Sometimes, we forget the body is one inter-connected system and conventional medicine may treat your symptoms, rather than the underlying causes of your health concerns. Functional Medicine allows us to work with root causes, so that your health improves and you feel better.
Stephen Ward from Fairfield Nutrition here. This is my story on how I developed such a passion for all things health and nutrition. As with many practitioners, it all started when I developed my own unexplained health issues..
At 35, I found myself not feeling great – I was feeling tired most of the time, increasingly feeling depressed and anxious, and slowly putting on weight – my energy of younger years was already disappearing. I wasn’t sure what was going on and so when I went to see my GP and had some standard testing done. I was told that I had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an auto-immune disease. I was shocked as I felt I was a healthy person!!!
I quizzed my GP about why I had developed the condition, and what I could do to avoid taking the suggested replacement hormone (thyroxin) for the rest of my life. I was basically told it was ‘just one of those things’ and little could be done but take the pills and continue on with my life exactly as before.
But I’m the kind of person who likes to understand the reasons behind things, and so I wasn’t satisfied with this response. But at the same time, I had grown up with a faith in conventional medicine, believing that the doctor knew best – I presumed it would be able to help me here to find out what was really going on. I felt confused, isolated, and somewhat let down. I wanted to know what I could do… And so I started my own research into the factors which contribute to the development of auto-immune conditions.
I spent the next few weeks excitedly devouring what I found… Source after source was showing me that my previous diet and lifestyle likely played a part in the development of my auto-immune disease. I learned how particular foods, such as gluten, is best avoided by people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I transformed my diet there and then, eating real food, and a large diversity and quantity of vegetables, and cutting out gluten and sugar. I quickly felt the benefits and enjoyed how the Paleo style diet made me feel.
I realised that what I put into my body had a huge effect on my health, energy, and well-being. I also took up running, reduced my exposure to everyday chemicals, and generally started taking care of what I put into my body. By doing so, I was able to reduce my thyroid antibodies to within the normal range, meaning that there likely wasn’t ongoing damage to my thyroid. Although I did end up taking the thyroxin, taking control of my diet and health was empowering and I was feeling better than ever before, losing around 10kg in weight.
I loved geeking out on the research so much, and was so inspired by the Functional Medicine approach, that I decided to study for a MSc in Personalised Nutrition, which was based in Functional Medicine practices and understanding. Functional Medicine presents a radically different view of disease that addresses the root causes, rather than just the symptoms. It helps to provide a framework to answer many of the questions as to why chronic diseases develop.
I am now thrilled to be able to share this knowledge and experience with my clients. I am excited when they feel the difference, nutrition and lifestyle can make to their own lives. I believe that with simple, and non-invasive, changes we can all improve our health.
To help you get to know me better, I’ve also put together this list of what we stand for and stand against, so that you can get to know our values and see if we are a good match for you.
About Fairfield Nutrition
At Fairfield Nutrition, we focus on identifying and addressing the root cause of your health problems using Functional Medicine.
Unlike conventional medicine, we do not simply treat your symptoms. Instead, we take the time to identify what may be going on in your body. This then allows us to address the causes of your health issues through dietary and changes to your lifestyle. Our aim is to help you return to health without unnecessary drugs or surgery.
This approach works well for those living with chronic illness but also for others who just want to optimise their health and well being.
My experience of working with Stephen is that he is a good listener, takes a very thorough approach to ones health needs, gives informed feedback as well as practical solutions that work with ones life.
Stephen's nutritional advice and support have greatly improved my quality of life! I had significant chronic abdominal pain, worsened by surgery, where I could no longer function independently and nothing was helping to improve the situation. He listened to my complex medical history and took into account my food allergies and intolerances to create a food plan that was balanced and simple to follow. By sticking to his advice, my pain is more manageable and I feel much better physically and mentally, where I'm back to being independent. I cannot thank him enough!
Stephen has a wealth of knowledge and experience. He asks lots of questions to help determine your health challenges and goals. He made effective suggestions that I hadn't considered. I felt supported, listened to, and he answered my questions promptly online. Im only three weeks into my "three month plan" and I'm already noticing my health improving. Highly recommended!