ION graduate Katie Sheen has built a successful career out of mindfulness practice and nutrition education. She says that both are about finding and following a path to wellbeing, by turning towards what is causing distress and looking deeply at the root causes so that positive transformation can happen from the base.

Here she tells us about her career journey, the strength that mindfulness practice gives her, and her inspiration for writing a short story for the book Tears Become Rain, published by Parallax Press on 10 October 2023.

What led you to study nutrition at ION? 

"I took my youngest son to see a wonderful nutritional therapist. She had trained at ION and suggested that I take the course - so I took her advice!"

How did ION’s course influence your career? 

"The course is fundamental to my career. I was in the first ION cohort to graduate with a CNHC [Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council] registration, back in 2008. That enabled me to apply for an hourly paid lecturer position on the MSc Nutritional Therapy course at the University of Worcester and I taught there for years, becoming a module leader and personal tutor whilst studying for my PGCE and MA Education. Alongside this I was teaching at other colleges and in the seminar team at Lamberts Healthcare. Eventually I left Worcester to take a training role with Lamberts, travelling the country visiting health food stores and complementary therapy centres alongside delivering their CPD events. 

"Unfortunately I had an enforced break whilst being treated for cancer in 2014/15, but for the last few years I have been back delivering CPD training with the Pharma Nord Education Team, covering both the UK and Ireland. I really enjoy the combination of webinars and seminars, as it enables us to reach many more people than ever before."

What has mindfulness brought to your life? 

"Mindfulness provides the foundation and guides both the direction and structure of my life. It brings me a steadiness and inner strength that gives me the confidence to turn towards whatever I am currently finding difficult, so that I can take better care of myself and find a way forwards. I also nourish my happiness much more consciously and effectively than ever before. I have made many new friends and become part of a very supportive community by practicing in the Plum Village tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, for which I am very grateful."

What inspired your contribution to Tears Become Rain?  

"In July 2019 the editors sent out a global invitation to mindfulness practitioners, asking us to submit first-person short stories of how we were inspired by the mindfulness teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. The book is a fundraising project for the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation, so my motivation was to support that fundraising whilst demonstrating how mindfulness supported me during some of the most challenging moments of my life, when I first realised that I had cancer."

What does a typical day look like for you? 

"Luckily there isn’t a typical day, which is something that I love! 

"Whether my focus is nutrition or mindfulness, if I am writing presentations then I am on my laptop delving into the evidence base, developing a narrative that is also guided by what has been most transformational for me and my clients. On other days I may be delivering a webinar, a mindfulness course or class, or speaking to 1:1 mindfulness clients, and on Fridays I facilitate an in person mindfulness group in my local area.  Many weeks involve travel for live CPD events for Pharma Nord, so public transport and hotels are a common feature and I love travelling to meet people in different cities.

"I spend a lot of time on my own mindfulness practice, both independently and in community at retreats, courses and weekly Sanghas (mindfulness practice groups), so evenings are often spent online enjoying some kind of mindfulness practice. 

"Friends and family are incredibly important to me so I always meet up with someone every few days, usually for a walk in the beautiful local countryside, and I go to a really sociable local gym at least a couple of times a week too." 

How does mindfulness relate to nutritional therapy?

"Mindfulness is an effective way to see reality more clearly, gaining insight and taking appropriate action to reduce our own suffering so that then we are able to help others too. That is also how nutritional therapy feels to me: both are about finding and following a path to wellbeing, by turning towards what is causing distress and looking deeply at the root causes so that positive transformation can happen from the base."

Can you tell us some of your career highlights? 

"All my most rewarding moments are when people tell me that I have helped or inspired them. It is such a joy when people have an 'Aha!' moment, and suddenly they perceive the world differently. My career highlights are therefore those moments of feeling that I have made a positive difference, rather than any one event."

Do you have any specific career goals or plans for the future? 

"I have various projects bubbling in the background, ranging from writing books to developing new mindfulness courses.  I purposely keep plans fluid so that the strongest ones can rise to the surface more easily, but to be honest I am really happy with the work/life balance that I currently have so am hesitant to change too much!"

Can you give some of your top mindfulness exercises or tips?  

"Come back to your body and breath with kindness and compassion as often as you can, notice how you are, and take care of what you find – so release tension if it is there, or nourish that spark of happiness. Being fully present for what is happening feels like living life in full colour, with a deep sense of gratitude for simply being here."

About Katie

Katie Sheen researches, writes and presents nutrition CPD events with the Pharma Nord Education Team. She is also a Breathworks accredited mindfulness teacher, a contributing author for the book Tears Become Rain, and a mindfulness course leader in the Plum Village tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King.

Tears Become Rain is a collection of short stories of transformation and healing from 32 mindfulness practitioners around the world, inspired by the teachings of Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, who passed away in January 2022. It explores themes of coming home to ourselves, healing from grief and loss, facing fear, and building community and belonging. Tears Become Rain was published by Parallax Press on 10th October 2023, and is distributed by Penguin Random House.

You can discover more about Katie and explore all the resources that she offers at

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