I have always had an interest in food and nutrition from a young age. Growing up on a farm, surrounded by a big extended farming family, we grew a lot of fruits and vegetables, harvested grain and raised sheep and cattle. The science behind nutrition really took a hold of me whilst I was a teenager. I was competing in netball but struggling with health issues. The doctors I saw didn’t seem to know how to increase my depleting iron stores or assist in managing my glandular fever, and they didn’t really seem to care either.
My experiences and passion for my own health, led me to study Nutrition Science at Curtin University. Throughout my studies I came to understand the complexities of nutrition science and just how amazing the human body is. There is so much research still being conducted on how humans metabolise and utilise every single nutrient and I find that so exciting.
As my career as a nutritionist has progressed, I have been fortunate enough to have worked with people and groups of all ages, backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. Meeting so many diverse and interesting people has only confirmed my deeply-held belief in the uniqueness of every individual. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to pain science and nutritional science, no cookie-cutter solutions that exist. We all react to therapies differently. We all have very different preferences and goals. And more often than not, when we suffer from chronic conditions, they are complex and require multiple interventions and approaches.
The complexity of chronic pain, and the opportunity to work as part of an integrated team of highly-motivated pain science professionals, led me to Painless. Its here I've found my true purpose as a Nutritionist. I deeply empathise with that sense of feeling helpless, that sense of hopelessness that can set in when we can't solve persistent medical conditions. I've been inside that space with my own chronic health conditions, and found my way out.
Now I am driven to assist people to take back some control, and improve their wellbeing, through nutrition. I believe that real change in chronic pain can only be achieved through a multifaceted approach that includes valuing the importance of one’s nutrition and lifestyle. Being an integral part of a multidisciplinary pain care team, that takes a true whole-person approach to healthcare, is an incredible motivation for me.
I'm looking forward to connecting with as many people as possible. Helping them through their journey with managing, preventing and relieving their chronic pain through dietary interventions.
When we take a whole-person care approach, we realise just how many systems are influencing chronic pain. From the musculoskeletal system, to the nervous and endocrine system, right through to the gut. Then there are the many psychological and social factors to consider. All these interactions form a complex puzzle that needs to be recognised, unpacked and assessed.
My work in nutrition, in understanding foods as medicine, supplements, nutrients, the gut, and the gut-brain-axis, is one part of this complex puzzle. A vital part that includes many possible protocols. But, importantly, any nutritional interventions and plans must also be built around well-communicated, individual preferences.
I work hard at uncovering and acknowledging these personal preferences with my patients. Shared medical decision-making with my patients is fundamental to creating a sustainable shift in nutrition and lifestyle. Without acknowledging personal preferences we can't achieve sustainable change.
I also acknowledge that each of us is very unique biochemically. Some people respond really well to some nutrients and supplements. Others don't. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to pain science and nutritional science, no cookie-cutter solutions that work for everyone.
Collaborating as part of a tightly-knit clinical team, and accounting for all these differences and preferences in my patients, is at the heart of who I am as a Nutritionist.
It forms the basis for what I am striving for. To empower all the patients I see with the knowledge they require to take control of their wellness through the foods they eat. I want patients to feel comfortable with me, as a collaborator and facilitator, in their journey to recover from pain.