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"We all live in these incredibly miraculous machines that have an incredible ability to heal themselves, but most of us don’t know how to hear the messages our body gives us. Instead we’re moved from pillar to post in the mainstream medical system without ever being told what the underlying cause of our symptoms may be. Doctors only have a short time to assess a patient and prescribe a pill.

So many times when someone consults with a natural health therapist who has time to listen and unravel their health story they ask – why hasn’t my doctor told me this?"
- Kate Chaytor-Norris, nutritional therapist

 

In the video below, Melissa Smith talks to Kate about her new book I Wish My Doctor Had Told Me This and explores the power of natural health to help mind and body to regain optimal health.

Video Transcript

Melissa Smith

Welcome. Today I’m talking to nutritional therapist Kate Chaytor-Norris about her book ‘I wish my doctor had told me this’. It’s packed full of valuable information for anyone wishing to improve their health using a more natural approach. Hi Kate.

Melissa Smith

Great. Kate describes herself as a foodie. She says being innately greedy helps and having a mother who really wasn’t interested in cooking, she was given lots of freedom to create different things. She says she can’t think of a better career than to be talking about food a lot and inspiring people that eating healthy food can be absolutely delicious and it doesn’t mean that we have to be deprived. She’s also incredibly inquisitive about people and loves hearing their stories. So having a couple of hours with a client to completely focus on them is a complete joy.

Kate has chosen to sub-title her book “There is more to our healing than medication”. A sentiment that resonates deeply with the ANH mission to promote natural and sustainable approaches to healthcare. I would say, having read the book, Kate that like us you’re a Health Creator who is passionate about the pursuit of optimal health by working with nature, not against it. Would you agree?

Kate Chaytor-Norris

Completely. I’m afraid when people get into that medical system they get scared into not trying new things and working out how they can help their bodies in a natural way, which is really sad for me and it’s about giving people confidence to try these things.

Melissa Smith

It’s so true isn’t it. The medical system does tend to restrict people’s thinking unfortunately. It would be great to hear a bit about yourself and what brought you to nutritional therapy in the first place.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

I’ve always loved bodies. I never particularly excelled at school, but I did love biology and always wanted to do a complementary therapy and had never found the right one. Many years ago I went to see a nutritional therapist and she was talking about this and that and I said this is so interesting. She said, oh, well if you’re interested read this book, which was Patrick Holford’s Optimum Nutrition Bible. I read the book and was like that lightbulb moment – this is it; this is what I want to do. I was so passionate about what I was learning. Every weekend’s lectures were a revelation about how incredible our bodies are and so I feel really blessed to have this job. It’s one of the best in the world.

Melissa Smith

I understand how you feel. That’s pretty much a mirror of my journey as well. We studied at the same place as well, The Institute for Optimum Nutrition. It’s an incredible journey, it’s not an easy journey, but absolutely amazing.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

Well worth it.

Melissa Smith

Having that knowledge to be able to help people to have more control over their health and how they feel is just amazing and when you get a client come to you who is really quite unwell who can work alongside you just with food and relatively simple interventions and you can see a difference in their health as they move forward.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

It’s magical, absolutely magical. If a client comes back through the door and they go you’ve changed my life and you’re just like halleluiah this is why I’m doing my job.

Melissa Smith

What was your inspiration behind the book?

Kate Chaytor-Norris

Time and time again I had my client sitting on the sofa and you’re explaining the underlying reasons why their body is producing whatever symptoms it is, they’re like this is amazing, why has my doctor not told me this? I’d explain that the conventional medical world doesn’t work in the same way as we do and they tend to be more about suppressing symptoms rather than working out what the underlying cause is. I was doing workshops, but you only get so many people into a workshop and lots of people said to me you must write a book so that little voice was jiggling away at me and I thought, right I’m going to do it and this wonderful book arrived and now it’s my job to get it out there.

Melissa Smith

Who are you hoping to reach with the book, what’s your target audience?

Kate Chaytor-Norris

It’s all the people like the ones that come and see me. They have chronic disease, they’ve been round the houses seeing specialists, being put on more and more medication and nothing’s working and those are the kind of people I want to get to. Already I’ve had lots of people who’ve read the book, but haven’t seen me and I’ve had messages saying I’ve been doing the stuff in your book and I’m already feeling better – Fantastic! I don’t need any more clients, I’m up to the brim with clients. I want to spread the word without people coming to see me.

