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Hi, I’m Claire
After starting out my adult life as a children’s nurse, I soon started to grow my family, and ultimately became a full-time mum to 6 children for many years! During this time I was feeding my family on a tight budget, so I became more and more skilled at cooking from scratch, and my interest in food and nutrition grew.
This culminated in me taking the decision to train as a dietitian. Healthcare felt like my home, but I wanted to work within a field that increasingly had my heart.
During my training I became very aware and saddened that many of my patients were suffering with burdens of diseases that, with different diet and lifestyle choices, would have been largely preventable. I started looking into the research around this, and quickly discovered the well-evidenced health benefits of a whole food plant-based diet. I took this on board in my own life and became vegan in 2018.
I now felt a real sense of purpose – I would be able to help people to improve their health by supporting them to make positive changes to the quality of their diet.
I also had a growing sense that I wanted to get involved in preventative medicine.
In 2020 I graduated from the University of Nottingham as a Registered Dietitian with a first-class Masters Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.
This led to my first job as an NHS community dietitian. However, I soon found it difficult to work within my values when offering advice to patients. I needed to ‘sing from the same hymn sheet’ as my colleagues, but often felt that the standard processes, advice given, and resources available, were not in line with best evidence.
I specialised in diabetes, and here I was able to get closer to my values; teaching people how to live and eat more healthfully to manage their diabetes.
But working in a large dietetics department, and looking beyond to the wider NHS Trust, I continued to see so many practices, beliefs and attitudes, particularly around nutrition, that were not in-line with what I knew to be best for patients. But how could I have any significant influence?
I wanted to be able make a difference… I wasn’t sure how, but educating myself further seemed like a good place to start. Maybe then I would be better positioned to educate others.
So I became a diplomate of the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine, which qualifies me to practise as a lifestyle medicine professional; and I took the University of Winchester’s plant-based nutrition course.
At the same time I had also started to connect the dots in other respects too: such as how important the food system is to planetary health and justice for humans and non-human animals alike; and how other lifestyle factors are key to good health alongside our food choices.
An amazing opportunity then arose, and I took on the role of Education Lead for the community interest organisation Plant-Based Health Professionals.
In this role I am able to work fully within my values, advocating for systemic change to bring plant-based nutrition into healthcare; and helping to educate our health care professionals around the evidence for plant-based diets in the treatment and prevention of chronic disease.
But as a dietitian, I still wanted to be able to support people on an individual basis, so I founded plant:life nutrition.
Here, outside the confines of the NHS, I can give truly individualised care to my clients. It is exciting and rewarding to see people learn to love plants and to develop techniques that help them to consistently stick to their intentions around their health habits.