with pain, lack of energy, IBS, low mood and not because I have said so!
What’s next on your horizon?
I think a book is next on the horizon, to capture my wealth of experience and expertise and to share this more widely.
If you weren’t a Nutritional Therapist you would have been a…
Gosh that’s a hard question to answer! I love what I do so much. I also love talking on the radio so perhaps a radio presenter.
Why are you such a firm believer in the I Quit Sugar philosophy?
When I read I Quit Sugar for the first time, it was so refreshing to find a philosophy that matched my own. An easy system for people to adopt that advocated clean wholesome eating whilst taking into account that people are busy and need realistic weekly goals. People need to change their eating habits for life – not go on a ‘diet’ which at some point stops. I have been telling my clients to eat healthy fats for the last five years and the message is slowly getting through. My father and grandfather always grew their own vegetables so eating locally and seasonally has always been part of my life.
The IQS Team are coming for dinner. What are you cooking for us?
For starters, I’d make home-made coconut bread with chicken liver pate, grass-fed butter and olives. For main I would go with a chicken korma with cauliflower fried rice. If there was room for dessert, we’d have full-fat Greek yoghurt flavoured with vanilla extract and topped with fresh raspberries and toasted chopped almonds.