Q+A with Nutritional Therapist & Wellness Expert Amelia Freer
Amelia Freer on her holistic approach with her clients, her typical morning routine, and more.
Amelia Freer is one of the UK’s most respected nutritional therapists and healthy eating experts. She prides herself on approaching each client as an individual and meeting each where they are at in their wellness journey before formulating a concrete, holistic, and compassionate plan to help them lead happier and healthier lives. In this Q+A, we talk to Amelia about her journey in the nutrition and wellness space, the nutritional myths she wants to debunk, her typical daily routine, and so much more. Read on for insight on her life and career!
Q: First and foremost, we’d love to hear about your journey in the nutritional therapy space. How did you get started, and how did you end up where you are today?
In my late teens and early twenties, I was experiencing a wide range of health complaints and symptoms. After trying various different treatments without much success, my flatmate at the time suggested it might be worth thinking about my diet. I eventually took myself off to see a nutritionist, and very rapidly began to feel and see the results of some very simple changes. It sparked a passion for understanding how the food we choose interacts with our physiology and psychology. Soon after, I quit my job and spent 4 years training in nutritional therapy. I have been practicing and learning ever since (which is now about 15 years).
Q: You’re known for taking a scientific, holistic, and compassionate approach to your clients. Can you walk us through this philosophy?
I approach every client as a unique individual, with their own emotional relationship to food, cooking, eating, and wider lifestyle habits – not to mention other stresses, time constraints, and external influences. I start by trying to holistically understand the complexity of the wider context in which my client exists, and then formulate an evidence-based plan of action to help them make positive changes. What this looks like varies hugely from person to person.
We will then work together in partnership over a period of time to help put those changes into action, and crucially, to maintain them in the long term. It’s not my job just to “tell” someone how to eat. It’s a lot more nuanced than that. I meet them where they are at when they come to me, and we go gently on from there.
Q: What do you love most about your work?
I love the creativity of inventing recipes and running in-person events (I have really missed doing these over the past year), and the huge satisfaction I get from seeing clients or readers making positive, compassionate changes.
Q: Walk us through your morning routine. What are some of your favorite ways to integrate health and wellness into the start of your day?
I start each morning with a cup of Clipper organic breakfast tea. It’s a ritual I love, and have even been known to take the teabags on holiday with me! Sometimes I’ll do a quick guided meditation as I wait for it to cool down (either on my own or using the Headspace app). Soon after, my 3-year old daughter, Willow, will usually jump into bed with me and we will have a chat, read some stories, or watch a couple of cartoons together. Then we’ll head down for breakfast. My favourite breakfast is toast with a poached egg, sauerkraut, avocado and tomatoes. Then it’s time to shower, quickly do my hair, and walk Willow to nursery, before sitting down at my desk and starting the working day.
Q: What are some of your favorite products that help you feel your best?
I definitely feel my best when I have had a good night’s sleep, so I try to consistently spend an hour or two without screens to help me unwind in the evening. I then love to take a bath with Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax oil or some Epsom salts, before climbing into clean sheets and reading for a while. If my mind is racing, I might take Wild Nutrition Magnesium too, which really helps me to switch off and sleep deeply.
I definitely notice a difference in my stress levels and mood when I exercise consistently, so I often dress straight into workout gear to encourage me to move in the mornings. I will walk my daughter to nursery first thing, and then jog home or walk briskly the long way back through a park or two if I can. But if the day runs away with me without getting the chance to move, I will put on a quick yoga video in the evening (I love Movement for Modern Life or Yoga with Adriene on YouTube) and do that instead.
In terms of skincare, I’ve found that I need to be quite consistent again to notice best results. I cleanse morning and evening with a nourishing cleanser (I love Ultimate Cleanse by Sarah Chapman). I then use a hyaluronic acid as my skin is quite dry. I’m currently using one from Votary, followed by a serum, and a deeply hydrating cream. I’ll always wear a good SPF and wide-brimmed hat in the sunshine, too.
And of course, I try to cook nutritious and balanced meals as much as possible. I honestly do cook mostly from my latest book (which was a collection of the quick and easy recipes I came to rely on in the early days of motherhood), Simply Good For You. I’ll make big batches of something like soup, roasted veg, a curry/dahl, or stew 2-3 times a week, and then reinvent the leftovers for meals in between. I also love my instant soups for the quickest WFH lunches.
Q: You’ve authored four best-selling books! Can you share with us a bit about what inspired you to take your wellness values to paper and what your readers can expect when they open your books?
It all happened a bit by chance to be honest. I wasn’t planning to write a book before my first one came out, but was asked to put a few ideas on paper for a publisher, and it all happened quite organically from there. Even now, I’m still a bit surprised that I am an author! But I do really enjoy the process of writing and try to share a very consistent, compassionate and fad-free message. My primary focus now is on “making healthy simple” (and quick), as I know how limited we all are for time and headspace, and not to lose the joy of eating and good food along the way. I passionately believe that we don’t just eat for physical health – it is such an important part of our social and emotional health too. We need to hold both of these key aspects of food in harmonious balance.
Q: What are some myths about nutrition and wellness that you’d like to debunk?
There are SO many myths I want to debunk, but perhaps the biggest is that nutrition is, or needs to be, complicated, and that there is one “magic” diet that is just around the corner which will be the solution to all our problems.
The unsexy truth is that nutrition is fundamentally quite simple, and I’m sorry to say there isn’t – and never will be – a one-size-fits-all “magic” diet. Consistency is the key, and that we do our best to eat a mostly whole food, minimally processed, and varied diet that includes plenty of plants. But it’s also so important to understand that diet is not everything. The impact of sleep, movement, stress management, our wider health and social connection is also crucial. A “win” in any of these areas can positively impact all of the others. It’s all interconnected.
Q: As we know, 2020 and 2021 have been years largely spent at home. How has the pandemic altered the way you look at self-care and the choices you make for your health on a daily basis?
I think I am now far more appreciative of just how hard it can be to make that bit of time and space for yourself when you’re juggling a million other things. But at the same time, I also realised how badly I missed it when those moments of self-care disappeared.
I had to give myself permission to let quite a few things go during the early days of the pandemic (with no childcare and a full-time job to juggle!), and to focus on prioritising just one or two aspects of self-care that made the biggest impact. For me, it was eating nourishing food, consistently, and prioritising good quality sleep. With those two pillars of wellbeing in place, I found I could manage with the chaos and busyness of life. But if either slipped for more than a few days, I started to feel awful!
I’ve gradually been able to add more things back now that life is returning to a more normal pattern, like regular exercise, meditation, little skincare rituals, and catch-ups with friends which has been utterly lovely, but it’s also reassuring to know what my bare minimum looks and feels like too.
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