My Native Admission Statement: Born in sunny South Africa but raised in London, I qualified as a medical doctor (MBBS) at University College London (UCL). During my medical studies, I completed a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Nutrition at King's College London. I also carried out an elective period in Gastroenterology, where I gain in-depth exposure to this field of medicine.
Being passionate about nutrition and healthy living, soon after graduating I decided to set up my own nutrition practice, The Food Effect, www.thefoodeffect.co.uk in 2012, which soon became hugely popular in London, UK - thanks to the results and word of mouth from many happy clients.
I combine my knowledge in the fields of medicine and nutrition, as well as my passion for cooking and all things food, to help clients looking to lose (or gain!) weight, improve their diet, and optimise their overall health and well-being. I also run a popular online blog The Food Effect www.thefoodeffect.co.uk and my work has been featured in The Times, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Hello! Magazine, Women's Health, Marie Claire, Healthy Diet, Byrdie Beauty and Healthy Food Guide Magazine. More recently, I wrote The Food Effect Diet book, which was published worldwide and serialised by The Times UK in January 2018. My second book is coming out in January 2020.
How did you get into the industry and what was your inspiration for the business idea?
I started The Food Effect, after graduating from medical school in 2012. It frustrated me that no emphasis was put on diet or lifestyle in a medical setting, so I wanted to combine my medical and nutrition knowledge to help people improve all aspects of their health and wellbeing through dietary change. At the time, it was merely a deviation in my career path, whilst I decided to take a year out from hospital medicine, to see people for nutrition “just for the year”. Back then my only plan was utilizing the knowledge I had from studying medicine to be a good nutritionist for a year. I never dreamt that I would start a blog and revolutionary approach to food and eating that would help so many people and also become my full-time career (now seven years later).
Vision for the Business?
My vision for my business is to continue to spread The Food Effect ethos (via clients, my blog and social media), that healthy eating is simple, delicious and enjoyable, and that staying slim, healthy and looking and feeling your best, doesn’t need to involve denial or deprivation. I’d also love to launch The Food Effect range of food products, which I’ve started thinking about and have many ideas for. I hope to bring this vision to reality in the next few years.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
I have a second book coming out in January 2020, so I’m hoping that will be as popular as my first book (The Food Effect Diet, which came out January 2018).
Any emerging industry trends?
In the world of nutrition, cutting down on animal products (especially red meat), and opting for a more plant-based diet is definitely the biggest trend right now. Whether it’s going “flexitarian”, vegetarian or vegan – this is definitely something that many are opting for, and food brands and restaurants are catering more and more towards. Whilst I’m not usually in favour of “trends” or fads (and don’t advocating cutting out things like dairy (if well tolerated), or going vegetarian or vegan if someone doesn’t want to) – cutting down on red meat and incorporating more plant based foods is definitely something with tremendous health, weight and environmental benefits and I don’t believe this is a fad at all.
Your most difficult moment at the Business?
I’ve had many challenges, but most recently I received my second book deal offer from my publisher with a four week deadline to write the entire book! Normally one has a year or two for this, but they wanted the book to come out this January (i.e. in 5 months!) so everything had to happen super speedily. I happened to find out I was pregnant on the same day as hearing I received the book deal. Of course, I felt overwhelmingly blessed and grateful, but I had one month to write an entire book (including 75 new recipes), whilst working full time seeing clients and being newly pregnant and quite unwell with that the first few weeks (thankfully I now feel great!)
There were days I didn’t know how on earth I was going to get it done, but somehow I did! I learnt from this, that (almost) anything is possible if you put your mind to it and BELIEVE you can do it. Also, not to listen to people who tell you something’s too difficult or you won’t be able to do it, if you believe you can and want to.
Ideal experience for a customer?
My book, The Food Effect Diet is all based around my approach to nutrition and healthy eating, and my work with clients. It’s provides a simple, delicious and satisfying way of eating that sheds weight, boosts energy, and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. It also gives glowing skin, increased brain power and optimal health and vitality. In the sea of faddy, detox, quick fixes being sold – I truly believe The Food Effect Diet is the most rational, effective and science-based approach to losing weight in a healthy way, with the least amount of deprivation. It even allows you to drink wine, eat chocolate every night, enjoy pasta and pizza, and dine out from day one. Essentially it’s sustainable in that it lets you carry on living a completely normal life (if that’s what you want!) so I really believe it’s a life changer. It also makes the work I do with clients available to all, worldwide, at a fraction of the cost.
