Talking with Nutritional Therapist Clemmie Macpherson

Clemmie Macpherson is in her final year studying Nutritional Therapy, below she shares some of her favourites with us, along with tips for beating the January blues and her amazing homemade Fish & Chips recipe.

What are you studying and what is your favourite class?

I am in my final year studying Nutritional Therapy at The Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London. I love anything to do with digestive health! The Clinical Practice module is also a favourite. This module enables students to see clients in the training clinic at ION. It is the moment where everything you have learnt comes together and you are finally doing what you started the course for!

Tell us a little about your journey to becoming a Nutritional Therapist? 

As a child I suffered with the autoimmune gastrointestinal disease, ulcerative colitis, which resulted in the removal of my large intestine at the age of 11. I lived with a colostomy bag until the age of 18 when I was connected back together again. Throughout my illness I was never offered nutritional guidance and it was suggested that diet did not make any difference. It wasn’t until I was unwell again at the age of about 22 that I sought the advice of a Nutritional Therapist when I was experiencing more digestive problems, weight loss, hair loss and fatigue. The change I felt after following their guidance for only two weeks was extraordinary. This sparked my fascination with nutrition and the human body, and lead me to change my career from sports PR to Nutrition, so I could help people in the same way.

What is your next step?

I finish in July 2018 and plan to set up my own practice, mainly specialising in digestive health. I have lots of other exciting ideas too which I can’t wait to get started on!

What do you love most about it?

I love how powerful nutrition can be and how much it can change people’s lives, and I love helping people realise this through educating and empowering them.

Perfect day on a plate?

Enjoyment of food is something I place at the forefront of my practice and my own food choices. I won't force myself to eat something if I don’t like it just because it is considered ‘healthy’! However, I do make sure I pack in the fruit and vegetables, filling my plate with colour and variety at each meal, to help ensure I am getting all the nutrients I need for my body to function optimally.

Breakfast - Porridge made with coconut milk, cinnamon, berries, and nut butter.

Lunch – Frittata made with lots of roasted vegetables (peppers, sweet potatoes, courgettes etc), spinach, tomatoes, and a side salad with broccoli.

Supper – Salmon fillet with wilted spinach, carrot and parsnip puree, and new potatoes.

Tips for beating the January blues?

  1. If you set a new years resolution to be healthier, start slowly and set small SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) goals each week such as increasing your vegetable intake by 2 portions per day, or drinking 3 more glasses of water a day. This makes changes more manageable and hopefully more sustainable. Don’t restrict yourself, just focus on consuming more nutrient dense foods. Also be very wary of any company or person promoting a quick fix ‘detox’, quick weight loss plan, or very restrictive diet, they very rarely work long term and most are not ‘healthy’! Seek the help of a qualified nutrition professional to get proper advice before making any drastic changes.

2. If you don’t like the gym don’t force yourself to go! I am not suggesting you shouldn’t exercise, instead I want to encourage you to find some form of movement you love doing and you’ll be far more likely to stick it. This might be an exercise class, running, joining a sports team, dancing, or walking. Go for a walk in your local park or get off the bus/train a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way home. Although it's hard with the dark mornings and evenings find a way to incorporate exercise into your day as this helps with the release of endorphins to beat those January blues.

3. Make plans so you have something to look forward to. This doesn’t have to be a holiday or a big expenditure; make plans to see friends, but also make plans for yourself; try or learn something new, read books, take baths and have early nights….look after yourself and you’ll be able to make it through!

Where are you eating out?

I’m lucky to live in London where there are so many amazing restaurants, and I love trying new places. My favourite ones recently have been Curzon (Mexican) and Blanchette (French small plates). My favourite go-to's for weeknight catch ups with friends are Ethos, a vegetarian buffet restaurant, and Cote, the French chain restaurant, as they do a great gluten free menu.

Favourite chef?

Jamie Oliver is my favourite chef, I love his style and the way he has bought the importance of food particularly in schools to the attention of everyone.

Favourite cook book?

Amelia Freer’s cookbooks are my favourite. She is a real inspiration for me, I love her recipes which are full of nutritious ingredients, and I think she is a great ambassador for Nutritional Therapy.

What are you reading?

Much of my reading tends to be new research that has been published and nutrition books, but I try and make time to read something outside of that too! I have just finished Rain by Barney Campbell, and next is Don’t Lets go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller. I have always loved reading about people and their stories.

What are you listening to?

Anything that comes up on my Spotify account! Usually someone like Ed Sheeran.

 What are you watching?

The Crown!

Dog or cat?

Dog…..pugs in particular!

Town or Country?

Both

Favourite place in London?

Holland Park

Favourite place in the world?

Nedd, on the North West coast of Scotland.

What are you eating?

I love experimenting with making healthier versions of everyone's favourite meals. Often just simple swaps, for example white pasta for wholemeal pasta, or additions, such as adding in another portion or two of vegetables, can help boost the nutrient and fibre content of a recipe.

Here is a recipe for a healthier alternative to a takeaway favourite, fish and chips! Enjoy and please tag me in the photo @clemmiemac if you make it, I love seeing everyone's creations!

