Tracking down bad eating habits

By Rob Virtue on December 2, 2011 11:16 AM |

FoodOwl.JPGHarnessing the healing powers of good food is fundamental to good health, nutritional therapist Lucy Grainge tells me as I arrive at her Cannon Workshops clinic.

Grainge, aka The Food Owl, is keen to help Wharfers ditch wilted sandwiches, scoffed in front of a mountain of emails for more nutritious options that aim to alleviate stress, fatigue and digestive problems.

"I see myself as a detective," she said. "I work with clients to find out what is causing certain problems and conditions then we work together to figure out what dietary issues need to be addressed. Small changes in diet or the way we eat can have a huge impact on the way we feel."

Before training as a nutritional therapist, Grainge worked as a project manager for Barclays so she has experienced first hand the pressures and challenges of eating well in a hectic environment. She founded The Food Owl in 2009 to provide personal nutrition services, weight loss courses and nutrition workshops.

Grainge said: "Most clients are confused about what they should and shouldn't eat but I'm here to guide them and help them make good diet decisions.

"So many chronic conditions can be supported by diet - for example, type two diabetes is largely down to a poor diet and linked to obesity.

"I recognise everyone has different needs and I take the time to define a personalised nutrition plan rather than a one size fits all approach."

Grainge graduated from the Institute of Optimum Nutrition in 2007 after three years with a diploma in Nutritional Therapy. She is registered as a complementary therapist.

She said: "Research suggests we are eating fewer calories than 10 years ago, but obesity and weight-related problems are on the rise.

"In any corporate environment people tend to work eight to 10 hours a day and don't take the time to eat properly. Many are restricted to the office vending machine or a soggy sandwich they grabbed on the way to work.

"Add to that getting home late in the evenings, we don't have the time or energy to cook or shop for whole and nutritious foods.

"Another problem that many Wharfers will be familiar with is eating out a lot and a heavy drinking social scene where you can't control what's on the menu. Also many travel for their jobs and end up snacking on sugary foods or whatever is on offer on the train buffet cart."

But it's not as straight forward as sticking to five-a-day. Grainge said it was vital to avoid "nutrient robbers" - foods and substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, sugar and refined foods that reduce the efficacy of all the good stuff consumed.

She said: "Stress is also a huge factor - when you are stressed you use up nutrients from food twice as fast."

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