Melissa Smith

What do you think the most important takeaway from the book is for somebody?

Kate Chaytor-Norris

I’d love for people to feel empowered and to say I’m in control of my health and I can fix it myself. Obviously, there are some situations where medication is needed, but it is usually in those acute situations, but with chronic disease I just feel that giving people the knowledge and understanding of how their body is working is a gift that you can provide people. Generally, when you’re talking to people, people are always interested in themselves and their own health so it’s quite an easy sell. Also making people aware of the huge power that our emotions have on our health and wellbeing. I’ve said in the book that I believe a lot of the symptoms that our body expresses, it’s almost like the emotion that we are suppressing and it has to be expressed somehow and if we don’t express it verbally then our body will do it for us.

Melissa Smith

It’s something we’ve been talking about at ANH in recent weeks. The effect of trauma on our body and how that can drive the disease process and we particularly looked at brain inflammation. Is that an area you’re interested in?

Kate Chaytor-Norris

Yes. I work from the idea that if we’ve had trauma whether it’s from childhood or later on in life, it can switch on that fight/flight mechanism, particularly if you’ve had chronic trauma. Your body gets used to running in that fight/flight mechanism and if you’re running in sympathetic mode all of the housekeeping jobs in the body get put on the back burner. People are not digesting properly, they’re not detoxing, their immune system gets depressed. That has a massive impact. Brain inflammation comes into that because if you’re not detoxing properly everything gets toxic and the immune system can either become very suppressed or very trigger-happy. It just depends on the body, so that’s the area I was so fascinated in, because 95% of my clients have disordered adrenals and blood sugar regulation and I think the 21st century environment that we’ve created is just not what our bodies are cut out for. That and creating some stillness and quiet is something that’s something that’s gone out of the window.

Melissa Smith

As we like to say we’re paleolithic beings in a 21st century environment and the two don’t necessarily sit very well together. Having this sort of knowledge can help us to live with our paleolithic genes within the 21st century environment, but in a way that it does the least amount of damage to us so we can thrive and be strong and resilient. We’ve very much lost our resilience these days.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

It’s hard when you look at the all the things our bodies are being bombarded with, whether it’s poor diet, toxins or stress or viral/bacterial infections all the time and we all need a robust and resilient immune system to be able to deal with that. We can’t be resilient when we have all these things draining the tank. It’s just giving people an awareness of all those things in our environment. In the toxins chapter, where I go through someone’s day underlining all the toxic elements that we’re being exposed to. People have said to me I had no idea. Literally every sentence there was something in there and a lot of this information is suppressed. The manufacturers of these goods aren’t keen to let everybody know that they’re running us down and slowly poisoning us.

Melissa Smith

I suppose the message there is that individually in small amounts some of these chemicals may not be a massive issue, but the problem occurs when you have multiple chemicals in higher doses. You don’t know how they interact together and that interaction, the impact it’s having on your body.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

Absolutely. We really need to look after the liver and making sure the liver’s got all the good nutrients going in to help the detox pathways and just simple things like drinking enough water. But making sure the water you’re having is clean. When I get clients with long-term chronic issues and I say it might be worth getting your water analysed or just getting a really good filter. Make sure all those oestrogens, heavy metals, it’s gone so at least you know what you’re drinking is clean. It’s an eye opener for most people.

Melissa Smith

It’s something we don’t think about. We’re just so used to all of these different things in the environment we don’t necessarily think about them on a day to day basis. You mentioned earlier that you’re really keen to empower and engage people to take more responsibility for their own health. Given the lack of information about natural resilience and supporting a robust immune system that can help protect ourselves, how do you think we can actually empower people to do that?

Kate Chaytor-Norris

It’s all about getting the word out there. Doing things like this, my book. It’s interesting, most people, until their body starts going wrong they don’t even think about it. It’s catching those people. When I first qualified as a nutritional therapist I was super keen and I went up to our local doctor’s surgery and I said would you let me do a workshop once a week for your diabetic patients and we could discuss diet and lifestyle but they just weren’t interested. I feel if we could get a foot in door so at least the information is available to people as there are lots of people going to the doctor’s with chronic disease and they’re wanting to help themselves. Some aren’t and that’s fine, but the ones that are really wanting to be proactive are not getting the right information. I’ve had diabetic clients that have been told to eat white bread and bananas to balance their blood sugar levels. That’s just insane! It breaks my heart because these people are wanting to get well and they haven’t got the information. People like Dr Rangan Chatterjee are doing a fantastic job, but again it’s really hard to get that information out there. We have to just keep chipping away, spreading the word and hopefully it will all start to happen.

