Therapist spotlight: Anuja Jalota
Hi Anuja! Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Born and raised in the Midlands, I worked in education for 26 years as a Science teacher and Head of Science, and then as an Assistant Headteacher. I looked after my elderly parents and never married or had children. In 2008, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and six years ago I left teaching and went on to study naturopathic nutritional therapy with CNM.
Two years ago I completed a functional medicine course which equipped me with skills to apply functional medicine principles in my practice. Alongside this, I completed the training by Cytoplan to become licensed to deliver The Brain Health Programme. I currently work part-time for the Alzheimer’s Society and part-time as a nutritional therapist where I see clients one-to-one, deliver workshops in schools on healthy eating and in other organisations.
What led you to a career in nutritional therapy?
When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis I did a lot of research into the causes of MS, medication and holistic approaches. I decided to go down the holistic route and took no medication. One of the first things I had embarked on was acupuncture: I was told by my acupuncturist that I would need to detox, the first thing I said to him was, “I am vegetarian, I eat healthily,” but I certainly did not!
Even though I had a science background, the more I looked into it, I realised I had very limited “deep” knowledge about the impact of food on the body so I decided to study nutrition and apply all I learned on myself. I have improved my symptoms of multiple sclerosis greatly – I can walk a lot more, my balance has improved and I haven’t had any relapses.
I strongly believe that ‘health is wealth’ and ‘food is medicine’. It’s quite an eye opener when you have a consultation as you realise that even though you may think you’re eating healthily, you actually may not be.
You have a particular interest in autoimmunity, could you tell us a bit more about this in relation to diet and lifestyle as a treatment?
I really do believe that food is medicine. I’m very conscious about the ingredients of the food that I buy and try to cook from scratch at home – that way you know what you’re putting into your body. I eat organic as much as possible and follow an anti-inflammatory diet as inflammation is the root cause of many diseases.
Other strategies I have put in place to manage MS included improving my diet to make sure it’s nutrient-dense, eliminating gluten and dairy in particular and making sure that I have optimum levels of all vitamins and minerals through diet and supplementation – especially vitamin D as there is a direct correlation between vitamin D and MS!
I am in a much less stressful job now and really do believe that stress leads to all kinds of ailments. We are all in a culture where the “norm” is to be stressed! I have regular massages, acupuncture and hyperbaric oxygen.
What can clients expect from their first chat with you?
I’m a great listener and, having gone through ill-health myself, I can relate to the client, this helps them to open up more – I always share my story with clients. I offer an initial 10-15 minute free chat so that clients can make an informed decision on whether they would like to go ahead with the consultation, these can be offered in Punjabi and Hindi as well.
Even though I charge for the consultation I don’t see it as a business to make a lot of money but to help, educate and empower people. I am sincere and honest, and if I think that I can’t help someone, I will tell them straight away.
You’re a licensed practitioner to deliver the Cytoplan Brain Health Programme. Can you tell us a little more about this and what interests you in this area?
I have a particular interest in brain health as I work for the Alzheimer’s Society and as so many people are diagnosed with dementia, I really do believe that our diet and lifestyle has a lot to do with it.
The programme focuses on nutrition, sleep, exercise, the gut, genetics, physical activity and brain training. I didn’t know much about dementia until my auntie – who actually recommended teaching as a career – had it and sadly died from the condition. I believe in prevention, and the programme makes you reflect on all of the above, highlighting areas of improvement that people practise, to hopefully avoid the disease.
Have you any advice to give someone interested in trying nutritional therapy?
I strongly believe that ‘health is wealth’ and ‘food is medicine’. It’s quite an eye-opener when you have a consultation as you realise that even though you may think you’re eating healthily, you actually may not be. It’s very educational and brings things to the forefront that hadn’t even crossed your mind. It highlights the importance of the role of nutrients in allowing the body to function at its best. Make sure you consult a registered nutritionist to get the professional advice you need.
Where can people find you?
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