UK-based naturopath Lucy Peel takes a holistic approach to health, exploring the emotional, physical and biochemical aspects of a person and how this could be affecting their health.
Tell us how you came to be in the role you are today…
I was always interested in complementary medicine. My gran was very into the Bach Flower Remedies and homeopathy, so I came from an open-minded family. I remember her making me chew on some parsley she had growing on the windowsill as it was very liver cleansing! I must have been in my early 20s and partying too hard at the time.
I am quite a sensitive person, so I soon discovered the effects that food can have on my mood when I went to university aged 18 and ate rubbish. I started to feel very low, very much heavy and tired, so my gran arranged for me to see an acupuncturist. This prompted me to totally changed my student diet of instant noodles and takeaway food and had me making veggie omelettes and healthy vegetable-packed stir-fries. The effects on my mood and energy were amazing. I discovered naturopathy when living in Australia in my mid-20s and when I turned 30, I used this milestone as my diving board to take the plunge into returning to university and retraining.
I graduated from the University of Westminster with a first-class honours degree in naturopathy in 2010. As part of my studies I learnt about naturopathic nutrition, detoxing and cleansing, therapeutic massage, lymphatic cleansing, naturopathic hydrotherapy, Bach Flower remedies and other fascinating natural health knowledge that everyone should know about! I’m also a Reiki level two practitioner and incorporate this into my naturopathic practice. I am currently finishing up my Masters in Nutritional Therapy at the University of Worcester, with just my dissertation to complete.
What would be your best advice to someone starting out on the same career path as you?
I think you have to find the course and therapy that is right for you. I have chosen to go down the rigorous university route and back up everything I do with science, but that doesn’t make me a better healer than the next person who may have chosen a different path. Having said that however, it is also important do something which challenges you too, and I would recommend a BANT-recognised course if you are interested in becoming a nutritional therapist as you do need to have your head around biochemistry and cutting-edge research.
How do you relax when you’re not busy answering questions at I Quit Sugar?
I walk my large hairy dog, who is a lurcher called Bertie. If I’m working at my clinic on the Isle of Wight, a walk along the beach after a busy day is the best tonic ever.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
I am not good working alone – I love being part of a team. I work with my clients very much as a team, but I do miss the camaraderie and banter with workmates in an office.
In five words, tell us the most important qualities for someone in your particular role…
An enthusiastic, empathetic, open-minded attitude.
What do you enjoy most about working in your field?
I love being part of the journey my clients go on when they choose to come to me and start to change their routines and improve their health. It isn’t an easy thing to do and it’s hard for some who may not be in the right headspace, so helping them to even get to that place when they are ready for change is a gift.
What’s next on your horizon?
Finishing up my Masters in Nutritional Therapy. I am focusing on diet and Type 2 Diabetes, specifically reviewing scientific papers on nuts and how they may affect cholesterol and blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 Diabetes.
If you weren’t a Naturopath, you would have been a…
Landscape-gardening rockstar-superstar… probably.
Why are you such a firm believer in the I Quit Sugar philosophy?
Because home cooking is vital to our health and wellbeing, not only from a preparing fresh ingredients standpoint, but from the energy and love that goes into making that meal to nurture your body. I agree with the philosophy of eating full fats and whole foods, as fat is so important for our health. Good fats provide the structure of EVERY cell membrane in our body, support a healthy mental function and reduce inflammation in our body. They also provide the backbone for our hormones. Hence the words “essential” fatty acids.
The IQS Team are coming for dinner. What are you cooking for us?
I am a big fan of the Ottolenghi recipe books, so if you’re in town for summer, I would probably make one of my favourite dishes which is fish and caper patties with preserved lemon and burnt aubergine dip. With that I’d serve a delicious mixed bean and red pepper salad. For a winter dinner I would make a big tagine with juicy olives and lemon flavours, and serve that with some quinoa with masses of chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds mixed through it.
For dessert, a crumble with apple and cinnamon topped with a crunchy mix of desiccated coconut, mixed nuts and oats.
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