Melissa Smith

We’re in a bit of a crisis really from a health perspective with the levels of chronic disease and actually that chronic disease is threatening to destroy health care systems. They’re at breaking point and there are a lot of people doing a lot of good work, but as you say it’s often being marginalised or dismissed or ‘debunked’ as being fake information, which is not entirely helpful. Everybody coming together to continue to share the information is really important. That’s one of the things that the Alliance for Natural Health is doing, sharing that information and we’re also making sure it’s based within good science and the latest most up to date science.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

I think that’s always the thing that gets thrown at the alternative/complementary world. It hasn’t been scientifically proven and then you look at diet and it’s a really difficult one to prove because I can’t say to you, if you’re low in vitamin D we’ll give you vitamin D for the next month and see what happens. Nothing else. Well, how does that work? All the food you’re eating is interacting. It’s all such an interactive process so it’s very hard to do randomised controlled trials. I’m afraid that’s what the conventional medical world gets blinkered into thinking that’s the only way forward.

Melissa Smith

There’s so much synergy in everything as you say. It’s so difficult to isolate any single thing. It’s the food that you eat, are you sleeping properly or not? What are your stress levels? What’s your toxin exposure? All of the things that you talk about in the book, they all interact together. It’s very difficult to pick them apart and say it’s this one thing that’s causing the problem. It’s usually multiple things. Even going back to trauma from childhood. So on and so forth. The list is endless.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

It is endless and that’s why I think it’s a really difficult thing when patients go to the doctor and the GP has 10 minutes with them. How can you possibly hope to start unravelling underlying causes in 10 minutes? That’s why they just shove a pill in and suppress the symptom. I’m blessed that my initial consultation is 2hours and you really get to dig around and start unpackaging that onion. It’s fascinating and always so incredibly rewarding and I feel that if you can have a client that walks out of the room with a smile on their face thinking I know what I’m doing. I’m excited about all this information that I’ve been given and I can go and get myself well and I think yes, we’re on the right track. It is hard, it’s not a quick fix. I always say my worst kind of client is someone who says my wife sent me and you think this is going to be challenging. But if you can get them inspired about doing their homework and sometimes it’s a lot of homework, because you can’t just do one element, although with some clients you have to go really, really slowly and say this is going to take a long time and we’re going to work on this first and then this and then this. Sometimes you can get clients come through the door who say hit me with it I’m going to do everything, which is brilliant, but you have to watch out for the healing crisis. So it’s a real moveable feast.

Melissa Smith

So often it’s the first time that people really feel as though they’ve been heard because with the mainstream medical system so often people get moved from pillar to post so they go to the GP, the GP’s not sure, they go to the consultant. The consultant sends them for tests, they end up with a different consultant and so on and so forth. Some people have been going through this process for years and years and they come and see somebody in the natural health world, whether it be a nutritional therapist, an acupuncturist, a medical herbalist, whoever it may be and for the first time in however many years somebody has the time and takes the time to be able to sit down and listen to them.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

The therapeutic exchange is phenomenally valuable. Definitely not to be underestimated. That’s the bit that I love. Building rapport and trust and being humbled with people’s stories. Just incredible. What some people have been through and the resilience of the human spirit to keep going is just mind boggling. I meet the most incredible people every day of my life. It’s fantastic.

Melissa Smith

Yes, it’s a blessing really.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

Yes, a complete blessing.

