Written by Yoppie
10 May 2022
Can you talk us through the work you do and how you got into nutrition?
When did your interest in women's health in particular first spark?
Can you talk us through some of your favourite foods or supplements and the benefits they have on our health?
It seems a lot of people just accept their PMS or Menstrual Health symptoms as something they have to live and struggle with. Have you noticed women often don't give their symptoms the attention they need?
How important do you believe the right ingredients and diet is in helping to support women's health?
What are some of the most common myths people tend to believe and come across when it comes to food and nutrition?
Are there any other nutritionists or health experts that inspire you at the moment?
What do you like to do on days off? How do you relax and unwind?
What advice would you give to people who are keen to start educating themselves on nutrition?
We work with exceptional specialists who ensure our PMS & condition supplements are formulated based on the latest research in women's nutrition. Shona Wilkinson is a registered nutritionist who has worked in the supplement industry for over 10 years and has extensive experience of supporting women’s health in clinics, supplementation advice and supplement formulation and development. We sat down with Shona to learn more :
I was initially a lawyer then chose a totally different career. I firstly qualified as a personal trainer in a gym and then as a life coach. I realised that nutrition was the missing link and then qualified as a Registered Nutritionist. I initially worked in a clinic but came more and more interested in supplementation. I was lucky enough to get a job with one of the top London specialists in supplements where I built my knowledge. This led me to becoming an expert in supplement formulations and the retail of supplements. I travel to various countries to attend their trade shows to see any emerging trends and interesting new ingredients. I think it’s fair to say that I’m obsessed with supplements!
I have always been interested in women’s health. While working in the gym I would see women working out every day yet complaining that they can’t lose weight. Just making a few tweaks to their diet made a huge difference. Women’s health is complex and changes as we age – having to deal with PMS and then the menopause for example. There is so much that can be done to help women though these changes with diet and supplementation.
I like supplements that are symptom and health condition led. This way you can ensure that you are getting a good supply of the right nutrients for your condition. This saves taking lots of individual supplements which can be more costly. The synergistic effect of the nutrients working together can also outweigh the benefits of taking the nutrients separately. As far as food is concerned, you can’t go wrong with dark green leafy vegetables. They are packed full of nutrients!
There is certainly an acceptance of pain and discomfort around menstrual health as if it's something we just have to accept and get on with. It's almost as if it doesn’t occur to people that it can be any other way. I believe that things are starting to change and there is an increased awareness that we can change and help the way our body deals with menstruation and its symptoms. This is partly due to being able to actually talk about it! For many years it has been a hidden subject that was not to be discussed and was thought to be inappropriate to talk about. Times are changing and now we are more comfortable to have this topic as a conversation. Having an open conversation about symptoms and comparing them with each other makes us feel that we aren’t the only ones and that there are options to help us. It is important to listen to our bodies and notice changes and feelings. Being aware of your body can be one of the most valuable tools we can have to help deal with our health.
Our diet is vital for good health. It is a way of delivering those essential nutrients to our body to help it work properly. If we don’t eat correctly this can affect us almost immediately. I have seen many cases where someone changing their diet has transformed their life. Just a few small changes can make a huge difference to how we feel. It is important to make sure that these changes are easy to adapt into your lifestyle and don’t restrict us too much. We want to enjoy our food and introducing new foods into our diet can often be a revelation. Eat healthily but still enjoy your food!
We are inundated with advice on nutrition – mainly from people who aren’t qualified to give this advice! It is also important to remember that what works for one person could be entirely wrong for another person. It is easy to overcomplicate nutrition. Stick to the basics and don’t make it a topic of “good” and “bad” foods. We are constantly learning about nutrition and changing opinions. For many years we were taught that fat was bad for us which we now know is incorrect. Calorie counting has been discredited frequently – you can’t say that a chocolate bar and a portion of mackerel are the same for our health just because their calorie content is similar! Only take advice from someone qualified to give it and if it can be personalised advice then that’s even better.
I love the fact that Dr Chatterjee is bringing awareness of health and nutrition to the general public. The exceptional nutritional knowledge and amazing cooking skills of Dale Pinnock make a great combination. To get advice from the nutritionist Mark Killick in a clinic environment is an absolute honour.
I read – a lot! I usually have about 3 books on the go at once - I then swap between them according to my mood. I usually have a combination of a technical book for nutritional knowledge, an autobiography and then a trashy novel for relaxing and switching off! I also enjoy running with my running club and weight training.
Only take advice from people who are qualified to give it and keep it simple. Start by making just a few small changes at a time otherwise it can become overwhelming. You will be surprised how a few small changes can make such a difference to your health. You can then build on this and make a few more changes but make sure you still enjoy your food! You can of course do a short course if you would like. Many colleges offer this as a way for personal knowledge that will also help benefit your friends and family.
Got a question about menstrual health nutrition? Get in touch with us directly on Instagram at @itsyoppie or email email@example.com. You can also join our private Full Stop FB group. Don't forget our menstrual care subscription can be a good place to start for supplements for your PMS, PCOS or Endometriosis as you can get them delivered easily & regularly through your letterbox.
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