Miriam Saltmarshe is a Nutritional Therapist living in rural Wales. Miriam has worked as a nutritionist in a range of settings and now showcases her tasty recipes on her blog The Nutrition Diaries.
Tell us how you came to be in the role you are today…
I’ve been interested in food and nutrition for as long as I can remember. I grew up on a farm in Cornwall, surrounded by sheep, our old milking cow called Sal and my mum making yoghurt and bread. As a child, I understood early on where food came from (nothing like seeing cows go to market to give a 5-year-old girl a reality check about the origin of her steak), however I also saw how food could both nourish and bring people together. All this helped to shape my current beliefs of the importance of eating food as close to its natural state as possible.
After a degree in sociology and a brief foray into fashion, I realised that nutrition was my vocation and enrolled for a degree (BSc) in Nutritional Therapy. The next three years were spent studying, working and enjoying London. I learnt how to combine nutrition into my student life in an easy, tasty and affordable way.
Since then, I’ve worked as a nutritionist in a variety of different environments from traditional clinical settings, such as the Hale Clinic in London, to working as a consultant nutritionist for model agencies and Erin O’Connor’s ‘Model Sanctuary’ during London Fashion Week. I’ve been featured in Glamour, Heat and Time Out magazines. I’ve also been a technical and educational consultant for a supplement company, which gave me a valuable understanding of this, often confusing, aspect of nutrition. My last stint was at a private health club in Zurich, Switzerland where I worked primarily on metabolic and weight loss programs and also held nutrition and health seminars at FIFA HQ.
I now live in rural Wales with my husband, Adrian and our little boy wonder, Finley. I’ve since started my health blog to share my nourishing and tasty recipes along with more nutrition-based solutions for common ailments.
What would be your best advice to someone starting out on the same career path as you?
Be clear about your goals, what do you want to achieve? What work do you want to do? Being interested and passionate about health and nutrition is fantastic, however turning that into a professional living can be challenging.
Get as much work experience in different areas as possible. Whether that’s working in a complementary health clinic as a receptionist or at a health food shop. Understanding the industry that you are interested in and how it works is vital in knowing the part you want to play in it.
It’s also important to Identify role models. Are there people doing work that you value and respect? Contact them, see how they have achieved it. There’s always room for good people doing good work.
How do you relax when you’re not busy answering questions at I Quit Sugar?
I spend time with my family and friends. Practice yoga and hike as much as I can. Living in rural Wales means when the weather is good (i.e. not a gale or pouring with rain) we can get our banger of a VW camper and drive to beachside campsites. When there we pick up good local food, cook, eat, swim in the sea and walk the coastal paths.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Working from home. This is great in some ways (no commute) but it also means there are constant distractions. It involves a lot of solitary work. I miss working in a team of people and creating things with others.
In five words, tell us the most important qualities for someone in your particular role…
Encouraging, supportive, informative, attentive + pragmatic.
What do you enjoy most about working in your field?
The subject area of health and the wondrous nature of food have always fascinated me. Understanding this and being able to share it with others is very satisfying. Having the ability to empower people to take control of their health and giving people the knowledge and tools to actively improve their physical and mental wellbeing is the best part of my work.
What’s next on your horizon?
A cookbook! Inspired by my beautiful but vegetable-hating toddler. I’m writing the first draft now.
If you weren’t a Nutritional Therapist you would have been a…
Working in film or TV production.
Why are you such a firm believer in the I Quit Sugar philosophy?
The fundamental principles of I Quit Sugar means it effectively helps people to transform their health and provides them with a lifestyle that is sustainable and enjoyable.
For me, this is based on the nutritional foundations, which I have long been a proponent of. No refined sugars, low natural sugars, good amounts of healthy fats and protein and high veggie intake. If you can get some red wine and dark chocolate in there too all the better! I Quit Sugar found a way of making this doable and very appealing.
IQS’ focus on the environmental impact of our food choice and consumption is so great as well. Whether it’s encouraging people to re-use their zip-lock plastic bags or minimise food waste we need to help people to make small changes to their everyday routines that will help our world.
The IQS Team are coming for dinner. What are you cooking for us?
I’d start with a light salad of rocket, watercress and fennel dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. This is a great way to start a feast as the ingredients prep the digestive system so it’s ready to receive the meal ahead.
I’m lucky enough to live next to a huge organic farm so I have access to orchards, polytunnels bursting with tomatoes, salad leaves and herbs as well as green leafy veg and roots. I’d roast a whole load of beetroot, carrots, onions and sweet potato. Then lightly steam some spinach and broccoli, dressed with olive oil and a dusting of Parmesan cheese. Wales is known for its lamb so I’d pick up a shoulder of lamb from my local organic farm which breeds, raises and slaughters all its own meat. I’d slow roast this with a marinade of garlic, ginger, capers and mint. This would be served with homemade mint sauce.
For dessert I’d have to go with my Paleo vegan brownie. I originally developed this when we were cooking dinner for a friend who had recently made the transition to being full Paleo. It is always a massive hit.
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