I became a naturopath because of my love of plants, sustainability and because my daughter got severe nappy rash and my son swallowed a padlock.
I had seen several GPs about my daughter’s severe nappy rash and I remember asking if it could be due to the food she ate. One of the GP’s laughed and me and told me not to be be silly, that there was no connection between what we ate and health. 18 months and lots of steroidal medication later I accidently stumbled across a naturopath who pointed out that 10 pieces of fruit a day was probably not the best thing to eat and that the sugar from the fruit was creating the thrush. I removed the fruit and bingo, the nappy rash went.
My second light bulb moment was my son swallowing a padlock, he very nearly died, and I lived in Starship for a month. I learnt a lot about listening to my intuition. My son had an intolerance to dairy, but I was not listened to, he was given dairy based medicines and enteral dairy based formula and got incredibly sick. I realised that nutrition was incredibly important and could be both poison and fuel…and that doctors didn’t really know about nutrition. I basically wanted to learn about nutrition and medicine so I could be confident when I argued with the medical profession but instead of becoming a dietician, I decided to join the dark side and study naturopathic medicine.
I haven’t looked back since! I have worked in multi-modality clinics and been a lecturer and Head of Department for both the Nutrition, and Naturopathic and Herbal Medicine programmes at a leading college of natural therapies. I have been on the committee of 2 major professional associations (NZAMH and NMHNZ) and research based working groups for the World Naturopathic Federation on behalf of the World Health Organisation.
Whilst I loved naturopathy, it wasn’t enough. I saw clients improve their health and lose their weight only to put it back on. I realised that a lot of the goals were superficial because they didn’t address the elephant in the room – ‘mindset’. So I studied Neuro-Linguistic- Programming, which is a fantastic tool for helping to change our thoughts, words and communication.
Then I got sick – I kept breaking out in abscesses and boils. No matter what I did (and to be fair I didn’t do much) they kept coming back and then more of them kept coming back and I started to get scared. I became a regular visitor to the emergency clinic to have them surgically removed but no-one could tell me why I was getting them. I did what everybody does and googled – I had a feeling I knew what it was but hoped that it wasn’t. I spent a fortune seeing a dermatologist who also couldn’t give me answers. I was beyond gutted that I couldn’t name what was going on and I felt like I was going mad. Eventually after 3 years and several doctors later, the emergency doctor said the words that I needed to hear ‘Oh yes, I recognise this you’ve got Hidradenitis suppurativa.’
I cannot tell you the relief when you finally get diagnosed even though the doctor said ‘there is nothing you can do about it, it should go away after menopause’. I cried my eyes out because I knew about Hydradenitis and it wasn’t nice! Its basically an auto-infammatory condition when the body makes chemicals that cause an inflammation party in the body. The results are multiple abscesses and boils, intense pain and eventually wounds that do not heal and stay open. Do you feel the fear I did?
This is a condition that most medical professionals do not know much about and there is very little research on cause or cure. I did some reading and tweaked my diet a little (removed dairy) and supplemented with zinc. This made a huge difference but not enough…I soon realised that stress was a major factor and was responsible for flare ups.
Then as if that wasn’t enough I developed reactive arthritis as a result of the inflammation. This was the kick up the butt I needed. I knew I had to change my diet and lifestyle. So I took the leap and resigned from a job that was probably the most stressful job I have ever had and decided to spend some time getting well and recreating a career that gave me joy.
Then I met someone who would change everything – they say when the student is ready, the teacher will arrive – enter Michelle Clarke from michellebusinesscoach.com. Michelle was a former work colleague who I met up with for tea out of the blue. I kept getting the ‘inner’ message that I needed to work with a coach and then Michelle announced that she was now a coach. I immediately asked if she would work with me (without even knowing the costs). I have never been so pushed and triggered and challenged and kicked up the butt. I forced myself to meditate and journal and peel off those layers…I realise now it is a never ending journey of discovery. I was so in love with life coaching that I decided to train in it myself.
Around this time I also started Hormone Empowerment, an online programme for peri-menopausal women with my close friend Andrea Riggans who is a fitness professional. We both had no idea what we doing but Michelle steered me through the money and business mindset along with the skills and tools needed.
It wasn’t long before I realised that when the ladies on our programme worked on their mindset magic happened…just as it had happened with me and that’s when I knew what I needed to create. An online membership site where women could come and learn about health, wellbeing and mindset. I wanted it to be affordable so it would be accesible to as many women as possible. I wanted to be able to offer online courses becuase I LOVE teaching and I wanted to offer coaching but not your typical one-on-one coaching but group coaching as I had seen the power of working with a group of like minded women from both my own experience as a participant and from my group coaching on my Hormone Empowerment programme. Now I was excited….and that was how The Well-Being Club was born.
