Frequently Asked Questions
How does the consultation work?
Should I keep a food diary for our appointment?
How do follow up appointments work?
How many appointments will I need?
Why only virtual consultations – isn’t face to face better?
Do you accept private insurance?
What kind of lab testing do you run?
Will I have to count calories and spend lots of time cooking complex meals?
Will you write me a meal plan?
Do you treat couples or families or do we need separate appointments?
1. How does the consultation work?
Our initial consultation is always an hour long. I use this time to take a full medical and nutritional history. Some patients like to make notes for themselves in the days leading up to the appointment so they can feel sure they’re communicating everything that is important to them – I think this is a good idea – particularly if the history is medically complex. Take time to gather letters from medical professionals, previous blood tests and more: all of these help me to assess you and get a full picture of what has happened from a nutrition perspective. We then discuss the goals – where would you like to get to with your health? As soon as I know where you’d like to get to, I start to pave the way for you to get there with nutrition education, lifestyle advice, supplement recommendations and more. We usually stop our verbal interaction at about 50 minutes into the consultation after we have scheduled a follow up at a time which feels supportive to you (it can be one, two or three weeks later, depending on your needs). In the last ten minutes or so of the consultation, I write up your goals and advice for you so you can refer to it in between our appointments and immediately send it on in an electronic communication form of your choice: email or WhatsApp are usually preferred.
2. Should I keep a food diary for our appointment?
It is a great idea to keep a food diary detailing time of day, food/drink and any symptoms for our appointments if you find it helpful to do so. Many people with a history of dieting or disordered eating find keeping a food diary uncomfortable so please do not do it if it feels like a negative or stressful experience. We can talk through other ways to assess your intake once we meet.
3. How do follow up appointments work?
Follow up appointments are often an hour in the beginning because there is often still much to discuss, learn and work on. In more straightforward cases, follow ups swiftly move to 30 minutes sessions.
4. How many appointments will I need?
This is a very difficult question to answer: every patient is different. I understand that people often have limited funds and seeing a dietitian is an investment. I always do my utmost to make every consultation as efficient and helpful as possible. If you are concerned about not being able to have many consultations, please do tell me. In our initial consultation and follow up appointments I always ask ‘how long would you like to work on these goals before our next appointment?’ – we decide together – we are a team helping you get better. Some patients have had ongoing sessions for complex issues for a couple of years, others are sorted within two appointments. Rest assured that there’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing my patients discharged into a new life with great health – I will not keep you with me for any longer than you need.
5. Why only virtual appointments – isn’t face to face better?
While I really value face to face appointments, there are a number of advantages to working virtually. My clinic is in high demand and I can see more patients if I work virtually. In addition, patients don’t have to spend time travelling to our appointments, finding parking and so on – there is less interruption, and therefore, less stress added to their day. It is very important to me that our work causes the minimal amount of life stress possible. I have been working virtually long enough to see that there is no difference at all in positive patient outcomes, though I do miss meeting my patients in person. Finally, as a busy mother of three young children, working virtually allows me more time to practice the important self-care (eating well, exercising, resting) necessary to show up for my patients as focused, alert and energetic as possible.
6. Do you accept private health insurance?
I don’t work directly with any private insurance policies. I do, however, have plenty of patients who are reimbursed from their insurance companies for the sessions they have had with me. Once the patient has paid, I issue an invoice showing which they submit to their insurance company and receive reimbursement.
7. What kind of lab testing do you run?
I may request some blood tests to be done through your GP - if the GP agrees, some don’t, in which case we run the tests private through companies like Thriva to help keep the process as economical as possible. Blood test results help me to make sure that you are not deficient in anything and also let me see if there are any other potential issues going on.
Beyond basic blood tests I do sometimes need to run further testing privately if a case I am working with is complex or stubborn. I will always discuss testing options with my patients to make sure you’re completely aware of your options. Typical tests I may run are comprehensive stool analyses, OAT tests, omega 3 profiling, nutrigenomic genome testing, SIBO tests and more.
8. Will I have to count calories and spend lots of time cooking complex meals?
No and no. In 14 years of practice I have never taught a patient to calorie count and don’t intend to start any time soon. I believe it is a destructive way to approach nutrition. I believe in counting nutrients and by that I mean in making nutrients count – not actually counting any units numerically. I educate patients on appropriate portions for them mostly using plating and eye and hand based techniques. I am also passionate about simplifying cooking and meal preparation for patients: a healthy plate and/or diet does not need to take endless hours of preparation – there is so much we can do in simply five minutes. I am here to help you learn which corners to cut and to enable you to build a sustainable, health promoting diet.
9. Will you write me a meal plan?
If having a meal plan is important to you, I will write one. We will develop this meal plan during our sessions where I can ask you questions about your likes and dislikes and educate you while I write it: this will enable you to develop the skills to understand how to think about nutritional balance. By the time you leave my treatment you will be able to develop a plan for yourself. I feel very strongly about empowering my patients to be able to feel confident about making balanced, peaceful nutrition decisions in all types of eating environments.
10. Do you treat couples or families or do we need separate appointments?
I have a lot of experience treating couples, siblings, housemates and more within the same session. I am very happy for two people to share the hour long initial consultation and follow ups, if it works. If we find that medical or nutritional histories and needs are too complex to continue treatment sharing an hour’s slot, I will say so and we will adjust scheduling accordingly.