At age 29 Sarah inspirationally swapped her career as a fashion stylist to pursue her passion of Nutritional Medicine. Ten years later and now pregnant with her first child we caught up with Sarah and chatted about the importance of gut heath, food-as-medicine, fertility boosting diets and post-partum weight loss.
1) Could you describe yourself in one sentence?
I know best friends would say ‘fiercely loyal’ haha. I guess I would say I am a passionate person - which is reflected in my practices with my own health and that of my clients, making sure I am always updating my knowledge (which is actually not a burden for me, I love it), and my connections with the people I care about.
2) This is your first time being pregnant -What is the one thing you didn’t expect that came with pregnancy?
Oh god, SO MUCH. You cannot prepare yourself for the uniqueness of experiencing your first pregnancy. I suppose the 'absolute surrender' to the processes your body is going through, and the needs of a healthy growing baby. It sounds obvious, but I have always maintained my weight and health with control over my diet and lifestyle. In pregnancy, and perhaps more so in my pregnancy as it was a surprise, you have to accept changes and literally just surrender to nature. Eg, I never used to eat as soon as I wake up, but now my body feels like I need to and so I listen to it. My appetite for sugar (by sugar I mean fruit) is like never before. I am eating red meat and pate and other iron rich foods more than I would normally like to. Plus surrendering to tiredness, I guess it’s forced ’self-care’ on a whole new level!
3) You’re a nutritionist, what are your top nutrition tips for growing a healthy baby?
- Sleep as much as you can! Consume bone broth and kefir daily.
- If you haven’t already, switch to organic fresh produce.
- Consume oily fish like salmon a few times a week and/or supplement with EPA+DHA.
- Iron rich foods (haeme iron preferably) several times p/week.
- Mineral rich foods (eg. calcium, magnesium) daily, I’m going crazy with activated nuts, activated seeds, and tahini.
4) You work with women who are struggling with infertility, how does diet play a role in this and what do you recommend for women going through this?
It’s amazing how little focus the conventional health system puts on fertility nutrition, I believe it to be so important. For example reproductive hormones require cholesterol to synthesised and active, which we get from healthy fats, so plenty of healthy fats are fundamental for reproductive health. Reducing inflammation is also absolutely necessary, and supporting gut health. And importantly, one of the most common things I see in women struggling with fertility is stress. Modern life can just put so so so much pressure on the body to over perform, our system naturally goes into fight-or-flight mode when we are busy or stressed all the time. When fight or flight mode is activated, the body can decide it’s not fit for reproduction in that state. A focus on calming the nervous system down and activating rest-and-digest or feed-and-breed mode is essential for fertility health.
5) Are you having any cravings? How are you managing them if they’re not the healthiest cravings?
Nothing weird! I was eating a punnet of strawberries per day for a while there. I am currently going through black tahini and goat’s milk kefir at an unbelievable rate. If you put chocolate in front of me I will eat it all, but I don’t buy it. To be honest, I am not having any weird cravings I am just hungry a lot… and I am surrendering to my body’s needs and eating lots! So it is kinda fun in a way, guilt free indulgence. It’s all healthy stuff though. Lots and lots of avocado, activated nuts and seeds, bone broth, kefir, natural yoghurt, green veg, salmon, pate, eggs from the farm and grass-fed steak.
6) For mama’s who have put on extra weight during pregnancy (because they were growing a human!!) what are some simple things they could do to help lose that weight?
Focus on the quality of your diet. Cut out the crap. The health of you and your baby is too important to be punishing yourself with processed nasties or a lack of good nutrition. If you eat quality, real (not processed) foods, you should be satiated after meals and your body should respond well. Everyone is different and will have their own needs and preferences of course, but that is a general approach! In post partum, I plan to prioritise rest until my body has healed, but I hope to get a walk or gentle activity in each day (once I can), and then when I am able and my new lifestyle allows, to return to a mix of yoga, pilates and a run where I can to build up some cardio fitness again. And of course maintain a nutrient dense diet.
7) If there’s ONE message you could impart… Leave us with your golden piece of advice:
Look after your gut health. It really is true that everything begins in the gut - whether that be disease or great health. Even your mental health depends on optimal gut health, via the gut-brain-axis. Your gut health is the cornerstone of your wellbeing and is totally worth the efforts and changes you might need to make to nourish it.
Sarah wears selected garments from our Summer Collection.
Sarah has kindly offered a discount for Pea in a Pod customers...
See Sarah for an initial consult for only $150 (usually $190), or a 3-pack of consults for $400. This offer would be especially useful during pre-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding to ensure mum and bub are getting the right nutrition.Email info@happybellynutritionalmedicine and quote ‘LOVEPEAINAPOD'
For more information on Sarah and her practice visit