Nutritionist Fiona Lawson on Healthy Eating
A healthy start
I used to hate eating healthily.
My mum was into wellness way before it was a thing. When I was growing up, our family meals consisted of vegetables, lean protein, wholegrains and healthy fats—when all I longed for were the hamburgers and chips I saw in American movies! While the other kids at school enjoyed crisps and chocolate bars for their playground snacks, my brother, sister and I munched on apples. We would only have fizzy drinks once or twice a month.
That’s not to say I’ve always eaten well, though—far from it. When I went to university, I bought far too many supermarket cookies and (like most students) became a little too well acquainted with boozy drinks. I did cook myself hearty dinners, though, and made sure to eat a good amount of fruit and vegetables.
The end of healthy eating
It was when I moved to London to become a journalist in my early twenties that my eating habits really began to suffer. I was working long hours, and going to parties or events several nights a week. It was great fun—but it wasn’t great for my health.
Soon enough, most of my vegetables were coming from the tiny garnishes on all the canapés I was eating. I rarely had time for breakfast in the morning, so would rely on an enormous cup of coffee. When it came to lunch, I’d buy huge portions of food, eat it quickly, and then feel lethargic for the rest of the afternoon.
My energy levels were low. I felt more anxious than normal. I wasn’t sleeping well. I put up with it—until I started to get confidence-zapping breakouts on my face. Then I knew something had to change.
A chance encounter
One day, I noticed an advert for an open evening at the College of Naturopathic Medicine. It just so happened that it was taking place that night, so I went along on a whim. After listening to a two-hour presentation on the value of nutrition and how it can optimise health, I was sold. I signed up straightaway.
What followed was an intense three years of studying while I continued to work full-time as a magazine editor. I loved every minute of it, though—to me, learning how food influences our cellular function is like learning the instruction manual for the human body! The food we eat has a tremendous impact on our health.
The more I learnt, the more I could appreciate how right my mum had been. I slowly transitioned back to the way of eating I was used to as a child and, sure enough, my energy returned, I slept beautifully, and my skin cleared up.
After completing my studies, I said goodbye to the world of journalism and set up my own nutrition clinic. I now work with clients with a variety of goals—from tackling IBS to optimising fertility. Due to my own experience, I also have a special interest in skin conditions.
It’s hugely gratifying to work with people and help them rediscover the joy of food. When you take the attitude that food can truly nourish you, it can be transformative. It never ceases to amaze me how small changes can lead to big results—and how when people feel in control of their health, they make the most of life.
The world of nutrition is constantly evolving, with new research undertaken every day. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning—and that excites me. It has become my life’s mission to spread the message of the power of food.
As you can imagine, I now love eating healthily!