What My Nutritionist Told Me

 

Angelique Panagos

A couple of weeks ago, I visited London-based nutritionist Angelique Panagos for a personal consultation*. I’d been wanting to see a nutritionist for a long time after changing my diet, fitness, and general view on what I put in and on my body. I was curious to find out what I’m doing well and what could be improved, and whether these would help me achieve my goals.

Angelique is a London-based Nutritional Therapist with a range of qualifications and a bespoke approach for each of her clients. Before seeing her, I was asked to fill out a questionnaire going over what I’d been eating over the last three days, my health history, and a tick box page covering everything from stress to jealousy to sleep. By the time the consultation day arrived, I was nervous…

Consultation

On a rainy Thursday night in October I headed to 58 South Molton St to visit Angelique in one of their therapy rooms. The place is lovely, smelling of their aromatherapy candles and dressed minimally. I was nervous – after completing my questionnaire I was ready to receive my ‘results’ and just by reflecting on how I was eating, I could already see holes in my diet.

However, when I was beckoned into Angelique’s room, this fear immediately subsided. An incredibly smiley and open person, Angelique immediately quelled any nerves I had with a bit of small talk and an introduction as to what she does, and how our session was going to go. I would be asked to talk her through my food and wellbeing history, and she would note these down as well as asking me further questions.

In the end, we went through my teenage years, history of stress, antibiotics, and my lifestyle choice in becoming a vegetarian. I laughed, teared up, and generally had a good time listening to her advice as we went along. It felt like she was hinting at what my programme would look like, and from everything she’d said I was confident I could and would make the changes she recommended. I left feeling refreshed and looking forward to finding out what I can be doing to improve my overall wellbeing.

Programme

Angelique’s programme was sent over a few days later. It contained a day’s worth of meals to try, as well as swap-outs, and mindful ideas such as a five minute journal and gratitude jar. However, the confidence that I had walked out with had fizzled up, and I was finding the 10-page guide daunting.

In the end, it took me two weeks before I properly sat down with the guide and read through everything. I don’t know what got into me – I just felt like I really needed to find time to commit to the programme, and my general life was really taking over. I was making a mountain out of a mole hill, and the more I’d put it off, the more it felt like I was ignoring vital advice.

The guide was made up of three parts. First, a few diet tests to gauge my stomach acid levels, digestive regularity, and a daily recommendation of two litres of water per day. I wrote to Angelique with my responses to these and in return was given further advice as to how to improve.

In essence, I was given swap-out options to improve my general diet and wellbeing. A few of these were:

  • Drink matcha green tea in the morning instead of coffee
  • Change my banana-based smoothie breakfasts for oat-based options like overnight oats
  • Add more nut- and bean-based foods into my diet
  • Try drinking coconut kefir regularly in addition to my usual probiotic
  • Try eating fish for key vitamins and minerals
The last one still has me spiralling. I know fish is a legitimately good source of vitamin B12 and omegas that are generally missing in my day-to-day diet, but I feel like my ethics and identity is at risk every time I contemplate it.
Other than that, I’ve begun to find a good balance. I’ve reduced my coffee intake with matcha, cacao hot chocolates, and a good organic coffee alternative. Some mornings I will have porridge, others I will have my favourite smoothie, and all mornings I’ll add a teaspoonful of almond butter. I’ve upped my intake of hummus and beans, and when my stomach is a little uncomfortable I’ll reach for a sip of coconut kefir.

Personally, I think there have been pros and cons from my first consultation. I feel like I now know my problem areas, and it really helped to talk it out with a health professional. However, the pressure it put on changing everything I eat meant I shied away from these changes for a while, weighing down on the mindful decisions I already make around food, and generally knocking my confidence. I imagine if I was to continue my visits with Angelique, I would be able to build up this confidence and really stick to a plan, but I think there’s something to be said about moderation, and happiness, that comes from eating a mindful yet unrestricted diet.

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