Melissa Smith

You’ve covered an awful lot of ground in your book. I was reading the book and I was like, oh gosh she’s talking about that, she’s talking about this, wow, she’s about that. How many people for instance have heard about the fourth phase of water? I was astonished and delighted when I saw that in the book.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

I’d read this book called ‘Human Heart, Cosmic Heart’ by Thomas Cowan. You know when you read something and you’re like wow. So I did some more digging around and came across Gerald Pollack and that explains about the heart and the length of the blood vessels in the body and the resistance to the blood flow, it just isn’t possible for the heart to pump blood around the body. There’s got to be some other force that’s keeping the blood moving. It makes so much sense. You’ve got your fourth phase of water with the electrons lining the edges of the blood vessel and all the positively charged liquid through the middle and that keeps everything moving and flowing. Also that we can effect that whole process by making sure we power the ability of the body to create that fourth phase of water by getting out into nature, getting in to the sunshine. Have you read Sayer Ji’s Regenerate book? He’s far more scientific than I am, but he’s almost saying that human bodies have the ability to do a form of photosynthesis. We can obtain energy from the sun and I think that with our inside lives and people aren’t going outside, I’m not surprised we’re all getting sick. Getting outside is a really hugely important part of my self-care, because if I don’t do that I go a bit stir-crazy. I’m very fortunate to live in the countryside so it’s easy to get out.

Melissa Smith

It makes a huge difference and it’s something we’re huge advocates of at ANH as well because we have experience of the benefits of being outdoors. We know it for ourselves, the science shows it. We’re very aware of Gerald Pollack’s work and fourth phase of water and as you say a form of photosynthesis. Some people might go really, oh wow. But when you read it it’s oh my goodness it makes so much sense and given that we’re 70% water anyway, it does make a huge amount of sense. You’ve pulled together such a resource in the book because you touch on so many areas that are so important and relevant.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

I felt if people were going to read this book and it was going to be of help, it needed to cover a lot of bases. The feedback that I’ve received is that it’s very readable and not too scientific. I want everybody to be able to read it and not get bored and bogged down in science, but I did feel it was important to cover lots of different areas so people with chronic disease will have resources to start them on their wellness journey. They may need topping up by coming to see a therapist, but there’s a huge amount, I hope, in the book that will make people think I can change this and change that and let’s give that a go, but it’s about experimenting with your own body and learning to listen to it. When we’re all so incredibly busy it’s very inconvenient when our body throws symptoms at us, but actually it’s throwing them for a reason and it needs change so it’s about having a little bit of stillness and saying OK body what are you asking for, which is always a challenge when we’re really, really busy. It’s definitely a challenge for me when you’re self-employed and you love what you’re doing, not to fill your diary every minute of the day.

Melissa Smith

I know what you mean. It is quite challenging sometimes. To practice what you preach.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

Yes, absolutely and my children are going, Mum, I don’t think you’re practicing what you’re preaching. So, early finish work, weekend off, I’m not going to go into my office. All those kinds of boundaries I need to be really strict about otherwise my body definitely starts to shout at me.

Melissa Smith

As you say the noise of 21st century living is so loud that we don’t hear, or we’ve forgotten to listen to our body and what it’s telling us. So definitely we need to be able to take time to be able to hear those messages, they’re so important. The whole situation with covid-19 at the moment is really changing the way healthcare is working. The UK government are saying that they expect the whole telehealth situation to continue, that GPs should be using online consultations using platforms such as Zoom for instance or telephone consultations. We’re also being told that going forwards we may not be able to access accident and emergency in the same way, that we will have to go through a triage system and an appointment will be made for us if it’s considered non-life threatening. How do you think healthcare is going to change as we go forward or how should it change as we go forward?

Kate Chaytor-Norris

With regard to covid, if I was running the country and the healthcare system, I would be ensuring that every man, woman and child had optimal levels of vitamin D, zinc and vitamin C. That would be my absolute bedrock, but ideally what I would like to change is, I think there are a lot of people who are saying I can’t afford to eat healthily and that is a complete travesty. So, for me it would be about, for the food manufacturers that are wanting to create unhealthy foods they should be paying taxes or premiums to be able to sell those and the government should then have funding to fund fruit, vegetables, good quality protein so nobody has to excuse to say I can’t afford to eat healthily. And, again tightening up on sugar. That’s the thing that’s doing so much damage. Getting proper information out to people. Not this kind of misguided, mismatched one minute the media are saying one thing, the next another. It’s so confusing. So, some really good solid advice to people. Also funding to the NHS to, and I know it’s starting, making sure people can have gym membership, creating more walking groups, putting more funding into mindfulness and stress management, I think that’s really, really important. Again, I’ve had clients that are really, really stressed and they’ve been told by their doctor that they’re booked in on a mindfulness group, but they can’t access it for six months. That’s just not good enough. I think it’s a shifting of funding to be putting it into the really important bits. If the government wasn’t having to give the pharmaceutical industry billions for all their pills, then there would be lots of money for the natural more healthy approach. I think it’s just chipping away. But I feel, again, this change is going to be led by patients. We all need to start voting with our feet and saying this isn’t right and I want it different. For instance, in my book I talk about mammograms. I’m encouraging women and it’s difficult because you have to pay for these, to have thermograms. Those are not available on the NHS and they should be. If more women are saying no, I don’t want a mammogram I want a thermogram or an ultrasound, this is what you need to be providing then I hope things will start to change. But it will be a slow process I think.

