Gayle Merchant BSc(Hons) Dip CNM mBANT CNHC reg
I was born confused about food. A vegetarian in the 1980’s was a difficult place to be as well as being a teenager to boot – there was little nutrition going on! Poor food choices coupled with chronic stress took its toll – but silently and under the radar. It took over a decade of teaching in secondary school to start showing the signs of hypothyroidism, but that wasn’t the whole story…..
Stress was always a major factor in my life and now I realise how much it contributes to a whole range of issues. Being a ‘solve it’ kind of person (aka as a perfectionist!) I decided to take up yoga to help with my anxiety, which it did, and so I became a yoga teacher in 2008 to share my understanding with others. However, my body still felt sluggish and my brain felt like a wet sponge…..
I knew that food played a role in how I felt and wanted to know more. That, coupled with the brain tumour diagnosis of my beloved step-father Keith, I decided that I had to know more, to heal myself and to help others who needed more guidance than was being offered by conventional medicine.
During my 3 years at CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine) I looked more deeply into my own diet and started using Functional Testing on myself, as well as seeing a Nutritional Therapist. It soon became clear that my hypothyroidism was actually an autoimmune condition (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) and that I had leaky gut as well as a yeast overgrowth! This now explained so many of my symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, gut problems and sleep issues!
Today, I’m a long way on my journey towards better health but still feel that there’s a lot to be done. I just can’t imagine where I would be had I not started to dig deeper into my symptoms and seek the guidance of a Nutritional Therapist. I guess it would have just led to inevitable medication for my thyroid and a whole host of new symptoms with deteriorating quality of health….phew.
I now practice nutritional therapy at The Maple Tree Clinic in Northampton as well as through Skype consultations. I also work with a wide variety of people in the community under ‘The Healthy Eating Project’. At the project we hold healthy eating mornings where we discuss nutrition; share recipes; cook and eat together. I also give talks to local groups who are interested in nutrition.
I am passionate about finding out more in this ever expanding field of information and regularly attend conferences and webinars. I am also an Assistant Clinical Supervisor at the College of Naturopathic Medicine where I support final year nutrition students in their clinical experience.
I love to grow my own organic vegetables, bake yummy sugar-free cakes and keep chickens (Buffy, Freckles, Star Bird and Cou Cou). I play the Gong for relaxation and rejuvenation (sacred-sounds.com) and I love to dance.