This week I bring you the gorgeous Lily Soutter; a certified nutritionist, nutritional therapist and coach. Lily's extensive knowledge of the science of food and health, enables her to regularly write for The Times, The Telegraph, The Independent, Women's Health and Cosmopolitan! She has built a career working with individuals, addressing their health concerns and help them to live a healthy lifestyle.
Hi Lily! Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and how you got into nutrition?
My passion for health and nutrition stems back from when I was a child suffering from chronic psoriasis. No medical treatment seemed to help and by my teen’s I was determined to do something about it! I cleaned up my diet with the advice from a Nutritionist. This was the first time in my life my psoriasis did not appear and has stayed in remission since. The impact that nutrition had on my health and wellbeing made me keen to learn more about the topic, and from then on I would get every opportunity I could to learn more about the fascinating subject.
When did you decide to turn your interest in nutrition into a business?
Once I had seen how powerful food can be to health, I wanted to spread the word and help others. I decided to train at one of the best Universities to obtain my Food and Human Nutrition degree. I was especially attracted to the large amount of research and studies Newcastle University conducted, and their high focus on evidence-based science.
Then I went on to train as a Nutritional Therapist at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition to help coach individuals on how to obtain optimal health and feel the best they can be.
Why do you think there has been a real rise in interest in health and wellbeing over the last past few years?
- Increased awareness of how nutrition can impact health.
- Increased awareness of how food reaches our plates – from farm to plate.
- Increased exposure and access to great nutritious, simple foods and recipes via social media channels and blogging.
What inspires you?
Figure-heads of nutrition such as Amelia Freer has really inspired me within my nutrition clinic. I have been greatly inspired by Petersham Nurseries, Daylesford and The Pig Hotel who provide locally produced and fresh home grown food in their restaurants, which I would love to emulate.
What’s a typical day like for you?
My day often varies, as I like to get involved with lots of different projects. However on a typical day I usually wake up to a green vegetable juice. These give me an instant hit of nutrients, which perks me up straight away. I then cook breakfast. I ensure I make time to sit down and eat a proper breakfast each morning. This could consist of a slice of homemade seed bread with smashed avocado, porridge with flaxseeds and oat milk or a homemade berry and mixed seed smoothie.
Then I am ready to start my workday. I usually have writing projects to get on with, such as writing articles, diet plans, recipes or guides. Recently I've teamed up with a personal trainer and we have been devising a comprehensive 3 month weight loss eGuide which has been great fun putting together.
Once I have completed my morning paperwork I then sit down for lunch, which is usually left overs from dinner such as aubergine and butternut squash green thai curry, spiralized courgette with pesto or avocado and hummus salad. This often takes me 5 minutes to assemble.
I usually set aside afternoon and early evening to see clients for nutritional therapy consultations. I also ensure I hit the gym each day as it is such a great stress reliever for me.
In the evenings I love to cook – this is great ‘me time’. I like to try out new recipes and ensure I always make several batches of foods for occasions where I have less time to cook. This is when I do my food photography and put together new recipes.
Do you think you have a work/life balance?
It can be very easy for work to be all consuming, especially when running your own business. I am lucky in the sense that I thoroughly enjoy what I do, however I am also aware of the negative impact of excessive stress and the importance of ‘me time’.
What is your ultimate health tip?
You can make a big impact to your health by changing just one aspect of your diet and lifestyle – and this is to start cooking from scratch. Many of us rely on convenience foods, ready meals, pre-made sauces, and snacks (even so called health snacks like energy bars).
By cooking from scratch you will cut out unnatural flavourings, preservatives, salt, sugar, unhealthy trans-fats and have total control of what goes onto your plate. Once you have weaned yourself off unnatural flavourings, salt and sugar your taste buds will adjust to the range and depth of tastes of real foods and you will find it hard to go back to convenience foods.
Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or a lengthy process. I often give a ‘three ingredient rule’ to my clients – simply put 3 ingredients together:
- Stirfry of mung bean noodles, stir fry vegetables and toasted sesame oil
- Pan-fried tempeh with tenderstem broccoli and sweet potato
- Smashed avocado and tomato on homemade seed bread
- Smoothie of almond milk, fresh berries and avocado
- Porridge made oats or buckwheat and almond milk, topped with fresh berries
What is your advise for trying to maintain a healthy diet when travelling?
Preparation is key. If you make a habit of thinking ahead and the possible scenarios in which you will struggle, you will have the tools to overcome them. Some pointers I have to clients:
- Eat before you get to the airport
- Bring a Tupperware of food with you to eat on the plane.
- Purchase a bag of raw unsalted nuts from the airport so you have something healthy to snack on.
- Before going to restaurants look up the menu and choose what you’ll eat before you get there.
- Keep active whilst away – walk around the block, bring a skipping rope with you or try simple HITT workouts in your hotel room
What’s the best part of your job?
Nutrition is an exciting field to be in as science is constantly changing and developing. There is so much new scientific information available now, you can never stop learning! I love implementing this knowledge with clients and receiving their feedback and testimonials on the positive impacts of their dietary changes.
What words do you live by?
I live by the notion of ‘creating healthy habits rather than restrictions’. Habits can take anywhere from a week to a month to form, but once you have created that healthy habit it will stay with you for life if you nurture it. If you place too many dietary restrictions on yourself you are setting yourself up for failure. Instead, think of all the new healthy foods and recipes you can eat, this will leave little room left for the ones you are trying to minimise.
I loved catching up with Lily and hearing her thoughts on the health and nutrition industry. If you are interested in finding out more about her programs on how to deal with weight-loss, improve energy or improve thyroid health, you can find them here. You can also follow lily on Instagram here. Lily also sees individual clients from her clinic in Chelsea and a private medical practice based in Notting Hill. She is fully registered with the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine and The Nutrition Society.
All images via Lily Soutter.