Melissa Smith

Give us your three top tips for improving our immune resilience, our resilience in general to help us to be strong and get through the next few months in as good a way as we can.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

Only 3! The first thing that springs to mind is creating a bit of stillness in your day, however you do it. I find that a lot of people who are A types are quite driven, ask them to sit and meditate, they say I can’t do it. So I say, find something that helps to switch your head off, whether it’s gardening or playing a musical instrument or cooking or something where you can be really mindful and focused so you’re just absorbed in the moment. In that I’d also say be very aware of your breathing. I think that’s an absolute bedrock. When we’re stressed we breath really shallowly and that has a massive impact on the physiology. So deep breaths down into the diaphragm and if you’re feeling a bit wired or anxious make sure you extend the out breath so you’re helping to switch body into parasympathetic mode. So that was a rather big point.

Melissa Smith

An important point though

Kate Chaytor-Norris

That would be my priority because if the body is calm everything is going to work better. From a diet point of view I guess I’ve got two things. Try and cut down on the sugar as much as you can. That’s a hard one as it’s so drug-like and put in vegetables. You can’t eat enough vegetables, but get a diversity of vegetables. With our western diets and we’re buying from the shops we tend to buy the same things all the time. If you go to the supermarket or local farm shop and you see a different type of vegetable you’ve never had before, give it a try. Using lots of herbs and spices to increase the diversity of your diet. Water! Just make sure you’re drinking enough water. That’s my three rather large tips.

Melissa Smith

All very important tips and everything you’ve said about vegetables, variety, diversity, herbs, spices all things that we promote very heavily at ANH and that forms a key part of our Food4Health guidelines as well.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

It’s lovely when we’re all singing off the same hymn sheet. We just have to sing loud to get that message out there.

Melissa Smith

That’s partly why your book resonated with me, because it talks about so many things that the Alliance for Natural Health has been talking about for the 20 years of its existence. For us it’s a bit of a no-brainer really.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

When I’ve been talking to other nutritional therapists I say it’s not necessarily a book for you as you know all this stuff, but for me it’s an incredibly useful resource for my clients. When you’ve only got an hour/two hours with them you can only impart so much information. Once you’ve got them hooked and you send them away with the book, it’s brilliant as it cements all sorts of things in their mind and they say oh yes I hadn’t thought about that, let’s try and incorporate that into our life.

Melissa Smith

It’s a reminder as well because when you go on a journey to improve your health you try lots of different things and do lots of different things and sometimes you can forget so it’s nice to have something there to remind you and you can dip in and out oh yes, I found that really helpful, but life has taken me along and I’d forgotten about that. Or perhaps I can do that again, it’s there as that constant resource to dip in and out of.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

That’s the feedback I’ve had. A bible for the home to dip in and out of as and when. Which has been lovely to get that kind of feedback and feel that it’s hopefully helpful to people.

Melissa Smith

I have to say it’s been brilliant to speak to you today. Final thoughts, something you can leave our listeners with.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

We all live in these incredibly miraculous machines that have an incredible ability to heal themselves. It’s about creating the stillness in your life to be able to hear what your body is asking for.

Melissa Smith

That’s fantastic, brilliant. Thank you Kate, it’s been amazing to talk to you.

Kate Chaytor-Norris

Thank you and thank you to the ANH for doing all the amazing stuff that their doing. It’s hugely valuable to my world to feel that we have this powerful body backing us up and leading the way. Thank you.

Melissa Smith

That’s phenomenal to hear. We really appreciate you saying that, it’s great. We’re so passionate about what we do and we’ve got no plans to stop in the near future!

Book details

Title: I Wish my Doctor had Told me This: There is more to our healing than medication

Author: Kate Chaytor-Norris

Publisher: Tigga Publishing

ISBN: 9 781527 260610

Link to purchase on Amazon