I truly believe that women are the gatekeepers to health as they are the role models to those around them. When a woman feels crap, her whole family feels it. When a woman feels vibrant, bursting with energy and excited about her life then so does the rest of her family. She shows those around her that life is what we make it and we must not settle for feeling blah or even OK. Feeling amazing is our birth right. I also believe that health and well-being encompass many things – what we eat, how we move, what we think – or relationships, our environment, our mindset, our values and beliefs all play a huge role. When our belief stories are negative, they drag us down and stop us from being the person we were born to be. How can you change the world when you feel like crap? Trust me I know!
Today my mission and my passion is to help as many women as I can through my courses and coaching to be the best they can be – have the best health, the best energy, have the best relationship with food, themselves and others and have the best mindset so they can have a kickass life.
And for those of you want to know – I have been with my husband since 1994, I have 2 dogs, 1 rabbit and a bunch of wayward chickens. I live 5 minutes from the beach surrounded by my favourite things – trees, in the best country in the world, New Zealand.
5 things people don't know about me:
- I played the recorder and the oboe at the Royal Albert Hall when I was a child.
- I got arrested in Morocco for being a mercenary and had to be rescued by the British Consulate (I wasn’t just in case you were wondering).
- I was in the scouts with Idris Elba and we both went to drama college together (clearly he did better than me)
- I have travelled the world and in 2014 took my kids backpacking for 6 months (the photo above was taken by then 7 year old son is Las Vegas).
- I adore fantasy books and movies. I wish I was a badass faerie or Captain Marvel.
Why I adore trees?
I admit it I am a tree hugger! To me they symbolise everything wonderful: nature, strength, community, beauty, flexibility and growth. They thrive in communities, yet they stand strong in their own space; their roots keep them grounded, keep their environment strong and yet they will share nourishment to those weakest in their community. They are flexible in storms yet resilient. They protect from the elements and support the next generation in their growth. Their sole purpose is to grow and reach as high as they can- their true potential. That is a role model!
Belief 1: I believe that you only have THIS life ONCE. So every single one of us should make the absolute most of it and we are here to help you with that. Through my posts, videos, podcasts, courses, programmes and social updates I’m determined to help you improve your health, mindset and wellbeing, increase your energy and vitality, encourage a healthy weight and relationship with food and your body, show you why you feel the way you do and what you can do about it and help you get the life you really want.
Belief 2: I believe that every one of us is unique and SIGNIFICANT and here for a reason. You cannot fulfil your life’s purpose when you feel like shit! I am here to change that. When you feel fantastic, you are unstoppable. I will encourage and support you to live your best life, to get a clear vision for your life’s purpose and help you get on track to do just that. Hang on world – here you come!
Belief 3: I believe that we are all connected and therefore need to BELONG. I am here for you 100%. I will celebrate your successes, pick you up when you fall or trip (move on from that bottle of wine or custard tart), and keep you accountable. You will not feel alone – I will be right here for you to keep you strong and resilient. You will belong to a group of like-minded, fantastic women who also know they are here for more and are on their journey for better health and a more fulfilling life.
Belief 4: I believe that not only are we CONNECTED to one another, we are also connected to the planet. Everything we do reflects that; we must support each other to live a more sustainable life and leave the earth in a better state than when we arrived.
Belief 5: I believe in the importance of GROWTH. I am here to inspire and educate you every single day. I am going to teach you how your body works and how to feel AMAZING. I am going to support you in your personal growth and soul journey. I will empower you so that the fire in your belly is roaring. You will be ready to take on the world and fulfil your life’s purpose because you feel great.
Belief 6: I believe in being REAL. Let’s face it, none of us are perfect (thank God how boring would that make the world). Sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes we fall, sometimes we feel crap, sometimes we eat shit, sometimes we feel like we are not good enough and are failures. I believe in authenticity, honesty and integrity. So I will brush you off, laugh and cry with you and hold your hand. No judgements – EVER!
Belief 7: I believe in having a laugh. LAUGHTER is the best medicine so let’s not take life too seriously and have some fun!
Qualifications & Awards
For some people qualifications are important so here are mine:
- Bachelor of Arts (Education) First class honours (Reading University, UK)
- Bachelor of Naturopathic Medicine (Wellpark College, NZ)
- Diploma of Nutrition (Wellpark College, NZ)
- Diploma of Herbal Medicine (Wellpark College, NZ)
- Certificate in Relaxation Massage & Specialised Therapies (inc. aromatherapy) (Wellpark College, NZ)
- Certificates in Yoga Teaching (Beginners, Intermediate, Natal & Kids)
- Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner Certificate
- Professional Certificate in Life Coaching
- Currently studying for a Masters in Human Nutrition (Deakin University, Australia)
- Academic Excellence in Naturopathy (Wellpark College, NZ)
- Best Clinic Practitioner in Herbal Medicine (Wellpark College, NZ)
- Tohu hāpāio Award (for upholding the spirit and values of Wellpark College, NZ)
- Invited to join the prestigious International Golden Key Honour Society (the world’s largest collegiate honour society. Membership into the Society is by invitation only and applies to the top 15% of college undergraduate and graduate students).
I am a professional member of the Naturopaths and Medical Herbalists of New Zealand.