Food has always figured largely in my life! As a child I would help my mother in the kitchen, making aromatic dishes that involved grinding spices and sometimes making fiddly pastries! During one of my summer holidays, I was an au pair at a farmhouse inn in France, where my main responsibility was to produce the desserts for each day, although I also remember spending a lot of my time peeling potatoes and cooking many of the starters and main courses as well! Even though it was relentless, I loved every minute of it, simply because I was learning to make new dishes all the time! When my husband and I bought our house, I was on a mission to plant every culinary and medicinal herb I could get my hands on in the garden! I still have many of these herbs, but the garden now has more flowers (the children love picking them), fruit bushes and trees, and two very productive raised vegetable beds (my husband’s pride and joy). Nowadays, I am never so happy as when we are entertaining friends and family, and I am planning how to feed everyone, cooking for the occasion and then sitting down to enjoy the food and the chatter!
Have I always been a nutritional therapist?
I have not always been a nutritional therapist. I trained to be a Registered General Nurse and qualified in 1990. As a nurse, I was always interested in cancer nursing and palliative care, and making sure that patients had the best possible quality of life. I worked on cancer wards, as a community and Marie Curie nurse, in nursing homes, and for over 20 years as a research nurse in cancer research. In January 2020, I decided to lapse my nursing registration, although I still work part-time in cancer research at the University of York, only to return to nursing again a few months later to lend support to the Covid-19 crisis!
Some time after I qualified as a RGN, I decided to read Psychology at the University of York. This was a science-based course delving into areas such as child psychology, sensory perception, neurolinguistic theory and statistical analysis. It was a fun and fascinating time, and there was a lot of cooking and eating with friends then too, and I returned to nursing after I graduated, with a greater awareness of how important our perception of everyday things relates to how we live our lives.
How Nolan Nutrition was born!
I have always believed that the food we eat has a huge impact on our health, and use food to help my family get better from illness and to maintain well-being. In 2014, I decided to learn more about how its can be used therapeutically, and started my training to be a Nutritional Therapist at the Northern College of Acupuncture (NCA). Nutritional Therapy is my way of bringing together my love of food and cooking, my wish to help others regain their health, my belief that we should all take responsibility for our own health, and most of all, celebrating the fact that food is not a mere commodity, but little packages of life-enhancing treats to delight in! Since graduating from the NCA, I have been practising as a BANT-registered Nutritional Therapist, accredited by the Complementary and Natural Health Council (CNHC), in my newly founded clinic, Nolan Nutrition, which is based at York Natural Health. I use the functional medicine approach, as a Nutritional Therapist, which addresses the whole person, by looking at their dietary, lifestyle, genetic and environmental factors, rather than simply focusing on the symptoms. See section on My approach to understand how I work as a Nutritional Therapist. I still love learning about how food can work so powerfully especially for chronic illnesses that I spend a large part of my Nutritional Therapy time on continuous professional development CPD!
My other hobbies and passions
When I am not running down some nutritional rabbit hole, seeing clients and working out how I can best help them, or working at the University, I like to garden, cook, read, sit with our cats or watch old dvds with my daughters. During the lockdown, I started walking every day with my husband, and found that I absolutely love a spot of forest-bathing! I used to think this was such a pretentious term for a walk in the woods, but I now understand why! Being immersed in so much greenery has opened my eyes to how quickly stress levels can come down in a very short space of time - try it! When lockdown is over, I will enjoy going back to doing some singing, walking and having meals with friends and family, perhaps playing badminton or tennis again.
RGN, Dip. Community Health Studies
BSc Hons (Psychology), MSc (Information Processing)
PG Dip (Nutritional Therapy), MBANT