Holistic Centre for Body, Mind & Spirit

Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired?


Food is medicine – or it can be if you eat the right food.

It works the other way too, of course. Poor nutrition increases your susceptibility to illness, creating biochemical imbalances in the body’s systems. It can lead to any number of illnesses as well as more general feelings of tiredness, nausea and wide-ranging digestive problems.

With such a lot of nutritionally poor food available and so much conflicting advice in the media – often from parties with a vested interest – many people are eating poorly even if they have the best intentions. And eating a certain way also becomes a habit, part of the way they live their lives. It becomes normal and unquestioned – until a problem arises.

The bodily systems affected by poor nutrition include the immune system, hormonal, muscular, skeletal, cardiovascular and cognitive reasoning. Consequently, we see a whole range of symptoms when people come to us for help. All the digestive illnesses of course – Celiac disease, Crohns disease, Colitis, IBS; these are all issues we can deal with through nutrition. But nutrition can also be influencing many other conditions, from skin problems, exhaustion, menopause, fertility and migraines right through to ADHD, diabetes, arthritis or immune/auto-immune conditions like ME.

Usually, there will be a reason behind the poor nutrition and this is where Anam Cara, which offers a broad range of therapies all under one roof, can really help. Our practitioners are both individual experts and also a unique team, where each knows the others’ work so we are confident in referring clients to other practitioners. We all look at the individual behind the symptoms and are all committed to discovering and addressing the reasons behind poor nutrition, not just dealing with the symptoms at a superficial level.

While our nutritionists will assess, test and understand you at the biological and chemical level, it is usual that there are emotional and psychological factors involved too, and our experienced therapists will work alongside the nutritionists to ensure mind and body are healed together. For example, we might see a client concerned about their weight; alongside nutritional treatment, they might have acupuncture and one of the talking therapies in order to ensure they don’t have to just rely on willpower but actually make changes which last.

A journey to better nutrition requires an open and honest approach and an absolute commitment to the process. It isn’t always quick progress (although there are always quick wins such as stopping eating bread, which can instantly reduce bloating and lethargy). Once our nutritionists have finished their assessments and received the results of any lab testing they have done, they create an individualised food programme that is right for you at that moment in time. The programme won’t always be the same because your situation won’t always be the same. This programme may also contain supplements if appropriate (although these would be supplements available to experts, not the sort you get on the high street).

It is important that programmes like this are devised by experts because creating the right programme is not just about allowing certain foods and stopping others; it is about understanding how your body is dealing with the foods, why imbalances have formed and how different nutrients are interacting inside your body. These imbalances must be addressed on a detailed, intelligent level – not just through taking lots of supplements and hoping for the best.

The healing process can be quite a journey. When a client follows our nutritionists’ advice, they often feel dramatically better within a matter of days. Sometimes they even feel euphoric and experience a new sense of hope. These wonderful feelings often drive them through the early days of treatment and they start to feel in control and empowered – something they often haven’t felt for some time. Following this euphoric period, sometimes clients can experience something of a healing crisis, especially if the story behind their poor nutrition is a complex one. This is where our support really counts as we work together to battle through the difficult times – physical, emotional or both. The battle is worth it though because by coming through it, clients experience a new calmness and understanding; they begin to see real and profound results. It then really clicks just how significant the right nutrition is and how it can utterly change their lives.

Weight problems

People who have concerns over their weight often come to see our nutritionists, who are able to offer tailored advice and – thanks to Anam Cara – all the support they need. Our nutritionists will discuss what the client has tried before and what their goals are now, what they will find easy and what they will find hard. They talk about foods they like and don’t like. It’s not a matter of just giving clients a programme to follow, it’s about making sure they understand food and how it is processed in the body. We devise a programme that reflects the profile of our client precisely and can be followed in manageable steps. It goes without saying that our support is available every step of the way.

“This is why well-known weight-loss clubs and fad diets – often backed by celebrities – can be so damaging,” Says Anam Cara’s nutritionist. “They offer a short term fix backed by little nutritional advice. Not only can they be unhelpful, they can be actively damaging. They can be poor nutritionally and more often than not, the weight returns worse than ever and the individual is none the wiser.”

Our nutritionists aim to empower our clients by giving them all the knowledge they need to make their own decisions about food. All the time, the nutritionists will be introducing new meal ideas, re-evaluating, reassuring and overcoming difficult periods (because there will be some – food is an emotionally and psychologically complex issue). Sometimes difficult periods can become real blocks to progress and we’ll need to find a way to break it down. There will be a solution within the walls of Anam Cara, whether that’s psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, acupuncture or any other of our therapies.

Heal Yourself

Your capacity to heal yourself is stronger than you think. By understanding how you have reached the situation you are in and how you can improve it, you begin to have the tools to change your own life. Working on your nutrition gives you a very direct route to helping yourself, to taking part in your own healing.

Having suffered an intensely debilitating auto-immune disease myself many years ago, I can vouch for the way that nutrition can play a critical role in illnesses of this nature. Auto-immune conditions cause particular problems to medical professionals because they are so unpredictable and often apparently random. You can be seeing various different consultants at the same time, all addressing different problems in their own discrete ways. What no-one seems to do is to try and get to the root of the problem. Nutrition is often the most sensible place to start. As part of an integrated holistic programme, good nutrition can make an enormous change to immune/auto-immune disease sufferers, to the point that they may well be able to leave the illness behind them completely. I know I did. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t quick – but it was possible and it did happen.

Illness, though, is as unique as the individual. Most people will come to us with little idea of the importance nutrition is playing in the way they are feeling. Indeed they are likely to come to us about something entirely unrelated. This is fine. In fact we welcome and encourage everyone to simply step across the threshold and ask for help; we will work with you to understand the issues and how best to deal with them. We believe that food – the fuel of life – always has a vital role to play.

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What’s good – and what’s not?

It’s never as simple as giving people a list of good foods and bad foods because everyone’s situation, diet, body, mind and goals are different, so the right diet is as unique as the individual. However, there are some basic tips to set you off in the right direction. Anam Cara’s nutritionists give the following general advice. Following this advice will undoubtedly make you feel better and certainly be better nourished – but don’t expect miracles (for that, you’ll have to come and see us!).

  • Eat real food – fresh, seasonal, organic
  • Eat less refined food such as bread, cakes and sweets. The fewer processes your food has to go through before you eat it, the better
  • Reduce consumption of wheat, dairy and sugar. Along with processed foods, these are what the body finds hardest to digest
  • Don’t cut out all fats – make sure you get good fats like olive oil, nut and seed oils and even butter
  • Where possible, have a balance of fat, protein and carbohydrate in every meal
  • Go to the supermarket less and buy locally produced food more
  • It’s best to take any supplements under the advice of a nutritionist as part of a programme

If you're reading this, you've already taken an important step. You already know that you have questions that need answering, a curiosity to satisfy, difficulties to confront, maybe even a crisis to deal with.

With over 20 years' experience as a psychotherapist, executive business coach and counsellor, Sonia Manning leads a team of holistic therapists who can help you to overcome your difficulties and turn a crisis point into a turning point.