Homemade Fish and Chips

Serves 2

2 medium potatoes (you can also use sweet potatoes)

2 boneless cod fillets

95g self-raising flour (for gluten free use GF plain flour and ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda)

1 egg

75ml chilled sparkling water

150g frozen peas

1 tbsp crème fraiche (for dairy free use coconut yogurt)

1 tsp finely chopped mint leaves

150g broccoli

4tbsp olive oil

½ a lemon

Salt and pepper to season

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas 7.

2. Cut the potatoes into thick chips approximately 1.4cm in width.

3. Parboil the potato chips for 5 minutes then transfer into a baking dish. Pour over 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper then toss the chips until coasted in the oil.

4. Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn once or twice during this time to ensure even cooking.

5. Now prepare the fish. Crack the egg into a bowl and beat until the white and yolk are mixed. Place 20g of the flour into one bowl and set aside. Place the remaining 75g of flour into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper (add bicarbonate of soda now if using GF flour). Gradually add the water to the flour stirring constantly to ensure no lumps form. Keep adding the water until the flour and water form a thick batter.

6. Dip the fish into the flour and coat, then dip into the beaten egg coating fully, then place into the batter and ensure fully covered in the mixture.

7. Place the remaining olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and heat. Add the batter coated fish and cook on one side for approximately 3-5 mins until the batter has turned light golden-brown then flip over and cook on the other side. Once cooked set aside on baking parchment and keep warm whilst you finish preparing the vegetables.

8. In a small pan boil some water and add the peas cooking for 3-5 mins until cooked. Steam the broccoli over the peas as they are cooking in a steaming pan or a metal colander with a lid.

9. Drain the peas and return them to the pan, add the crème fraiche (or coconut yoghurt) and mint, then mash until the peas split. Season with salt and pepper

10. Remove the chips from the oven and serve with the fish, peas and broccoli, with a slice of lemon on the side.

Clemmie Macpherson

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Natasha Hulse Design

Alice spoke with designer Natasha Hulse about her beautiful floral inspired designs.

I first met Natasha Hulse whilst I was working in a bookshop, she had come in to look for an illustrated book on trees.  We spoke about our mutual love for the English countryside, for plants and flowers, and also for doing things we love, agreeing on the importance of pursuing the things that make you happy.That was January last year, when Natasha was just starting out creating her beautiful bespoke headboards and since then I have been admiring her creations from afar via instagram. And so, this December, it was a real delight to be able to speak with her and take a look at her designs up close.Each of Natasha's stunning floral inspired designs is an intricate work of art, every piece is hand painted on linen, hand-embellished with embroidery and beading, and appliquéd in layers, creating a unique sculptural effect.  Her craftsmanship is exquisite, and the time, care and patience put into each design makes each one even more exceptional.Her bold semi-abstract rendering of plant life is delightfully enhanced by the structural origami-esque composition of each flower, and this unique combination lifts her designs to an almost fantastical level - you might expect to come across one of her flowers in an enchanted forest.  For me they cross the boundaries of design in an incredibly pleasing way, playing with composition, texture and colour. And each bespoke piece differs as her style continues to develop, creating an ever expanding variety, almost as though her evolving designs are imitating real plant life.Her designs, initially, were very neutral, with a timeless appeal, with blues, browns, whites and greens defining her colour palette. But as her style has developed and evolved, she has begun to work with bolder shapes and colours.Natasha enjoys the design generation process the most, and is inspired by nature and organic structures, from the foliage, ferns and mossy carpets observed when walking in the New Forest near home, to the wildflowers found on a trip to the Grand Canyon. She says she endlessly presses flowers, and uses them for design inspiration, her favourite flowers are the Amarylis, big and bold and the Poppy, so delicate yet so strong.  She is constantly discovering new flora, and a recent winter favourite is the bright colour of Barberries.Her first bespoke headboard was created as part of Kit Kemp's interior at the Whitby Hotel in New York, and since then she has worked with Colefax & Fowler on a number of designs. She has most recently branched out into cushions (I love her wisteria cushion) and a wall paper project with Kit Kemp.  Currently all her designs are one of a kind bespoke projects, but eventually she would like to build up a collection of signature designs for clients to choose from. And she is more than happy to branch out, she would love to create designs for covered screens and ottomans at some point.Natasha has been appliquéing garments since she was 13.  She took the BTEC at school, and was initially drawn to shoe design. She went on to study Textile Design at Chelsea College of Arts, and took an Erasmus year in New York where she focused on digital design and pattern cutting as well as taking a ceramics class. After graduating she started her own womenswear brand, and went on to freelance for two womenswear textile studios first in New York, and then in London.She says it has taken her a while to find her aesthetic, and although it has been challenging at times, uncertain which direction to focus on as a designer, she feels that the process has been important. Time and experience have helped her understand which direction she is happiest taking. Working with clients and designers has been an important part of this process, and she says she greatly enjoys the direction and influence of others, allowing her designs to continually evolve, although never wavering from her initial concept.I loved speaking to Natasha about her work, it is truly beautiful, so if you get the chance to see it definitely do, she often sells her cushions at fairs, keep an eye on her insta for all updates. Her love for nature and for creating by hand is so refreshing in our fast-paced digital and all too consumerist society and there is so much to be said for beautiful design that is the result of dedicated craftsmanship.

Thank you Natasha, I can’t wait to see your next designs!

Alice xxx

Natasha Hulse

@natashahulse_design

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