Karen Maidment is co-owner of Pure Body Balance in Gloucestershire. She is also the author of Meals that Heal and the creator of specialist cooking workshops that teach you how to make meals that really do heal your body. Karen not only specialises in nutrition but in all the systems of the body and how they work together to optimise a healthier happier lifestyle. Karen works with clients of Precision Movement to optimise their lifestyle and nutrition aspects of health to support the training they do with us.
KT: What sparked your interest in Nutrition and wellness?
Karen: I have always had a love for cooking and food. From a very young age my sister and I were encouraged to get involved with our parent’s back garden allotment. We would get paid a penny for every caterpillar we removed from Dad’s cabbages! And my mum would pop us on a foot stool so that we could reach the worktop and make little cookies and fairy cakes. I grew up in the countryside where blackberry picking, locally shot pheasant and rabbit and home grown produce were part of the norm.
Later on in life during a dip in enthusiasm for my post graduate career in fashion my now husband and business partner Adrian, encouraged me to follow my heart and begin a distance learning course in Nutrition Coaching. Three years later as I was coming to the end of this first course Adrian was taken seriously ill with Crohns Disease. After 2 years of misdiagnosis he finally ended up having major surgery and so we used both his education with the CHEK Institute and my knowledge in nutrition and lifestyle management to turn his health around.
KT: For you, what is the foundation of health?
Karen: Actually to me a healthy mindset is the key. After a decade studying and working in the health industry I have come to realise that as health coaches we tend to be way to hard on ourselves. There is a level of perfectionism that we seem to aim for that is simply unattainable. Yes eating organic food, clean water and seasonal produce are the foundations of my nutritional regime, BUT honestly none of this matters if I don’t like, love and respect myself enough to make those choices daily. Most importantly, it's to treat myself with compassion when I don’t make the most healthful choices. I am only human after all!
KT: What types of people usually seek out your help and why?
Karen: This has evolved as I have evolved both as a coach and with my own health journey. During my 10 or so years in the industry I have worked through numerous health issues myself, in fact I am still a work in progress. From Adrenal Fatigue to Amenorrhea, IBS to Insomnia. I tend to find that clients with similar health issues to those I am working through seek me out. A few years ago I started my website endibsnaturally.com at that time I was working through major IBS symptoms and so it seemed natural to me to share how I was healing myself with my clients. Now I tend to be working a lot with auto immune disease and adrenal fatigue. Many of my closet family members have various auto immune diseases, such as my husband and after an incredibly successful and busy year in 2014 my adrenal health certainly took a hit! My clients tell me that they connect with me due to my authenticity and ability to show compassion through my own challenges. It requires a great deal of courage on my part to show what I sometimes feel are my imperfections, but my clients LOVE that. It makes them feel understood and shows them that if I can get well they can too.
KT: How do you help people achieve better health and wellness?
Karen: Nutrition and lifestyle coaching fused with practical recipe and cookery support. Ultimately there is no point knowing what you can and can’t eat if you don’t know how to cook and follow a basic recipe.
KT: What do you specialise in?
Karen: Many back pain syndromes and injuries are caused by inflammation which creates instability leading to injury. For instance tennis elbow and lumbar spine weakness have show to reduce and resolve themselves once inflammatory foods such as gluten and dairy have been taken out of the diet. I often see reoccurring injuries failing to heal after corrective exercises and hands on therapy due to this inflammatory process. In addition using foods as medicine you can actually facilitate a quicker recovery from pain and injury. Saturated fats for instance are known to improve bone, muscle and tissue structure, as is homemade bone broth which contains high amount of collagen and gelatin. I have seen fantastic results by supplementing with a mixture of bone broth and Great Lakes Gelatin in structural and tissue related injuries. Anti inflammatory juices containing ingredients such as fresh turmeric and beetroot and calcium rich greens such as kale and spinach are also great nutritional medicinal tools to promote recovery.
KT: What do you typically eat for breakfast?
Karen: We follow a Paleo type diet so we often have eggs, salad and some root veggies. I make us a seasonal green juice everyday which nearly always has fresh lemon and ginger, two of my favourite juicing ingredients. I always make sure I have live foods with my cooked protein. Poached wild salmon is a favourite as are the most incredible organic handmade pork and herb sausages from our local farm shop.
KT: What are the four foods/supplements you cannot live without and why?
Karen: Food wise I love organic coconut oil and ghee, these are my staple forms of fat. I do not tolerate dairy very well and so ghee gives me all of the great fat soluble vitamins without the casein and lactose. Wild honey, which is my favourite sweetener, it tastes great and contains live enzymes to help you break down carbohydrates whilst offering up antibacterial properties. Homemade broth to keep my digestive system happy and my bones, skin and muscle strong.
With regards to supplements I cannot live without the North American Herbs & Spice range, these are food grade, wild and handpicked. Particularly I love their probiotics (Healthbac), there adrenal and B vitamin booster (PurelyB) and their mineral support (Purelymin). I do not take any supplement every day, rather I listen to what my body needs and take them as and when I feel my body needs a little boost. Bear in mind that most supplements that you buy are synthetic and are actually of very little use to your body.
KT: With Easter just around the corner, can you recommend a healthier option for a chocolate Easter egg?
Karen: I am totally in love with Booja Booja chocolates, particularly the champagne ones. They taste insanely good and contain no dairy or gluten, to big no-nos for my health. They are also organic. You could also consider making your own raw chocolates, there is a fab recipe in my cook book Meals That Heal.
Karen's book Meals that Heal is available to purchase HERE
Details of Karen's next cookery workshops can be found HERE
To find out more about working with Karen to optimise your nutritional health please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the centre on 01285 83127.