Hello and welcome to my website and business: BalancedMe Nutrition!
My name is Meera and I am a registered nutritional therapist, with a special interest in nutrition for supporting my clients’ mental health and wellbeing. Although I have a very keen interest in mental health, I must stress physical health and mental health are extraordinarily yet completely logically interlinked, and supporting one invariably benefits the other. This is something I’ll talk about at length with time!
For a very long time however, I had absolutely no idea what I ate and my physical state had any bearing on my mental health.
I very much thought about food as just a source of energy and took the odd multivitamin my mum (very lovingly) plied me with. I had a very standard diet growing up – sandwiches, chips, pasta, pizza, fast-food, crisps, chocolate, fruit juice, ready meals, but also very luckily a lot of phenomenal home cooked Indian meals (nothing ever beats mum’s cooking!). When I left for university, cooking definitely wasn’t a strong point for me, so I ate out a lot, opted for catered halls and didn’t prepare much in the way of varied meals with plenty of fresh vegetables when I had to cook for myself. In my early 20s, when I began working in the City of London, my palate widened beyond fast-food but I still wasn’t that interested in healthy eating or a lifestyle to support my mental wellbeing.
I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety in 2014, but I’ve had such feelings for as long as I could remember, and I was always a nervous child. I went down the traditional route of antidepressants and talking therapy which absolutely has it’s place and has certainly helped me in recovery. I moved my life to Hong Kong in a corporate job, which was even more frenetic compared to living in London, and I didn’t take the time to look after myself whilst I was there. Unfortunately, my mental health took a complete nosedive not very long after I moved and I was forced to fly home in an emergency to receive treatment as an inpatient in a psychiatric facility.
Anxiety commonly leaves individuals feeling nauseated, which was a real problem for me at the time of my admission and so eating was a total chore during the first parts of my recovery. However, one day, a close family member mentioned that changing my diet could really help me. She appealed to my scientific mind (I have previous degrees in psychology and clinical neuroscience) with very logical arguments of how healthy eating could help my brain recover after such a horrible time. This is something I’ll definitely talk about with time but I don’t want to lose you on the first post!
What started out with a very, very simple smoothie in the morning (sounds cliched I know!), snowballed into an unbelievably late but welcome discovery of almond butter, and a sudden love of whole grains, salads and vegetables, healthy protein and fat. The change in my mental wellbeing, alongside continued talking therapy and medication, was almost unbelievable.
I wasn’t quite so anxious, so depressed that I couldn’t work, and much more able to function more like my old self and in some ways, even better. I genuinely now tend to crave healthy food much more than I do junk food. It’s important to stress that I’m very much still human and a work in progress. Like everyone else, I have better days and harder days, but what I know for sure is that eating well has made a considerable difference to my recovery from mental ill health and my wellbeing.
To get back into work, I started working in a health food store and enrolled in some short online courses in nutrition. I then decided to study at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition, where I undertook a scientifically rigorous 3 year, part time diploma in Nutritional Therapy. I have since worked for supplement companies and in the charity sector, and now I’m delighted to have qualified with a Merit in Nutritional Therapy and be able to realise a long-held dream: to support my clients’ mental wellbeing using diet and lifestyle interventions that will have a lasting impact that could end up changing their lives for the better.
I really hope this provides a little inspiration into how nutrition and lifestyle support can help. If you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.