Our Health Journeys
Julie and I share a conviction that simple but fundamental lifestyle changes can transform people's health. Our health journeys, both separate and together, explain why we are so passionate about sharing our knowledge and experience to help people attain and maintain optimal health.
John's Health Journey
I have always been fascinated by the linkages between human potential, physical and psycho-social health, and the state of the environment; and my educational and career paths reflect this. My formal university training (BA from Cambridge University and PhD from the University of Southampton) is in applied biology. I taught all aspects of biology (from anatomy to zoology) as a post-doctoral researcher and lecturer with stints at Universities in Southampton, London, Bournemouth , Norway, and Mauritius. I then worked as a consultant in a wide range of environmental projects in 36 countries.
My specific interest in health and lifestyle grew from my education, my passion for competitive sport, the environment and animal welfare, and the tragic death of my wife Clare at the age of only thirty-nine.
As a junior and in my twenties, I competed at a high level in athletics, cycling, and triathlon; trained fanatically and ate 4,000 - 5,000 calories per day, much of it as sugar. My cavalier approach to nutrition came back to bite me in my forties when I developed severe gum disease. As molar after molar ached, loosened and dropped out, I finally listened to this ‘nutritional canary in the coalmine’ and addressed the root cause of my malaise – sugar and simple carbohydrates as part of a mediocre diet. Now, I am done with sugar and processed food, am done with gum disease, and have minimised the potential pathological consequences of poor oral health.
A much more poignant reminder of the fundamental importance of good health was my late wife Clare’s death from ALS (a form of Motor Neurone Disease). Over the years, Clare had developed some autoimmune which, with the benefit of hindsight, may well have been warning signs. In 2006 she developed symptoms – some stumbling, and occasional slurring of her speech. The symptoms rapidly worsened and she was diagnosed with MND in September of the same year. Clare passed away on 19 February 2007 a few months shy of her fortieth birthday.
My initial reaction to Clare’s diagnosis was to accept all chronic disease as a manifestation of bad genes and bad luck. Clare had a genetic predisposition to ALS but most ‘chronic disease genes’ are only expressed when under certain circumstances - “genes load the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger.” In the years following Clare’s death I have immersed myself in the scientific literature on chronic diseases and have become convinced that most incidences can be prevented, arrested and in many cases reversed by addressing the root causes – what you are putting into your body and what you are putting your body into.
Over the years I have read hundreds of books and thousands of scientific articles on the power of lifestyle as a means of preventing, arresting and reversing most of the chronic diseases that are rising at an alarming rate as the world embraces a western lifestyle. This led me to study functional medicine (an approach that seeks to minimise chronic disease impact by tackling causes rather than suppressing symptoms) and naturopathy (treatment to maximise the body-mind’s innate healing capacity) and to launch New Paradigm Health, together with Julie, as a means of tackling the root causes of chronic disease.
Julie's Health Journey
I have always been motivated to help people and this led me to a career as an NHS midwife and neonatal nurse. Working with mothers, babies and families helped to hone my technical, social, intuitive and counselling skills.
I am a person who does not accept the ‘that’s the way we do things round here’ explanation for common knowledge/wisdom/practice; and exploring and questioning everything led to frustrations with a conventional medical paradigm that medicalises childbirth and fails to prioritise the needs and circumstances of parents and children.
In 2009, I left the system to seek an alternative approach to helping people. I have always been fascinated with the mind/body connection and I immersed myself in this area, gaining qualifications in energy healing, hypnobirthing, and emotional freedom techniques (EFT or ‘tapping’). I have been practicing with clients with a wide variety of psychological and physical health issues. Psychological health issues are so important, but they cannot be separated from lifestyle. This desire to practice a truly wholistic body-mind approach motivated me to complete an intensive health coach course.
I have always been interested in diet. As a teenager, I struggled with my weight and then I discovered calorie control! I carried my little calorie counter book everywhere and quite literally would not eat anything until I knew its calorie content. My understanding was it was all about calories in, calories out and a lot of willpower. Over the years I also tried various diets; weight watchers, cabbage soup diet, grapefruit diet, food combining and even appetite suppressing pills. There was a lot yo-yo-ing with my weight and I never achieved a really consistent eating pattern.
In between the yo-yo dieting, and post-Christmas, pre-holiday calorie restriction, I believed I ate a more or less healthy diet. When John had to go sugar free, as the family chef, I had to rethink my 'healthy cooking' and was shocked to realise, I did not really know what a healthy diet actually meant. I have spent many years studying nutrition and the multiple dimensions of a healthy lifestyle and can now say we really do eat a healthy diet and live a healthy life which, to be honest, was not the case before! Through a wholefood plant-based diet, as part of a healthy lifestyle, I have reached and maintained my ideal weight and have never felt healthier. And all without feeling deprived and without relying on willpower!
Using my experience and aptitudes, I am working alongside John to help others to put our health recommendations into practice in order to live the best possible life they can. I help with the practical business of adjusting to a new way of shopping, cooking, eating and living that can fit in with their individual character and circumstances.
New Paradigm Health and your Health Journey
Everybody has a unique health journey and their own desired health outcome(s). We help people to uncover the root causes of any health challenges they may be currently facing, help them to formulate health objectives, devise a realistic lifestyle programme to reach these objectives, and assist them along their journey to optimal health as they navigate the inevitable highs and lows that lie in wait.