How do you motivate others?
I strive to fully appreciate and encompass different lifestyles and eating preferences, so that my advice is workable for everyone from busy Moms at home, to high flying corporate executives. In addition to being nutritionally comprehensive, my advice is always simple, practical and realistic, ensuring the optimum chance of success.
Career advice to those in your industry?
“The harder you work, the luckier you get.” I think nowadays it’s easy to get clouded by everyone portraying their “success” across social media and to think it all comes so easily, but no one sees the hard work and slog behind it all. I don’t believe in “luck”!
What do I do best?
Personal: I care a LOT about everyone – from my family and friends, to clients and even strangers who message me on Instagram. I really will do whatever I can to help anyone (even if it has no benefit to me).
Business: I am EXTREMELY hard working, and I’m happy and willing to put in the hours it takes to get everything done. Thankfully, I also don’t need a lot of sleep (I can function well on 2-4 hours a night), but I really want to work on getting more!
What makes me the best version of myself?
I think the fact that I am very driven, ambitious and don’t give up easily! I don’t give up after failures and I’m not afraid to take risks.
My Biggest Success?
In life – finding and marrying my amazing husband Jeff, who is my rock and support in everything I do and go through. In work, writing my book The Food Effect Diet which has been published worldwide, and was serialised by The Times UK in January (2018).
My Most Challenging Moment?
Giving up hospital medicine to start my own nutrition practice. I had MANY people discouraging me and telling me what I mistake I was making. I felt very discouraged and quite down for several months, but I went with my gut instinct and followed my heart. Thankfully, seven years later I’ve never looked back!
Work hard and be nice to people.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
My parents. They are both truly the kindest, most amazing people I know (I’m not saying that because I’m biased). My Mom is also my number one cooking inspiration and has shown me from such a very young age what real, wholesome food is and how good it can taste. My Dad is my number one supporter, work motivator and inspiration, whose constant support and business advice are invaluable to me. He has taught me that kindness comes before anything else, and you don’t need to compromise on this to be successful.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Cape Town, South Africa
My Favorite Products/Objects?
My Swell water bottle - it definitely helps me drink more water.
My Current Passions?
Cooking (& eating) delicious food!
My Daily Thoughts:
Goal of the Day: Try and be as productive as possible.
Thought of the Day: Don’t stress if I don’t get everything done.
Deed of the Day: Smile at a stranger.
Tip of the Day: Don’t get angry (in both work and home life).
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
You can never get bored in London, there are always new places to see, shops and cafes to visit, and areas to explore.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
Coffee with almond milk and avo toast.
Le Pain Quotidien
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Awake scrolling through my phone (when I’d like to still be asleep, I go to sleep VERY late).
10:00 AM – Drinking coffee replying to e-mails.
1:00 PM – Having lunch, trying to take time to sit (albeit briefly!), enjoy my food and not look at my phone (this doesn’t always happen!)
7:00 PM – Sitting down to dinner. This is my favourite meal of the day, as it’s the only time I finally get time to relax and unwind after a busy day. I really take my time, have a delicious dinner and enjoy it.
11:00 PM - Catching up on all my e-mails and everything that’s come in from social media that day (when I really should be heading to bed, but that only happens several hours later!)
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
I’ve always been a total coffee addict and couldn’t get through my day without a GIANT coffee in the morning.
Now that I’m pregnant I’ve switched to decaf, and have one milky (decaf) coffee in the morning. I’m sure once the baby comes I’ll get back onto coffee! The rest of the day it’s water for me.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
My favourite and most used app is Todoist. It’s seriously changed my life!
What should everyone try at least once?
My Hummus Pasta (the easiest, most delicious dish ever)!! And Safari in Africa.
What Else to Know?
Follow me on Instagram @thefoodeffectdr for all my healthy meals, recipes, nutrition tips and lots more!! And you can visit my website: www.thefoodeffect.co.uk for more information about me and my services.
My book, The Food Effect Diet is available on Amazon here: